We chat to Megan Richards about the #BodyPositive movement, her love for travel and promoting positive stories and experiences in South Africa.
Megan is the inspiring blogger, freelancer and owner behind The Authentic Girl. She resides in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town. Her blog focuses on five lifestyle products: body positivity, fashion, travel, food and wine. Megan is proud to be part of the #TravelChatSA community as an official host, and co-hosts the #TravelChatSA show on Hashtag Radio.
“Through dance, I began to see my own body in a completely different light.”
A few years back, I joined a belly dancing school (Hip Fusion) and saw all body shapes and sizes being celebrated. It was mesmerising and magical! Through dance, I began to see my own body in a completely different light. I started loving and accepting my body as is. My posture changed, the way I spoke about my body changed, I started falling in love with myself again.
Simultaneously, I saw the #BodyPositive movement on social media. A movement that aimed to help people with marginalized bodies feel entitled to self-love and show diverse bodies of all shapes and sizes in the media. The movement also aimed to create communities where diverse women, men, transgender and queer individuals felt safe to be who they are and love their bodies as is. I wanted to be part of that movement! And so I did, I started promoting and having conversations about body positivity on social media, spreading the message that “all bodies are good bodies”.
“Show me real bodies with stretch marks, scars and cellulite!”
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I wanted to show my readers/followers how traditional and social media influences the way we feel about our bodies. They are constantly showing us that we need to lose weight in order to be happy or successful (for example). The focus should be place on being healthy, and a healthy body does not come in a certain shape or size.
I am passionate about the body positive movement because it teaches us that all bodies are deserving of love and respect and there is no wrong way to have a body. I’m sick and tired of perfection; show me real bodies with stretch marks, scars and cellulite!
I think about young girls, who will see diverse bodies in the media and on social media, without feeling the need to conform and starve themselves to look a certain way, especially if their bodies are “different”. This movement is going to make bigger waves in the future and I’m proud to be part of it.
“Fortunately South Africa is slowly starting to latch onto the body positive movement”
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We are diverse; naturally we all have different body shapes and sizes. Fortunately South Africa is slowly starting to latch onto the body positive movement and implement diversity into various fashion/beauty campaigns. If more of us start loving and accepting our bodies as is, industries will be forced to show more diversity. As Naomi Wolf once said, “A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience.”
Let’s change the narrative; we have the power and tools to do so!
“I’ve been fortunate to experience many travel experiences in South Africa.”
Earlier this year, my sister and I embarked on a spontaneous road trip to the Breedekloof Valley. We wanted to visit Bosjes farm and see the iconic chapel. Designed by Coetzee Steyn, this remarkable piece of architecture mirrors the curves of the mountains. Nestled between the Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain range, the chapel is visible from every angle on the farm. Bosjes chapel is inspired by Psalm 36:7, made to honour God and blends in beautifully with the landscape, mountains, and surrounding area.
When I arrived at the chapel, I walked around the garden and chapel for 2 hours. The path is quite reflective and (unintentionally) encourages you to meditate. From the moment I saw the chapel, I forgot about everything and escaped into a quiet meditative state.
After the 2-hour walk, we worked up quite an appetite and decided to grab a bite at Bosjes Kombuis. I ordered a burger that nearly brought me to tears. After my first bite, this beef burger immediately ranked into my top 3 burgers of all times! The charred flavour of the beef burger, with the sweetness of the onions, the creamy and buttery taste of the brie cheese created this deliciously balanced burger. It was damn good! The fries accompanying the burger were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
“I am always promoting the body positive message and positive stories about South Africa”
The work I do as a blogger and freelancer is not only my passion, but my purpose. I am fuelled by the energy of my work. This is my calling and I’ve only just begun.
You can follow more of Megan’s body positive stories and experiences in South Africa on her social media pages: