"All of us struggle, but take a step back and look at yourself as unique and beautiful no matter where you’re at with your body."
Words that can change us, by our SundayGirl of the week Sarah Contreras.
Sunday: What’s your ethnicity?
Sunday: What’s your age?
Sunday: What do you love most about your body, and why?
Sarah: I was always very insecure about the way my legs looked because of their size and cellulite. After years of building confidence in loving my body for what it is. I learned to adore and love my legs because they are long, sexy, and strong.
Sunday: How was it shooting with Karlo with no makeup?
Sarah: Shooting with Karlo was awesome! I have never been in front of a camera before for a photoshoot, and it was definitely one of the best experiences i’ve had in my life. Karlo was so kind, funny and welcoming, and it was easy to be myself because of how comfortable he made me feel.
Sunday: Do you typically wear makeup? If so why?
Sarah: I don’t typically wear make-up, it’s usually just on particular occasions. I wear it to just enhance my beauty and sometimes to cover those dark circles if i’m really tired, LOL.
Sunday: How do you keep yourself healthy?
Sarah: I try to keep myself healthy by getting some kind of exercise in daily, drinking water and going to therapy just recently. I think taking care of your mental health is so important in this day an age, especially the impact social media has on women and our bodies. We are so much more than just a body!
Sunday: What physical activities make you feel better?
Sarah: I really enjoy doing circuit workouts! Something quick and impactful has been a go to lately, But I also love weight training and going on runs sometimes
Sunday: What do you typically eat to stay healthy?
Sarah: I typically just try to portion out my food but still eat whatever I like. Trying to keep a balance with foods that are good for me like veggies, nutritional proteins and carbs, but still being able to enjoy foods I like. Recently, trying to cut out as much meat as possible. I just feel better when I eat less of it!
Sunday: What words of inspiration can you give to a girl struggling to love her body?
Sarah: Everyone has body struggles to some extent. Just letting them know that all of us struggle, but to take a step back and look at yourself as unique and beautiful no matter where you’re at with your body...You’re living and breathing and can make whatever changes you desire but your body deserves some love at any stage!
Sunday: What is one major way you’ve struggled to appreciate or love your body?
Sarah: I always grew up being the “big” girl in school since I was tall and had a lot more curves than most girls in elementary school. I started to really care about my weight and what my body looked liked in the 4th grade. I made notice of the other girls and how different I looked from them. I would get snickering comments from the boys in class for being so much bigger than they were, and as I went through elementary school it was sooo FUCKING hard to deal with kids calling me fat and giant behind my back, and even sometimes to my face. From that moment on the only thing I thought was, I had to lose weight so that I could be skinny and become beautiful and show everyone who had ever put me down and rub it in their faces. As I got older all the negativity I held about my body was always with me everywhere I went. I struggled the most with loving my body for what it was and what it does for me.
Sunday: Why do you think women develop negative relationships with their bodies?
Sarah: I think as a woman it has become a natural thing, now especially, for us to have terribly negative relationships with our bodies because of the people we surround ourselves with, the media, and how society has established this unattainable standard for all women. Our family and friends are the ones who love us for who we are right? This isn't always the case, sometimes they are doing harm to us when they say things like “you shouldn't eat that you already ate so much today” or “I thought you wanted to lose weight? or it looks like you've gained some weight?” These comments can be detrimental to a woman's self esteem and self worth. I think with society and the media there has been a hole dug so deep with negative body image, promoting products like skinny teas, and cellulite scrubs etc., and posting photoshopped images. Though these things are happening and have happened, there is always time to surround yourself with great support who know you're worth more than your body.
Sunday: What are a couple ways you’ve found to overcome negativity in relation to your body?
Sarah: Some ways that I have overcome negativity around my body image has been exposing myself to media that involves women who have made such a positive impact in the world of women's body image such as: Ashley Graham, Tabria Majors, Nadia Aboulhosn and so many more. Being able to see them be so genuine and honest about themselves really helped me learn to love the body I have no matter what it looks like today, tomorrow or the future. Having those positive media outlets really helped me change my mindset about what my body is and I began slowly to learn to love it for what it was and what it has done for me. I wore things that I felt good wearing even if I was afraid of what other people thought I looked like. I built confidence overtime by doing small things that I knew I wasn't comfortable with, stepping out of my comfort zone was one of the best things I ever did.
Sunday: What’s one thing you wish would change in the world to help present and future generations of women feel more beautiful in their own skin?
Sarah: One thing I wish I could change in the world is to help present and future generations of women feel more beautiful in their skin and to have more world wide media representation of all women from every background, body shape and size. It would give all women the knowledge and feeling of knowing they are beautiful.
Sunday: Why is it important to feel sexy?
Sarah: It’s important to feel sexy as a women because it gives us that extra boost of confidence. I think every women deserves to feel sexy and that will look different for everyone whether you feel sexy fully naked or fully clothed, it doesn’t matter. Women are unique beautiful human beings who should feel confident in all aspects.
Sunday: Some people feel taking pictures in underwear is wrong, how does it make you feel when you take photos in a bra and underwear?
Sarah: I think if you asked me this question when I was 20 I would definitely be uncomfortable and never would have photographed in a bra and underwear. Now that I’m 25 my mentality has changed so much because my confidence has increased and how much I adore my body at all stages! No body is perfect no matter what we see on media. Taking photos in a bra and underwear now, is something I feel incredibly comfortable doing. Because I know there’s no other person like me. I hope I can inspire others to feel just as confident to get in front of a camera and embrace their bodies in whatever beautiful form it comes in!
Sunday: How has SMV impacted you?
Sarah: I don’t remember how I stumbled upon SMV on instagram but ever since it has been a huge part of what keeps me so positive about the future of societies standards for women's body image. SMV is doing something Amazing and has honestly been one of my go to pages whenever I need that boost of confidence in myself. I was honestly so happy and humbled that SMV chose me to be a SundayGirl to help represent a diverse group of women. Ever since my photoshoot with Karlo I felt like a new woman who can now shine some light not only for myself but for other women as well!
To see more of Sarah, please say hi on her instagram @sarahhsmiles_