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Embrace Summer Winners

#IWillEmbraceSummer

Hello first day of summer and hello to our new faces (and bodies) of Swimwear Galore! Leading up to summer we partnered with the Body Image Movement to encourage all Aussie women to embrace their curves, stretch marks, cellulite and scars on the beach this summer. Hailing from all across Australia, our faces and bodies of summer are young and old and range from anywhere between a size 10 – 20. Helen, Emilie, Hannah, Krystal and Mikayla are baring their ‘imperfections’ and encouraging other women to do the same, meet them below!

Hannah

Hannah - Geelong VIC

25 years old, size 14, E cup

Have you always loved your body? If not, how and when did you start to embrace your body?

When I was younger, I was bullied for my height and stature, but I’ve come to love my body. I have been confident for a long time, but it’s only recently that I’ve started sharing my body image story. I’m really into nutrition and fitness. I run twice a week and do a boxing bootcamp once a week. I’ve found that physical activity has taught me to love my body for what it can do instead of what it looks like. No matter your body shape or size, we all have imperfections we’d like to change. It’s about embracing those ‘imperfections’ and seeing them as things that make us unique and ultimately beautiful.

What body part do you love the most?

My waist and strong arms!

What body part did you struggle to embrace?

My legs... As the biggest part of my body, wearing shorts and showing off my legs has always been a challenge but I’m planning to flaunt them this summer.

Have you ever been body shamed? Tell us about it and how you coped with it.

I was picked on in primary school up until secondary school. It really impacted my mental health, being teased, made fun of and told ‘I wasn’t good enough’ at 14- years old. But physical activity was my coping mechanism and it gave me inner and physical strength.

What is your favourite summer activity? How are you planning to spend summer?

I’m looking forward to having a picnic with my loved ones and having my bi- weekly jogs on the beach.

What is your favourite swimwear style?

One-pieces and a plunging neckline!

What is your shopping pet peeve? What do you wish more retailers would do?

I do a lot of online shopping so I’d love to see models of different shapes and sizes modelling the same item. That way I can see how it could look like on me.

Shop Baku Rococco V Neck One Piece

Helen

Helen, Cairns QLD

53 years old, size 10, B cup (used to be E cup)

Have you always loved your body? If not, how and when did you start to embrace your body? 

I don’t think anyone has always loved their body! I got diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer at 46 years old and it changed my perspective on life. I don’t worry about the little things that used to annoy me, I’m simply happy to be alive.

What body part do you love the most?

My legs & back.

What body part did you struggle to embrace?

My boobs & stomach.

Have you ever been body shamed? Tell us about it and how you coped with it.

I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by wonderful and supportive family and friends who have stood by me and given me the courage to embrace my changing body. I’ve been married to my husband since I was 21-years old, and his love and support has really played a huge part in encouraging me to embrace my body.

What is your favourite summer activity? How are you planning to spend summer?

I’m looking forward to hanging out next to my pool and tending to my garden. I won’t be able to swim due to the chemicals in the chlorine, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends and hanging out together! I have a 13-year old son so I’ll be sure to make time to watch movies, barbeque and spend time together.

What is your favourite swimwear style?

I’ve loved different styles over the years –and it always changes! I used to love one-pieces because it covered my stomach, as I became more confident I started to wear bikinis. Since my mastectomy, I’ve embraced plunging one-pieces and don’t mind flaunting my scars. After all, those scars are like my wrinkles, grey hair and stretch marks –they’re a part of me.

What is your shopping pet peeve? What do you wish more retailers would do?

I think it’s time for the industry to let go of unrealistic airbrushed ads featuring young, blonde and perfect models. I’d love to see more everyday women – especially more mature women! I believe that this type of advertising is particularly harmful to young girls and women, especially nowadays since we’re just bombarded with it. I am in awe of the women who are part of Swimwear Galore’s ‘Embrace Summer’ campaign. It’s great to see so many women with the confidence to rock what they’ve got.

Shop Aqua Blu Savannah Deep V Back One Piece

Mikayla

Mikayla, Central Coast NSW

20 years old, size 18-20, DD cup

Have you always loved your body? If not, how and when did you start to embrace your body?

No, it’s been a long journey to body positivity and one I’m still on. I made a lot of progress this year and little moments like looking in the mirror and pointing out things I like about my body instead of things I hate make a big difference in how I feel and think about myself and my body.

What body part do you love the most?

Smile and eyes

What body part did you struggle to embrace?

Stretch marks

Have you ever been body shamed? Tell us about it and how you coped with it.

Yes, a few times. I’ve been a competitive dancer for 15 years and even made the top 15 in Australia. I was the most plus-sized and was body shamed for it. Body shamers couldn’t look past my figure and see that as a full-figured girl I had to put in twice the amount of work. I lost people I considered friends and made the heart breaking decision to take a break from dance the following year. This year I came back with a vengeance and returned to the national stage.

What is your favourite summer activity? How are you planning to spend summer?

I’m planning to relax and hang out with friends at my backyard pool and the local beach (5-minute drive away).

What is your favourite swimwear style?

Bold patterns and prints, unique cuts and silhouettes. Interesting necklines with thicker straps for support. High-cut and cheeky bottoms.

What is your shopping pet peeve? What do you wish more retailers would do?

I hate being pigeonholed and told what I can and can’t wear. I want to show off my curves, but retailers seem to believe I should cover up with so much extra material.

Shop Sunseeker Hawaiian Ink E/F One Piece

Emilie

Emilie, Canberra ACT

29 years old, size 12-14, B cup 

Have you always loved your body? If not, how and when did you start to embrace your body?

No, I think everyone struggles with their body –even the people you idolize and wish you looked like! Everyone wants what they can’t have and it’s really tough to get to a place of self-acceptance. I only started to embrace my body this year. Last year, I was constantly putting on and losing weight. Since then, I’ve realized that while I should care about my health and wellbeing, I shouldn’t care about my weight. I’m fit and am constantly dancing so I’m on track health-wise!

What body part do you love the most?

My face and legs.

What body part did you struggle to embrace?

‘Love handles’, waist and hips. I’m still learning to love it, but I’ve gotten to a point where I wouldn’t change it.

Have you ever been body shamed? Tell us about it and how you coped with it.

There have been negative comments from relatives, but it’s the Mauritian culture and it never comes from a place of harm. I’ve learnt to grow a thick skin and brush off negative comments.

What is your favourite summer activity? How are you planning to spend summer?

I live 2 hours from the beach, but I’m an island girl at heart so the entire family is going to Noosa for a family trip. I’m looking forward to swimming in the ocean and spending time with loved ones –especially mum and dad who live abroad!

What is your favourite swimwear style?

Triangle bikinis and crop tops and don't mind a high waisted bottom!

What is your shopping pet peeve? What do you wish more retailers would do?

I believe there should be more diversity in not just shape and size, but also race. I have two nephews (aged 6 yrs and 1 mth) and a 2-year old niece and it’s exciting that they (and other multi-cultural) kids and women can feel included too.

Shop Milea Scarlet Gardenia Fixed Tri & Milea Scarlet Gardenia Double Band Hipster

Krystal

Krystal, Adelaide SA

29 years old, size 12-14, F cup

Have you always loved your body? If not, how and when did you start to embrace your body?

It’s only in the last few months that I’ve started to embrace my body. A big part of my newfound confidence comes from my involvement with Swimwear Galore. Discovering so many women with different body shapes and sizes has been phenomenal and incredibly inspiring. As I get older, I also notice that I’m not as focused on my ‘imperfections’. There are more important things to worry about! 

I believe that the media has a strong impact in how we perceive ourselves and social media only amplifies that. That’s why I’ve made a choice to follow body positive women and have become more careful about the content I post on Instagram and Facebook.

What body part do you love the most?

Smile, boobs and curves.

What body part did you struggle to embrace?

Thighs and hips.

Have you ever been body shamed? Tell us about it and how you coped with it.

Of course! When I go to the beach, young girls and teenagers (mostly strangers) nudge each other as I walk by or snicker to themselves. I’ve even been approached by a stranger and was laughed at. But I’ve learnt to ignore them, find my inner strength and own what I have. I refuse to let them affect me and I like to think that they’re only acting that way because of their own insecurities.

What is your favourite summer activity? How are you planning to spend summer?

I live 5-minutes away from the beach, so I’m sure you’ll find me there after work cooking up a barbeque with friends and enjoying the sand and sea. I’ll admit that I previously avoided the beach, but I’m looking forward to truly embracing summer and all it has to offer –including beaches and pools. My family is all based in Adelaide so I’m looking forward to enjoying weekend afternoons with them as well!

What is your favourite swimwear style?

I’m a big fan of high-waisted bottoms. They look great on all body types and flaunt my curves.

What is your shopping pet peeve? What do you wish more retailers would do?

Use girls of all shapes and sizes –not just a size 8 model! Not everyone fits into a size 8, yet almost all retailer only show how a product looks in that size. I’d love more realistic and diverse portrayal of women. I have three nieces (aged 9, 6 and 4), a 5-month old nephew and three younger sister (aged 28, 22 and 14). They’re all so excited that I’m a part of the campaign and I’m equally excited to be a role model they (and other Australian women) can look up to.

Shop Freya Drift Away F Cup Sweetheart Bra & Freya Drift Away Hipster Brief