VIDEO: Two friends inspired by body image film host Worthing screening

Debbie Stevens (left) and Gay Richardson (right)
Debbie Stevens (left) and Gay Richardson (right)

Two friends were left feeling so empowered by a documentary, which explores the rise of crippling body image issues among women, that they have arranged for it to be screened at a Worthing cinema.

Debbie Stevens, who runs a company which organises wellbeing and girls nights in events, and Gay Richardson, who runs a personal styling service, first saw the film Embrace together at the Odeon in Brighton.

Debbie, of Northfield Road, Worthing, said it left them both ‘gobsmacked.’

“It was very emotional,” the 52-year-old said. “You want to shout at the screen, and laugh, and cry.”

Embrace tells the story of ‘normal mum’ Taryn Brumfitt, from Australia, who was unhappy with the way her body had changed after having three children.

Convinced that having the ‘perfect body’ would make her happy, she worked hard to achieve a ‘bikini body.’

“But of course she wasn’t happy,” said Debbie.

After Taryn’s Facebook message about her experience went viral, she filmed her travels around the world to find out more about the rise in negative body image.

Debbie, a mother of two, said she could ‘definitely relate’ to the film.

“We watch TV and read magazines, we see all these beautiful people,” she said. “We aspire to be like that.”

But the film had had a huge impact on her outlook.

“I decided I’m not going to beat myself up anymore,” she said. “If no one likes it - that’s their problem, as long as I’m happy in myself.

“That’s how the film made me feel - totally empowered.”

So together with Gay, the pair arranged to bring the film to the Dome cinema in Worthing on Thursday, March 2.

After making a vlog to promote the screening, they managed to sell all 94 tickets.

But there was so much demand, they have even arranged another screening on Tuesday, April 11, which can be booked here.

Both said they both felt ‘really proud’ to have organised the film screenings.

Gay, of Aglaia Road, who has two daughters aged 25 and 27, said: “We hope people will come away feeling better about themselves, feeling that they don’t have to compare themselves to the idealistic, beautiful women portrayed in the press and the magazines.

“We hope they will accept themselves for who they are.”

Both have first hand knowledge of the kind of insecurities that all too many women feel.

Gay, 56, has clients who dislike bits of their bodies, while Debbie said most of the people who come to her experience ‘anxiety and stress of one form or another’.

Both feel a responsibility to help change this.

“The more you feel happy, the more that will have an effect on the people around you,” said Gay. “Especially if you have children – they will see you are not stressing and they will follow your example.”

Debbie agreed and said: “We should just be happy in ourselves and concentrate on the bits of us that are amazing.

“People aren’t looking at your face, or body - they are looking at your heart.”
In order to encourage people to make positive changes to their lives, the pair are co-hosting a charity fundraising event, which they have called Embrace your Body, at Durrington High School on Tuesday, March 28.

The hall will be full stalls and exhibits from feel good, body positive experts who will give advice and tips to help people ‘make the most of who they are.’

“When you are stuck in a certain mindset, you don’t move forward because you don’t know what to do or who to ask,” said Debbie. “We’re giving everyone the chance to come along and make a change.”

A percentage of the money raised will go towards Durrington School’s fund.

Tickets can be bought here.

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