Preaching the word of self-love is easy. However, to spread awareness that we should all accept ourselves as who we are, now that's easier said than done.
For one, learning to love our body is a conversation we should continuously have with ourselves and others. The stigma can only be broken once we accept that our insecurities don't define us, and that we can indeed overcome them. And here's where She Talks Asia comes in.
This February, the movement launched their #TheBodyLoveRevolution project, a body positive campaign led by actress and co-founder Iza Calzado. They kicked off the project with an uplifting video, featuring various men and women declaring their love for their bodies. It's a gentle reminder that we definitely aren't alone in this struggle.
To learn more about the campaign, Iza talked to Preview about her own journey to self-acceptance, the project's origins, and her advice to anyone treading the same path to self-love.
Hi Iza! Can you tell us about your involvement with She Talks Asia?
"I'm a co-founder. She Talks Asia was formed last year by Sarah Meier, Vicky Herrera, and Lynn Pinugu, and they mounted their first conference called Every Girl Can in March 2017. I came in April of 2017 initially just to work with them for a body positivity campaign, which we wanted to take to schools. But we figured it would be best to hold a conference on Body Love first (it will be mid-year), then use the earnings from that to make a curriculum we can take to schools. Lynn is the owner of Mano Amiga, a non-profit school for underprivileged kids, so she, her teachers, and her team can make the curriculum."
What is it like working with the She Talks team?
"From pitching to brands and [organizing the] conference, I realized that working with them can help me bring something to the table. I figured we all had our strengths and can make our voices be heard more [by working] as a team. I think of it as finding my tribe. I seriously could never have done this, lead this campaign, without them!"
Moving on to the campaign, what is the importance of the Body Love campaign and why did you schedule it for release on Valentine's Day?
"For me, this is the kind of campaign that I wish my 13-year-old self watched when I was younger. This is also the kind of message I want my 35-year-old self to hear. I've been struggling with my weight and body issues for so long and I know so many other women (even men, hence I included men in the video) who have issues about their bodies.
"These concerns are mostly magnified in our heads. The standards for beauty have been so hard to keep up especially in the age of social media and lots of photoshop that it can be a source of depression for some. I just wanted to put out something filled with love and light to remind ourselves that every body is worthy of love. And what better day to emphasize our messaging than Valentine's Day? After all, it's the day of celebrating love!"
What do you think most people struggle with when it comes to learning to love themselves?
"The biggest struggle, I think, is acceptance. We are in the habit of constantly comparing ourselves to others. This is normal human behavior, however, there must come a point when we should realize that we will never be like the other person because we are unique. Every body was made a certain way and we can't keep trying to be like the other person because we are all different!
"For example, I work out not trying to hit the goal of having Solenn [Heussaff]'s body (even if I want to). I work out and eat clean with the goal of just transforming my body to something better, whatever that may be. I don't have a 'body peg' because that will just make me go crazy trying to achieve another person's body. It's impossible.
"Having said this, I want to clarify that I am still on a journey to loving my own body. Appreciating and loving my body is a decision that I have to make every day but I now know that the power to change the way I look at things is in me. It all starts with you."
Since we are working towards loving our own bodies, is it still healthy to admire and aspire to be like the women who are, in fact, #bodygoals? Because you can’t help that feeling, right?
"Aspiring to be the best version of ourselves, I believe, is the best thing. Of course, other people can inspire us but to kill ourselves at the gym and not eat, because we don't have the thigh gap of a VS model, is the dangerous part."
So how do you differentiate being body positive versus just using self-acceptance as an excuse to not be at your best?
"I love this! I think it's the biggest problem also for Body Love, some people are saying it's being used as an excuse to not take care of our health. But for me, self-care includes making good and healthy choices for yourself—mind, body, and spirit. I think it also boils down to understanding the other human being. Understand and respect where they are in life. Maybe those who are unhealthy just need an extra push, a loving friend to hold their hand and cheer them on, a family member to affirm them that they are beautiful, or maybe they just need to watch our video and become inspired to make more loving decisions for their bodies."
Any upcoming projects we should look forward to from She Talks Asia?
"We have a conference on March 10 called She Is Self Made at the Blue Leaf Pavillion, McKinley Hill from 9AM to 6PM. You may check the She Talks Asia website for the program and speaker lists soon, but we are already selling tickets for the conference through the site."
Interview by Isha Valles