Growing up, Jody Heakes (@jdoday
) was frequently bullied about her weight. “I remember (now cringingly), in middle school dumbing myself down, pretending not to know things, because I’d decided that I would much rather be labeled as ‘the stupid girl’ than ‘the fat girl,’” says the 21-year-old. “Today, I pride myself on being a thoughtful and intelligent woman.” Jody was interested in photography, but it wasn’t until she graduated from high school that her mother encouraged her to model. “I was always behind the camera, never in front,” Jody says. “Switching roles and seeing photos of myself made me realize that I wasn’t as unattractive as I felt.” Her participation in the body-positive movement online feels like an extension of her studies at the University of Toronto — she’s a fourth-year student in history and equity studies. “I strongly believe that representation matters, and not only representation of different body types, but different ethnicities, ages and abilities,” Jody says. “Confidence comes with time. It has taken me over five years to reach the level of acceptance with myself that I have now. I can only imagine how much better I’ll feel five years from now.”
Who or what inspires you to feel #PerfectlyMe
? This month, we’ve teamed up with @seventeen
to celebrate people who are redefining body standards and inspiring confidence on Instagram. Use the hashtag to share your story.
Photo by @jdoday