Yes, Even Models Struggle With Body Confidence
To Ashleigh Jade's 115K followers life looked perfect. But this is the true story.
Ashleigh Jade is a 29-year-old Perth-based model and influencer who recently sought professional help for self-esteem issues. Despite having a career built on her enviable body, and 115,000 Instagram followers who could be forgiven for thinking her life was perfect, she lacked confidence.
She sought the help of body confidence expert Dr Katherine who created The Forever Approach. It aims to allow Australian women to ditch diets and unhealthy exercise habits and find a long term, healthy way to maintain their weight and self-esteem.
“Self-esteem issues have always been a problem for me. I allowed them to overrule my life and knew something had to change. The way I used to see myself was very different to the person I let others see me as. I put immense pressure on myself to be the best I could be. Whatever I did, I was never good enough in my eyes.
"Growing up, so many things bothered me about my body. When I was in my teens and started to develop hips, I use to lie in bed at night and wonder if there was surgery to saw them down so I could [be] straight like models' [hips] in magazines. I always felt out of proportion. When I was 24, I had my first breast augmentation. Unfortunately the results didn’t go as planned, so when I was 26 I had revision surgery.
"I entered my first bikini pageant when I was 19. I would ‘stalk’ the other girls I would be competing against in pageants or bikini competitions [online]. Who was in the comp would determine how much I would intensify my training and what I could and couldn't have in my diet.
"I think Instagram is definitely impacting women’s confidence.
"The struggle for people who are labelled as ‘pretty’ or ‘perfect’ is outsiders are quick to judge and form opinions on them based off social stereotypes. When they do voice their problems and insecurities they’re quickly shut down. They’re told they shouldn't complain because they have more going for them than other people purely because of their appearance.
"I started seeing Dr Katherine in March.
"One simple message has made a huge impact on me: to use kinder words. We wouldn't put our best friends down, so why do we use such hurtful words towards ourselves? I didn't realise how much I was doing this and the affect it was having on me.
"I’m still a work in progress but I have a new perspective on life. I’m finding the confidence to do things out of my comfort zone. As I get older, my body is changing. The way I was in my "peak" is not a realistic or maintainable goal. Your overall appearance doesn’t bring you happiness.”
Dr Katherine says
“I knew of Ashleigh years ago and used to look at her with bewilderment – what a beauty! It was only years later we eventually met. Here was a stunning bikini model, coming to me to help her improve her relationship with her body. Her state of mind is very common in the industry she works in – the more beautiful you are, the more beautiful you think you should be.
"Competition is fierce, that can play on someone’s mind in negative ways.
"Confidence and self-esteem is as individual as your DNA. Some people who are as far from the ideal of beauty are extremely confident. There’s no formula for confidence.
"I never give advice – I don’t believe in it. I will never fully be able to understand the worldview of another human being. What I endeavour to do is create an environment, a bond between us so they trust me with their true thoughts and feelings. From here, individuals are able to start their own journey in discovery. People have it in themselves to fix themselves, as long as support is there. I never promise overnight success; it’s a process that takes hard work, dedication and patience.”