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Being body positive is a big issue on everyone's minds lately, and when shooting on the beach, we like to make sure we're sending the right messages about self love and confidence. Loren Burton was one of our models for our #wethairdontcare hair wrap photoshoot in Australia and she's also a big advocate for body positivity - we got chatting to find out more.
You’re a mum of three and winner of Cosmopolitan’s Curve competition - congrats! What steps do you take to teach your children about body positivity?
That's a very relevant question at the moment for us because my oldest son just told me he has a crush on a girl at school. I found him in his bedroom doing sit ups and when I asked what he was doing he replied that he's trying to get his stomach buff so this girl will like him (he's 7). So we sat down and had a chat about the fact that the right girl will never ask you or expect you to change yourself in order to love you, they will love you exactly how you are. And if she wants you to change how you look, she's not the one for you. He wasn't too impressed by this advice. It broke my heart to see that at such a young age he's already received the message that he needs to look a certain way in order to be lovable. So we have been talking a lot about what we love about ourselves. I encourage my boys to think of and say 3 things that they're good at, not just how they look, and then I add to it as well (eg, smart, creative, funny, good at dancing, good at singing, loves playing soccer, loves being a brother etc). We also talk a lot about appreciating our bodies for what they do for us, like learning about our different organs and how amazing they are. This really works with the smaller ones who are 3 & 5 because they can look at pictures of the different parts of the body and connect the functions to where they are in their own bodies. Just getting them to appreciate their bodies at a functional level, not just for how cute they are on the outside.
You were originally a model when you were just 14 years old, how has the industry changed since then?
Yes, I modelled from the age of 14 - 19 and I only got maybe 1 job a year. The industry has changed a whole lot since then. Diversity is being embraced a lot more, which is great because Australia is such a multicultural place and all nationalities and body types deserve to be represented in the media and in advertising. So it makes me very happy to be able to get more work this time around.
What's one change you’ve made in your life that greatly helped you on your journey to body positivity?
The biggest change for me was changing my mindset towards my body. Instead of always valuing my body for how it looked on the outside, I decided to learn about how it works on the inside, appreciate it and learn how to assist my body to do what it does, which is constantly working to keep me alive! When I shifted my thinking from outside to in, I started taking more of interest in my nutrition, movement and nurturing my mind as well.
When you’re dealing with thoughts that aren’t so body-positive, what do you do?
I just allow them. It's normal to have down days and it's near impossible to have positive thoughts all the time, so when I do have those negative thoughts about my body I just try to observe them and allow them but know that they don't define me and that all of my thoughts, either positive or negative are always 100% optional. Just because you have a negative thought, doesn't mean you have to believe or run with it or allow that thought to cause negative emotions.
For anyone reading this who struggle with body confidence, what would you say to them?
Be patient with yourself, it's a journey. Remember that your thoughts don't define you and you can choose to believe what you want about yourself. If you want to change your thoughts but are struggling, you can try a bridging thought. Like instead of going straight to thinking "I love my body", you can try, "I have a body". It might seem like a strange thing to think but it's a huge contrast to "I hate my body" or "I need to change my body". Once you practice these bridging thoughts and accept them, over time you will progress to think positive thoughts about your body, the majority of the time. The point is, your mind is a powerful thing and when you learn to use it for good you will be unstoppable!
You were recently part of our #wethairdontcare hair wrap photoshoot, was it fun?
It was too much fun! I didn't feel like I was working at all! All the girls were super lovely and fun to work with and the crew were amazing too!
And speaking of hair wraps… where do you wear yours?
I wear mine in the bath tub if I don't want to get my hair wet, and I also keep on in my beach bag because the fabric dries my hair so fast after a swim.
We’re all about getting out there and finding adventure. What’s the best destination you’ve travelled to?
I recently visited the Greek Islands for our tenth wedding anniversary. Mykonos is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen. Also South Africa is up there too on my favourite places to visit.