5 minutes with Body Gossip founder Natasha Devon

Posted by: on Jun 22, 2013 | No Comments

 

 

Hi Natasha! Tell us more about Body Gossip.

Body Gossip is a campaign and a education program run by me and Ruth Rodgers. Ruth and I have actually been best friends from school. We invite the public to tell us their real body stories. We get a wide range of stories from disability to feminism. We then pick some of them to be performed by a celebrity cast. We also published over 300 of them in our book body gossip. Our aim is to break the body image taboo. We also run self esteem classes for young people aged between 14 – 18.

 

Is there anything in particular that founding Body Gossip has taught you?

It has taught me the extent of how this impacts everyone. People suffering from self esteem and body have a tendency to feel alone. I actually get stopped in the street by people who say thank you. No one is exempt from these issues.

 

What are the main issues you feel affecting self esteem?

I think especially for young people the internet plays a part. There is now a need for instant gratification. Photos on Facebook being liked and commented by people making people want to feel instantly gratified. It is becoming more important to look good in a photograph but there is more to attractiveness that cannot be captured on camera.

 

Do you think the issues surrounding self esteem have increased or decreased over the years?

I think it has broadly stayed the same. Over time it manifests itself in different ways. There is more of an awareness of it now which can make you feel it has increased. People are talking about it more now which can only be a good thing.

 

Tell us a little bit about the workshops you deliver as part of Gossip School.

It is an hour long workshop and we tailor it depending on the audience and age. The workshops for both boys and girls aged 14 – 18 and we tailor it depending on what the teacher tells us the needs are. The broad structure is that I start off by sharing my background and my body confidence issues. I don’t give them any tips on eating disorders but it is important for them to know I have had my own struggles.

We also look at the psychology and body shape. We touch on the media especially advertising and how this can affect them. To end with I focus on them realising we have our own power. We can make the choices not society about our self esteem. I don’t like not ending on a practical solution as I feel that is important so I tell them ways they can get involved with body gossip.

 

You have an exciting flash mob event taking place at the end of the month. How can people get involved?

All the information is online at www.bodygossip.org

The main part of the event will be taking part in London but you can also do a small flash mob at work or at school. If you can’t do that you can do it online through twitter so there is no excuse not to involved.

 

Have you personally struggled with body confidence and how did you over come it? 

Yes, I have, I suffered with an eating disorder in my late teens and early twenties when I was a model. What struck me the most is that if you knew me then I was the least likely candidate for this to happened to. That’s when I realised that it is universal and can affect anyone. I’ve been recovered for six years now. It is not acceptable for this to happen to people and it is more likely that most people will go through it. I don’t blame the media initially starting these issues but it does affect them.

 

What does 2013 have in store for Body Gossip?

We have some very exciting things lined up. We are going to be launching a new theatre show tour. We have teamed up with South Bank centre and Ruth is directing the shows.

Our celebrity cast will be exclusively some of the stories at the flash mob in London.

I am also working with change.org to go to the government with simple things that I think could be changed to educate children through the education policy. Stay tuned.

 

What are your top body confidence tips?

Not to compartmentalise yourself. We live in an age where if you have money you can change how you look through plastic surgery. The body has become something to mould rather than just exists. People pick at all the little things on themselves. What they need to remember is people see the entire person as a whole and when they get to know them more they see more of the personality.

 

What is your favourite thing about founding Body Gossip?

Knowing that we are pro-active. There are many campaigns out there who are raising awareness which is great but I feel like we are doing something about it. We found a problem and go about ways to change it and it’s been a success.

 

To find out more about Body Gossip go to www.bodygossip.org.

You can also follow Natasha on Twitter: @BodyGossipTash

Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us, Natasha.

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