WEARING glamorous clothes, that hug her voluptuous body, Sarah Peat exudes startling confidence – but it wasn’t always this way.
The self-described plus-sized model, battled with poor body image for more than two decades.
This self-loathing left her with low self-esteem and virtually no confidence. A boundary breaking contest has changed that.
With size zero models splashed across magazines, it is no surprise that 30 per cent of young people aged 15-19 said body image was one of their top three concerns.
Two months ago, motivated by her young children, Ms Peat adopted a new persona – Miss Toxic Starburst, and entered Miss Pinup Australia.
Headspace’s clinical psychologist Kylie Hamblin said a significant number of young people were being referred to the clinic for low self esteem.
“Body image is important as it contributes to self esteem, self-acceptance and healthy outlook behaviours,” Mrs Hamblin said.
“A healthy body image can lead to a more healthy approach to life.”
The portrayal of thinness as the ultimate beauty goal continued to place unnecessary pressures on young people, Mrs Hamblin said.
“Media and advertising images of size six models promotes thinness as the ideal and can be one of the many factors that may contribute to a negative body image,” she said.
“The models we see in the media are frequently atypical of normal, healthy women and men and set an unrealistic body ideal.”
Ms Peat said she still grappled with her body image but was gaining confidence every day.
“The contest says ‘you can be any shape, any race’ and enter, it’s pin-up and it’s very classy,” Ms Peat said.
“I’ve always had very little confidence, but through this we get a lot of support.”
Contestants have to perform an act on stage.
“I just decided if I didn’t do it now I was never going to do it,” Ms Peat said.
She had always had a penchant for trialing rockabilly pin-up hairstyles but realised she could also wear the clothing.
With inked arms and fairy-floss coloured hair a key part of Ms Peat striking look, she entered the Miss Neo Pinup section of the contest.
Ms Peat wants to inspire other young people to develop confidence and be proud of their bodies - no matter what shape or size.
“I don't want my children to grow up with the same anxieties I have. I want them to be confident in their life.”
Event founder, Miss Pixie Roberts, said the 1950s was a glorious era for women and their bodies.
“I believe the 1950s portrayed women at their finest,” says Miss Pixie Roberts.
“This is an era when women had self respect.”
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