Bethany Hill is a 23 year old makeup artist from Southampton; “I’m passionate about all things beauty related. Skin deep and a little deeper”, she said. “I love making people smile, and helping them to see how beautiful they are. Give me sun, food and the people I love in one place and I’ll be happy forever”.
Working in the beauty industry Bethany Hill sees first hand how much of an impact it has on people’s every day lives; “I see how the right makeup can bring out a bright glow in people’s eyes that they may have never noticed before. It really can put a smile on their face. It’s kinda funny because a lot of people think makeup is just about the superficial aspect, which of course to a certain extent it is. But if you take the time to really talk about it, and break past that stigma, you realise that it’s about so much more”.
It’s about letting people express themselves creatively in such a grey world; “Makeup is about bringing back that beautiful little shine in a person’s eyes that they never realised, or forgot, was there. It’s helping someone see the beauty in themselves that everyone else can already see. Makeup is everywhere. And it’s so powerful”.
“But let’s be honest”, she continued, “lipstick is not going to change the world. Even though I can almost guarantee that if you pop on a little bit of red lippy when you’re having a bad day, it can awaken your soul. Just a little”.
We are finally starting to hit the nail on the head when it comes to representing different bodies, both in fashion and the media. “Well hopefully we’ve managed to pick up the hammer, at least”, Bethany said. “We are finally starting to appreciate that there is so much more than fat or skinny. As someone who has struggled with body dysmorphia in silence, and eventually out loud, for as long as I can remember, it is SO important to me to shed light on every body, every shape and every size. Which is why I’m trying to be part of the #faceofyours campaign with Yours Clothing“.
Things started for Bethany Hill when she had had enough of wasting the beginning of her 20s being ashamed of how she looked. She was suffering with anxiety and depression, cancelling plans with friends because she was embarrassed about her weight, and only took pictures from certain angles to disguise her body. Enough was enough. “It has taken me years to love what I see in the mirror. Through weightloss and weight gain, I’m starting to like myself just as I am. And it’s such a wonderful feeling. It’s freedom! How lovely would it be for everyone to feel free? To not feel the restraints that have been put on us for so long?”
She continued to explain how she had been following lots of body positivity pages on Instagram and felt inspired; “I didn’t want to feel trapped anymore. I didn’t want to lie on social media anymore. So I just pushed myself way out of my comfort zone and decided to be honest, and real. I decided to be me and took everything one day at a time. First by posting a makeup free picture, then by starting to talk about body issues. In particular about the way we view ourselves and the illusion that social media allows us to create”.
And the response? Overwhelming. “People I had gone to school with were telling me they felt the same way and I couldn’t believe it. All of these confident, beautiful humans were feeling the same way as I was! It was a eureka moment and I knew I had to continue being uncensored and real. The freedom of being honest and accepted for how I looked was intoxicating. There have been days where I’ve wanted to give up though, and give in to the voice inside telling me I’m being silly for seeing beauty in myself. I fight with that voice in the hope that maybe someone, somewhere, might see my story and find courage in my words. I want them to use it to find the inspiration to love themselves”.
“We are finally starting to see more body diversity within social media, and it’s beautiful. It’s so important for everyone to be represented. Today, social media can bring people together who share the same opinions and have the same questions. This connection should be part of everyone’s lives”.
Speaking of the #faceofyours competition with Yours Clothing, Bethany Hill explains that she’s a “latecomer” and became aware of the campaign through Instagram accounts she follows. “I promised myself that this year I would try and do things that scared the shit out of me. This is one of those things. Yours Clothing has been around for over 15 years, and it started with humble beginnings. The owner sold plus size garments at his market stall in the UK. Now, they have 70 stores across the country and cater for sizes 16-36. They make sure their clothes flatter every single curve”.
Inclusive clothing brands are paving the way for body acceptance and for Bethany Hill, it’s a no-brainer to want to be a part of something like that. “I want to prove to myself, and others that have felt the way I have, that you can do it”, she said. “You can hush the voice that’s telling you you’re not good enough. You’re stronger than you think. Acceptance is key and that’s what 2017 has given me. I’ve learned to stop chasing society’s idea of what is best for me, and to start chasing what makes me happy. Right now, that’s accepting myself. Flaws and all”.
Winning is not the important thing to Bethany Hill; “Applying was HUGE. I’m so proud that I have done that. But if I were to be lucky enough to win, it would be amazing to have a platform to be able to speak about body issues. I want people to realise that they aren’t alone, and they don’t have to suffer in silence. Deciding that you are going to love yourself is terrifying. It’s a big step to take. Letting people know that there are other people there to hold their hand along the way is what I would like to do. I would like everyone to feel as I do now. Beautiful and brave”.