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Hate the way your body looks? You aren’t alone. But plus-size models Rosie Mercado and Hunter McGrady have joined forces with The Doctors to help everyone see their own beauty – no matter what size, shape, or age they happen to be.
The campaign is called the #FierceFlaws movement. Hunter and Rosie asked people to share their own stories on social media. Now meet the five brave, beautiful, and fierce finalists who have been chosen for the first-ever #FierceFlaws photo shoot, and learn how you can embrace your own body, flaws and all!
“It’s really about celebrating body diversity and taking people from all walks of life to share their story,” Rosie explains. “You hear the pain that’s behind and that’s holding them back from living their life. It’s about body image.”
“The response was overwhelming,” adds Hunter. “I wish I could have picked everybody because everybody deserves to feel this way.”
The chosen five include five women and a man, something Hunter’s very excited about. “This isn’t just a woman’s problem – guys struggle with it as well,” she points out:
• Monica hates her stomach and thighs.
• Mike has triumphed over a severe eating disorder but still struggles with his body image.
• Jessica is ashamed to wear shorts or a bathing suit.
• Stephanie was bullied about her weight as a high-school cheerleader.
• Erika goes to the gym regularly, but being active hasn’t made her feel better about her body.
Creative director Isaiah Mays is there to make sure the finalists get the glam treatment with cosmetics by NYX and hair by Eden Sassoon, while Jenette Bras outfits the ladies in tasteful lingerie and provides Mike with a robe.
All of the models are nervous – including Rosie, who says she’s never done a lingerie shoot before! Rosie comforts Monica. “We are our own worst enemies.” Hunter adds, “I’ve got all these rolls – I’ve got everything going on. Everyone has these issues. You are so beautiful! You have no idea.”
The models step in front of the camera one at a time. Some of them start out wanting to cover up, but they all end up smiling and working it for their photo shoots. Afterward, they view the results. “I’m not as big as I thought I was!” marvels Monica, while Erika singles out a photo of herself and admits, “I like that one.”
Now the fierce five join The Doctors to talk about how the experience has affected them. “I am so proud of all of you!” ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork tells them. He notes that what they did on camera was even difficult for Rosie, who’s a professional model. “It’s definitely an emotional process because my body has changed so much,” she admits tearfully. “It’s definitely worth it to fight through the fear.”
“It’s not just being sexy, it’s about ‘this is who I am,’” Rosie says. Monica says, “I can’t believe it’s me … I love my smile!” She says her husband tells her beautiful every day. “I’m starting to believe it!”
Stephanie says the bullying she dealt with in high school was devastating, and she wishes she had opened up about it earlier. “I never thought that I would do anything like this, and it brought down the wall.”
“Everyone was just so encouraging,” Mike says. “Going from not wanting to take my shirt off at the beach to meeting these beautiful women who encouraged me to feel more comfortable than I’ve ever felt in my life – and now being on TV with my shirt off!” Hunter tells the audience, “It’s so funny, so Mike walks in and the girls are like, ‘He’s smoking hot!’ It just goes to show, we are so brainwashed by media. We see one type of man and one type of woman.”
It’s why she’s proud of having broken the mold of the Sports Illustrated model, and she adds, “Mike, you’re amazing, and all of these women are so beautiful –we’re just brainwashed by seeing one type, and that not going to happen anymore because we’re breaking the mold.”
“Regardless of size and ethnic background, everybody has fierce flaws,” says Rosie. “And when you own it and you learn to love yourself, anything else doesn’t matter.” And Dr. Stork concludes, “You didn’t have to be a part of this photo shoot to be empowered by what just happened, and I think that’s what this was all about.”
The five will go home with framed photos from their shoots. But that’s not all! I.B.B.I. World is giving the ladies $500 gift certificates to enhance their wardrobes, while Mike isn’t being left out – he’s going home with a gift certificate from Beast and a Beauty.
Want to get involved in the #FierceFlaws movement? Upload a photo of your perfectly imperfect self to social media using #FierceFlaws! And when people tell you you're beautiful, BELIEVE IT!