I guess what makes me feel proud of my body are all the bits that make me a woman. My hips, my curves and the softer lines. Funnily enough, they’re also the bits that I can get hung up about! When I turned 40, I had a lightbulb moment about myself. I realised that I’d had the same hang ups for more than 20 years and you know what? Those hang ups probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon. So instead of spending another 20 years worrying about my squishy, wobbly bits, I decided to get over it, embrace myself and put it all out there, because ‘this is me baby’, and I like pasta too much to change it. Victoria, 41
When photographer, Julie Adams (whom I am lucky enough to call one of my very best friends) floated the idea of photographing everyday women in their swimsuits, completely #unretouched, I did not tell her she was bonkers. In fact, I said quite the opposite. I told her to go for it! Maybe it was the fact that I had just turned 40. Maybe I was just sick of second-guessing the packaging I was in. But I just felt really strongly that this was the right project at the right time. Both for me, and perhaps women everywhere. A time to embrace what’s real, bumps and all.
So Julie, never one to shy away from a challenge, set about pulling off her first shoot at Freshwater Beach Surf Club in Sydney. One thing to know about Julie is she is amazing under pressure and can pull off beautiful portraiture in the simplest of settings. And the studio at Freshwater was just that. A simple white backdrop on a stinking hot summers day.
I was frazzled, dealing with 3 kids, one of whom was 2 at the time, when I arrived at Freshie completely disorganised and exhausted. My 8 year old daughter, on the other hand, had planned her outfit down to the pineapple sunglasses that matched her pineapple bikini.
Another thing to know about Julie is she has the most amazing talent for making her subjects feel completely at ease. You honestly (almost) forget the camera is even there. So when it was our turn I jumped right up without a second thought and posed my little heart out.
For the book, This Is Me, Julie has partnered up with the extraordinary editor, Georgie Abay, who has worked with every woman featured in the book to capture their body image journey. Their words combined with their stunning portraits make for a very powerful read.
I’m so glad I jumped at the chance to be part of this amazing movement. I love our picture together and I will cherish it forever. My only regret is not having done a portrait by myself. I found the whole experience so empowering and liberating. I can only imagine how I would have felt doing it on my own. I will just have to step up for the next one. If you ever have to opportunity to do it too, I highly recommend it. (To find out when and where the next shoot will be, follow @thisisme)
In the book, there are so many amazing photos and stories to share. So I thought I would share the portraits of the strong women in my life, my daughter, my mother-in-law, 2 sister-in-law’s and niece.