Learn to love your body’s imperfections


By Aaron Bocook, News Writer

When she was in junior high, EWU senior Taylor Phillips thought she would never be able to fulfill her dream of modeling.

“I had always wanted to model,” said Phillips. “But my peers told me I was ugly, fat and skanky. I used to sit at the gym while I stretched and would envy others for their bodies, hair or complexion and wish I could look like them.”

According to EWU counseling psychologist Lauren Cahill, focusing on a particular part of your body that is dissatisfying can lead to a distorted view of one’s self, or a negative body image.

“It’s not an uncommon thing for students to struggle with,” Cahill said. “Feeling that something you don’t like about yourself says something about your character and means something bad about you. A way to deal with that is to figure out what you do like about yourself and focus on health.”

After years of being told she did not live up to everyone else’s expectation, Phillips said she had enough. During one of her visits to the gym, daydreaming about the perfect body, she had an epiphany.

“One day I realized there was probably someone looking at me and thinking the same thing,” Phillips said. “After realizing that, it broke my heart that I didn’t love and accept my body, and I finally started to see my body and all of its imperfections in a positive light.”

About two years ago, while looking at pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page and the more contemporary example, Cherry Dollface, she started to get the modeling bug again.

“I got inspiration from other pin up girls,” Phillips said. “I found YouTube videos of Cherry Dollface on how to do hair and makeup in this retro style and I was like, ‘I can do this.’”

Phillips said she has come to believe what her model heroes say: Whatever body a person has is gorgeous, and anyone who does not think that is wrong.

“Everyone is special in their own way,” Phillips said. “Beauty doesn’t conform, so that’s what I’ve done. The more shoots I do, the more confident I feel having pudge on my tummy, or large thighs, or wide hips. It’s given me a confidence I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.”

Cahill said that any students who are suffering from negative body image or other issues such as eating disorders can come to Eastern’s Counseling and Psychological Services Offices and get information, education and individual counseling from 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

This fall, Cahill is starting a body image group that is free to students and said that anyone interested should come in now for consultation and screening if they wish to join.

Phillips said she is going to continue pinup modeling and will use it to encourage other women to get body positive.

“I want to be classy, sexy and curvy for me, and so women know I won’t change my body to try to be beautiful,” Phillips said. “I’m not skinny, I’m not plus sized– I’m average, but even average can be extraordinary.”