‘That Time of the Month’ is a monthly women’s interest series
You can see the first installment ‘7 ways to be better in bed’ here
With most media depicting beauty in a certain shape, often that depiction shapes how we feel about ourselves.
We have no control over whether we are genetically blessed or not, but the way we feel about ourselves is something that we have total control over.
Writer and model, Jessica Vander Leahy, has worked as a curvy model for a while, but the attributes she values about herself the most are not physical, and she hopes to encourage this self-appreciation and open the discussion of women’s experiences in their skin around the world.
“I think that there’s a gap in the dialogue of women, I still think there is. I think we can always do a better job of giving women a more open and honest platform to speak about themselves and their experiences.”
Jessica is a stunning woman, you cannot dispute that, but more than the physical impression she leaves, she exudes body the kind of confidence I only dreamed of at 27.
Jessica has always felt good about being taller, broader and different. She believes this appreciation comes from the fact that she did not grow up surrounded by stick thin models in magazines, but on a coffee plantation in Papua New Guinea.
“I always had an overwhelming sense of gratitude that my body was working and functional because I was heavily grounded in the roots of living in a third world country where poverty was very evident, and every day you would see people that had polio, or someone had been in an accident and was then getting around on someone’s back.”
Like all women, there are days when Jessica doesn’t love on a certain aspect of her body, but she understands that loving the skin you’re in is a choice.
“It really is a conscious decision you have to constantly make to choose to be happy, or choose to be accepting of what you’ve got because it really is the only gift that is wholly and solely yours – your body,” says Jessica.
In order to share her body philosophy, Jessica blended her two worlds of fashion and storytelling to create Project WomanKIND.
“I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to acquire a bit of wisdom through my job and all of the inspiring people around me. I feel like wisdom is only really acquired so we can share it and pass it on and I felt like this was something I kind do. Create a project that allowed that to happen.”
The film is a series of interviews with ladies, often in undies, chatting about their relationship with their body. Each of them is stunning, and their honest discussions about their struggles with dieting and trying to fit into the ‘beautiful’ sized box has proved compelling and inspiring for women around the world.
“I would tell my 16-year-old self your sense of self-worth is not relevant nor proportionate to your shape or your size.”
Olivia Langdon – Project WomanKIND
“I had a woman from Pakistan contact me and she was saying she’d love to be an ambassador for Project WomanKIND in Pakistan,” says Jessica. “She told me a little bit about her experience as a woman there and how body image is so different there. It’s so different in every country but especially where women are experiencing obvious oppression.
“The relationship she has with her body is so different to the one I can openly have with my body. People think that I, and the other girls in the project have given them something, but people are giving me something. I have had such an education on women’s experiences around the world.”
Project WomanKIND has taken on a life of its own. Each model has her own edit of the work and collectively they have been viewed over 250, ooo times.
It has been featured on the Cosmo website, and recieved international acclaim – not to mention a tweet from Sophia Vergara – and now this success has now whisked Jessica off to New York for the next exciting chapter of her life.
But what of the life of Project WomanKIND?
“We want to give the mic over to women that have seen the project and been moved by it. I think that every woman has an interesting story to tell about her experience growing in the world and her journey learning to love and be kinder to herself and her fellow women.
The long-term project is to explore the story of women. Not just models or young women. Not just English speaking women, but all women everywhere. The project wants to lend a voice to all WomenKIND.
“I think the success of the project is that it’s just honest. It’s raw and uncensored and it’s women just doing their best to share their womanly wisdom with each other,” says Jessica.
“I think to share the wisdom we all have as women will only make us a stronger force in the world.”
How do you feel about your body?
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