TORONTO – A project meant to redefine beauty continues to inspire, as people strip down and open up about the body image issues plaguing them.
California-based blogger Denise Jolly is the woman behind the “Be Beautiful Project” – a 30-day photography series of Jolly posing in her underwear in public places, with the words “Be Beautiful” written on her body.
The 34-year-old writer and poet struggled with her self-confidence her whole life.
“I absolutely never stood looking at myself in my bra and underwear before I did this project,” said Jolly.
Jolly shared the photos online for the world to see. And women from all over the world reached out to her, sharing their experiences and struggles with labelling themselves “beautiful.”
“I know that I’m not alone.”
The project inspired many, including the cast and crew of Global News’ The Morning Show, who opened up about their personal struggles with body image and why – or why not – they decided to take up the challenge and pose for photographs without fancy studio lighting and professional makeup.
“At some point we all have a moment of insecurity in which we think: I am too fat. Or too ugly,” wrote TMS host Kris Reyes in a blog titled “Why I took my clothes off on national television.”
Taking a photo with little clothes, no makeup and regular lighting (gasp!) isn’t a fun thing to do. But it is a reminder to myself and maybe others, to snap out of these unreal expectations we set for ourselves,” wrote Reyes.
“Reality looks just fine. And we shouldn’t be afraid to show it.”
The challenge – inspired by Jolly’s project – prompted viewers to write in, comment and tweet how the issues of body image and self-worth affect them.
Viewer Charlotte Jarvis wrote in to the show:
“I find it sad how we as women find it so hard to accept and believe in our beauty. I hear the same inner chatter despite virtually reaching my weight goals – those inner voices critiquing my appearance seem to become louder with every pound that is lost.”
“That was a lesson for all of us – regardless of whether you’re 20 pounds overweight or more or right on weight we all see ourselves with issues,” said TMS host Leslie Roberts.
“It was basically saying to everyone, ‘you’re not alone.’”
“We wanted everyone to understand that we’re all fragile in some way,” said TMS host Liza Fromer.
Viewer Carrie Anne wrote:
“Thank you all for sharing a little more of yourselves, bare photos or not. Body image is most certainly an issue that impacts us all, and it’s time that we start to address it in the media and within ourselves.”