There are few people in the world who can say they’ve been blogged about by Ashton Kutcher, tweeted by Zooey Deschanel and have produced the most successfully crowd funded documentary in Australian history… But Taryn Brumfitt is not like most. The writer, speaker, wife, mother and founder of the Body Image Movement is a passionate crusader who is working hard to wage the war on negative body image… One thigh gap at a time.
After a long and lengthy battle with her own body image issues, an unhappy and equally unconfident Taryn decided to address the problem, concluding that plastic surgery was the solution. But not long before the impending procedure, something clicked. Confronted by the message she would be sending to her four year old daughter Mikaela if she went through with it, she immediately cancelled the surgery and was left feeling even more unhappy and insecure than she had ever been. And then, out of nowhere, an outrageous thought entered her mind… “What if I could live happily in my body?” And so the Body Image Movement was born.
But Taryn is not alone in her struggles, and sadly, far too many of us are crippled with harrowing feelings of insecurity and self doubt when it comes to our bodies. You know the ones I’m talking about sisters… “I wish my tummy was flatter”, “I hate my thighs”, “I wish I had her body”. We’ve all fallen victim to these self deprecating thoughts at some stage or another, and quite frankly, it’s got to stop! Believe you me, I’m no exception and I too battle with these thoughts more often than I’d like to admit, but with recent research suggesting that girls as young as four are affected by body image issues; something needs to be done. So let’s band together and make a pledge, right here and now, to stop loathing our bodies and start loving them! Let’s get behind Taryn and start spreading the message of the Body Image Movement, because together we can create change and start giving ourselves the self love every woman deserves!
Occupation: Founder of Body Image Movement
Motto or mantra you live or work by?
My body is not an ornament, it is the vehicle to my dreams.
You’re a role model for so many people, who do you look up to?
Madonna because she breaks the rules, she does it her way and nothing stands between her and her goals.
You have such an inspiring story, when did you decide it was time to speak out and create change?
The minute I knew it was possible to love my body, no matter what it looked like, I felt compelled to tell the rest of the world. It was such a freeing and liberating feeling to go from being a body hater to a proud body lover.
Your struggles are so relevant and unbelievably relatable for so many women, what was the catalyst that made you decide it was finally time to speak up?
I knew that if it was possible for me to go from crying on the bathroom floor locked away so the world couldn’t see me, to posing nude and loving my body, that it was possible for other women to love their body too. I had to speak up, and thanks to the reach and power of social media, my story was catapulted into the spotlight, because heaven forbid a women could love her body ‘after’.
Where did you find the courage to speak out?
I never felt courage as such. I am who I am, I did what I did and I’m a sharer, in fact I’m probably better described as an over sharer! It felt completely natural to speak out about my body image issues. I never felt that sharing my personal story or photos had anything to do with courage.
What was your goal when you founded the Body Image Movement?
To create a global movement that teaches women the power and value of loving their body from the inside out so that my daughter will grow up in a world that values her for her contributions and achievements and not on her looks, or how thin she is, or whether she has a thigh gap.
When were you the happiest with your body?
In the ‘after’ photo I was my happiest. When I was training my body to compete on stage in a fitness competition, I was very imbalanced. It was all about a number on a scale, cm’s around a waist and over the top controlled eating, and it wasn’t much fun. In the ‘after’ photo I had balance back in my life; I was fit and healthy, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually too.
How does it make you feel when you read messages left for you by women around the world who are resonating with what you’re writing?
I feel mostly honored to be the one that these women share their stories with, I also feel equally saddened and inspired. I feel sad about the volume of emails and messages I’ve had (at last count over 8000) but I also feel incredibly inspired, knowing that I and BIM will be able to make a positive impact on the lives of these women.
Did you ever think the Body Image Movement would be as successful as it is today?
In the early days I guess I had hoped that it would be. It was in the lead up to launching the EMBRACE campaign on Kickstarter that I had my first inkling of how global BIM was going to become. I felt slightly overwhelmed about the prospect of raising $200,000 to make a documentary so I reached out on social media and asked people within my community to donate an hour of their time, as opposed to money. I knew that if people watched the trailer they would connect with it and be more likely to donate. I started a group on Facebook called OPERATION GLOBAL CHANGE and everyone who offered to donate an hour joined, but people committed above and beyond just the hour. There were people hosting parties, fundraisers and events to spread the message of BIM and Embrace the documentary. In total over 2300 women and men from nearly every single country across the world, came to my rescue. I describe them as my “global army of kindness and humanity”. Embrace had over 8.5 million views and was the most successfully crowd funded documentary in Australian history, I am so grateful for thousands of strangers that joined the movement and got behind me, BIM and the Embrace dream.
Where did you get the idea to make the Embrace documentary?
Out of frustration! I was frustrated that all my media interviews were four minute segments on someone else’s terms! I had a lot to say and it needed to be heard – in my own way!
What’s been the biggest highlight in the Body Image Movement for you so far?
There are so many, but I do love in particular the story about the mother who had never been swimming with her four and a half year old daughter – EVER! She had always been too embarrassed to be in a swimsuit and one day she plucked up the courage to do it and she did! It was such a momentous occasion for her and she said her daughter was so thrilled to be swimming with her mummy. Oh it gives me Goosebumps!
Then of course there are things like waking up to tweets from Rosie O’Donnell, Perez Hilton, Zooey Deschanel and Ricki Lake expressing their support for my mission to change the world. My all time favorite moment was seeing that Ashton Kutcher had blogged about me, I was still in bed when I found out! I rolled over to my husband and said “Ahhhh, I’ve still got it, Ashton Kutcher digs me.” (Please note: When you are a 37 year old mother of 3, that is pretty freaking cool).
What’s the most important message you want to share with the Sisterhood?
I want you; yes you who is reading this to fast forward to the day you take your last breath on this earth. I want you to think about the thoughts that you will be having, what will you be thinking about in those final few moments? Will it be your cellulite? Doubtful. Your stretch marks? No way! Perhaps the jiggle under your arm as you wave a friend goodbye? I hope not! I want the Sisterhood to appreciate the value and power that comes from having gratitude and living with perspective.
What are your favorite Lorna Jane pieces to move in?
Oh so many! Right now I am loving the way I feel when I work out in my “lover” 7/8 tights. I actually think there might be sprinkles of magic in these pants because every time I put them on all I want to do is move! (Please note: these tights got me back onto a skateboard after a 20 something year hiatus).
What are your favorite ways to Move, Nourish and Believe?
I love to MOVE in many different ways. As an example, I started my weekend with Friday night karate, (I am now officially a blue belt, still behind my boys but catching up). Then on Saturday I lifted weights at the gym, followed by a soccer game and skate boarding at the park and then I finished off the weekend with a 60km bike ride!
I NOURISH my family’s body and my own with fresh ‘living’ food that has been blessed by the sun. I love to start my day with my super food pancakes. Throw chia, oats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cinnamon, coconut, almonds, berries and eggs into a blender and whiz up. Then cook like you would normal pancakes in coconut oil and voila! Filing and delicious pancakes. I love good old fashioned lemon and sugar (using organic coconut sugar of course). Did I mention I love coconut?
I BELIEVE, oh yes I believe! One of my fave ways to believe is to look at all of the dreams that are coming true on my vision board. Vision boards are so powerful, and if you are chasing the right goal for the right reason, don’t be too surprised when your dreams come true!