By Luke Voogt
Grovedale “everyday woman” Hannah Smoorenburg overcame her body image struggles to make her catwalk debut yesterday.
The 25-year-old joined four women from across Australia embracing their bodies in time for summer.
“I’m not a model at all,” she said. “It’s all about embracing who you are and what you’ve got, and having fun with it.”
Hannah recently completed a swimwear photo shoot as part of a Victorian company’s search for five women of all shapes and sizes.
She joined the women, aged 20 to 53 and sized 10 to 20, on the runway at a summer launch party in Melbourne.
“It was such a fun adventure,” she said. “Everyone’s just so inspiring.“
“It’s so great to be surrounded by that energy and that vibe – it’s contagious.“
She will feature in the company’s summer advertisement campaign after modelling alongside her fellow first-time models.
“I think when I see a picture of myself in the store that will be really exciting,” she said.
“I think it’s the smart thing to do. At the end the day we’re the consumers – if we don’t see ourselves in what we’re buying, how can they expect us to buy their products?
“It really showcases that we all come in different shapes and sizes. It’s such a good message.”
The influx of Photoshopped and filtered bikini images on social media in summer put pressure on women to have the “perfect body”, Hannah said.
“Even when I was a teenager, we had My Space and I was just coming onto Facebook. I can’t even imagine the effect it’s having on young women today.”
Hannah hoped to “inspire girls who aren’t too confident with themselves”.
“I’ve struggled with body image in the past but I’ve sort of learnt to embrace my body,” she said.
The avid boxer and runner said focusing on her health and looking after herself changed her perspective.
“I haven’t always been confident but becoming physically active helped me overcome my insecurities and love my body for what it can do instead of how it looks.”
Swimwear Galore partnered with the Body Image Movement for the I Will Embrace Summer promotion.
The promotion aimed to throw out the “myth of the bikini body” and encourage women to embrace their curves, stretch marks, cellulite and scars during summer.
Founder of the Body Image Movement Taryn Brumfitt said Australian women were tired of only seeing “one type of airbrushed model” when shopping for swimwear.
“There’s a direct correlation between the way the media portrays women and the way women report feeling about their bodies.
“With the rise of social media, we’re finding that apps like Instagram negatively impact a woman’s body image.”