I always work with photographers as part of my job in the Fitness Industry. Just a little disclaimer as you keep reading this post: Don't get me wrong. I've been really grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented individuals from all over Asia, and I am always happy to inspire and be inspired by such wonderful creators. The point I'm driving at however is the question that some photographers ask me :
"Do you want me to photoshop you to look thinner?"
To which I always respond with a smile a definite -- NO. Although I never gave it much thought before, it just started to sink in, how a small mindless question like this can greatly affect one's self esteem, and body image.
Not to pin all the blame on these guys. Because I'm sure that on their end, they really just want to do their job the best that they can. Since they also have clients to please and deadlines to meet. Also, the added fact that they're just so used to having people they work with asking to have their bodies "fixed", it becomes an automatic question to ask their models given the ridiculously unrealistic standards we are expected to meet. The pressure is on all of us and in relation to that last thought, I refuse to accept this as the norm, and would belong to the minority by a massive scale.
I am human. There are days when I wake up and feel bloated, and it makes me look fat in front of the camera. Sometimes I have cellulite. Sometimes I forget to flex, or suck in my gut for a shot. Sometimes I don't have abs. And my arms are always big. I'm sure you've had similar days too. I am not going to lie, there are also days when I am also ripped af. But that doesn't mean that I should hate on my body when it doesn't live up to other people's standards. Because ultimately, their standards have no place in my life. This is me telling you to not beat yourself up trying to look a certain way. It's so easy to get lost in the influence of media thinking that there exists a perfect body, and that we all have to aspire to achieve.
But the truth is that I am human, with a body that is human. The same body that allows me to fly, to run, to, ride, to do the things I do now. How it looks has no effect whatsoever with what it can accomplish. So tying this back to our question, with much pride, I'd always say NO. Without even thinking twice. It's a small thing, but I always tell them to post my photo as is, folds and all. Edit a part of me out, and that photo will not go up my humble feed.
I write this post to serve as a small reminder to all my girls out there. Know that we all experience the same pressure, but also have power to change status quo. Refuse this unreasonable standard that is forced down our throats, and choose to love what you see in the mirror every single day. Choose you, in all its authentic glory. Because your body is worth so much more than just mere appearance.
So the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, be bold and shoot it down right away. In a world that tries so hard to make us fit a perceived perfect mold, be mighty, resist and say NO.
You are beautiful as is. And if means anything to you, know that I am right here cheering you on.