THE SELF LOVE CLUB

No one ever believes me when I say I used to be bigger, people often think I’m fibbing when I confess I was nearly three dress sizes larger than what I am today. I mean, we can’t all have a glow-up like the Sprouse twins did, but we do all change and differ sizes throughout the years, it’s just one of those things that comes with growing older. I used to define myself by my weight, it was something I thought about every single day as a teenager. I ended up shifting it and becoming more aware of my body, but this post isn’t about what my diet plan was or my weight in general, it’s about owning what you have and embracing you, every single part of you. My weight should of never taken over as much as it did, because is being a bigger version of myself even a bad thing? Why did I think going into double figure sizes was such a negative? I’m now at a place where I’m OK with me, but it’s taken me a while to get used to myself in the mirror, for more reasons than just my weight. I’ve spoken about embracing your so-called ‘flaws’ many times before, but with everything I’ve been seeing on social media recently I thought it was time to speak up a little more and talk about some self-loving people that I adore. It’s been a long and painful ride to get me to the place I am today, to be secure in my body and confident enough to embrace myself. So, this post is dedicated to those who have helped me physically and mentally become the strong female I am, weight loss or not. I’m always telling others how incredible they are and keep forgetting to tell myself that, and it’s something that has to change for a lot of us. Being a feminist is a big part of my life, but how could I sit here and pick holes at myself when I spend the rest of my time encouraging other women to love themselves. It’s easier being said than done, to really change your mind set and think ‘yeah OK, I do love myself’, but with the help of others I’m finding it easier to say fuck it, I am me and I am good enough…

I’ve spoken so much about females over here on CJCARPENTER.CO.UK, but today I wanted to also share the love for a couple of men who really inspire me. Here are some of the few people who have helped me through darker times and are changing the way we think and the world we live in, one small step at a time.

We’ve all heard of The Slumflower, and if you haven’t then where the heck have you been?! Now I personally think this woman is a phenomenon and just what we need in this day and age. Chidera Eggerue - who usually goes by The Slumflower, is the woman behind the #saggyboobsmatter movement, which has encouraged women across the world to embrace their natural bodies and not strive for this extreme ideal of perfection. It’s no secret that I’m all about the boobs, I’m a firm believer in freeing the nipple (if you hadn’t been able to tell), so when it comes to breast empowerment, I’m so here for it! Chidera is on a mission to change peoples views and help woman be more confident with their ‘saggy’ chests. I mean, who’d have thought we’d ever have an icon for a subject like this. I’ll be honest by saying it’s not something I’d thought about before she came along, but that’s probably because I’m small chested, hell I forget I even have boobs most of the time because I don’t wear bras or have much to see there anyway. So, when people are taken back by the fact I don’t wear underwear I’m equally as shocked by their reaction. I actually went to the doctors the other day to have my pair checked out (as we all should every now and then) and when I lifted my top up she instantly looked away and said ‘well, I wasn’t expecting that’. After a little joke about my very nude chest, she then went on to say how most girls my age wore padded bras. Because I’m so open with my boobs I forget others aren’t as careless about it as me, and that not all women out there will ban their bras and free their glorious chests. Even though The Slumflower’s movement doesn’t necessarily apply to me and my body type, it did help me to think about other woman and how they feel about their bodies. Any human that creates something so incredible out of their own personal battles is one to be inspired by. You don’t need surgery or a mighty uncomfortable bra to be ‘perfect’, we are all perfect in our own way. I am beyond thrilled to have another woman like Chidera to help us realise this!

Another woman I’d love to talk about (and could talk about all day) is Jameela Jamil. I’ve adored this woman since the days of T4 and I’ll always remember her articles being published in Company magazine. She’s written some great pieces and still does to this day. We will however forget about that one piece she wrote about posting naked pics on social media, because that one I wasn’t so thrilled about (I mean here I am posting photos half naked online). An article that I often think about though, is one she wrote back in 2014 about self-criticism. The one thing that I will always remember and take from it is the line - ‘I’m going to treat me as I would my closest friend, with nothing but love, support and understanding’. I love this quote and when I’m having a bad time I often remind myself of it. We’d never dream of putting our friends down the way we do ourselves, so we really need to stop with the constant self-hate. I’m a victim of it and I know you probably are too. It’s been four whole years since then, and she’s still one of the most bad-ass women in the industry. She isn’t shy when it comes to slating the famous for promoting slimming products, or magazines for their constant need to change someone’s entire appearance with an airbrushing tool. She reads my mind and speaks the truth, calling out those who need to be shut down and shut-up. She is a true icon for me who has opened my mind so much since contributing to Company magazine all those years ago. I was only young then and I needed more women to teach me about feminism, general life and of course how to believe in myself, she was that person and still is.

As much as I could talk about women all day every day, let me bring your attention to some men who are giving me all forms of life at the moment, the first being Ezra Miller. I for one am totally obsessed with the man, he has done nothing but self express in recent weeks and it’s the most beautiful thing. I’m a firm believer that everyone should be able to be themselves, but I understand how difficult that could be, especially for someone in the public eye. Miller has certainly been saying ‘fuck it’ recently and right now he’s my biggest hero and that's for literally not caring about what he wears, does or says. Not only is he expressing himself in the form of fashion, but he has also been featured in Playboy where he has been his 100% queer and fabulous self in lingerie, dresses and of course the infamous bunny ears while talking about subjects like sex, abuse and Hollywood. Totally iconic and a major step in the right direction. It’s things like this that can help us so much, we spend a lot of our time on social media, seeing the headlines of stupid topics that have ‘broken the internet’, but having inspirational things like this being shared around the world wide web can be more encouraging for people in need of a little inspirational boost in life. Ezra Miller is an eccentric, honest and open gay icon who is being nothing but himself, now isn’t that a breath of fresh air and just what the world needs?

The last person I'd like to mention is the man who shot the photographs you see alongside this post. My very talented friend and photographer, Joshua Drakes. I wanted to talk about Joshua and his work because not only is he featured, but because he is incredibly talented. He works with a lot of females, both general creatives and models in the industry. The one thing I really adore about his work is the way he shoots the female body, showing it off in all of it’s beauty - nude or not. I’ve worked with photographers who don’t feel comfortable around an exposed body and it’s a little awkward and (in my opinion) old-fashioned. But recently I’ve been seeing more and more photographers embracing their subjects bodies and going all out for their art. I’m pro nudity and believe anyone can be naked if they want to, your body your choice. More people are changing their views and becoming open to not only other peoples bodies, but embracing their own too. Being a creative myself means I need to be surrounded with like-minded people who are happy with me being myself, and Joshua was one of those people. He recently made a NSFW Instagram account which contains images of nearly nude bodies, because apparently it's too 'sensitive' so you need a little pre-warning before committing to a follow. Isn't that the dumbest thing you've ever heard of? No wonder so many of us are scared of self-expression when it so easily get's shunned and banned on what is supposed to be a CREATIVE platform. The fact our bodies are still being considered NSFW is a little unsavoury, especially when men can post a t-shirt free image and nobody thinks anything of it. But, with more and more photographers, bloggers and general creatives helping make it the norm, we can slowly turn Instagram and many other platforms into a place where we can be ourselves, nipples and all.

I think it’s important to share when other people have done something inspiring, whether it’s big or small, and each of these individuals have done just that. One taught me about body image, another about self-love and the rest about being nothing but yourself. Whether it’s about our appearance, coming out or changing the way we think, these are just some of the hurdles that we need to get over. I’m so grateful we have some really amazing people out there to help us along the way. Remember that quote from Jameela, maybe write it down and use it as a mantra. Whether it's for choosing to express yourself, to become more confident and free-spirited or to simply start loving yourself just remember -

‘I’m going to treat me as I would my closest friend, with nothing but love, support and understanding’

SHOT BY

JOSHUA DRAKES

STYLED BY

JENSEN FRANCIS

JOSHUA DRAKES
JOSHUA DRAKES
JOSHUA DRAKES
JOSHUA DRAKES
JOSHUA DRAKES
JOSHUA DRAKES
JOSHUA DRAKES