Q & A with Sylvia Mac - Inspirational Speaker, Diversity Campaigner and Child Burn Survivor
You do a lot of campaigning for diversity in body representation. What inspired you to channel your efforts into this cause?
I spent most of my life self body hating due to my scarring Even though I was fortunate enough to have a loving, caring, supportive family, I found school, work, relationships very difficult to adapt to. Throughout my life I knew I wanted to do something special but . When I was finally able to embrace my body I received many messages online from people worldwide telling me about their struggles. I then realised that so many other people were going through the same.
How important do you think it is to alter the media portrayals of beauty and/or normal?
It’s extremely important to campaign for positive changes so the press can begin to realise that we are here to stay. Unfortunately the press and media continue to share one so called perfect image. If through my campaigns I can help change the portrayal of beauty, it will benefit so many people and I believe our younger generation need it.
What is your own personal experience of overcoming body confidence issues?
I was able to overcome my body issues because it was destroying my life. I got to the point where I was having suicidal thoughts, severe depression and locking myself away from everyone. The thought of my mother feeling sad about my scarring helped make me change the way I felt about my body. I no longer wanted her to blame herself and needed to let her know. I went on to release a video which revealed my scarring and allowed me to express parts of my life.
What one step can anyone take to help improve their self esteem and achieve self love and self acceptance (in your view)?
It can sometimes be a long drawn out process before you’re able to accept your own self. There are so many body positive people that can be found online who inspire so many. Talking to other people who have gone through similar situations and are in a better place is often really helpful. There are also small communities popping up online that encourage people to join in and learn to love themselves. Love Disfigure has a Facebook group that is a safe space and very positive people who all encourage and support each other.
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