I was a teenager when I decided that I wanted plastic surgery.
My best friend at the time and I hated our noses and joked that as soon as we turned 18 we would get both get nose jobs.
We never did end up getting the surgery together, and I think it’s amazing that she learnt to love herself the way she is, but I will never forget that she is the person who first called me ‘plastic.’
A few years ago she commented on an Instagram post saying how plastic I looked post nose surgery and lip filler. Of course she meant it in a jokey kind of way, but I knew that there was some truth in it.
The comment has stayed with me, especially as it came from someone I was so close with.
I had worked so hard to save up the money for the surgery and I had wanted it for so long, but yet when I posted my first picture debuting the new nose, there was a lot of hate.
The same thing happened after I left Love Island.
I wasn’t naïve. I knew that with reality shows there’s an element of pantomime and I thought I would get stick for some of my actions, or even my previous jobs, but I didn’t realise how much negativity and hate I would receive based on my looks and decision to have surgery.
We live in a society where there are adverts for surgeries on TV in between programmes that target teenagers, which offer finance, making it so easily accessible.
Then, when a woman does decide to get something done she’s ridiculed by people for being fake or plastic!
It’s a lose-lose situation. Our bodies are shamed regardless.
My biggest message to my younger audience is that if you are considering surgery, make sure you only do it if you love yourself from within first.
Cosmetic procedures will only change the outside shell – not how much you value yourself on the inside.
I give myself the confidence I need by making sure I am thinking good thoughts and telling myself positive things in the morning to set me up for the day.
Knowing that I did love myself made the comments and the people making before-and-after collages of me a little bit easier to take.
I wouldn’t have put myself on a reality show if I wasn’t mentally strong enough but let’s face it, at 14 very few of us will look back and love the fashion choices we were rocking back then, so to have them shared in magazines and across the internet is unpleasant!
I mean there’s one picture where it looks like I’ve stolen glasses from the TV show Bo Selecta!
But to be honest, the most upsetting part of being labelled as ‘plastic’ or ‘ugly’ is that 95 per cent of the comments came from women.
There’s more to me than how I look, so being called ‘plastic’ doesn’t get to me, what does is the malice behind it.
I’ve been shamed for being a dancer and a glamour model, for my looks, my body – people were so cruel that I had gained weight since Love Island. I’m constantly slut shamed.
I would love to see less judgement and hate between women. Not many people have our backs, we need to have each other’s.
Whether you are completely natural, had a little tweak here and there, or have gone all out then let’s support each other and empower each other to do whatever the hell we want with our own bodies.
Not conforming and owning your own body is my definition of feminism.
It’s something I’m trying to teach to my young following, too. I’m working with Avon on their Stand4Her campaign as it aims to tackle the issues that are holding women back from their full potential.
One of the ways that it’s doing this is by challenging traditional beauty ideals and archaic stereotypes of how a woman should look, earn money, or behave.
I hope the more that we talk about it, the less taboo these subjects will become, especially for the next generation.
I want them to know that there’s no such thing as a perfect woman, we are all different and beautiful in our own way.
If you want to be covered in tattoos, want to shave your head, want to have multi-coloured hair, want to walk around in stripper heels and the tiniest dress, or wear a tracksuit with no makeup, then do whatever makes you feel beautiful and empowered!
I would love for us as women to support and admire each other for our uniqueness.
Megan has joined forces with beauty giant Avon to launch its Stand4her global initiative, which aims to tackle the issues that women feel are holding them back in all areas of their lives – find out more here.[/metro-fact-box]
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
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