In celebration of loving oneself—no matter the shape, size, or body type—we talk to 4 women who are liberating themselves by breaking stereotypes.
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Once upon a time, not too long ago, the runways, pages of magazines, and store windows only showed one kind of body: tall, slim, abled, and young. It’s a beautiful figure, but it isn’t more beautiful than those that are on the opposite, or on different sides.
We have all experienced our fair share of moments where we compare ourselves to other people or to images we’ve seen online, and end up despising the body we’re in. But it’s important to remember that like our hair and skin, no two bodies are exactly the same and the uniqueness of each one makes us beautiful.
Thankfully, the long-needed shift toward body positivity is happening, and we are now experiencing one of the biggest movements in self-love. In fashion, midriff and low-slung waistbands are not only reserved for those with abs but for every person who wants to show some skin. Dresses can now cling to every curve of any body type due to inclusive sizing. Stereotypes of women’s bodies are also being further shattered by women reclaiming their right to their femininity and strength by proudly flexing their muscles. Most importantly, having the ”full package” today means being healthy inside and out. Rather than fat-burning workouts and crash diets, new sports and holistic practices, such as relaxation, stretching and eating your vegetables, are just as important as sculpting muscles. The end goal is to be beautiful both inside and out, with a boost in self-esteem being more than welcome.
Bodies can take various forms, all of which are valid and worthy of acceptance. To celebrate this self-love revolution, we talked to women who are liberating themselves from any mold and pushing the message that all bodies are beautiful, powerful, and should be celebrated for what they are: vessels that allow us to live our best lives.
BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
One of the most prominent voices to shed light on the conversation around body positivity is Sylvina “Slo” Lopez. While she’s most known for being a notable makeup artist, whose work is synonymous with explosive uses of color and graphic experimentation, she continues to dispel any mythical standards of beauty, even when she’s the one in front of the camera. Since 2019, she officially has been working as a plus-size model for local brands, which she admits is something that naturally flourished since she has always been comfortable and proud of her body.
“I think what made me say ‘yes’ when I was asked to model was that when I would shop local brands, I never saw bodies I could relate to fully,” she says. “It’s really important that people see their bodies in clothes and things that they want to wear and know they can look happy and cute as they are.”
Her account on Instagram is an empowering chronicle of self-love and worth, from mesmerizing and fantastical makeup looks to bold, body-positive photo shoots that preach the freedom to embrace oneself. “I realized that I didn’t want to catch myself looking back at my body and wishing I showed it more or that I didn’t see how amazing it looked. Feeling good and fit is also not always relevant to size,” Slo says, and shares that what makes a strong, beautiful body is its ability to let us exist and live a full life.
“Celebrate your body today even if it’s one little thing. I always say that because I have realized that you won’t have it as it is today ever again. It’s also the one thing that is your own even if sometimes other forces try to alienate you from it.”
Photo courtesy of SLO LOPEZ
Proving that you don’t have to be six-feet-tall to take the modeling industry by storm, Siobhan Moylan has been appearing in international campaigns and editorials despite having a smaller stature. It was no easy feat for Moylan to break into the scene as she had to deal with comments about how she looks, as it is part of the job.
“It’s hard to be completely happy with the way you look, but being healthy and eating right really helps me to feel good about myself,” she shares. “If you glow from the inside, you’ll glow from the outside too.”
The Filipino-Irish model also changed the narrative about so-called “flaws”—whether it’s her naturally freckled-face or petite body—by showing it off more and being proud of it: “I think when I changed my mindset about my body type I was able to pursue modeling with full confidence. I remember reaching a point, a couple of years ago, where I thought to myself: ‘Who cares? Who cares if I’m smaller than the average model and I’m not 5’10?’ I can still do it.”
To make peace with her body, she also focused on appreciating everything her body can and allows her to do, not just how it looks. “Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but the most beautiful people I’ve met just love themselves and are completely confident in who they are. Being beautiful is being authentic to yourself and loving the way God made you.”
With body positivity trickling into mainstream platforms, both off and on the runway, Moylan says it’s good to be reminded that only we can define ourselves. “Beauty standards are completely fabricated, and I believed in myself, so nothing was going to stop me,” she states proudly.
Photo courtesy of SIOBHAN MOYLAN
The double standards women have to deal with regarding their bodies don’t just end at the size of their waist or hips or breasts, there’s also the problematic view of how a strong physique compromises one’s femininity. Yogi, triathlete, actress and Beyond Yoga Serendra managing partner Bubbles Paraiso is no stranger to this problem. As an athlete and celebrity, she was faced with two separate and different body ideals to conform to: strong and muscular, and slim and delicate which is the “acceptable” female body in media. To incite a more powerful change in defining beauty, Paraiso decided that the battle against stereotyping women can be won by being less concerned about her self-image and focusing more on becoming stronger.
“Don’t starve yourself but also don’t overindulge. Body positivity doesn’t mean letting yourself go. It’s accepting the body’s build. There’s a difference. They say ‘nothing tastes better than skinny feels,’ and to be honest, I’ve tasted it. Healthy, nutritious food tastes better,” she states, and adds that she makes sure that at the core of body positivity is being healthy.
“There is a thin line between real body positivity and toxic body positivity. Loving our bodies means keeping it physically fit, nourishing it with whole food, loving it for its shape and form.” And at 38 years old, it’s clear that Paraiso will continue to help spread the image of a physically powerful woman, and help that image become more familiar and accepted. “Embrace your body. As we grow older, our hips get wider, our bodies will always change. Find what you love instead of focusing on what you hate. Now, I call my thunder thighs, ‘power thighs’ because they’re considered big, but hey’re made of muscle and they’re strong enough to out-bike the haters, anyway!”
Photo courtesy of BUBBLES PARAISO
For Hindy Weber, the goal has always been about being beautiful both inside and out—gaining a confidence boost is just an additional reward. As one of the pioneers of sustainable living in the Philippines, the fashion designer, farmer, and wellness advocate follows a holistic 360-degree view of looking after oneself.
“A body is strong and beautiful by nature,” she says. “It’s our lifestyle that slowly depletes it. Each body is built differently. So, it’s impossible to have one model of a strong and beautiful body.”
In 2009, she and her family moved outside the city and to their farm in Laguna to prioritize their well being, which is the secret to why she remains radiant as ever and living her best life at 44 years old. On her social media pages, you’ll often see her posting about her daily life on the farm, creating farm-to-table meals. Even her children are following in her footsteps when it comes to mindful living.
“I recommend a daily regimen of moving in any way. Dance, do yoga, run, do cardio, anything. On top of that, it’s very important to include strength training or lifting to support muscle growth, bone density, and hormone regulation.” She says her lifestyle approach focuses on healthy eating habits and engaging in daily movements that she personally enjoys. Weber also believes one’s own body is the best motivator to improve one’s self: “We should only ever compare our bodies to ourselves. Is it getting stronger, functioning better or looking better? But only in comparison to itself.” Most importantly, Weber says that can only be found in diversity. “I’m happy that body positivity is trending, and let’s hope it stay that way. Imagine if we all looked alike. How boring and monotonous. Celebrate our glorious, miraculous bodies every day. It is the highest manifestation of divinity.”
Photo courtesy of HINDY WEBER