Happy birthday Figleaves

Here at Figleaves, we’ve reached our landmark 21st birthday. And what better way to celebrate than with 21 amazing women from across the country – a combination of Figleaves fans, employees and influencers – who all came together to tell their stories. But in order for the day to go smoothly, we knew we needed some key birthday party elements. Cake? Check. Balloons? Check. A group of incredible guests parading around in lingerie? Double check. Yep, this wasn’t just your ordinary birthday bash…


We met in a studio in London where the Figleaves team had set up quite the festivities. With our VIP guests arriving right on time and sacrificing their long lie-ins (birthday parties usually start at 9am, right?) we were good to go. The guests flew between hair and make up, sound recordings, interviews and their long awaited step into the spotlight. Spending a day with these 21 extraordinary women, hearing their stories and celebrating their achievements, was nothing short of magical. Friendships were formed, stories were shared and our faces hurt from smiling so much. We hope you enjoy it all as much as we did.

Meet…


Donna

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I’m a body positive yoga teacher – when people think of yoga, they think of tall, slim, blonde women. It’s just not the case. I want to show you can do yoga and be every shape and size. Like this shoot, everyone can do it. I want to show people that I too can put myself out of my comfort zone and love my body.

What are you celebrating today?

Coming home to myself, and having no regrets. I just want to go with the flow, like I used to, and trust myself again. Through illness, I began to realise that my body is an amazing tool. I think we all take our body for granted because we’re born with them. They’re so much stronger than we think – it’s not our bodies that are weak, it’s our mind – our mind talks us out of doing something. Don’t buy into what society says a perfect body is, there is no perfect body. Until we put ourselves out of our comfort zones, we never know how strong they are. Body positivity is a journey from where you are right now to the best version of yourself.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Trust the process – someone once told me that and I didn’t understand it at first, but it means to just let what happens organically happen, and don’t try to control everything. We think we have more control than we actually do. And also, don’t base everything on society’s stereotypes, because they don’t mean anything. And to follow your true passions – you get happiness through experiences so don’t shut down your ‘plan B’ or other ideas.

How would your 21-year-old self feel about what you’re doing today?

She’d be proud of me. I’ve changed since I was young, but there’s still elements of my 21-year-old self still here inside me.


Don’t buy into what society says is the perfect body. There is no perfect body.

Meet…


Ellie

What does Figleaves mean to you?

Figleaves is all about body type diversity. There’s such a great range of brands too, and there is no specific look Figleaves stick to. Figleaves celebrate cellulite and muffin tops! They use real women to model too, which I love. The average size in the UK is 16, why aren’t we showing that more?

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I do try to be an advocate for body confidence, but I still struggle with it sometimes myself. I want to be open to everything and all opportunities, and I want to walk out of here feeling happy in my skin. Every women should feel like that. There’s such a pressure in my industry [acting], and I have been told I will never land the lead role because I’m ‘too big’ so will always be the ‘funny friend’. They’re often the best roles, but you have to have a thick skin. I’m here because I want to improve my body confidence and love myself.

What are you celebrating today?

I’ve always struggled with my lower half of my body. I want to celebrate who I am! And I’m going to walk out today loving who I am.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

At 21 I was a lot slimmer and I always wanted to stay that way. But I’d tell myself that body changes are normal. And don’t listen to what others say – people will only be mean when they’re jealous. You’re different and that’s okay – love it. I think I’ve always struggled with that. Also, just take a compliment and believe it when someone tells you you’re beautiful. You’re bloody brilliant girl, and you always will be.


You’re bloody brilliant, girl. And you always will be.

Meet…


Hannah

What does Figleaves mean to you?

I work for Figleaves, and to me it means inclusivity – Figleaves wants to help every woman feel confident. No matter size or shape, everyone should feel great.

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I want to feel better about myself and my body. I can still be quite insecure, not as bad as when I was younger, but I still do have those bad days. But I do feel more empowered doing this, and it’s a really good message that we’re sending. Everyone is beautiful, and we need to see more of this kind of thing. It would have helped me when I was younger, for sure.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Stop comparing! I was a lot more insecure when I was 21 and I was comparing myself to everybody, especially models and airbrushed Instagram stars. I think as you get older, you realise that what makes us all beautiful is our differences. And this shoot just shows that. When comparing myself to supermodels, I now always tell myself that they are the athletes of looking good. If you were an okay runner, you wouldn’t look at Usain Bolt and immediately hate yourself because you weren’t as good as him, would you?

How would your 21-year-old self feel about what you’re doing today?

I think she’d feel proud, shocked… and probably think I was insane!


Figleaves wants to help every woman feel confident.

Meet…


Clara

What does Figleaves mean to you?

Underwear for all sizes. Figleaves are a premium brand who offer great quality swimwear and lingerie, with models who make you feel like you know them, you look like them, or you could run into them on the street. They’re you, they’re real!

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I have a genuine respect and love for the brand. The way they’ve embraced me and supported me as a wheelchair user… I just feel part of the Figleaves family.

What are you celebrating today?

The person I am and what I represent. I also want to celebrate life – I was actually hit by a taxi on the street yesterday. Luckily I am fine now apart from bruising and pain, but it’s really make me put things into perspective and embrace life. I was already living life to the full, but it’s made me even more like that.

How would your 21-year-old self feel about what you’re doing today?

When I was 21 I would never have had the confidence to do this. She’d be like, ‘Shut up, no way!’ I’ve had my knock-backs but I’ve made a choice to be happy with who I am. Who says they’re ‘flaws’ anyway? I don’t use that term anymore.


The way they’ve embraced me and supported me as a wheelchair user… I just feel part of the Figleaves family.

Meet…


Becks

What does Figleaves mean to you?

Figleaves is all about complimenting the figure, and promoting normal people and relieving the pressure of society, which is particularly important at the moment.

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I’m learning to love myself again, and it has been tough. I want to help others who feel different too, and I think this will really help. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate body confidence. Everybody is different, and that’s okay.

What are you celebrating today?

I developed social anxiety after having my little boy, and I really started to shut myself off. This is a mega achievement for me and what I’ve overcome. I fell pregnant when I was 24/25 – my boy is three and a half now. I was always told I couldn’t have children because of my surgery, so it was amazing and I was really happy. Going to the gym has since faded away, but now I’m happier with how I look than I was then. As long as you’re happy from within, you will glow and you will shine and people will see it.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

You see the tsunami coming at you and rather than be hit by the wave, just ride it. Don’t worry so much about your appearance, you don’t need to go to the gym all the time because it’s more about how you feel than how you look. When I was 21 I had surgery to remove my colon and I have an ileostomy bag, so it’s really hard for me to be body confident. It took me ages just to learn to live with it. I think 21 year old me could have really done with someone doing what I am today, to look up to, to prove you can still live and look good and wear whatever you want to wear. I’d say go and party – drink what you want and eat what you want.


 I think 21 year old me could have really done with someone doing what I am today, to look up to, to prove you can still live and look good and wear whatever you want to wear.

Meet…


Kelly

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I wanted to show that I have one hand, I’m over 40, I’m plus size and I can wear underwear and look good. I wanted to be part of a diverse campaign in everything – underwear, nightwear, swimwear.

What are you celebrating today?

I have been through so much, but it’s all about being comfortable and celebrating a fat body. Why is ‘fat’ such a dirty word? And showing people you don’t have to wear grey underwear when you hit a certain weight or certain age. You can wear whatever you want!

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

I would tell her that every day she is awesome, even on the days she doesn’t feel it. Everyone who has given you grief over the years is just insecure themselves, so pity them, they’re irrelevant. My 21 year old self was still out of a Judy Bloom novel – very shy and deflected with humour, which still can happen now, but she was extremely insecure. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, the worst you’ll get told is no. If you get told you’re too fat or too ugly it doesn’t matter, you are beautiful and you just need to believe that.

How would your 21 year old self feel about what you’re doing today?

My 21 year old self knew what she was capable of but didn’t have the balls. Now, I do! Confidence is taking on the world, even when you’re not feeling it. You only get one opportunity in this life, so grab it by the kahunas because you’re not going to get a do-over.


 You are beautiful and you just need to believe that.

Meet…


Abby

Why did you want to be in this shoot?

I was completely honoured to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing brand who stand for such positive values.

What are you celebrating today?

I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my third baby, and I’m celebrating this third pregnancy and how amazing the female body is to be able to adapt and grow to create another life. It’s just amazing. And being here with all these inspiring women is the best way to celebrate that!

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

I would tell my 21 year old self to invest in good fitting bras! And to just believe in yourself, you are enough. Everything will be okay in the end.

How would your 21 year old self feel about what you’re doing today?

She would be so proud for doing this shoot as it is very out of my comfort zone. But being happy and confident on the inside helps you really shine on the outside.


I’m celebrating this third pregnancy and how amazing the female body is to be able to adapt and grow to create another life.

We wanted to say a huge thank you to all 21 women who took part in our birthday celebrations, not only Donna, Ellie, Hannah, Clara, Becks and Abby, but Linda, Emma, Lemoy, Daniella, Kelly R, Kelly C, Sarah, Chelsea, Courtney, Kyra, Joanne, Becca, Ann and Emma C. You were all shining stars that day.

Emily Jefferies

Figleaves Content Writer Emily Jefferies has written for multiple national titles and is here to keep you up-to-date on trends, offer style advice and review the latest launches.