Move Over Calendar Girls – the Wonder Women of Warwickshire Are Here

‘Huddling to keep warm, I clutched my high heels and waited for the photographer to arrive…’

Starting a blog post with this sentence might lead you to believe I was writing a crime story, or something a bit dodgy! I was, in fact, about to be involved in a charity photo shoot.

The Wonder Women of Warwickshire is the brain child of Angela Marie Saffrey from The Image Angel, Blanche Gal from It’s About You, and Helena Lapworth from Retro Rosie.

They wanted to celebrate the female body in all its forms by hitting back at the companies who tell us on a daily basis that we aren’t good enough. We’re bombarded with advertisements on TV and in glossy magazines for the ‘quick fix’ that will slim us down, make us beautiful, let us fit in, help us get fit and feel fabulous.

While we all understand the benefits of healthy eating, exercise, and living a balanced life, we also know that women come in all shapes and sizes and none of them are wrong. The advertisements we see contribute to negative mental health and body shaming. We can be lead to believe that we must fit into a specific mould to be accepted when this is not true.

Angela, Blanche, and Helena wanted to find a way for women to feel incredible about themselves, have fun, and promote self-confidence, and so they came up with the idea of producing a calendar to celebrate our bodies.

Why I Took Part

From a personal perspective, I’ve had three children and therefore own an impressive array of stretch marks. I also have back fat, a wobbly tummy, and big boobs! Thanks to my own self-doubts, lack of confidence, and negative feelings towards my body I often stare at myself in the mirror when getting ready (either at home or even worse, in a shop dressing room) and pick myself apart. What am I teaching my teenage daughter?

The thought process behind the calendar is to make women stop, and instead of body shaming, to say ‘hang on a minute, my body has given birth to three tiny humans, it’s got battle scars from various moments in my life, and those flaws I hated so much are actually part of who I am.’

When you push aside the negativity and understand the story your body tells then you’ll stand tall and proud. Life is too short to spend it in self-hatred and loathing.

The girls knew that the calendar needed to contain real women so they put out the call for willing volunteers who would be prepared to take part in a photo shoot wearing nothing but the incredible lingerie from Retro Rosie.

You might be reading this post and thinking ‘OMG, there’s no way I could do that!’ Well, 100 ladies don’t agree with you, and Angela, Blanche, and Helena have spent the month of September dressing and photographing these amazing women.

I met Helena at a networking event in Kenilworth, and when I heard about the project, I was motivated to put myself forward. Stepping out of my comfort zone and promoting self-confidence in women is something I’m passionate about, and I knew the readers of my blog would be interested in the story.

On The Day

On Tuesday 25th September I drove to Blanche’s studio in Rugby and stripped for the photo shoot. It was one of the most nerve wracking moments of my life, and I was visibly shaking when I stepped out of the dressing room. Helena and Blanche were incredibly supportive and put me at ease straight away. Once I relaxed I began to enjoy myself, and the laughter flowed. When Blanche showed me one of the images on her camera I nearly fell off the chair – ‘is that really me?’ I asked as I looked at the confident, glowing, and smiley ‘model’ in her underwear.

Doing the shoot with other ladies helped us to make it an enjoyable day where we supported one another, had our hair and make-up done, and laughed until our sides ached. The entire experience was remarkable, and I salute all the women who took part in this project.

If you’d like to read more about the Wonder Women of Warwickshire, then take a look at the website HERE.

The calendar will be on sale later this year (I’ll be sharing links on my Motivate Me Facebook page so please feel free to follow me) and all proceeds from the calendar will go to charities supporting vulnerable girls and women.

Taking part in this project has been inspirational, emotional, and satisfying and if what we’ve done can help the next generation to embrace their bodies, turn off the negativity, and promote positive self-esteem then that’s worth more than anything else.

I’m delighted to have been able to take part, and I’m proud of the strong body I have.

Let me end with a question for you – what do you LOVE about your body?

As promised… here are the behind the scenes photographs!

Wonder Women of Warwickshire

 

24 comments

  1. I absolutely love this Shelley and really big hats off to you – and a lot more sounds like! 😂
    It is so inspiring and for such a great cause if they do it again next year let me know I’d be out and proud to share my wrinkles with the world for this 💕 #awesomeauthorshelleywilson

    1. Thanks, Blanche x It was all down to you lovely ladies! I wish you all the success in the world with this project and I’m delighted to be a part of it xxx

  2. Well done Shelley, this is a proud moment for you and all the other ladies, I only wish I had the courage you have. In answer to your question I love my body but not so sure about sharing it – At the moment, maybe next time. I am sure this is going to inspire alot of people, raise awareness and help the charities.

  3. Well my strip buddy, how amazing beautifully written, it’s such a shame we cannot explain feelings of us all before then after. I truly think others will join us next year when they see the results. You look stunning my darling, as always you are amazing inside and out a big inspiration to so many people, I don’t think you know how much. 🥂here’s to next time……

    1. Thank you so much my lovely friend, I couldn’t have done it without you! We had such a giggle and the results will speak for themselves xxx

  4. How inspiring you are last week I had an actual little cry when I tried on a dress in the fitting room. The mirror is too close I know we would never stand four inches from someone it would be opressive. But still Knowing abd ignoring are two different things. But I am lucky I am still here. I am blessed to have a husband that knows and loves the me I am. But I do wish I would have worn better. I liike my smile the best. You look simply stunning.

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that, Ellen. Feeling that way, especially when you are not in the safety of your own home, can be difficult to deal with. I’m so glad you have a supportive husband. Big hugs xx

  5. Great blog post Shelley! Congratulations on taking part in this very positive exercise which sends out a strong message to all women of today and our daughters, the women of tomorrow.

  6. This is a very important issue and hats off to you for getting involved Shelley! the photos look great and I can imagine how nerve wracking it was to do. Great effort 🙂

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