An email came my way asking if I wanted to collaborate with a bathing suit company. Instantly I thought, “Absolutely not!” As I searched for the “delete” button, the name of the brand caught my attention. I got my ass off the couch, walked into my closet, and dug deep to find the one bathing suit I’ve had for years. I only have one in case of emergencies because there’s no way I’d wear it unless I absolutely had to.
I check the tag and at that moment I realize why the brand sounds so familiar. Coco Reef was the name of the company that wanted to collaborate. Coco Reef was the name of the ONE bathing suit that I owned because I loved the way it fit me. This was fate.
There’s an ever growing movement to embrace body positivity. We come in all shapes and sizes so why not celebrate every body? Truth be told, the thought of getting into a bathing suit was terrifying let alone the idea of having to post pics on the internet where they could haunt me forever. But in honor of the women who flaunt their shape like model Hunter McGrady, I decided to suck it up (both my courage and my gut) and do this.
There’s strength in numbers, right? Cue my dear friend Deanna Cruz. We couldn’t be more different and alike all at the same time. Let’s point out the obvious. I’m roughly 100 pounds heavier than her. Yeah, you read that right. ONE HUNDRED. Why on EARTH would I think asking her to join this campaign would be a good idea?
Deanna’s an avid cross fitter while I’m an avid Netflix watcher. Her go to food is protein peanut butter and I’d happily live on French fries if I could. From the beginning of our friendship, neither of us ever saw size. Maybe it’s because we’re in our thirties? Or maybe it’s because she’s a genuinely amazing human being who spreads nothing but love and kindness to everyone around her.
It took a little convincing though. Imagine that! The thick girl had to twist the fit girl’s arm into posing in a bathing suit. Eventually Deanna agreed and on one of the first sunny summer days in Seattle, we took our imperfect bodies to the beach. As you can imagine we weren’t the only ones with the bright idea to soak up some vitamin D and the place was packed! Add another level of insecurity to the mix but we took off our cover-ups and got to shooting.
I’ll admit. I felt like I had to be the confident one since I knew Deanna was nervous. Eventually, I wasn’t just acting confident…I was confident! I’m imperfect. I’ve got dimples on the backs of my legs and a keg on my waist compared to my friend’s hard earned six pack of abs. Am I happy with the way that my body looks? Nope. But it’s a work in progress and progress won’t be made until I start being kind to myself.
So, this is us. These photos are unedited. Yes, we had a great day and a super talented photographer, but these are raw images. 100% real.
Here’s hoping that more of us feel the courage to flaunt our shapes in public. Ok, maybe not on social media but what about in your own backyard? Do you dare go to the beach with some close gal pals? How about simply sharing this blog post to encourage others to embrace their shape, no matter how big or small. If the size of your clothes bothers you, rip the tag out. Confidence truly is a one-size-fits-all piece that can, and should, be added to everyone’s closet.
Want to add Coco Reef to your bathing suit collection? Snag 20% off with the code Ellen20 at www.cocoreefswim.com
Thank you to Annie B. Stills for the amazing photos.