HOW DID WEIGHT GAIN KICK-START AN IG FOLLOWING OF OVER 5.5K? REALNESS. THAT’S HOW. FORMER MISS SA FINALIST MARCIEL HOPKINS TELLS US HOW EMBRACING HER NATURAL SHAPE, MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Dogs of Cats? Dogs.
Weirdest thing about you? I wanted to be an octopus marine biologist when I was in primary school.
Best part about your day? Drinking a cappuccino with a spoon of honey drizzled on the foam.
Least favourite thing in the world? Injustice.
Your definition of an awesome person in three words? Self-made, determined and compassionate.
What advise would you give your 16-year-old self? Don’t sweat the small stuff, you are destined for greatness.
Marciel’s ‘my all-time favs’ doodle
1. How and when did actually start loving your natural shape?
I think my a-hah moment happened in Germany last year. It was my first time overseas on my own and for work.
I remember shooting my first modelling job ever and as I came out of the fitting room with jeans on. They all gasped of joy saying: “Ahh wonderful, you bum keeps the pants up!”
I realised that my curves were celebrated and appreciated by clients and everyday people, because they can relate to it and it gives shape to the clothes.
From that moment I really embraced my body for who she was, no matter her shape or size. I give her a daily dose of love and appreciation, because she deserves it.
2. Weight gain is considered such a negative thing. How did you cope with that following Miss SA?
I only gained weight after Miss South Africa when I went back to my normal lifestyle and size 14 jeans again.
It was a very difficult transition period, because I didn’t know what size I was and where my body would neutralise again. It was an interesting process and journey to feel comfortable in my own skin and new size 14 body again. It didn’t happen over night.
The only way I could cope with the natural weight gain, was to be kind to myself. I learned to think positive thoughts about myself and my body and to make her my best friend.
I unfollowed all the pages on Instagram that posted pictures of unrealistic body goals for women. I decided to feed my mind with positive information.
3. Do you get trolls and how do you deal?
I don’t get online trolls often. I rather get people that make inappropriate sexual comments or I get some naughty messages. I delete all comments that are sexually offensive or that use crude language.
It’s my profile so I can decide what is appropriate and what not.
I would advise teens to make their profiles private to protect themselves from strangers stalking their profiles and leaving rude comments.
You take power back in own hands if you can decide who can see your pictures.
If someone is rude and inappropriate, simply delete them. It’s as easy as the click of a button; you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
4. Do you still struggle with body insecurities and if so, how?
Yes, some days are better than others. Our bodies don’t always look and feel the same. Some days I feel bloated and uncomfortable, being someone that struggles with IBS.
Some days I look in the mirror and I don’t feel great about myself looking at my cellulite or a pimple here and there, but I choose to still love and celebrate the parts of myself that I adore.
Self love is a daily, deliberate choice that you have to make to be your own best friend.