Did I ever tell you I was a child model for Burberry?
The photo on the left was the “test shoot” photo and the only evidence from my time as a model – it was a short lived career because I got cotton candy on the clothes ?
When I talk about my scars, people always ask me why I only realised my scars were a problem at 10. Well this is partly why. I was a model which in my 7 year old head meant I must be beautiful. It took me 3 more years to figure out I was only model material when my clothes were on and that cemented my life-long insecurity about ever showing my scars.
I could go from being within the beauty norm to outside of it with just one swift removal of my top.
I was taught to hide who I really was.
Beauty standards are so arbitrary.
Being “model-material” is so transient.
It takes one casting agent to mark your flaw as your selling point and then you are in, and you will be cast for the precise thing you always worried about.
So is my life meant to crumble because I’m no longer deemed beautiful by society?
Is my self esteem meant to fade because I no longer “fit in” to the norm?
Not fitting in meant I felt alone growing up.
Feeling alone made me wish I had a role model who looked just like me, showing me that it could be done.
Showing me that you could look like me and love yourself.
So I became that person, I became the change I wanted to see.
I became a role model for myself then I started going into schools and teaching them how to be themselves.
This week, I’ve seen this word in my comments + DMs a lot. I didn’t know how I felt about it. Both these words were labels that were given to me. They were not my choosing but they both made me feel good. The difference was one made my head, pride and ego feel good + one made my soul feel good.
The definition of a role model is behaving in a way that young people can emulate and if as a result of seeing me there are tons of children running around with their scars on show enjoying life – I’ll take that title with pride. #ScarredNotScared
PS The right photo was a part of #BehindTheScars by @sophiemayanne and it was the first photoshoot I’ve done where I could be unapologetically myself.