From The Straits Times    |
#HerWorldHerStory: Mary Victor, 22

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today.

Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. Dive into Mary Victor’s story now…

Hair, Aung Apichai, using Kevin Murphy Makeup, Lolent Lee, using Shiseido

Growing up, she wanted to be someone else. But things are different now and the 22-year-old even started #thebodywithin movement on Instagram to advocate body positivity and self-care.

I will never change anything about myself today, even if I’m being judged for the way I look. It took me a few years to accept who I am and gain the confidence, following years of bullying in secondary school – all because I’m a plus-sized girl.

Last September, I started the #thebodywithin movement on Instagram to advocate body positivity and self-care. The movement encourages people who’re struggling to feel good about themselves, to share their stories and photos.

Along with the movement, I took the first step to share self-portraits and my story as a plus-sized woman.

I also started the movement because many young girls face the pressure to be socially acceptable in the way they look, often comparing themselves to others or trying to live up to certain expectations. I would know better because I have been there before.

Then, I was called all kinds of hurtful names that made me very self-conscious in school.

It stuck with me even after I graduated. I wanted to be someone else, even trying whitening products, and quick ways to slim down. I was unhappy and stressed out.

At 16, I started working, and later went to Cosmoprof Academy to hone my craft as a makeup artist. I grew my portfolio within three years, and slowly regained my confidence. Every day, I tell myself that I can control my life.

Despite the fact that I eat healthy (I’m on my way to becoming a vegan), work out and do yoga, my size never changed one bit. In fact, I got curvier living a healthy lifestyle.

The message I’m sending across to women is: Understand that no matter how you look, you’re beautiful in your own special way.

This article was first published in Her World’s March issue. Grab a copy today!