Local Mount Gambier Beauty Therapist and one half of amazeballs podcast Best Version of Yourself, Re Wetherall, came to me with a big, BIG problem.

You see, Re told me, that every time a woman stripped down for a spray tan, these women would apologise for their body.

‘Sorry about my tum, I just ate a massive pasta.’

‘OMG don’t look at my stretch marks!’

‘Soz about the saggy boobs.’

‘Please excuse my big legs.’

And she was sick of it.

It broke my heart to hear that women were out there talking about ourselves like that. What are our daughters hearing? Are they hearing their mama’s berate the very body they carried them around in?

I photograph people for a living. I notice that so many of us have insecurities about the things we don’t wish to celebrate. I think you’re all beautiful though and so much of it, is how society has shaped us to think. 

Take the well-loved sausage dog for example. They are so popular with people, that their shape is printed on everything. Yet, consider this…. Disproportioned body length, short legs, low hanging tummies, big ears, long nose…. All things we would consider as unattractive traits in a human. But on a dog, we are conditioned to see it as cute!  

Anyway, I do believe many of the things we feel insecure about in our bodies, are only because society tells us. I want to photograph people to show them they are beautiful and to empower them through portraiture to love the things that they feel vulnerable about. 

But most of all, I want my images to capture the essence of the person, capture them from the inside out, rather than what we just see at face value. 

So when Re asked me if I wanted to do something to help spread the message of body positivity and campaign body love with a photoshoot, could this body lovin’ photographer possibly say no?! 

I couldn’t have jumped at the opportunity to change the way we discuss, view and celebrate bodies faster! Possibly the worst time in my life to be taking on a passion project (busy!), but HOLY MOLY I feel so passionately about this subject and I couldn’t have said no.

So, why am I passionate about this subject?

I grew up in the dance world… I was never in the big guns comp stuff, but there was still a constant discussion about our bodies. Getting costumes made, having remarks thrown around like being, ‘as tiny as Lou,’ – I had never considered the size of my body as a tween – but suddenly there it was, planted. The discussion of my body, without invitation, had begun… and it was thrusted in my face.

From there on, it continued. As did the way my body changed with puberty… Boobs, hips, fat depositing in new areas. A softening of the tum, a development of cellulite, a growth of stretch marks, a broadening of the hips. I was changing from a girl to a woman and yet everything I saw in the media, and the way that women’s bodies were discussed, was very much about being ‘tiny’.

It was the Supermodels generation, ie Elle McPherson. She even had the nickname ‘The Bod’. If there is any evidence that society was telling us what our bodies should look like, that’s it, right there.

So the fact I was five-foot-fuck-all and starting to turn from a twig to a nugget was constantly on my mind.

I didn’t have legs for days like old mate ‘The Bod’ McPherson.

Was my body not worthy of love?

After years of questioning my size 10 body and growing a little more outwards… I kept hearing these comments. Hear are some of the comments which have never left me:

In a store, looking at clothes, someone says to me:

‘There are only ‘massive’ sizes left.’ (size 14’s)

At a party, amongst people I had just met:

‘That girl over there, the bigger one.’

A comment made by someone close to me:

‘Put your arms down, your shirt is lifting up and I can see your stomach.’

Going to the beach with extended family:

‘OMG Lou, it’s so amazing that you still wear a bikini even though you don’t have a flat tummy.’

Getting complimented on my clothes:

‘I love what you wear, you really know how to flatter a bigger body.’

All of these comments were made when I was the size of the average Australian woman – a size 14! Although none of these comments are abusive, or intentionally hurtful, it just kept planting that message that the body I was in, was not ideal. That it was allowed to be commented on without invitation. That there were people making a judgement on my size. It told me that I should not be happy with myself, even if subliminally.

Then through years of wedded bliss, baby making and down times of emotional loss, my body gradually upsized to a size 20-22. I lived in that body without actually hearing any comments at all. Why is it that my medium sized body received comments but my larger frame didn’t? Weird huh?

My bigger bod served me well at that stage in my life. I still love her at that size. She grew babies and managed an autoimmune disease and lived in comfort. I lived moments of incredible happiness in my larger body and other moments of deep sorrow. Same with every other body size I have lived in (ranging from 8-22!).

Eventually though, it was evident that I wasn’t living a healthy life at a size 22, so decided to get my health back. I wasn’t exercising at all and was habitually putting all too many indulgent things in my mouth. I am now in a much better place physically and mentally. 

I only mention sizes above to paint a picture of how much my body has changed in the past and what my experiences have been in each size. I won’t talk about my current weight or sizes, as that doesn’t matter.

What matters is how you feel on the inside. It does not matter whatsoever, what size you are. We should be celebrating ourselves. Focusing on all of the things our bodies can do! Not what it looks like. I was leaping across a stage doing pirouettes at a size 8 and growing babies at a size 22. But even more importantly, I was a good person at both sizes. I was a good friend, daughter, sister, mother, wife. All of the things I have achieved in my life, haven’t been attributed to my size.

You know why women are apologising for their bodies? I believe, it’s because society feels we makes judgement about other people’s body size. It needs to stop. Society and social media are constantly telling us subliminally that there is something wrong with our bod. The normal isn’t represented. So we apologise because we think something isn’t right with what we have! I’ve had enough.

So… back to Re. When she said women were apologising to her about their bodies, I thought, NAH UH. Nope. That is not good enough. We need to celebrate these bods. Of course we can have our insecurities but we need to show our children and other people, what normal looks like. We need to stand up and say LOOK AT WHAT OUR BODIES CAN DO! Especially in this oversaturated world of ONE body type. Some of us are broad, some of us are skinny, some of us have long legs. Some of us have stretch marks or postpartum loose skin. Some gals have perky boobs, some have big feet. How could we possibly think we could all look the same? How could we think there was an ideal?

What better way to share this message than for me, to photograph these bodies and show them they are beautiful. A photoshoot it was. We gathered these eight amazing bodies together to celebrate them.


Local cafe, Presto Eatery provided us with their beautiful space, Re tanned anyone who wanted one and Jess Creek popped some makeup on those who wished for a little extra. It was all about being YOU, so nothing was essential. Some girls opted not to have tans or makeup, because we all have our own ways of making ourselves feel beautiful and that’s the best.

Everyone was nervous beforehand, but once the clothes came off and we started shooting everyone was beaming with joy! It was an infectious energy! Everyone was dancing around and hugging and having so much fun. It took me a long time to come down from that high. It was magic. Not one person apologised for their bodies and they were all beautiful.

Re and I also agreed, that if we were asking eight chicks to do this, then we should too. So we did…. And we embraced every bit of our bods. The folds, the hanging bits and the extras (my insulin pump!) We made sure that I photographed every vulnerable bit of us, so that other women could stop and think “hey, that looks like me!”.


Read below the experiences of everyBODY who graciously stripped down and bared their beautiful bods for this shoot. Each and every one of them showing us, everyBODY is beautiful.




How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

I felt a little nervous and definitely vulnerable about getting down to my underwear, but knew it was for a good cause and something that I feel strongly about!

Why did you want to get involved?

I think we should be celebrating all of the beautiful bodies out there and spreading the ‘body positivity’ love!

What was it like to be a part of it?

I had such a fun day! It was great to meet everyone and be a part of something with such a positive message. 

How did you feel at the end?

Very proud of myself (and everyone else) for getting out of my comfort zone.

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

I hope that this will show people that there are so many different body shapes and sizes out there, and that every ‘body’ is unique and beautiful. We should be comfortable in our own skin and proud of our bodies and what they can do.



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

Nervous and excited! I knew I was sort of something special and something I’m so passionate about, however being that vulnerable is a little terrifying too. 

Why did you want to get involved?

I wanted to her involved because I want to make my daughter proud, I want her to look up to me. I want to make other mums who don’t “bounce back” straight away feel that it’s normal. I also want to make people who have an auto immune disease like me that’s causes weight gain proud and know that our bodies are just an exterior- it’s our personality’s and souls that really are the most beautiful things. 

What was it like to be a part of it?

It was amazing, the girls behind the camera that made it all happens and the girls in the pictures with me are all incredible and made me feel so comfortable! It was so empowering! 

How did you feel at the end?

Empowered, strong and bloody proud! 

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

That we have more awareness of body positivity and self love! More acceptance and less judgment from the world we live in. We are all beautiful.



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

I was looking forward to it from when I got asked. Wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I’ve seen similar campaigns before and was looking forward to working with a good bunch!

Why did you want to get involved?

I wanted to get involved because I enjoy new opportunities  and wouldn’t turn one down to be a part of something like this! 

What was it like to be a part of it?

It was a lot of fun. We all had a great arvo, we chatted, we connected, we laughed and it was really laid back. I knew that not everyone would go into it super confident so I enjoyed spending time with everyone and chatting and debriefing on what we were there for 

How did you feel at the end?

Happy, confident and excited for how the campaign will come out

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

I hope that correlating between each individuals pod cast, the shoot and the answers to these questions people can relate to every day body confidence and any struggles that EVERYONE faces. That there are so many diverse bodies and also opinions on body confidence which is ok!



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day? 

I was really really nervous before the shooting because it was my first time doing something like this. 

Why did you want to get involved?

I decided to get involved with the campaign to get the message across that EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL and to help many others out there who don’t believe so. 

What was it like to be a part of it?

Being a part of the campaign was a great experience for me as it helped me understand more that I’m not the only one going through bad days where i don’t feel good about myself. 

How did you feel at the end?

I was nervous at the start but after the shoot I felt more alive and good about myself just being able to express myself more fully. 

What do you hope that this is going to achieve? 

I hope that this goes out to sooo many people out there and help them understand that we are all beautiful and give them the confidence to be more comfortable in their body.



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

Just a tad Nervous!!! 

To get down to your underwear in front of strangers to do a photo shoot is a very daunting concept! The doubting of your physical body kicks in straight away.  

Why did you want to get involved?

My daughter, Reanna, is one of the brains behind this empowering campaign. She approached me to see if I would be interested. Straight away I was doubting myself then thought ‘bugger it!’ What have I got to lose? 

Unfortunately my daughters have grown up with me constantly speaking negatively of my body.  

Over the last few years however, they have seen me gradually,  be kinder to myself, watched me nourish and keep my body active. To be involved in something like this was my opportunity to show them that finally,  their mum is getting better at accepting herself for what she is.  

What was it like to be part of it? How did you feel at the end? 

To be a part of this was absolutely amazing to say the least! 

A group of women who didn’t 

 necessarily know each other, coming together to get half naked! What?!?

The vibe was something else.

There was definitely a nervousness of what was to come….we chit chatted then it was time to get our gear off! 

Once everybody was ‘de clothed’ I think a calm came over. We were all in the same boat and there was absolutely no judgment!  

The photo shoot was soo much fun! Lou is such a professional and made the experience so comfortable. The gorgeous group of souls, I had the pleasure of being a part of this with, were all unique in their own way. The laughing, giggling and posing was priceless. When it was over, I wish it wasn’t! 

I felt so empowered- very cliche but that’s how it was. 

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

I want to be honest and say I’m not sure I will ever be  ‘totally’ happy with my physical body. But I am more aware of my past self destruction and I look after myself so much better than I ever have before, I want to be healthy! 

This in turn helps my mental state which then makes me feel so much better within myself.

I want others to feel this way. I want everyone to love who they are of course! I hope people see this and know they can do anything. As I’m finding out at my age,  our body doesn’t define us!



How did I feel in the lead up to the day? 

I was super nervous actually! I didn’t sleep much the night before – I think half of that is pregnancy related! I think I was more nervous to record the podcast than to strip down! 

Why did you want to be involved? 

I wanted to be involved because I thought that it was such a cool campaign! I was honoured to be asked and thought I really can’t turn this down because I’d regret it! I also wanted to do it because I knew I would love looking back on the photos and be able to show my kids one day.

What was it like to be apart of it? 

Amazing! I honestly didn’t think that by the end of the day I would feel so comfortable walking around in bras and undies with all the other ladies especially ladies I had only met an hour beforehand! It felt empowering especially when we all agreed to take the individual photos at the end and all the other ladies were cheering on the sidelines with encouragement! 

How did you feel at the end? 

Really proud. I don’t think I could of wiped the smile off my face even if I tried. I came home and Myla asked to see the photos and I instantly just felt so proud because I get to show her that I got to work with all these amazing women who each had their insecurities about themselves but still agreed to do it! 

What do you hope this is going to achieve?

I really hope it just inspires gals/women/men to just be themselves and especially coming in to summer! I hope that not only the photos but also the podcast that we’ve each recorded resinates with at least someone and then hopefully they can say “you know what the heck, I’m gonna wear my bikini down the beach or at the pool even if I don’t feel 100% right now”. I hope that anyone who is pregnant or who has been pregnant can relate to my part and know it’s OK to not sugarcoat pregnancy – it’s a tough gig!


KYRA SYKES 25 – pronouns they/them

How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day? 

Humbled and excited to share the experience with so many amazing humans and I was also feelin masalf, cause i am so shy….. Not! But i love performing and posing, and to do so near naked was going to challenge my brain to stand strong. Growth! We love to see it, feel it, embrace it!

Why did you want to get involved?

Mostly to represent the LGBTQIA+ community as a gender fluid human. Although my body presents female, that’s not how I feel which is why I identify with the term gender fluid. I also did this to increase my awareness of practicing body neutrality which draws focus to gratitude for what the body does for you rather than how it looks.

What was it like to be a part of it?

JOYUS, the energy was warm, exhilarating and powerful – it felt as if we could take on anything in that moment. 

How did you feel at the end?

Overwhelmed but beyond grateful, buzzed from the champagne and obsessed with everyone including myself!

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

I hope it will give other wonderful humans an opportunity to self reflect on how they feel in their skin, why they feel that way and find joy in their own uniqueness.



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

I was so nervous, was shaking beyond belief and felt so so sick! 

Why did you want to get involved?

I wanted to push myself past one of my biggest fears and insecurities! I don’t even go swimming if people I don’t know or don’t like around so this was something that would really push me!

What was it like to be a part of it?

EMPOWERING! I have never felt such a mix and rush of emotions 

How did you feel at the end?

To be 100% honest I couldn’t even tell you how I felt because I was feeling almost every emotion you could think of! But my god I could not stop smiling!

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

I hope this teaches people that even if people a size 20 or a size 12 they are beautiful and are allowed to love themselves! Might open up people’s eyes a bit and find that confidence is more attractive than looks!



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

I was so excited, just so excited to get such an important message across, and i guess i didn’t really event think about the stripping off part! I was nervous in the way i wanted what Lou and I visioned to come to life! AND IT DID

Why did you want to get involved?

I want my little girl growing up knowing no different, loving her body and accepting who she is!! 

What was it like to be a part of it?

It was empowering, and so god dam special to be apart of making hopefully some more conversation on how beautiful we all are!

How did you feel at the end?

I couldn’t stop smiling for days after, it’s such an amazing message and the whole shot was so much fun and just bloody love eveytging about this!!

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

I hope everyone understands how truely beautiful they are, and that our body doesn’t define us. We are all unique, special and have so much to offer the world. Our bodies are our shells. WE ALL ROCK!!!



How did you feel in the lead to the shoot day?

Petrified! I couldn’t believe I was going to get down to my knickers and show my tummy… it had been at least 10 years since I had shown almost anyone my tum. 

But I was also ecstatically excited about this campaign and everything it was going to do for so many other women who saw our images!

Why did you want to get involved?

Women are constantly feeling apologetic for the way they look and I wanted to stand up and unapologetically say HERE I AM AND THIS IS WHAT I LOOK LIKE. I am so proud of my bod and everything it achieves, I want to show my daughter what everyBODY looks like and that everyBODY is beautiful!  

I also wanted to show people what it looks like under my clothes to have type 1 diabetes and to empower other type 1’s to embrace the bits and pieces we have injected in to us and carry around. It took me a long time to consider having an insulin pump as I was self conscious about people seeing it, but I don’t give it a second thought now.

What was it like to be a part of it?

Hugely empowering, the energy in the room was infectious. All of these gorgeous people sharing a safe place of celebration with zero judgement and 100 times delight and pride.

How did you feel at the end?

PROUD AF, and so exited for anyone who gets to see these amazing people and the message they are sharing (especially my children and the generations to come…. its time to change how we view and speak about bods).

What do you hope that this is going to achieve?

A change in the way future generations view and celebrate bodies. Less shame, more living in the now. Looking after ourselves etc.


I hope this body positive, self-lovin’ campaign will resonate with people in Mount Gambier, the Limestone Coast and beyond.  No F-word (FAT), no berating ourselves (especially in front of little people!) lets try and just embrace ourselves. Our size and shape does not define us, but the wonderful things your body can help you do in life will. 

It’s true that we shine from the inside out, and would you just look at this group of fabulous humans below. If that’s not testament, I don’t know what is. Enjoy this gallery of beautiful people, and if you got this far, thank you for being a big part of this body positive movement. You are part of it by just being here. But even more so, by talking about it, challenging old ways and above all, celebrating who we are!

Head to my facebook page, my instagram @louiseagnew and Re’s podcast instagram page @bestverysionofyou_immiandre to see the discussion! And tune in to hear all about this project on the Best version of You with Immi and Re Podcast!