In a world of vague self-love messages, Michelle Elman is the ninja-princess who barges in and slices through the bullshit with her hands-on BoPo tips.

I first discovered Michelle Elman’s account, Scarred not Scared, 10-years into my Body Positive and pretty irritated by it.

It was one of those all-encompassing self-hate-life-hate days. And every smiley, vague self-love post made me feel even worse.

I wasn’t looking for an I-love-myself-nursery-rhyme. I needed something practical. Something I could actually use RIGHT NOW.

In swoops the ninja-princess, Michelle Elman.

Michelle Elman spits out blunt truths like fire, she drops practical tips like bombs and she always seems to connect the dots between everyday hang-ups and the heart of body positivity: “eff that, I’m not hating letting mad stupid fears stop me from living my life anymore”.

Here’s an example of Michelle Elman’s applied BoPo wisdom

*Heart stops with excitement*

And this UK-based body activist actually spoke to YAAAS Magazine. *Faints*

Here’s how YAAAS mag’s chat with Michelle Elman went down…

Your 5 most favourite things?

Chocolate, dogs, Grey’s Anatomy, being outside and the sun.

What does a day of the life of Michelle look like?

Me sitting at my laptop, in my comfiest dress sucked into my laptop.

How has life changed in the last few years for you, following your viral post in 2015?

It has changed beyond belief. I would never have assumed I would have been able to accomplish all I have accomplished so far.
The last few months especially have been a bit weird for me with both the TedX talk and the announcement of my book being within weeks of each other.
Now it feels like all the work over the last 2 years has paid off, and all the time and energy I have put behind the scenes can finally be shared. It is such a relief!

Fav movie that you’re secretly ashamed of liking?

The Fault In Our Stars. I should hate it. It doesn’t portray illness accurately.
The main characters don’t even have any scars from their surgery; and the whole storyline diminishes the illness and rather places an emphasis on love – thereby undercutting the importance of their illness. It basically, isn’t realistic in the slightest.
And actually, I believe adds to the stigma of scars, but wow is it cathartic. I start crying 20 minutes in and usually don’t stop.
 Name 3 peculiar little things your followers probably don’t know about your day-to-day life?
  • When I am with friends in the evening, I don’t take out my phone. No exceptions. The only way I am able to turn off is to not even look at my phone.
  • I naturally work, and especially write, best between the hours of 2 and 4 in the morning. It is a daily battle to either give into my body clock and stay up and squeeze all that creativity or to obey standard conventional working hours.
  • Until recently, my followers didn’t know that I was spending the majority of my day dealing with book things. I have actually been working on it since 2014.

You can preorder Michelle’s upcoming book Am I Ugly? right HERE.

 Weirdest food combo you love?

I love soya sauce with my soft boiled eggs. People think it’s weird but it’s a habit that started one day in Hong Kong when I couldn’t find the salt.

Your most favourite and your least favourite thing about your day today?

My favourite part of my day is definitely still my Instagram and interacting with my followers.
The least favourite part of my day is updating my blog. It involves just copying and pasting all my latest Instagram posts and adding photos.

You once said:

“Body positivity isn’t about being able to take underwear selfies, it’s about not letting your underwear or your swimsuit be the reason you aren’t taking part.” 

Any practical tips for overcoming that shame and the fear associated with not looking “perfect”?

You have to realise, especially when you are a teenager, everyone is so self-conscious that they’re thinking of themselves and not thinking about you.
If they are thinking of you, it’s a momentary thing and then they go back to thinking about themselves.
Practically, I always tell people who want to wear a bikini, to go buy one. People jump ahead to the last step but no one remembers the steps in the middle.
Celebrate the baby steps along the way, like facing a changing room and actually buying one.
When you put one on, see that as an accomplishment in itself. Remember you are doing this for you, not the other people.

Check out Michelle Elman’s mad dance moves:


An excerpt from Michelle Elman’s dance-video caption: “I have been absolutely hating the gym. So much so, I can’t even face going to the gym to go to my dance class so you know what I’ve been doing instead?

Walking… a lot. And dancing, at home, alone. I LOVE dancing , always have. I don’t care that I can’t actually dance and I don’t care that I look like a goofball because I have so much damn fun! Who said you had to be good at something to enjoy it?”

3 Things you wish you could go back and tell your 15-year-old self?

  • Just because someone is an adult, doesn’t mean they are always right. I was body shamed a lot by teachers and adults who I trusted and it always hit me harder because I thought adults always were right.
  • You are perfect exactly as you are.
  • Don’t stop doing your favourite activities, because you are not good at it. You don’t need to be good at something to enjoy it.

A few bits from Michelle Elman’s smart post caption: “We need to stop intellectualizing body positivity.”

“People read a caption + look for the flaws, whether they agree and whether this aligns with their body positivity but don’t sit with it long enough to impact you. This is important because the emotional side is how the change happens. The intellectual side is me repeating “love yourself”. The emotional side is me showing you the HOW.”

Practically speaking, what do you do to deal with a negative or destructive thought?

You can’t delete negative thoughts if you don’t have a replacement though. When you think something negative, ask yourself “what would I like to think instead?”.
Sometimes it helps to have a catchphrase. In Scandal, Olivia Pope always says “it’s handled”. So that’s one of my favourites when I feel stressed with work.

How do you deal when negative thoughts seem to take over your mind?

I relax my jaw and look upwards. Looking upwards force your brain to access the visual part of your brain. And for you to be to talk to yourself, you need to access the auditory part of your brain.
You also need to clench your jaw in order to talk to yourself so to quieten your mind, relax your jaw and look upwards.

Find out more about Michelle Elman, right HERE

And for more YAAAS magazine interviews with Body Postive Activists, you can click HERE because we talk to a ton of amazing people.

Here’s a post on exactly why skinny doesn’t equal happiness. And we used your idol, Marilyn Monroe as an example.

Here one post where YAAAS Magazine writers tried all the BoPo tips curve model Marciel Hopkins gave us, to see if it actually makes a difference.

And here’s also a post where I tried to be a proper Barbie-style girl for a day. Let’s just say it caused me to rethink my life.

We’ve also got a whole Mental Health issue, in order to air the shit that our brains deal with on a daily basis.

In conclusion, we just have a crap load of amazing articles. And we’re never going to stop making them, so just sign up here already.

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