Today, I am thrilled to bring you Tina Feighery, who is the face of Ireland’s Got Curves 2017. Tina models, but is also currently studying midwifery and she is a Mom of four. She is also one of the most inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Firstly, congratulations on being the face of Ireland’s Got Curves! It’s wonderful. How does it feel to be a body positive role model for the women & girls of Ireland?
Thank you very much Nicola. I really didn’t expect to win! It really is a great honour to have won, Ireland’s Got Curves was an amazing event.
I try hard to be body positive myself, it isn’t easy, can you tell me about your journey. What has led to you embracing your body and becoming an advocate for body positivity?
I struggled throughout my teen years, I never felt part of the “clique”, I was so self conscious. I gained weight about age 14 when my Dad died, I continued to gain weight until I reached a point in 2009 when I saw my wedding photo’s, so I decided to make a change. I lost about 5 stone and I felt more confident. ( I have since gained about 2 stone back) Then in 2013 I had a brain hemorrhage and my entire head was shaved. Something changed inside me. When I recovered, I decided that this was MY body, I had given birth to 4 healthy children, and I decided to embrace my curves! I’ve now realised how you feel shouldn’t relate to numbers on a scales, confidence is sexy!!!
What makes a woman beautiful to you?
A woman who doesn’t tear other women down, A woman who is genuine and REAl, none of us have our stuff together all the time!
How do you feel about the portrayal of women in the media?
I think women generally are being bombarded with unrealistic body “goals”, however I do see a shift in body acceptance. I feel women like Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday have changed the game in regards to curvy women. I once read an article that men worldwide are so much richer because the media programs women (and girls) to spend their money on beauty products/beauty enhancements etc, I was so irritated that it was actually a reality. Since then I try to always ask myself “ Do I need this (whatever the item is)”?
Do you worry about your children and the ‘ideal body image’ that society and social media portray?
One Word, YES!!! I have two daughters, Brooke (9) and Jordyn (15). Brooke was crying that a top didn’t fit her yesterday, I explained that how clothes are cut can vary, we got two tops the same size and looked at the size difference, she definitely felt better! Jordyn is always worried about her image, including her weight. I have spoken to her about media etc, but as I mentioned earlier, confidence building is the foundation, it’s a work in progress.However I do hope by watching their plus size Mom modelling will help them! I have thought my children that food and nutrition are so important, and food affects our mood. We are very food aware, and nourishment is a big part of our family life.
For me personally, since jumping off the diet bandwagon, my overall health has actually improved, it has been quite a revelation. What are your thoughts on health at every size?
I am firm believer in this, I have never had any blood pressure issues, or cholesterol issues (usually associated with higher BMI) Although I am feeling quiet unfit at the moment, so for me personally I feel I need to address that.
Do you use body affirmations or body positive quotes? Or is there one positive thing that you say to yourself every day that helps you?
I would only be spoofing if I told you I did this daily. I do have to remind myself to stay calm, or that I’m amazing (haha) when I get too stressed. I do have a positive affirmation app, that i try to look at, and I listen to a relaxation hypnosis app in bed.
What advice would you give to a woman or a young girl who is struggling with body image?
Fake it till you start to believe it. Our attitude changes how people respond to us, getting up and DECIDING that you look good, or that today is going to be a good day actually help make it become reality. None of us are perfect, accept and embrace yourself.
How do you cope yourself if your having a bad day and struggling with body image?
For me, its what i wear, I love to feel stylish, so on a day I feel rubbish I make myself dress in what boosts my mood and confidence. I don’t always follow all my own good tips though, and sometimes I don’t feel good, and you know what, that’s okay too!
What are your top three tips for self care?
Drink water, chat with friends and eat the bloody cake!!!
Tina, thank you so much for sharing your story with us here. Your journey is inspiring; to go through what you have and come out grabbing life and embracing yourself along the way is amazing. I love the exercise you carried out with your daughter, showing her the difference in sizes, labels really are irrelevant and to teach her that now hopefully means it will stay with her – good on you.
Image Credits: Tina Feighery