Today I’m introducing you to a new #gamechanger, an extraordinary woman – Claire Thomson. I came across the Facebook page for her project ILOVEMYLYFIE a few weeks ago whilst procrastinating and was really amazed to see the message that she is sharing with ladies of all shapes and sizes through her photography and social media accounts. In a world where we are led to believe that we are unworthy if we do not fit the mould of ‘perfection’, it was refreshing and encouraging to encounter her page and to find more about the message that she desires to share with the world! She is definitely a #gamechanger, and thankfully she was more than happy to be featured here on Taste & See.
So without further ado, let the Q&A begin 🙂
So, tell us a bit about who Claire Thomson is?
I’m Claire Thomson, a professional photographer from Cape Town. Originally from Nelspruit, I moved to Cape Town 9 years ago. I have been working for myself for 3 years now after leaving my full-time job. I love to travel and meet new and interesting faces!
What was the ‘eureka!’ moment that inspired you to start ILOVEMYLYFIE?
ILOVEMYLYFIE started a year ago as a side photo project and I never expected it to take off the way that it did! Self Love and body acceptance has always been a passion built within me as I was bullied as a young girl and managed to come out on the other side and fall in love with who I am. Regardless of what the media says I should be. It was a long and painful road and I would like to see more young girls at peace rather than go through what I experienced.
What is the vision for ILOVEMYLYFIE? What can we look forward to seeing happen in the next few months?
For the time being, I am still trying to fill women’s’ newsfeeds with positive messages and some positive energy. I see ILOVEMYLYFIE as a movement that can teach young girls all over South Africa to live fearlessly. A female psychologist, Jaclyn Lotter, and I have just launched a program that we will be delivering to schools across the Western Cape called BODYTALK (a bit more about this here and here). This will also expand to wellness camps, online body positive programs, and confidence-building get-togethers.
Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
I love Katie Wilcox and her movement, Healthy is the New Skinny (HNS), as well as off-the-wall actors, artists, and personalities such as Amy Schumer, Ashley Longshore, Iskra Lawrence, and Ashley Graham, who have all allowed girls to see that living unapologetically is the way to go!
What are your top tips for staying healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally?
Exercise should be to celebrate your body and all that it can do, rather than to punish or push it. It’s all about balance. Listen to your body and if it doesn’t like something, don’t force it! That also goes for putting stuff into your body that doesn’t do it any justice! Your body is your greatest gift. Look after it.
What is your favorite go-to meal to make after a busy day?
If the day has been mad I refuse to cook, and most of the time I will opt for sushi! But if I have energy, which I usually do, I make something Mediterranean, usually with fresh ingredients such as hummus, olives, charred eggplant, tomatoes, baby spinach, and feta!
What is your favorite recreational activity? What do you like doing to wind down?
My boyfriend and I are MAJOR foodies, so we love visiting all the slow food markets we can around Cape Town. We usually pair this with a hike or a day on the beach. Being outdoors with our pooch is when we are happiest.
Any last words of advice for girls (and guys) who want to live healthier, happier lives?
Happiness and contentment is not a physical destination. Being in shape (or what the media says you should look like) will not make you happy. Happiness and self-love is a personal journey with lots of hard work but when you manage to get it right, everything else falls into place. You make more time for yourself and you look after your body, which results in a balanced, happy life.