I thought I would never do it. When asked to participate in the new look of Diane’s Lingere by smearing paint over my naked body and gradually lower myself onto a canvas I did a double-take. Would it be safe? Private? But honestly the most insecure fear nagged at me: would my body look ok smeared onto a canvas? Yes. I was alarmingly more concerned about girth and cellulite than pretty much anything. Diane’s Lingerie invited me and a group of notable Vancouver women to become a work of art. To honour the beautiful shapes and sizes of women they assist every day, Diane’s asked 25 women to paint their naked bodies and create art. The concept would be rolled into the new look and feel of the brand and exhibited at a gallery be creating an art exhibition and silently auctioned, with proceeds going to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – BC/Yukon region. It was a rush! I felt connected to the other women waiting for the paint. Some were curvy, some were tall and all were beautiful. As the completed works emerged from ‘behind the curtain’, I gasped every time. Works of art indeed! In the room I wasn’t nervous. Although women with video and cameras stood by, I happily applied paint, loving the mixing of colours and finding interesting places to apply them. Today Maya Angelou passed away. As I write and think of my body I remember lines to one of her most inspiring poems called ‘Phenomenal Woman’. Excerpt: (The full poem can be found via The National Poetry Foundation).
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
What I realized as I wrapped myself in the snuggly robe provided by Diane’s Lingere was that society’s current ideals should never sway our sense of whether or not we are beautiful. Different shapes have been idealized over time, and every body tells a story. A curve here, a scar there, a bellybutton that implants so clearly onto the canvas it reminds us of our origins. We are a community and I am so grateful to have been a part of such a groundbreaking campaign. No wonder there are so many shapes and sizes of lingere! In the end I began to value my body and its curvaceous shape. I am a phenomenal woman. And Diane’s really does fit them all. www.dianeslingerie.com