Updated: Dec 11, 2020
This is where you can get to know our real life models to understand their personal link to the cause, why they took part, how this helped them and a little bit more about them.
Charleen Oconnor Ballantyne:
Hi, my name is Charleen and I am 48yrs old. I have multiple invisible and visible illnesses which are...
Depression and anxiety, PTSD, Diabetes, N.A.S.H ( liver problems), C.O.P.D, Asthma, Pleurisy on the lungs, M.E, Large ovarian cysts, Fibromyalgia, Fibroids, Sciatica, Celiac disease and
the lower part of my spine is cracked, including my L5,4,3,2 discs with my nerves being wrapped all around them and in between.
Despite having so many illnesses I still manage to crack a smile even though I am bed bound and use a wheelchair.
I have had many people judge me because I am so young, they look shocked and just stare at me like I am part of a freak show.
I took part in the calendar because I wanted people to see that I am no different to anyone else and I also wanted to get out of my comfort zone.
I got to wear some beautiful underwear from Ann Summers, which made me feel good about myself and gave me a bit of confidence too.
I have learned to like myself and love me and my body the way it is, and wanted to show other people like me that you are worthy , strong and beautiful.
To never take notice of the negative comments and just believe in yourself.
Hi my name is Beverly I’m a 51 yr young mum and since meeting Jessica and being asked to be apart of her amazing campaign I can 1000% say it’s changed my life.
I became ill after an allergic reaction to Codiene. Going into hospital with a chest infection and leaving unable to walk or hold things etc.
I suffer with Neurological disfunction disorder, FND NEAD and disciscotion coversion disorder which means I can turn into a 7yr old with no memory of who I am or people around me . Lympodemia, vocal chord disfunction severe depression, seizures and a few more illnesses.
These conditions are life changing and won’t ever improve just deteriorate.
Meeting Jessica and seeing her positive approach to life and meeting some very inspirational women gave me the encouragement to make a new way of life for myself
So I started doing what I like.. I began sewing and helping charities.
Life for me will never be the same but that doesn’t mean it should stop. On my good days I do what I can.
My illnesses don’t define who I am they are apart of me and I’m a FiGHTER
My name is Ruth Spurr I’m 26 years old and I live in Buckinghamshire.
I was honored to be a part of this shoot as I am all about showcasing diversity, inclusivity and difference and getting our voices heard and different but still just as beautiful bodies seen! Normal is only what we see often, so? So let’s change that!
I live with multiple conditions myself including EDS, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which has caused multi systemic problems leaving me relying on tubes in my stomach and bowel to feed and drain, a cathater in my bladder and a central line in my heart. Every day is a battle but despite this I’m still determined to live life to the full! I have my wonderful assistance dog, Willow at my side (follow us at Walking With Willow on FB and IG) and we do inclusive and interactive talks to local groups and schools around my area. I also do freelance modelling and acting with Zebedee Management.
I have a wonderful website and blog you can read at email@example.com and a fun Youtube channel, Ruth Helen documenting life as a disabled young woman living life to the full! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpwG3sEYUamgxq0s3ay7YfQ
My name is Laura, im 39 and live in a beautiful little township called Bradford-On-Avon, which is just outside Bath.
My hidden disability is that I am partially sighted, this wasn't something I was born with, this happened almost 4 years ago when I noticed my vision was going blurry, I was diagnosed with a degenerative condition called keratoconus (no, not kerry katona) which means that the cornea is affected in the eye. I have had some surgery to try to help my sight, or even just to halt the progression. I have had an epi-off crosslinking, which was probably the most painful experience I've ever had (and ive broken multiple limbs at the same time) I also has something called a keraring which is a prosthetic inserted into the eye to attempt to lift the cornea. Sadly these painful procedures haven't worked, I was on the waiting list for a transplant, however my condition has now gone too far and it would be a very painful procedure with no gain. So now its learning to live with it!
It was hard, I was scared id never see my daughter face again, that id not work, or do all the creative hobbies I love, but im strong, ive learned to be a single mum to my almost 4 year old, im working (they have put in plenty of help so I can stay) im doing my creative arts, make up and cosplay. And yes I fall over, I walk into things, I need to ask for help sometimes, but I had a choice, let losing my sight destroy me, or let it make me.
So, I decided to compete in pageant again, and im grateful to be a miss Voluptuous UK finalist for 2020. Im raising money for my surgical team at BEH, for the amazing charities who work hard to help those with my condition. Alot of people have not heard of this condition, so when the chance to work on the amazing project was offered I was so glad to join in and raise awareness 🙂
Hiya, my name is Charley, I’m 22 and I have Endometriosis and Anxiety.
I have battled with Endometriosis for 4 years and in that time have had 2 Laparoscopys to diagnose and remove the Endo cells. During the time I found out I had Endo, I was also attending therapy and was diagnosed with Anxiety. I found out about both of these whilst I was living away at Uni and it made it so much harder. However, I have learnt to accept my illnesses and live with them and not let them hinder me.
I graduated last year in Criminology, got my Dissertation published and coached my Uni Cheerleading Team to 1st place at a competition. I still have days where I cannot manage to do simple things and a lot of the time my hot water bottle is glued to me but I still do as much as I can to live my life to the fullest. I attend the gym, do pole fitness and aerial silks which helps so much with my physical health, I also do yoga, meditation and journal to keep my mentality at its best.
Being a part of the shoots has been so empowering, I’ve met some incredible people who are so strong and I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them and be a part of something incredible with them.
Awareness for invisible illnesses is so important and should be treated like any other illness. I write a blog to raise Endo awareness and have taken part in charity fundraisers, since doing this I have helped people realise their pain isn’t normal and have also been diagnosed with Endo. I hope with more awareness of illness like this we can help and prevent misdiagnosis and finally be taken seriously.