There aren’t many things that come along in life and stop us in our tracks, but Julie Adams and Georgie Abay’s book, This Is Me, is one of them. Inspired by Julie’s daughters, the compilation of unretouched portraits is a celebration of women and an essential reminder that beauty lies in our individuality.
When Julie’s young daughters started to talk about body image, she knew she wanted to do something that would help them feel confident and happy in their skin. Her idea? A project celebrating all women, in every shape and from all walks of life, in their raw, beautiful state.
What started out as an open-call photo shoot in her beachside studio quickly gained momentum, and Julie enlisted the help of friend and journalist Georgie Abay to create a book that showcases unretouched portraits of real women in their swimwear, alongside moving stories of their journeys to body acceptance.
Describing the process as “a very powerful experience”, Julie explains that she hopes the book will be a joyful, refreshing read that helps all women embrace their bodies. We certainly think so. Here are just a few of the amazing women involved.
“When I was 21, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’ve given myself more than 55,000 insulin injections over the years, just to stay alive and well. You don’t realise how remarkable your body is until you have to take over one of its jobs! Modern medicine has given me the opportunity to keep myself alive. Some days are harder than others, but my best advice is to let go of perfectionism and allow yourself to be human.”
“Beauty can be seen in many ways; body image is superficial – it just doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. Nobody made a difference in this world by having a good body.”
“I think society as a whole needs to get over its obsession with this idea of perfection. We are all perfectly imperfect. I am proud of my body for keeping me thriving over the last 56 years, enabling me to bring my two boys into the world, and being a vehicle that I can express myself through.”
“When I got diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, my goal was to be alive to see my son Archie start kindergarten. He is now in year four. I grew up with an inspirational father who had horrific skin cancer and was facially disfigured. He would always say to me: ‘I’m not embarrassed about how I look, Belinda, I’ll win people over with my brains! And if I can’t, well, they’re not my people.’ Having that role model has been a blessing. Thank you, Dad.”
“I’ve been bigger my whole life, so I was forced to deal with my differences at a very early age. I wish someone had told me back then that it’s OK to look – and to be – different. Since I’ve grown in age, maturity and size, I’ve become passionate about owning my space. I dress in a way that’s true to me, do activities that I love and I’m not afraid to express myself. ”
“I never thought I was anything special as a child. I was sexually abused at a young age and it took me a very long time to appreciate the changes my body was going through as I was growing up. I was always very shy and hid behind baggy clothes. I didn’t think I was pretty or confident enough. It has taken me more than 30 years to finally be comfortable in my skin and love myself and my body.”
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