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Meet Anthea - Embrace Summer Ambassador

#IWillEmbraceSummer

We are so pleased to introduce our third ambassador for our 2017 Embrace Summer campaign! Meet Anthea, an athletic beauty with the brains to match! Anthea is one of our own Swimwear Galore girls who stripped it back to reveal what we don't usually see!!

To kickstart the Embrace Summer movement, we asked Anthea to answer a few quesitons about her body love journey, social media and of course what she loves about summer!

1) Did you or do you find it difficult buying swimwear? What are the things that worry you the most?

For the vast majority of my adult life I have really struggled to buy swimwear! Being in swimwear and being at the beach can be so confronting at the best of times, so not being able to find a swimsuit that fits properly can be incredibly upsetting and disheartening. I used to work in a surf shop while I was studying. I used to look at the massive swim wall we had, floor to ceiling racks of bikinis and bathing suits, I could count on my hand, the number of bikinis that I could buy off the rack. My body isn’t one consistent size, I need one size for my top and another for my bottom. I often had to get a pair of bathers altered so that I felt comfortable. On top of that, I struggled to find bather tops that offered enough support to feel completely at ease swimming and playing on the beach. In more recent years having the options of buying “separates” has changed my life. I no longer dread finding bathers for the summer, it’s actually something I quite enjoy now!

2) What do you love about your body the most? Have you always felt that way?
I think I have always loved the same things about my body, physically and I suppose most obviously, I love my stomach, it’s been the same for as long as I remember. It reminds me of my teenage years when I was a Victorian representative in athletics and the hard work that went into being a successful athlete. Not so obviously, I love that my body shape is so recognizably inherited from my mother and her side of the family. I see grainy photographs of my mother at the beach, in bikinis that she made herself and I instantly recognize the curves and form!

3) How did you learn to love yourself and embrace your body? Did you always have the confidence you do now?
I struggled with confidence for a long time, I think most people do at one stage or another! Growing up, I was always so heavily involved in sport. You name it, I played it! I was very dedicated and my body was lean and athletic. As soon as puberty hit, around the age of 16, my whole body changed. My legs and bottom were fuller, and my bust grew quicker than I knew how to deal with. I was in year 10 and already a D cup. I looked at myself in the mirror and certainly didn’t recognize my physical self. For a long time, I was so self-conscious of my legs, I wore board shorts to the beach every summer thinking that I needed to hide them. It was a massive knock to my confidence at such tricky time of life. It’s taken time, of course, but my confidence now comes from the fact that I embrace my curves, sure I’m not 6 foot, I’m not straight up and down, but I look at myself now and feel so feminine and womanly. I also take time to embrace the things I don’t necessarily love. I have stretch marks, I have spider veins, I have the tell-tale signs of moving into womanhood. They’re things I can’t change, but they make me unique.

4) What is the best advice you have been given in regards to loving and accepting your body?
I know it’s not poetic, certainly not Shakespeare, but whenever I had a body conscious moment, my Dad would say “there is nothing wrong with you”. What he meant by that, was, you’re healthy, you’re happy, your body has physically given you so many opportunities and helped you to get to where you are today. How could I deny that sense? It’s true, how could I be mad and hate this body that gets me through every day and allows me to accomplish whatever it is that I want in that moment. I think I’ve been very lucky to have parents who are verbally gratifying, of course I know they’re bias, however having people that you know, love and trust telling you, that there is nothing wrong with your body, when you think there is, and to embrace what you have, is so very helpful.

5) How do you think social media influences women’s self-confidence?
I have to say that I am glad social media wasn’t prevalent in my formative years. I believe that the oversaturation of “idealistic” bodies can be quite damaging. Not only are they very rarely 100% true to life, they also promote often unattainable bodies. I know that if I was a young person, seeing these images daily, I would be looking inward and wondering why I didn’t look like those women as well. On the flip side however, I have enjoyed seeing the rise of women who are challenging the “norm” of the twenty first centuries ideas of the perfect bodies. I think it’s so important to have people who represent the majority, and give young women an alternative to look up to and admire.

6) Having a slim build, what pressure do you feel from society and social media? Has this effected you in anyway?
Of course, I feel a pressure to stay this way, and naturally I always want to be better, a little lighter, a little more toned etc. I have moments where I look at images on social media and huff and puff that my body is not like that. I often compare myself to the beautiful women I see on social media, but I honestly stop myself in my tracks and give myself a little pep talk.

7) What do you think about companies, like Swimwear Galore using a diverse range of bodies to advertise swimwear?
I’m so happy, and also get a strange sense of relief. Frankly, it’s about time! I can’t tell you how much joy its brings me to look at Swimwear Galores website and see the real bodies. I can actually look at a bikini and get an idea of how it will fit MY body, not a girl who is wearing the wrong sized top for the point of advertising. I hope this is the way of the future, and other brands follow suit. I think it has become their responsibility to be better and do better for the women of the world and promote the reality, which is the there is a lot of diversity when it comes to body shapes.

8) What advice would you give to women who struggle with loving & embracing their body?
Honestly, don’t waste your time picking yourself to pieces. Life is too short! You are perfect the way you are. Think about the things your body is capable of, think about the things you accomplish on a day to day basis, be proud of that.

9) What do you think is most important going forward to educate young women to love their bodies and be proud of them?
I think that’s exactly what it is, education. First and foremost, I think there needs to be more of a conversation about post production and the editing that goes into all of the images we see on social media. That’s so important, if women understands that what she is seeing isn’t always real, than hopefully they will not feel as though they need to meet an impossible standard. I also think we need to teach girls and women not to hesitate when feeling love for themselves and their bodies. I think sometimes it’s easier to dislike things about ourselves then have a voice and say, no, I love myself the way I am without fear of being judged.

10) We often remind our friends and family how beautiful they are, why do you think we are so hard on ourselves? 
I think as women we are taught to be self-deprecating and humble. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, I think we should be taught to be unforgivingly positive about our physical appearance, without fear or being cut down to size.

Anthea wears Tigerlily Osiris D/DD Balconette & Tigerlily Osiris Tiger Pant