Welcome back to another installment of Meet the Team Thursday’s. We’re really excited to take you along on a journey of getting to know our ambassadors, and by extension, us. This month, its all about the J’s! We have the gorgeous Jewelz (@jewelzjourney), Jennifer (@jennatilemile) and Jessica (@jessica_kane) joining us to share their thoughts on their self-love journey and the body positivity movement. As always, we’ll take you through a series of questions and give these gorgeous women the opportunity to answer. We hope you enjoy this series and if you have any burning questions you’d like to ask Jewelz, Jennifer and Jessica, send us a message via our instagram page or drop us a comment below.
Without further ado,
1. Talk us through your journey of self-love. Were there any stand-out moments? What were they and why?
Jewelz: My self love journey is a long one, it’s also ongoing. I’ve battled with my body ever since I can remember. Never thinking I was good enough and totally believing that my life would be truly perfect if I was thin. After struggling with my mental health and finally finding peace, I realized I still couldn’t look in the mirror and be happy with what I saw. I began to realize that if I don’t accept myself, I’m not going to survive in this world anymore. I also had a friend who was going through some body issues and that totally changed my world. She was a smaller girl who use to be bigger but was never insecure when she was bigger. She had lost a bunch if weight and is now smaller and she struggles with her body now. Accepting it and loving it. It made me realize that being thin wasn’t going to make me happy. Not to mention seeing inspiring people like @tessholliday.
Jennifer: My first standout moment was when I went to visit my family in Réunion for the first time that I could remember. I’d never met most of my female family, and to see them and their curvy figures, I finally realised my figure was also supposed to be curvy. That was the moment I stopped fighting my DNA. It was honestly that moment that then made me feel confident enough to fight my demons and just embrace my body. There are obviously still days that I have moments, but I’m really quick to talk myself down from the negative talking, I have been lucky to realise that kind of behavioural pattern and shut it down. My other moments have come from Instagram, and the love and support I have got from all the women and men that follow me. That’s really inspired me to keep putting that message out there.
Jessica: My journey to self love was one fueled by an awakening and life change. I had body issues my entire teenage and early twenties due to bullying from my peers and family. At the time I resorted to torturing myself with punishing and strict yo-yo diets which would melt the pounds off instantly. But, after a while I was realizing that even though the pounds were off, I still felt the same as the girl with the weight – and after losing and gaining 100 lbs twice in my life it finally clicked. The weight on my body was NOT the reason I hated myself and was punishing myself – I needed to deal with the emotional wounds suffered for years. I was in a toxic marriage and living my life for other people. At the age of 24 I decided enough was enough and I embraced my value as a human and went on a path to live for me. Through that growth I was naturally coming into my body and accepting and even loving it – because it was not the enemy! Those choices I was making made me accept what I was being told around me, that my body was the problem and if I just “fixed” it I would live a perfect life, however that was not the case. My wonderful (not perfect because nothing is!) life now includes peace towards my body, love from a healthy marriage and a fulfilling life as a mom, wife and entrepreneur.
Jewelz (@jewelzjourney) in all her curvy glory!
2. If there was one thing you could express to all the people currently coping with an eating disorder, what would you say?
Jewelz: To everybody coping with any from of eating disorder. You need to know that you’re allowed to eat. You’re allowed to feel full. You’re allowed to have a piece of cake. And NO you don’t need to feel bad about it. You’re value isn’t determined by what you eat or how much you weight. Food is fuel, it’s such an important part of our life, you don’t need to be afraid of it.
Jennifer: Oh my goodness, I have been there, and it gets better. To fight with your mind is a really hard battle, but it does get better. Stay strong, don’t give up, and you are an incredible human. Don’t ever forget that.
Miss Jennifer (@jennatilemile) rocking what her mama gave her
Jessica: I don’t feel I can properly address this question as I don’t suffer from a major eating disorder.
3. Putting yourself out there on social media is no easy feat. What gave you the inspiration to build such a strong presence on platforms such as Instagram?
Jewelz: Once I became body positive, I realized I had to spread the word. I felt/feel like it was my job to help other people feel good about their bodies. I feel so alive after finding body positivity and wanted people to feel the same. That’s why I started posting and sharing my journey.
Jennifer: I never went into my Instagram thinking it would be as big as it is now. I was inspired by bopo accounts that told women to love their bodies, and those sorts of accounts have really helped me be so confident. But I continue to put myself out there because of the response I get from other women. I’m making a difference in people’s lives and that is honestly one of the most incredible things, that I’m helping others to feel confident and love their bodies, just as others helped me. It’s kind of like a pay it forward kind of thing haha! Unintentionally, but it kind of is.
Jessica: That clarity that came with embracing my life and body lead me to want to share that joy with other women. I wanted to SHOW a woman like me doing what I do and being who I am because I knew that if I had someone like me to look to as a teenager, I may not have had to endure the torture I put myself through.
We can’t get enough of Jessica (@jessica_kane) and her badassery!
4.When you’re dealing with thoughts that aren’t body-positive, what do you do?
Jewelz: The days I’m having negative thoughts about my body are the days that I take the biggest risks. Those are the days I’ll always wear a crop top or a sleeveless shirt. It reminds me that I’m allowed to wear what I want and that I’m entitled to love myself. That people come in all different shapes and sizes and it leaves me feeling rebellious.
Jewelz serving us some serious fierceness.
Jennifer: I just want to say that these thoughts happen a lot more than people think. Bopo doesn’t come to me everyday, and I hate that I struggle sometimes because I feel like a fraud. But it’s that kind of thinking that I then recognise as negative and I think of all the positive influence I have and it does go away. I have a mantra for those bad days, and I’ve even got reminders on my mirror. If I’m ever having a moment, I tell myself ‘You are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful, you’ve got this’.
Jessica: We all have those days and I find the best thing to do is ask myself why – why am I embracing negative thought again. Most normally it’s because I’m under some kind of stresser and I realize that my coping is to beat myself up. After going through this question and answer process, usually the next day I have the clarity to realize and further embrace the fact that as usual – my body was not the enemy! It was and always will be my friend.
5. What is one change you’ve made in your life that has greatly helped you on your journey to body-positivity?
Jewelz: Staying away from diet culture has helped alot on keep my body positive. Also taking inspiration from other women embracing their bodies helps me stay body positive.
Jennifer: Exercise!!!! I never used to work out, because I had a poor relationship with my body. I’ve realised the connection between mind and body, and when I work out, I’m a lot more positive in general. My favourite is yoga, because you really get to connect with your innermost self. It’s a really beautiful practice.
A vision of radiance: Jennifer.
Jessica: The most important change was eliminating toxic people and situations from my life – after all its those things that make me turn to old habits. It’s so important to maintain healthy relationships around you and with yourself, which most don’t talk about. Your relationship with yourself is your most important one, how are you treating you?!
6. Do you have a body-positive mantra? And if not, what would your mantra be?
Jewelz: My Mantra is to stay bigandblunt, never ever think for a second that you aren’t good enough or you have less value of you need a bigger jean size.
Jennifer: Yes!!! I am strong, I am smart, I am beautiful, I’ve got this.
Jessica: #ThisIsNotBRAVE became my mantra after a post of mine went viral. The post was born from frustration that so many considered me being … me… was BRAVE? It was a powerful moment that I’m thankful for and to be able to reach 20 million women through that post on my Facebook was incredible. This is what it’s all about – sharing, inspiring and uplifting.
Bold beauty à la Jessica.
A huge shout out to these bold, brilliant beauties for joining us on this month’s Meet the Team segment. We hope you enjoy learning about our ambassadors as much as we love sharing their stories with you.
Leave us a comment or shoot us a message on instagram to let us know what you think.
Until next time,
Team NAM xx