It was a big day for the organisers, hair, make up and photography team behind a newly formed South Wales Charity. BEAUTEOUS is all about focusing the camera on body image and how negative thoughts and comments can have a damaging effect on our confidence and lives. As well as celebrating some incredible people and their bodies, today was all about shooting a new calendar to support the work of the mental health charity MIND.

The old phrase ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is a difficult one nowadays. Since the advent of social media, our image is scrutinised constantly. Yes of course celebrities face a great deal of pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. Their body shapes, and appearances are documented and critiqued. But post a picture of yourself on any of the well known sites and we all lay ourselves open to criticism or judgement.

Thankfully, there are some strong and powerful individuals who have become vocal about promoting self acceptance.

Ferne Cotton is a BBC television presenter who helped research and present a documentary titled The Truth About Online Anorexia. She has since been involved in promoting the message to young girls that they should try only to be themselves and love who they are.

Taylor Swift has admitted to suffering from negative body image issues. She has stated that once she realised that body image issues were normal, she was better able to become more self-accepting. 

Photo by John Salangsang

Adele who, despite receiving criticism from Karl Lagerfeld on being “a little too fat,” has said she does not feel pressure to be thin and advises young girls to appreciate their bodies. Although as recent pictures have shown that has now changed.

What is so great about people like Adele however, is that they do things on their own terms, at a pace which is right for them, without seeming to bow to either peer or social media pressure.

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors or indeed in anyone’s head. People may appear happy and content but if ever the phrase ‘behind a painted smile‘ is relevant, it belongs to the subject of BODY IMAGE.

What is most concerning for all of us, whether we are parents, partners, friends or lovers, is that we need to understand the impact a negative image can have on someone and not dismiss it as being silly, which is a phrase we’ve heard many times. Never has there been a time when we should be more aware of the mental health issues surrounding this. As recent events have shown, the impact can sometimes be devastating.

Now, a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience, who love what they do, and do it with passion, are lending their skills to a new campaign in support of the mental health charity MIND.

Led by Natasha Best, an actress and model, she is the founder of a campaign called BEAUTEOUS – Meaning: Beautiful, especially to the sight

BEAUTEOUS is a charitable organisation and their first event, and it’s an ambitious one, is a charity calendar photoshoot to promote body confidence in women. They tell us they will be doing a male calendar in the future, so watch out fellas, Natasha will be recruiting you.

They are currently registered with Mind charity and all profits from this event will be going to them. Their long term aim is to support more charities through future events, with the next being cancer research. 

SOUTH WALES LIFE we’re invited along to todays photoshoot. We met the team and models and found out how the whole project came about…….

Let’s introduce you to the team behind BEAUTEOUS.

Natasha Best grew up in Oxford where she pursued her childhood dream of becoming an actress having attended Stagecoach performing arts school.  

Her dream to become an actress never left her and having taken a break to start a family, having moved to Wales and had her fourth child, she returned to acting last year. Her career so far has included a number of short films.  

Thomas Greenhaf was born in Newport and relocated to Cardiff to study at Cardiff Met University. He found his a love of performing from his time with Everyman Theatre Group and subsequently went on to found Lily Production Company where he has performed for and worked with the likes of Michael Bogdanov and Simon Futty.

Benjamin F Jones is a photographer and writer working in South Wales. He likes to explore diverse ideas and create photographs that tell stories. He loves to take part in collaborations with models, writers and creatives to generate photographs and artworks. He’s written for a depression charity and his creations have appeared in many magazines and journals.

Gavin L Johnson is an Events DJ, former musician, and graduate of Creative Music Technology from University of South Wales. As a creative mind, he enjoys twists, thrillers, and lots of subliminal meanings in film and music. Some of Gavin’s hobbies and love’s are based around media. Mainly storytelling in film, song, or just written. Creating the short films, Baron Can’t Catch Us & Going Down?, Gavin has found a small passion for using different camera techniques and direction to create a visually pleasing final product.

Incidentally, Gavin also designed the charity website, which you can see right here. BEAUTEOUS Here’s a little behind the scenes look at the day’s shoot…….

If you suffer from a negative body image it is important that you choose your role models wisely. The women we’ve spoken about here, hopefully help us understand that everybody feels insecure about how they look at some point in their life, and that by supporting one another, people can overcome their fears and better accept themselves.

If you need help and support, we’ve already mentioned MIND who are amazing, it’s worth checking out BE REAL, who also offer useful advice and information.