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Episode 1. Ft. Chantelle Nagy.
SD: Hi Chantelle! So, let’s begin by you introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about you? How long have you known about Vitae and when did you become an ambassador?
CN: Hey! So my name is Chantelle Nagy I live in Cloverdale, BC. I’ve known of Vitae Apparel for about a year and half now, around the beginning of 2018. My best friend had mentioned the company, she had found Vitae on Instagram because she LOVES bikinis and we were planning a vacation last year around April. We applied to become ambassador before our Hawaii trip because we wanted to take pictures on the beach in some cute bikinis!
SD: When you think about or when people ask you about topics of mental health, self-love, body positivity, what comes to mind? What are some issues/stigmas about this topic do you think should be addressed?
CN: I think that there is a stigma around mental health. When you admit or open up about your struggles it is deceived that you are weak but I believe that it is the opposite. It shows you really have the strength to open up and let others know you are struggling or needing to seek help. It is really hard to deal with everything on your own. Sometimes you feel like you are alone or others can’t relate to how you are feeling or you don’t want to let others know what you are dealing with. If you are the “strong friend” you don’t want to be perceived as “weak” or you may feel like others cannot relate to you. Self love is so much more than just face masks, hot showers and baths. It’s taking care of yourself, forming habits and routines that make you feel good, unplugging from social media if needed, meditation, affirmations, organizing your room. If you ask two different people their ideas on self-love they can be so different. It is something everyone should practice. Body positivity plays into self-love- its about loving your body and everything it is made up of. Realizing and accepting everybody is made up different things and nobody looks the same and to not compare one self to another. I do feel like mental health, body positivity and self-love has come a long way, but we have so so far to come still- especially with mental health. But we are in the right direction.
SD: How does this all relate to you? Why is it important to discuss?
CN: I think it’s important to discuss your struggles, as many people can relate, including myself. In this day and age there are a lot of people out there that are struggling with similar things. You almost don’t realize it until you open up about it, then people see that you’re confident enough to openly talk about what you’re going through and then suddenly everyones like “hey you know I can relate to that as well” and you have this group of people uplifting each other. I love that there are so many self love blogs and instagrams dedicated to topics like this to help people.
SD: May I ask, what is or are something(s) you have struggled with on this topic?
CN: I think it’s safe to say we have all had our fair shares of struggles surrounding this topic. I’ve struggled with all of these topics, self-love, body positivity and mental health at some point or another growing up, sometimes battling more than one at a time. It’s hard, but when you have a solid support system you are able to fall back on, whether that be family, friends, whoever your trust and support falls into it makes it easier.
SD: At what point in your life did you realize that this was in fact, something you were having issues with? You don’t have to give us too much detail if this is something very personal to you. But a few details could help.
CN: I remember I first started to struggle with mental health when I was in elementary school. I started overthinking, feeling nervous and anxious about leaving the house. It was just such a sudden feeling of emotions all at once. I can’t recall if there was anything that triggered this to happen in particular. But it got so bad all of a sudden that I could physically not get myself to go to school even. I would have full blown panic and anxiety attacks that I had no control over. After I overcame this I struggled with self worth and body positivity, I really was focused on outer looks to mask how I was feeling inside and really just loving myself over the years.
SD: How did all that make you feel?
CN: It was sad, I was so sad. I would cry to the point where I couldn’t control my breathing. You’re so young too, I didn’t really know why I was feeling that way. Especially not being able to control it. It had really consumed all of me at the time. Being so young at the time and not really comprehending why and what you’re even feeling at that time is so difficult. You just feel lost almost, you don’t know how to deal with those emotions and thoughts. Now being older you are more in tune with everything and can catch yourself feeling a certain way and can almost stop it.
SD: What were your thoughts then?
CN: I couldn’t even control my thoughts and emotions back then. It was really consuming everything of me at the time. Everything that was going on was so new to the both of us. I mean everyone feels anxious at some point in their life, but this was just on a whole other scale. I wish I could remember what thoughts and words were going through my head back then. I think a lot of confusion. A lot of not wanting to feel that way and be able to control how you are acting and feeling. Knowing you don’t want to look and be like everyone else, but being too scared to stand out and be truly yourself.
SD: When did you decide to take action for yourself?
CN: Looking back I definitely had anxiety leading up to this event, just not to the extent that had happened. Just feeling anxious about public speaking, participating in class discussions, walking into a room of people where all eyes would be on you. After going through all that with anxiety and it consumes your life at a point, where you know you can’t really live like that forever. Especially for me at the time where it was really getting in the way of my everyday life. I just knew I didn’t want to live like that forever and something needed to be done.
SD: What made you realize you needed to take steps to address this (these) issues?
CN: I was just obsessed with outside looks after that, which was almost like a temporary bandaid fix for all the other issues. I just wasn’t happy with who I was looking at in the mirror. . I think there was just a time where I was just like, I don’t want to just fit in with everyone. I want to be myself and be able to express who I am, whether that be in fashion, your words, however you feel that you need too.
SD: What helped start your body positivity, self-love, mental health journey?
CN: Reading books and blogs and on anxiety really helped me. Following body positivity influencers on instagram. Positive affirmation We really have so much information at the tip of our fingers now that it is so easy. And it really was just realizing I didn’t want to feel and think like this forever.
SD: What steps did you take to help you with that?
CN: Really being conscious of how I’m feeling. I usually journal now to keep track of my thoughts and emotions, the good days and the bad. Looking back at them to see how far you have come. Just really learn to love yourself, and love yourself as if you were your own friend. Think- would you be friends with yourself?
SD: What are your thoughts on this topic now?
CN: When I first started this self love journey I thought it was kind of silly, you know- “tell yourself you are beautiful everyday and you will start to believe it”, “I am enough, I am beautiful” it sounds like a funny thing to tell yourself each day. But the mind is so powerful, if you truly start to believe these things deep down inside, you will truly start to feel them.
I look back on my past self and just see a young girl on the outside that looks like she has it together but deep down the inside she’s falling apart, so insecure and scared. Now I’m at the opposite side of things. Just accepting who I am am bettering myself.
Once I realized I just couldn’t change who I was and that I could only make who I am better. That’s when I starting to focus more on loving myself and doing things that make me feel good. When I was young I would be comparing myself to other’s, whether that be at school or online. As sad as it sounds I found myself doing this at a young age. Looking back on it I wish I didn’t and just appreciated myself a bit more. Focus my time on that instead of wanting to change or look like someone else or doing something everyone was doing cause it was “cool” or whatever. Now instead I find myself being like “okay yeah she’s beautiful she works hard for what she has” and turn it into a motivation or inspiration. We are all capable of the same things.
Now I see myself as a completely different person, my mindset has changed, I am SO much more confident. I am strong, beautiful and worthy. I love who I have become, and I’m still growing and changing everyday
SD: What have you been doing differently that has helped you see improvement in your mental health, self-love and or progression in body positivity?
CN: I’m able to really be able to know when I am feeling a certain way and can feel myself slipping into bad old negative habits. After being so good for so long now I don’t want to get back to where I was. So I use that as motivation to keep on track. We are all human so some day you slip up, we’re not perfect. It’s just about being able to get past that and keep trying to be the best self you can be. But some little things that help when I find I am struggling a bit are:
- Unfollowing or muting people online that you are comparing yourself too. Journaling your thoughts and emotions is a big thing that I like to do. You can look back and see how far you have come and reflect on those good and bad times you were going through. Really keeping staying in tune with how you are feeling and why. Surrounding myself with people who really love and accept you for who you are. Being able to de-stress completely and staying away from any distractions. Meditation, daily exercise. Focusing on being a better version of yourself and not letting things get in the way of that. Both mentally and physically.
SD: What would you tell others who are going through or have gone through what you have?
CN: Trust the process and know it may be uncomfortable at times but that’s a part of look. Look at your future and manifest who and what you want to be, how you want to feel. As uncomfortable as it might be to make a change or get out of that bubble, do it. The way we perceive ourselves is how others will perceive us.
SD: Are there any reading or listening materials that you recommend that could help others out on their own venture?
CN: I’m really big into self-help books and podcasts. Some of my favorite books I’ve read so far: The subtle art to not giving a fuck, You are a badass, #GIRLBOSS are some books I’ve enjoyed on my journey to a better self. At the top of my head some of the first few podcasts that come to mined are the papaya podcast, adulting, the lively show. I like to throw them on when Im driving around, at the gym or getting ready. A quick google search can help you find a book or podcast you could enjoy on the topic.
Moving on to you and Vitae,
SD: What about Vitae inspired you or make you want to become an ambassador?
CN: At first it was the cute bikinis, and being able to represent a brand that had nailed the comfort and beauty of a bikini that fit so well on a wide range of body types. Its more than just the bikini its about feeling confident in the skin you’re in
SD: How has Vitae helped or guide you on this journey?
CN: Vitae is always posting positive things- regarding your body and mind. How important it is to be aware of these things. Its like a positive reminder to not be so hard on yourself.
SD: What do you love about Vitae and being with Vitae?
CN: I love that vitae is really centred about body positive and self-love, they feature girls of all different shapes and sizes- showing that everyone is beautiful in their own way. It’s really nice to be apart of that.
SD: On the top of your head, what experience or what about Vitae, has left a mark on your personal journey with these topics?
CN: Doing my first shoot with vitae and seeing the photos and you start to pick away at every little insecurity you think you have in that photo. But then just realizing that it’s okay, you don’t have to always look perfect. Sometimes the photo just captures pure raw beauty, and just be okay with that.
SD: How has this experience or point(s) influenced you positively?
CN: It just really makes you realize that everyone has imperfections that are going to be captured on camera- just coming to to the realization that we all have insecurities but not everything can be perfect. that we don’t always have control over things and its Fine to let that go.
SD: Before we end this interview, is there anything you would like to say/mention/give advice on? Words of wisdom?
CN: You really are given only one body and mind in this world, so use it to your advantage and make the most of it. The last thing you want to do is leave this world unhappy or feel regret because of your thoughts or actions. I really do believe that being open about your struggles can help other people who are going through the same thing. Even though it can be scary at time, life is about being vulnerable and open. Everyday can be a struggle, and if you really want o change your perspective or whatever it may be you will go through and uncomfortable transition time. Just push past because you’re on the journey to a better self.
Stay Tuned for our next Feature Friday Babe!