Jessica is a vivacious young lady who knows the personal impact of having a naso gastric feeding tube during her younger years.
“Growing up, I had naso gastric feeding tube feed and was bullied throughout my time at primary and secondary school. I never saw a person in the media who looked quite like me.”
As part of her Girl Guiding Anglia’s ‘Action for Change’ initiative she organised a fashion show at St Peter’s Waterfront, Ipswich on 24th April 2019. All the models on the catwalk were people who wouldn’t normally participate in this sort of thing. Everybody and anybody was welcomed. The models were asked to either wear something they wouldn’t normally pick or an outfit that made them feel good! The show featured models from a range of different backgrounds, ages, shapes, sizes, disabilities (including hidden disabilities).
Jess wanted to raise awareness of the fact that all kinds of people buy clothes and should be represented on social and mainstream media.
Her personal journey of poor body confidence fuelled her passion to support others and to use her experience to make a positive difference – hence ‘Positively Me!’ was born.
Jess set up a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Positively-me-333754247444972/ and used the project she was involved with via Girl Guiding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBEpOOlhNVQ to connect without others who had similar experiences.
Jess believes that “part of the issue is that normal, real people still don’t have enough representation in the fashion industry.” She realises it starting to improve but there is still a lot to do.
Her experience of having an obvious feeding tube and being a past PINNT member, lead to her inviting PINNT to attend the fashion show, give a presentation about the charity while also taking an active role on the catwalk.
Our chair, Carolyn Wheatley and executive committee member, Tracy Hill – strutted their stuff on the catwalk. At first, they were very nervous, as Jess said it’s not something they would normally do. Meeting the other models gave them confidence to relax and enjoy the experience. Carolyn gave an overview of PINNT and its activities which was warmly received by the fantastic audience.
The event was streamed via Facebook and the BBC was there to capture the preparations, make-up, hair and the catwalk rehearsals. Carolyn said, “it was interesting how each rehearsal brought a little more confidence to do it.”
Jess opened the event with a moving talk about her journey and motivation. After a couple of other talks, it was show time! In the words of Right Said Fred – ‘I’m too sexy’ it went something like this:
I'm a model you know what I mean
And I do my little turn on the catwalk
Yeah on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah
I do my little turn on the catwalk...
The models took to the catwalk at least three times; it was so uplifting – each time their confidence grew with more moves, clapping, dancing and acrobatics - a marvellous end the most amazing evening.
It was on the local BBC and is on their website too.
Take home message from Carolyn and Tracy: Everyone is beautiful, and our individual uniqueness makes each of us beautiful.
Self love – the key to happiness