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‘You can be beautiful and be fat’


Rebecca Browne

Rebecca Browne

Rebecca Browne

Rebecca Browne (25), originally from Londonderry, lives in Bangor with her partner Thomas and is studying for a Masters in Psychology.

Rebecca explains how she came to sign up with the ACA model agency as a plus-size model. "About two years ago I came across a few body positivity pages on my Instagram by Megan Jayne Crabbe who is body positive - and she completely revolutionised how I thought about myself," she says.

"I had a history of eating disorders - binge eating and the whole score - but from finding those pages, I began to think about myself in a different way and I decided to start my own pages. It's more than just body positivity - there's a lot of mental health awareness as well."

Rebecca says her confidence has grown a lot since embarking on her body positivity journey.

"We don't see a lot of body positivity or representation of fat bodies in Northern Ireland. You have catwalks all around Northern Ireland, but you never see a plus size," she says.

"That's why I decided to get in touch with ACA and I'm thrilled that they signed me. Any booking that I get, any job that I do is a step towards breaking that ideology in Northern Ireland that there is only one type of body that is a good body, which is usually perfectly abled, tanned and thin.

"You can be beautiful and be fat - there is nothing to say that you can't."

Rebecca used to work out in the gym but can't any more as it makes her fibromyalgia flare up.

Instead she has worked out the dietary and fitness regime that works for her.

"I try to keep a healthy diet because it's good for my body and helps me to keep healthy," she explains.

"I do try and walk a wee bit but I can't do as much as I would like. I love the gym but my fibromyalgia took me down quite hard.

"You have to love what your body can do, not what you want it to do."

In just one year, more than 3,000 people have begun to follow her Instagram body positivity page Return_of_Reb.

"I've made so many friends through it - it's incredible," she says.

Many people may have started to think about their body in a different way but it can be difficult if they have learned from mothers and grandmothers who may have thought about weight in an unhealthy way, she says.

"It can be hard if you are the only person in your family who is thinking about bodies in a new way," she adds.

"Growing up, there was no representation for bodies like mine and so I want to be the role model now that I needed back then.

"I wanted to create the page to do something for other people, but it has ended up doing more for me.

"The feeling that I've got from helping others - I feel like I am the one who has benefited!"

Belfast Telegraph