Real Bodies Photo Shoot - Luscious Lindelwa
I did a shoot recently with this amazing young woman who is lovingly known by her friends as Wally. She is a talented and acclaimed chef who is now investing her time in teaching cooking skills to the younger generation. I adore Wally's confidence and I especially love her smile. She is a warm, confident woman who inspires other women daily. I am blessed to call her a friend.
Please tell us a little about yourself?
I always tend to clam up when people ask me about myself and end up telling them useless information about how I wanted to be an archaeologist as a child but soon found out I was afraid of the dark and small spaces so that dream was a no go. Which I’m actually glad I didn't see through because the decisions I then made in life wouldn't have led me to my true love which is food (I'm a Chef). I actually took it for granted when I was younger because in my family everyone including the house ghost could hold their own in the kitchen, I swear I used to wake up to the smell of sausages in a pan at 3 o'clock in the morning on some days. but then again this could have also been my nocturnal and eternally hungry brother. So for me food was always there I just never saw it as a serious career option and it wasn't until I had gone to Vega and tried almost every job under the sun when I realised that my heart was actually in a kitchen.
What does body positivity mean to you?
For as long as I remember I’ve always been at war with my body, she's never been a friend to me and for the longest time I never knew that there was any other way for us to coexist without hating each other. When you're overweight and constantly being told that your body shape & body size is wrong that not only becomes true to you it becomes your narrative. The first time the body positivity movement started to gain some traction I was against it, in fact I laughed at it. I was outraged at how some fat girls thought themselves as pretty as skinny girls, does she not know her place? It took a while for me to realise how unhealthy my relationship with my body was and that was when I decided to change my narrative because the body positivity campaigns showed me a better way to co exist with my body that I never knew existed. To me the thought of a fat girl being happy with her body was completely foreign to me I just couldn't comprehend it. But now I’m happy to say that many years later my body and I have learnt to love each other even though on some days its a love between a friend who told you're ugly and fat that 'one' time in primary school but now they know better and you get along waaay better as adults but still you never do forget that one time.
If you could tell your younger self (or your daughter) one thing in terms of self-love and acceptance, what would it be?
I have so many apologies to give to my younger self she's probably side eyeing me and chanting "its. about. damn. time." As I type this but me and her have had our ugly cry inducing conversation so I’m going to speak to my future daughter instead.
Baby girl. Firstly, you are beautiful and loved beyond measure and I hope that you never have to spend sleepless nights questioning that, but the way this world is set up I know that you one day might. When that happens I want you to hear that little voice of self-doubt in your head, listen to what it has to say and then prove it wrong with all your heart because you know that, that’s not your truth. I hope to raise you in a way that when that voice becomes much too loud on your own you will come to me and I will show you all the reasons why its wrong and I hope that you believe me.
What was the most valuable body positive advice ever given to you?
Being told that I am beautiful and finally believing it
Do you ever try to speak positively about the way you look?
I didn't always but now that I love my body more and more, I definitely do.
Do you have any words of encouragement for women or young girls who may deal with shaming of their body type? Or even something you, yourself may still need to be told?
I wish someone told me that there wasn't just one standard of measuring beauty and that self love isn't something that happens overnight so be gentle with yourself and your progress.
To conclude, complete the following: I will love my body more positively by…
I will love my body more positively by accepting my body at every angle, even the unflattering ones.