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.
Tessa Wenn: TBC
Hi I'm Laura, I'm 32 and I suffer from the following invisible illnesses.
Bile Acid Malabsorption. Crohn's disease. PCOS. Depression. Anxiety.
The shoot was inspiring, it was empowering to write those words and how they affected me.
I don't know why some of us are given the shorter straw in terms of health, but we constantly battle so maybe we're the stronger ones
Hi there, my name is Sian Mary Hughes, I am 26 years old and I have multiple conditions.
I take a head, shoulders knees and toes approach to listing my conditions (lol). So, from the top, I suffer from Epilepsy, Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Hypoglycaemia, IBS, Degenerative Disease in my lower spine/vertebrae and because of this I suffer from chronic widespread pain, issues with my mobility, hips, knees and feet.
As you will also be able to see I am a plus size woman. Being disabled and plus size combined has had a massive negative impact on my mental health, self esteem and body confidence. It has taken me a really long time to learn to love myself and accept my body.
Taking part in projects like the calendar shoot show me how far I’ve come and that despite all the negative things I think about myself and the negative things other people say, I am still beautiful.
I might be fat, I might be disabled, but I am strong, I am powerful, I am a warrior and I am beautiful.
Doing this shoot made me feel really empowered and I hope I inspire other young women to feel confident about their bodies and who they are.
I also hope to inspire other women to not give up on your dreams, despite your limitations. While suffering from all of my conditions I have successfully completed both my undergraduate degree and a Masters degree. I am massively proud of myself because it was a long hard battle but worth every minute.
Competing in pageants has also had a huge impact on my confidence and self-image. I have made so many amazing friends who love and accept me even though I have all these issues. Many of my pageant friends have taken on the role of my carer by taking me to pageant events, enabling me to participate fully in the community and taking such amazing care of me.
To follow my pageant journey please like my pageant page, Sian Mary Hughes - Pure UK Finalist 2021 and for body confidence and general nonsense you can follow me on Instagram @sianiboo94
My name is Natasha Neckles I'm 34 years old.
I was diagnosed with ME in 2014, although I had been struggling with my symptoms soon after the birth of my first daughter in 2008.
Despite the challenges I face daily I have competed in beauty pageants for the last 9 years and have had the opportunity to represent my country at international level in both Jamaica and Florida. Pageants have given me the confidence, support and skills to pursue my dreams of Acting professionally.
So in 2020 during our first lockdown I auditioned for an amazing drama school and got in. Since then I have been cast in 2 film projects with one destined for release on Netflix.
I am a mother of 2 amazing daughters and I just want to show them that that whatever life throws at you, don't lose hope, believe in yourself and know that you are enough. Xx
I'm 40 years old and have Asthma.
I take medication to keep it under control, but when it flares up and I have attacks it is debilitating and life threatening.
Taking this shoot and confronting the words in view on my body, seeing my thoughts and what I think others think of me was a challenge, but one that I am happy to have done, as after I felt I can face all my fears.
Nicci Cox Higgins:
My name is Nicci and I'm 42.
I have been diagnosed with Anxiety, depression, ptsd, eupd, pre diabetes, and have my ileostomy since 2019. The reason for my friend Palloma the stoma is due to having keyhole surgery back in 2013. Whilst in my stomach they cut some of my adhesions I have from 3 c sections. One week later ( 2 weeks post wed) I was rushed in with an abscess on the bowel caused by a clip touching my bowel from where my adhesions had been cut and bled. the abscess had to be surgically removed and there's where my bowel problems began. After 6 years of trying many different things, i.e. diet, laxatives etc my consultant said the only option left was to have the stoma with a 50% chance of it working. It worked and I have just had it made permanent.
When I saw the chance to do the photo shoot I was 'yeah I can do that, lets get the word spread'. Then the anxiety kicked in... I cant show my body to everyone, I'm fat I'm ugly...you get it ever negative thought I could have I had. I gave myself a good talking to and it took a while but I realised that even though I feel like this so do lots of other people and we need to get the word out that having any disability or illness whether you can see it or not we need people to accept that this is reality.
I have been volunteering for approx. 5 years due to my ill health as in my eyes I'm not letting people down the same as if I had a paid job. Especially prior to Palloma with being admitted into hospital. I'm hoping that in the next year or so I will be able to go back to work even if its only part time but for now I'm enjoying what I do at my 4 different volunteering jobs.