‘It is the first TV series of its kind that encourages people to love themselves, by spending quality time with normal naked bodies. And the amazing body paint was included to show people how beautiful everyone’s bodies are.
‘I was approached twice by different production members to join the show. They wanted me to get involved, so it was fate really. I knew I had a calling. And by taking part in the show I knew could reach a wider audience, and hopefully make some real changes for the better.’
Lala’s journey to body acceptance hasn’t always been easy. She has both fibromyalgia and hidradenitis suppurativa – a painful skin condition – which has been frustrating for her at times. But despite her difficulties, she has never had trouble accepting who she is.
‘I feel good about my body. It’s a beauty,’ Lala tells us.
‘I didn’t use to love it as much as I do now, especially because being disabled can be very hard on your body. My illnesses used to make me mad at my body sometimes, but I knew that it wasn’t who I was.
‘It never effected my confidence, which I’ve had from a very young age. And I honestly believe it is sad to not appreciate what you were given. You only get one body. And my body is a masterpiece. Would you disrespect the Mona Lisa?’
Naked Beach has aroused certain criticisms, with some people questioning the legitimacy of its good intentions and suggesting that the real motivation is nothing more than sensationalism. But Lala is confident that making different body types visible in the media can have a really positive effect.
‘It’s extremely important because a lot of people hate themselves,’ she explains.
‘From the ones who you wouldn’t even think of, to the usual suspects who suffer at the hands of society’s unfair judgments.
‘It is great because everyone deserves the chance to love and appreciate who they are and what they look like. The body positive movement is a gift and it has already helped so many lives.
Lala is passionate about changing perceptions of fat bodies. She says that starts with visibility and with seeing more bodies like hers in the media.
‘Every day I think about how hidden fat bodies are in the media,’ says Lala.
‘They are often only shown when it is being scrutinised or laughed at, especially in TV sitcoms and in films. It’s about time that we start humanising fat people and offer them the same respect that is automatically handed to slim or petite bodies.
‘Fat black women are the least likely to reach a big following on social media, less advertised globally, and are not hired as much as their white counterparts.
‘Being fat is already an issue for most individuals, but adding dark skin to the equation makes living and earning a lot harder.’
So if you take issue with looking at other people’s jiggly bits from the comfort of your sofa, maybe it’s time to think about the bigger picture.
‘I really hope that I can help someone,’ says Lala.
‘I want it to change how people view fat bodies. The world needs to unlearn the harsh stereotypes that are given to fat people. We aren’t lazy, we aren’t eating 24-7 and we are human.
‘I’d also love to see more representation of fat black women and people of colour in adverts or campaigns.
‘Even if I only inspired one person, who decided that after seeing me with my pink hair, back rolls and carefree attitude, they would be more accepting of themselves or of others, that’s enough for me. My mission would be complete.’
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