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Ever Seen A Bathing Suit Photoshoot with Donuts? Now You Have.

Ever Seen A Bathing Suit Photoshoot with Donuts? Now You Have.

The end of summer is just a few short weeks away, and soon, we’ll be packing away our bathing suits and pulling out our fall attire. Even when we aren’t wearing cropped tops and cutoffs, the issue of body image still remains just as prevalent. Even when our tans have faded and our bikinis are in storage, we still despise the way our stomach looks, the way our thighs jiggle and our boobs don’t look perfectly perky. We pack on a few winter pounds and, inevitably, hide beneath our chunky sweaters and worn-in jeans. It’s a vicious routine, and guess what? It’s something all of us deal with.
Take a moment to think of all the things that you love about your body. It’s weird, isn’t it? We really don’t sit around complimenting ourselves, thinking about how great we actually are. Instead, we use up minutes, hours, each day to examine our flaws. We break down every one of our body parts and decide how it could be better, skinner, longer, curvier- and ultimately, we’re really only breaking down ourselves. Now, take a moment to think of all the bikini shoots you’ve seen in magazines. Tanned, toned, and seemingly perfect girls lounge around while looking effortlessly, well, perfect. With that image in mind, think about the number of poolside photoshoots where those gorgeous gals have real, imperfect bodies- oh, and they’re eating donuts. Literal chocolate-frosted, sprinkle-covered Dunkin’ Donuts. Yeah, zero. Absolutely zero- that is, until now.
As an 18 year-old girl with a totally imperfect body and a lot of insecurities, I felt it was only right to do a body positivity photoshoot that actually felt real. Real individuals with real struggles eating reallll yummy (and yes, fattening) food. So, I gathered up a group of amazing friends of mine, who all have totally different body types. And, inevitably, with different bodies come different insecurities and struggles. Struggles, meaning eating disorders, cancer, bullying, obesity, everything you could think of. I wanted to show off these amazing individuals, donuts in hand, and share with you not just their insecurities, but their victories. Seriously, they’re all f***ing awesome.
Morgan
What are your favorite things about your body?
Morgan: My favorite thing is probably my tummy, because I have a different belly-button than most people, I feel like. It’s not an innie or an outie, it’s like an in-betweenie, and I think it’s really cute. And I like my little birthmark, which people always think is a tattoo, but it’s not. Um, I think I have pretty nice boobs, they’re small but I feel like they’re kinda perky.
 
What sort of things have you struggled with in regards to body image?
Morgan: Recently, when I was on vacation, I began to notice all of the stretch marks that I have on my hips and my butt. I mean, it’s not the worst thing ever, and there’s nothing you can do about them anyways. Also, just my butt in general, I wish it were bigger. Nowadays, every Instagram model, or model in general, is either super skinny or have a giant butt. No booties in-between. Also, since I’ve modeled a tiny bit, there’s always other models that have such a distinct look. I feel like the focus nowadays is on looking super unique, and being super extreme- like there’s models with vitiligo, or have albinism, it’s all about pushing the limits. Which is great and all, but now, if you look average, it’s not good enough. You’ll be fine in real life, but in modeling life, you’re not good enough.
 
What would your advice be to other girls, guys, or models struggling with self image?
Morgan: I think that you should work with what you’ve got. There are some things that you obviously cannot change about yourself, but there are things that you can do. You can eat healthy, drink lots of water, work out if you want to, but if not, then just rock what you’ve got. There’s always things you can do besides working on your physical body, like working on your inner self and personality and knowledge. It’s so much better in the long run because looks fade. So, if you really have problems with your body-image, then maybe take a step back from focusing on all of that, and focus on working on your inner self.
 
Cami
What are your favorite things about your body?
Cami: Sometimes I like my legs… I like being flexible and I like that my body lets me dance. Yeah, I’m healthy.
 
What sort of things have you struggled with, in regards to body image?
Cami: I think being a dancer. You’re always having to wear leotards and tights, and sometimes, really revealing costumes. Also, you’re constantly looking in the mirror. I was just at the University of Michigan for two weeks, and this one girl was telling us about a study that said that you should only look at yourself in the mirror for 30 minutes a day. As a dancer, you can be looking in the mirror for as much as 14 hours a day. In class, you’re constantly studying yourself, like how to place yourself better, but you’re also looking at how your body looks in general. Ugh, and you’re around all of these really, really skinny ballerinas, and that’s just not how my body was made. The ideal “dancer body” is so different than the ideal body for women today. On one hand, you want to have big boobs, a big butt, and a completely flat stomach, but as a dancer, you’re supposed to be stick-skinny, flat all around, but also have muscle. It’s just so contradicting, which is hard.
 
What would your advice be to other dancers who struggle with body image?
Cami: I just think that the world is changing today, and you shouldn’t have to be expected to be stick-skinny. You need muscle, you need to be able to move. If you keep giving yourself unrealistic expectations, you’ll never meet them. I think it’s hard to be completely happy with your body, obviously. I’ve always thought I was fat, ever since I understood what that word even was. I would just tell people to be happy. I mean, you only get one body, so you might as well like it.
 
Madison
What are your favorite things about your body?
Madison: Well, I love my hair color, I really do. I like my belly button ring a lot, it makes me feel more confident about my body, and it makes me want to show off my stomach more. I also like my legs, I think that they’re nice and toned.
 
What sort of things have you struggled with, in regards to body image?
Madison: When I was younger, I used to be really, really chunky, so I’ve always struggled with that. When I was in third grade, I went to the doctor, and he told me that I was considered obese, and then said that I would never be able to find a boyfriend if I looked that heavy. I cried, and after that I became super self-conscious. Then, when I was in 10th grade, my parents split up, and I became really, really, really insecure, and that’s when I started doing really bad things to my body. Last year, I ended up losing around 15 pounds by throwing up, taking laxatives, and horrible things like that. Eventually, a teacher e-mailed my mom, and told my mom that I looked like I was dying, and that other teachers were talking about it. After that, I kind of snapped out of it and realized that there’s no point in trying to hurt myself. Now, I try to eat healthy and make sure that I eat three, good meals. I mean, you have to eat to survive, and I just didn’t realize that. I guess I thought that I could not eat anything and still be just as active, which isn’t the case. I used to go to the gym four times a day and then not eat anything, and I would almost pass out. It was a really, really bad time in my life, but I think I’ve overcome it. Oh, and I eat donuts now, don’t you worry!
 
What advice would you give to other teenagers that struggle with eating disorders and self image?
Madison: My advice would be that you should never think that you’re not beautiful, because no matter what you look like, you are beautiful. You should always try to feel comfortable in your own skin, and it doesn’t matter how large you are or how your stomach looks because it’s really not important. You don’t need to have big boobs and a big butt to be pretty. That’s the image that we have now, and it’s so sad because it’s impossible to accomplish, bodies just aren’t naturally like that. I know now that I’ve overcome this really big obstacle in my life, and I’ll never, ever go back.
Natalie
What are your favorite things about your body?
Natalie: I guess I would say I’m proud of where I’ve come fitness-wise. I’ve been keeping up a lot with running, so I’m proud of myself in that regards. It’s kind of hard to say things you like about yourself.
 
What sort of things have you struggled with, in regards to body image?
Natalie: The first thing people always notice about me is my height, so that’s always been the number one thing. When I was 8, I didn’t really process that it was a problem. One day, we went to the science museum, and there was this scale that told you what your height was. I stepped on it, and when it said 3’-something, everyone just started bursting out laughing. It was so humiliating. Also, the media stresses big boobs and such, and I definitely do not have any boobs at all. Oh, and my skin, since I have acne, but everyone does so it’s okay.
 
What would your advice be to your younger self, or even to those who are self-conscious about their height?
Natalie: Just surround yourself with people that you love, and who you know love you, regardless of anything. In middle school, I struggled the most with my body issues, because everyone is so immature. The first day of middle school, someone who I had never met, called out “Hey Natalie, why are you so short?” Things like that are humiliating. More recently, I’ve been a lot more confident about my height, because I know that my friends don’t care, I know that my family doesn’t care. Honestly, just surround yourself with people you love, and you’ll find love for yourself in the process.
Catherine
What are your favorite things about your body?
Catherine: My favorite features are my legs, because I have those dancer muscles, like my calves. I also love my eyes and I loveeee my freckles.
 
What are the things you’ve struggled with in regards to body image?
Catherine: I’ve always really struggled with my stomach because it’s always felt wrong that I have a small butt and no boobs, but then huge hips and a flabby stomach. I’ve always felt like my body was different than everyone else’s. My struggle with cancer has really slowed my metabolism down and I’m not as active as I used to be for obvious reasons. That’s brought changes to my body, and that’s been hard to accept.
 
What advice would you give to someone who also struggles with health-related issues?
Catherine: I would say that obviously health comes first– put what you need to take care of first, and then take care of the outside. You’ll have so much love and support anyways, and your friends and family don’t care what you look like, they just want you to be the healthiest you can be. Just try to see the fighter you are, instead of being discouraged by what you see in the mirror.
 
Ante
What are your favorite things about your body?
Ante: I feel like my best body features are my legs… I think that’s it.
 
What sort of things have you struggled with, in regards to body image?
Ante: Like I said, I’ve always loved my legs, but I’ve always kind of hated my stomach. I also had, like, man-boobs. Honestly, after I worked out, I still thought I had man-boobs, I didn’t know what to do about it. You always think of guys as fit or strong or really muscular, and for most of my life I didn’t fit that image. It was really upsetting because I didn’t look like everybody else, especially in dance class, where all the girls were a size 1. As for the boys, I always felt bad because they seemed better, athletically, than I was.
 
What would your advice be to those who struggle with body image?
Ante: Honestly, don’t sweat it. There were times, and no one really knows about this, but I would go upstairs in my room and cry, and literally say the most awful things ever to myself. It was really ridiculous. So just be really nice to yourself, because it will get better.
 
Photos by Olivia Sadka 
See? We all deal with different body-related issues, wether it’s stretch marks or an eating disorder or simply looking in the mirror and feeling uncomfortable. We’re surrounded by social media, bombarded by images of Kylie Jenner and suffocated by the pressure to be perfect. Every person in this photoshoot had, and still has, struggles. Even Natalie, who has a perfect six-pack and is the cutest, daintiest human (I’m talking Disney princess material here), and Morgan, who has the BEST hair and an even BETTER resting bitch face. I have so many words I could say about these girls (and Ante), but none would do them all justice. These individuals have touched my life in more ways than one, all amazing dancers, all amazing people. Not only did Catherine serve as my last-minute prom date during my senior year, but she’s the most badass cancer-butt-kicking gal I’ve ever known, all while maintaining a million friends and an amazing spirit. Cami is a budding creative genius, and Madison has grown into a confident, stunning young woman. They’re like my babies, and I am so, so proud of them both. As for Ante, he’s Ante. Fabulous. Absolutely Fabulous. 
 
So, remember this: you are not perfect, and you never will be. None of us are perfect, and that’s totally okay. It’s great actually, because it allows us room to learn and thrive and grow. Instead of putting yourself down and trying to burn away every inch of fat on your body, allow yourself to simply be you. Learn to fall in love with yourself- with every quirk and curve and ripple and stretch mark. And, in the meanwhile, eat a donut, because they taste really, really good. 
 
Embrace Your (Body) and Misfit Soul, 
xoxo Julia B.

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