However, one of our longest standing Angels, Kennedy (@its_kennedyjay) isn’t willing to shy away from situations that not only affect her but also millions across the globe. With the hope of being a voice, Kennedy is on a mission to use her experiences in a bid to support young adolescents overcome their daily struggles.
Giving a brief overview of what she will be discussing Kennedy explains “I feel anxiety and most defiantly eating disorders are greatly impacted by the pressures of social media and the assumption that everyone needs to be ‘perfect’. I myself struggled with both anxiety and an eating disorder in silence for such a long period of time. Nobody was a voice for me, I didn’t have a role model to show it's ok not to be ok”.
Before we hear about Kennedy’s story she wanted to explain the importance of beauty and self-confidence expressing that “beauty means being comfortable in your own skill. You shouldn’t feel the need to compare yourself to anyone as we are all original unique beings! If this campaign can help at least one individual acknowledge their worth, then we have accomplished something great. I believe Aurora’s Angels can achieve just that, they have inspired me and all the young beautiful women I work alongside. This brand means so much to me, they’ve helped me progress and supported me through difficult times – I’ll be forever grateful for the family we have created.
We are so proud of everything our babe Kennedy has achieved, she has come so very far!
“Over the years I have fought many demons, predominantly mental health based. These topics are tremendously difficult to discuss, it’s hard for people to admit that they are struggling.
Let me begin back when I was sitting my GCSE’s. I was extremely stressed; however, I then began feeling constantly agitated, unmotivated and like I wasn’t good enough or worthy of success. On top of attempting to attain academic achievements, I was being cyberbullied as a result of my peers believing that I didn’t fit in.
A large portion of the comments I received online were body image related. Being called “ugly” and “fat” made my self-confidence deteriorate significantly - I became depressed and began to hate my body. This made me constantly compare myself to my fellow classmates – I thought everyone was prettier and thinner. I began to count calories, skip meals and train excessively as I became so self-conscious.
When I enrolled in University and moved away from home my anxiety got more intense. I became very anxious and felt extremely insecure and uneasy. This was the first time I was apart from my childhood friends and family - I felt alone and didn’t have the support which I had back at home. Stress from University didn’t help with my mental state, I became very unsociable and isolated as I couldn’t manage my social life with my studies.
During this exceptionally difficult time, my mental health was in tatters. I was overly paranoid about how people would view me. In a bid to better myself I accepted the opportunity to work within the modelling industry and was invited to various castings. Unfortunately, I was declined for not having the ‘right look’ and being ‘too big’ for their requirements. At this time, I was in such a vulnerable state and I didn’t understand how degrading and morally wrong this industry was, and still is.
The feedback I received from the agency was the final straw for my mental health and I became bulimic. I hid this disorder by eating and preparing food around my housemates but once alone I would make myself ill, as I became desperate to be accepted. My self-confidence was at an all-time low, so adding social media to the mix increased my insecurities.
I do strongly believe that social media can have such a devastating impact on young individuals mental state. I, myself, have wished to look like the public figures plastered online. This concept of the ‘perfect’ look Instagram has generated alienates the majority of individuals causing vulnerable people to be self-conscious.
Various fashion companies, cosmetic brands, and catwalk models all impact to these insecurities; the consumer look at a ‘perfect’ clear-faced, size 0 model and believes that is the norm. I believe that social media forces these unhealthy images on women and there aren’t enough campaigns out there that celebrate the beauty of women from all walks of life.
We need to stop alienating women and embrace the beauty of everyone.
If I could go back, I would be honest with family and friends and tell them what I was experiencing from an early stage. I didn’t express my issues with family until very recently and if I got the support and security from early on, I believe I wouldn’t have suffered from bulimia.
My advice to anyone is to not be afraid to tell someone. If you feel that you can’t speak to a parent, then open up to a friend. I found speaking out can help as they can be honest and guide you in the right direction. Speaking and opening up to friends or a partner is also good, as you can talk about your worries, fears, and insecurities and help them understand what you are going through.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the topics Kennedy has mentioned, helplines and services are available below:
Anorexia and Bulimia Care
Phone: 08088025544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm)