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I can honestly say being that part of the Swim Society open casting shoot has been one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever had. The brand itself is just beautiful, but the idea behind it is even more incredible. Attending the open casting itself was emotional, I was surrounded by so many inspirational women and the atmosphere was just phenomenal.
When I then found out I was chosen to be part of the final shoot it was something I could have never imagined. 10 years ago, I had emergency surgery to remove a substantial amount of my large bowel which was diseased due to Crohn’s disease. This surgery left me with a permanent ileostomy and a stitched up bottom. As a 17 year old, this was one of the worst things I could have gone through. I felt ugly when I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t have much self confidence at all. I would hide behind baggy clothes, and not feel comfortable showing off my body to anyone.
After a long time of feeling this way, something changed. I saw a lot of positive role models on social media and I thought to myself, I want to be that confident, I want to love my body like they do. So one day on holiday, I said sod it, and I wore a skimpy bikini in public. Although I was a little nervous, and people did stare, it was so so empowering.
To then be given the opportunity to wear this stunning collection has been just unreal. To have my stoma bag and scars on show has not only allowed me to represent those who have gone through similar surgery, but I’d like to think that if even one person can benefit from seeing this and it helps them feel that little bit more worthy, then I have achieved something. This is what I needed to see when I was younger, real role models with real bodies absolutely rocking the most stunning swimwear.
Throughout the whole day I felt beyond beautiful. The team were absolutely fantastic, so I’d like to thank- Dom for making my hair look so incredible and full of volume (which is never a thing 😂), Lielle for making me feel like my face was an Instagram filter, and Ines for being so patient with me whilst I laughed my way through the shoot.
Most importantly and to wrap this up, I want to thank Montana, Laura and Tash for believing in me and being the most genuine people ever, along with Gabriella, Cora, Tanesa and Alexandria for being the best hype girls I could have ever asked for.
Being able to meet them all and listen to their stories has been inspirational and I feel totally privileged to have been included in a shoot with such amazing women. I have made some genuine friendships and haven’t stopped smiling since.