Feel Good. Feel Confident. Be You!!! You Are Beautiful.
Posted on February 19 2020
In 2016, I designed my swimwear range Bella Bikini. Our online store launched, and what started as a couple of friends buying our beaded bikinis, soon turned into a journey towards something greater and more meaningful than I could have ever envisioned.
When I realized that I wanted Bella Bikini to truly stand for something, something that reaches beyond our brand. So, during my New Year holiday, I took some time off from work to ask myself some big questions.
What does Bella Bikini stand for? What is our mission? Can our brand make a positive impact on the world? What defines our company? I discovered that the answer was right in front of me.
The answer lies within our name Bella Bikini.
Bella bikini is not just a brand that sells bikinis, in fact, we’re about making women feel beautiful in their own skin. Of course in Italian, “Bella'' translates to beautiful and this idea is the core of our brand!!
In the beginnings of civilization, the words “beautiful and beauty” have undergone many shapes and forms. But now society has taught us to objectify beauty. We long to be beautiful. We compare. We’re envious. And in doing so, we stopped feeling beautiful.
At the end of the day, some of the most important relationships we have are with our friends and family but most importantly with ourselves. That’s why Bella Bikini is about creating a place that promotes how women can feel beautiful in their bodies.
At a time with increasing social connections — Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok — the desire to feel gorgeous and feel respected for who you are is something we all ascribe to be. Self love and body confidence is what defines Bella Bikini. Women should be able to feel happy, relaxed and glamorous in their skin.
Hollie Azzopardi joined Bella Bikini to help spread the message that women should love and feel confident in their bodies. Today, Hollie is an inspiration for women all around the globe through Instagram and her online programmes and speaking events.
Five years ago, Hollie was working in the corporate world. She was eating healthy, going to the gym and had a body that would make a lot of us girls feel envious. Yet, she was lacking in complete well-being, suffering from fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, and burnout.
Instead of focusing on things like constant exercise, dieting, or other things like getting a promotion at the company she was working for — Hollie knew there was another way. After being made redundant from her job, she decided to finally put her own well-being, friendships, and family first. Her life changed by being able to feel comfortable in her body.
I am so grateful to have Hollie on board. Through Bella Bikini, I hope we are able to positively impact the lives of all women. Because we all deserve to feel good in our bodies.
Most females have felt pressure at some point of their lives to look a certain way or be a certain size. Sometimes can lead to unhealthy behaviours. This pressure to be perfect can lead to poor mental health or trigger an eating disorder.
Thinking back to when I was 13 years old. I was eating only cabbage to lose weight, running every day before and after school. Within a relatively short time, I went from a size 12 to 6. But, my experiences with eating disorders didn’t stop there.
From 13 onwards to when I was 18, I’d throw up food after eating. I would also try to eat less food. Then, in my early 20s, I was living off caffeine, drinking up to 6 coffees per day along with 4 V energy drinks.
It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I sort after professional help from a life coach to learn how to change the way I thought about myself, eat healthily, and be comfortable in my body. I have always been reluctant to share my experiences publicly.
That’s because I feared being judged. I feared what people might think of me. I feared to talk about my pain. And, it wasn’t until my mentor encouraged me to open up and share my story publicly, that I felt confident to do so.
Beyond a brand
My own personal experiences of dealing with feeling unhappy about the way I look, have taught me one thing, I am not alone. And, because of this, I want to pledge our support to Australian women that suffer from body image issues, eating disorders and depression.
For that reason, we will be donating $1 for every Bella Bikini purchase to the Butterfly Foundation charity. In that way, it is our hope that we can help women in need to overcome their fears, fight their battles, feel comfortable and sexy in their own skin.
The Butterfly Foundation is a great cause because they help women who are dealing with negative body issues. They provide much-needed support and guidance. I love what they stand for.
On a more serious note, the statistics around women’s mental health and body image in Australia are concerning. Did you know that:
- 1 in 6 Australian women experience depression.
- 1 in 3 Australians are unhappy with the way they look.
- 66.6% of people remember being bullied or teased for their appearance at some stage in their life.
- 41.5% of people most of the time or always compare themselves to others on social media.
- 53.6% of people rarely or never speak positively about their appearance.
All women deserve to feel beautiful in their bodies. To feel comfortable in their skin. To feel glam. To feel loved. Because you are beautiful. And, you know what? Women have achieved some amazing feats.
Take Turia Pitt for instance. She landed her dream job at Rio Tinto, only to shortly after suffer burns of up to 65% of her body. This resulted in the loss of her fingers and thumb on her right hand. Turia says, "We all have that inner strength, but rarely do we get the chance to see how incredible we truly are. I've had to claw my way back into life — learn to walk, to talk. All the things I had taken for granted before became seemingly impossible tasks.”
Or, the Australian indigenous model Samantha Harris, who says that, “When I started, there weren't any other Aboriginal models I knew of. It'd be empowering to show how far we've come, as people, these past 200 years. Mum wanted to be a model but she was laughed at. Those things play out in my mind. It'd be important for me to say, ‘Look, Mum, at how far we've come.’ Or even, ‘Look, Australia.’"
Now, I’ll leave you with this quote from Tayla Harris, who as ABC reports, was swamped by online trolls because of a high kick she made during a soccer match. The photo was posted on the Seven News network’s social media and was controversial removed. Tayla says, "It's a pretty surreal feeling, it's incredible and it's more than me just kicking football, it's a message, it's a turning point in Australian society, so it's something I can be personally proud of.”
We can do anything. It starts with feeling confident. Feeling beautiful. Feeling awesome. You are beautiful.
Bella Bikini was founded by Alysha Bishop in her travels around South America where she saw a different and unique way of life and wanted to share it with women across the world. She is passionate about being relaxed and not taking life too seriously. Follow Alysha @beachsnobb and her Bengal cat (Leche) @lecheleopardo on Instagram.
Photographer: Instagram @alexw3st