Name: Jess
Age: 36    
City: New York
Occupation: Professional Songwriter/Performer/Vocalist

Please describe how YOU see your body in general when you look in the mirror.

At the moment, I’m mostly very satisfied when I look in the mirror. I’m looking hotter than ever these days. 

Body parts you love and why:

My hands - they’re beautiful and long and really central to everything I love to do. 
My height - I feel powerful when I stand up straight and my stature helps with that a lot.
My breasts - they’re full and bold and sit well in proportion to my physique.
My shoulders -they’re soft and strong. 

Body parts you love least and why:

The part above my hips around me like a tire when I’m not looking after myself. 

Describe how you feel about your body on a “good” day and A “bad day”:

On a bad day, I feel like my perception of myself morphs into unrealistic understandings of my worth in general. This includes my body. 

What do you consider beauty to mean? What is beautiful to you?

Beauty is confidence, hands down. I think if you have a positive, healthy body image it can make that confidence much easier, but anything done with conviction is attractive. 

What does a healthy body image mean to you and what are your body image goals?

I think self-acceptance is a difficult thing to do considering what we are taught. I feel very fortunate to really enjoy and appreciate my body. My body image goals are to be a lot more consistent in my unconditional self-love. 

What do you feel you need to do to achieve this?

Practice and a gentle self-kindness. 

Are there any people who inspire you to think differently about your body in a positive way?

Anyone who walks with confidence. 

Can you talk about a time in your life where you felt body confident? When you didn’t? What shaped your feelings?

Yeah, I felt shit about my body when I was drinking, and smoking. It didn’t do what I wanted it to do and for good reason. The way I feel about myself is always heavily connected to how I am treating myself. 

Talk about compliments or negative comments you have received that have influenced how you have felt/how you feel

My mother always said I was lucky to have the body I have, and though she picked on my feet for being ugly it was flimsy 'cos the rest of me was so perfect. I’ve been very fortunate to have a body type that naturally conforms to a lot of the general western beauty norms. 

Have you had issues or challenges with clothing in regard to body image?

Yeah, being tall and busty makes it a challenge sometimes, so I like to get tailored clothes. 

Does your body image affect how you eat?

Sometimes, but when I feel healthy I feel strong so I try to stay within that. 

When do you feel best?

When I’m being kind to myself. 

How has your body image changed over time?

As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten hotter. I feel like I’m the hottest I’ve ever been. 

Who do you feel influences your body image most?

I do, my health and my sense of self. 

What pressure around body image do you feel?

Celebrities impact me sometimes because I’m in the entertainment industry, but again, I’m having a good run so… nothing really touches me right now. 

What are your thoughts on media/advertising/social media and how they affect body image?

It’s fucked. It’s all very fucked. When I was little my Mum did this really great thing- she sat us in front of the TV and asked us "what are they selling." "How are they selling it to you" and we very quickly learned the pervasive nature of marketing. So I have been really conscious of marketing since. However, I'm still susceptible, and I still have feelings of wanting to be a certain body shape. I'm just very fortunate that genetics has given me the body that I want to have. The way that it teaches us how to interact with the world around us is a sickness that will take a very, very long time to heal from. 

What changes would you like to see?

So many. It’s hard to know where to start. I'd like to see a stronger education around marketing and it's effects. Perhaps a program in schools for young children. It was very effective for me, I am a lot less affected by advertising than some people I know. 

How do you feel about altering appearance through cosmetic surgery and applications like Photoshop?

It’s up to the person and their own personal journey. But photoshop without telling people what you’re doing is dangerous. I think that’s coming up in the media a lot more now, but the awareness isn’t where it needs to be to stop negative impacts. 

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for other women who would like to improve their body image?

Work on self-kindness even if it’s a fake it till you make it kind of situation.

Mindfulness around how you think and talk about yourself. Change it before it becomes a negative mantra. Rewire those neural pathways. 

Role models:

Alicia Keys- no makeup.