beauty

Her bikini photo went viral, now she wants to help others to be proud of their bodies.

Brooke Birmingham shows women how to be proud of her body image.

I was in amazement when my story went viral.

I had no idea that it ever would go where it did.

I only wrote it to explain to my readers why I had stepped away from doing the Shape piece.

When Brooke Birmingham, 29, shared a photo of herself in a bikini following her 78kg weight loss, she never expected it to get this much attention. But when she said the photo had been rejected for a success story on Shape magazine’s website because it showed excess skin around her midsection — the truth about weight loss that she proudly wanted to share — it quickly went viral. She and Shape editor-at-large Bahar Takhtehchian then appeared on TODAY together to talk about body image, and Birmingham will be featured in a Shape photo shoot that will run next year.

After it took off, I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, what have I done?” I soon realised that I had suddenly become the face of positive body image and I was in charge of sharing what I believe so many people feel.

Brooke Birmingham.

As my story went viral, I was shocked and excited. I was shocked that it had reached all the people it had, and excited for that very same reason. My story was reaching so many people who needed to see it. I'm happy that I’ve given hope to others who may have a lot of weight to lose — hope that they too can live a better quality of life.

The response to my story was mixed. There were people who cheered me on and others who had nothing but negative things to say. Luckily, the positive outweighed the negative, and I heard from so many people that they loved seeing a non-Photoshopped image, and seeing that it was okay to love the skin you're in, no matter what. I also had many people reach out to me and say, “My stomach looks like that too, I thought I was the only one.” It’s nice to know that I can help others not feel alone.

Brooke Birmingham.
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My family was amazingly supportive. I remember before I even posted the story on my blog, I was explaining to them what had happened. They told me that I needed to do what I felt was right and that they would stand behind my choice. After the story went viral, they were still super supportive. My husband Zach was my rock throughout it all, and there were times when he just sat there and listened to me ramble about everything and then lovingly give me some great advice.

Brooke Birmingham.

When my story hit peak buzz, it was super surreal to me. I grew up in a small town and never imagined in a million years that I would be on the TODAY show, especially for the reason I was. Everything was chaotic with all the television appearances, but I just tried my best to take it all in and enjoy everything that was happening. It was such a wonderful experience and I’m incredibly grateful for everything.

Do you think it's right that she was originally asked to cover up her stomach for the fitness magazine?

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