"If we understood OUR body's uniqueness and beauty, we would learn not to compare... comparison is a thief of confidence." - Dominique Gundy
Photographer Dominique Gundy |
Model Erin "Milla" McCoy in Savage Fenty
A healthy body image doesn’t mean achieving a specific appearance. How would you define a healthy body image?
I think a healthy body image starts with being confident and accepting the body God gave you, even as it changes over time. If we understood OUR body's uniqueness and beauty, we would learn not to compare. I always say comparison is a thief of confidence.
Has there ever been a point in your life when you didn’t like your body? How did you find the confidence to love your body?
There was a point in my life when I was having health issues and it caused my body to change drastically. I lost an alarming amount of weight in a short period of time. It ultimately was a blessing and an eye-opener in many ways. I gained my confidence back in my body by first taking better care of myself and being more intentional about what goes in my body. Second, I realized how vain we can be over our bodies and overall appearance. I now focus on how I feel more than how I look.
How do you showcase body positivity in your creative work?
I showcase body positivity through my creative work by capturing images when I am inspired. To me, that’s the difference between art and oversexualizing the model. It is easy to pick up a camera and shoot what you think is beautiful but with people you don’t want them to feel like a prop. So, I focus more on angels and the mood behind the shoot which results in an experience the viewer can feel rather than just look at.
Who are some of your influences when it comes to body image and body positivity?
Being raised by a mother of three and having an older sister who is also a mother, are my real-life influences on body positivity. I saw how their body changed from the beauty of childbirth while staying confident and accepting how much their body was altered. Sometimes we have no control over how our body changes, whether from time, circumstances, or children. Seeing them really helped me understand that all experiences are different but our outlooks can all be the same. Much love to all the mothers!
The fashion industry has long set the tone for the perception society has of body image. Is that still the case today?
I agree that the fashion industry has long set the tone for the perception of body image. Recently, I have noticed a push from social media that has forced the fashion industry to acknowledge the beauty of women of all shapes and sizes. I think it is a good thing that the audience gets to have more of a voice and that girls today get to see real bodies. But there is always room for growth.
If you could change the way women are portrayed in the media, how would you?
That’s lowkey a deep question because the result of how their portrayed trickles down to our sons and daughters. To answer your question (If I could change the way women are portrayed and how?) I would change the fact that women are over-sexualized in entertainment. I would focus more on their contributions and talents versus their looks.
Do you think men are equally objectified in the media?
The fact there is even a comparison says that it is happening way more often than it should for both sexes. People might hate me for this answer, but I think men are slightly more objectified. I feel like in the media men are ALWAYS depicted negatively. Along with societal pressures, we are seen as the enemy in a women’s story or just the prop of it but I could be bias ha-ha.
What factors, other than body image, contribute to your self-esteem? How can you build upon these other areas of your life?
I would say the most important factor that contributes to my self-esteem is God. I am confident in who He created me to be and who I am becoming. I embrace the ups and downs, the journey that He is taking me on to help mold me. Only when you know God is when you can start to begin to know yourself. There is no better self-esteem builder than that ■
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