Real Women, Totally Undressed: It’s STELLAR’s Famous Naked Shoot!
Here's your opportunity to be a part of STELLAR's next Naked shoot!
Every year when we do our Naked photo shoot, we’re always so excited and motivated by the sheer enthusiasm of STELLAR’s readers for it. All about celebrating the beauty of bodies, no matter their shape or size, when we started doing the shoot, movements like #effyourbeautystandards and #honormycurves weren’t a thing, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have been at the vanguard of body positivity – because we know this much to be true: if you’re happy in your own skin, then that really is all that matters – and that’s the ethos of the Naked shoot in a nutshell.
This year, we reckon we’ve got our most diverse bunch of readers taking part yet, with a model, a plus-size blogger, a pregnant gal and a personal trainer in the mix. Find out why they posed for the shoot and how they feel about their bodies – plus check out their five awesome, inspiring portraits below.
Now, be a part of it!
Want to take part in our next Naked shoot? We want you! Everyone’s welcome – if you’d like to be considered, email deputy editor Jeanne Sutton at email@example.com along with your name, age and location and please attach a full body shot as well.
Niamh Fitzgerald, personal trainer and owner of Lift Training Studios (lifttrainingstudios.ie)
“I feel good about my body – I don’t have anything I particularly dislike. Well, maybe I’d like to be taller. In my early 20s, I definitely felt under pressure to look a certain way, but not any more.
“I play rugby for Old Belvedere. I think, when you get into sport and start to focus on strength, t’s not about what you look like – it’s about what you’re like inside. I’m strong and I’m healthy. I can squat double my body weight – by the time I’m 60 or 70, I hope I’ll be able to do a press-up.
“I train every day, sometimes twice – it depends on time more than anything else. I want to feel powerful on the pitch. And I’m careful about nutrition; it’s so important for me to eat real food. If it doesn’t walk, swim or grow, I don’t eat it.
“If you’re physically powerful, you’re mentally powerful as well – becoming stronger definitely increases your mental strength and your confidence.
“I never get upset when things don’t fit. I was trying on a pair of trousers recently, which is always an issue because I have a big arse and a small waist. They gave me the largest pair, and the woman was really embarrassed, going ‘they’re really small fitting.’ She was pretty much saying to me, don’t be upset. And I was thinking, I’m not upset about this tiny clothing that’s not made for real people! They looked like something my six-year-old niece would fit into.
“If you do something that gives your body a purpose, and you can feel that purpose, you stop thinking about it in terms of what it looks like. Bodies are for working, functioning, playing, giving birth, having sex… They’re not just for standing in the mirror and taking selfies!”
Joanne Larby, author and blogger at joannelarby.com
“I feel happy with my body, but I could be happier! If I compare myself to no one, and just look at my own body shape, I feel happiest when I’m a size 10. Right now, I’d be a 12.
“I was always curvy, but in March of this year I properly overhauled everything. I went through a bad breakup – and while I was happy and confident with my body, I wanted an outlet – outside of work – to consume me. It was just a challenge.
“I felt the best about my body when I was training regularly and eating well – which made me think I hadn’t been as happy as I’d thought, previously! I am definitely happier when I’m working out, but it’s hard to keep it up when I’m busy.
“I wasn’t nervous doing the shoot – it’s like work, and it also helps increase other people’s confidence. Behind closed doors, I’d be worried about lumps and bumps, stuff like that.
“I hate those 360-degree mirrors in changing rooms – and jeans shopping is always depressing. As soon as I put on tight trousers, I look way curvier. When I see myself in jeans… That’s why I never try them on! I nearly always wear dresses.
“On the one hand, I think that your heart and personality are most important. It shouldn’t matter what you look like. But if you’re being badly affected by negative thoughts about your body, it’s obviously going to benefit you to sort that out. Love who you are and don’t bash yourself about it – but if you are continually bashing yourself about it, change it.”
Lee Martin, stay at home mum
“I’ve always been body confident. I come from a really nudey family – my parents are real hippies! And now my kids, my husband… It’s not that we walk around naked all the time, but if I’m watching TV in bed and I want to come down and get a sambo, and I’m not wearing any clothes, I wouldn’t get dressed to come down! We’d all happily walk around the house naked.
“I really don’t equate size or shape to my feelings about myself – I don’t think anybody should. It’d be like basing your self-worth on how nice your car is; it’s just a vessel to get you through life. You can do work on it and improve it, or you can let it go and it might not work to its full potential, but it still has nothing to do with you as a person.
“I’m a confident person because I’m nice, I’m friendly, I’m kind and I’m intelligent, not because I have a nice body.
“I think I’m at my most beautiful when I’m pregnant. I’ve never seen an ugly pregnant woman! When you’re pregnant, you’re blooming. You’ve nothing to hide – and there’s no sucking in or trying to conform.
“There’s so much emphasis on women’s bodies. I’m rearing daughters, and I’m trying to teach them, you’re you – you can be your best self, put work into your body and feel great in the body that you’re in, get great sleep. have great skin and great sex, eat fabulous food and work out every day – but that’s all you can do! You can never look like someone else.”
Sian Howell, digital marketeer and blogger at foreverfabulousinbows.blogspot.com
“I started off as a plus-sized blogger when there were very few in Ireland at the time. I’ve always been really into body positivity, and felt that people are beautiful, no matter what weight or size they are. I wanted to show girls that you can be confident at any size.
“I recently lost five stone. I was never unhappy in my body, but I went travelling at the start of the year, and I wanted to get fit for it. I wanted to go skydiving and bungee jumping, and not be worried about my weight.
“It wasn’t for aesthetic reasons; I didn’t feel unattractive when I was bigger. Weight really doesn’t define beauty, and we shouldn’t let stretch marks or perceived imperfections make us feel less beautiful, or less confident.
“I came to terms with my body a long time ago. When you’re a teenager, you feel pressure to look like your peers, but we’re all built differently. Everyone has a body, they’re all different, and that’s what makes us unique.
“We need to embrace our bodies, and know that they’re beautiful, even if they don’t fit within societal norms. And y’know, if you want to change, great. If you don’t, perfect. As long as you’re happy in your body, you shouldn’t obsess over anyone else’s.
“I have insecurities, like everyone else, but I love my smile. Everyone always compliments my smile. I want to live my life and have no regrets – and I’m always smiling.”
Zeila Cristina Oliveira, works in retail
“Honestly? I feel really great about my body. I used to feel really bad – I’m skinny, and in Brazil we have a culture where women should be curvy, or at least very toned, and I was always the opposite. But since I moved to Ireland, I feel really good about it – people really love skinny!
“I was always trying to go to the gym, to build muscle, or to be something that I’m not, to be a size 10 or 12, but I don’t think I will ever be bigger. Maybe when I have kids, I don’t know. My dad always says I’m like my granny – she had five kids and she was exactly like me.
“My body hasn’t changed as I’ve grown older, but I think my mind has changed. As you get older, you just like what you have, you know? I was always battling with my body, with my hair… Now, I look in the mirror and I really like what I see.
“I don’t think I’m perfect, but I wouldn’t change anything. We are beautiful the way we are. Diversity is great – if someone is a size 12, a size 8, a size 16… We all have something really beautiful about ourselves. It’s just a matter of liking yourself. If you like yourself, everyone else will like you too.
“I’ve only experienced racism once in Ireland. I was out with friends, going to a Halloween party, and someone said, ‘oh, you can’t come – they don’t want to hang out with black people.’ And my friend, he laughed and he said, ‘but she’s not black – she’s hazelnut!’
“I don’t think about race; it doesn’t get to me. I understand older people who might have these thoughts, because they grew up in a time when they didn’t know anyone of another colour. I’m not angry at young people who think like that either – I’m sad, because they miss the opportunity to get to know other people and other cultures.”
This feature appeared in STELLAR’s January 2016 issue. The October 2016 issue is out now for €1.95.