"My kids have never heard me complain about my body!"
Dorthe Kandi, Editor in Chief at Femina
As part of the launch of our three exclusive illustrations with Retro Villa we held a workshop in their store where different people with different stories and talents attended.
It was a huge success and we really got to discuss and talk about lots of different stuff - and everyone joined in on the conversation. We were so fortunate that both Mette Helena Rasmussen, interior stylist and owner of Retro Villa, and Dorthe Kandi, Editor in Chief at Femina, did presentations. Mette Helena talked about social media and its impact on us in general and in our everyday lives. Dorthe Kandi talked about body shame, body worth and body focus in relation to her personal life growing up and now as a journalist going 25 years. (*Hint hint*, see more on our highlight "Retro Villa" on Instagram)
We really wanted to hear Dorthe Kandi’s thoughts on how she came to love her body (as she proudly shows and talks about on her instagram @curvy_kandi), but also how this whole movement of body positivity affects her professional life as Editor in Chief of a women’s lifestyle magazine. She did not disappoint.
The three exclusive illustrations encourage winners, aka you, to focus on the good and that’s exactly what Kandi has done to love her body. Focusing on the good. It’s not always been like that though.
Growing up, Kandi experienced a lot of body shame as her mother was always dieting - while insisting on making tasty gravy. You know, the kind that tastes insanely good and rich, but probably wouldn’t rank high on the nutrition scale. Nevertheless, I think a lot of you might also recognize this from growing up, huh?
This is sure to confuse a kid and hard to grasp for a teenager.
Kandi says: “Up until high school I was actually pretty thin, but I felt fat because I always thought my body was wrong. I actually can’t remember a time without these thoughts. Looking back, I now see that those thoughts took up a lot of space. I felt like I was wrong. My body was wrong.”
But it didn’t stop there. Kandi also felt wrong with how she dressed. In the mid 80’s in a smaller town in Denmark you weren’t supposed to stand out wearing colourful clothes, for example. But colourful clothes, Kandi has always loved.
She shares: “I clearly remember one time in Salling (shopping center, red.) I was on the escalator, when a grown man said to 13-year-old-me ‘I didn’t know the carnival was in town!’. I was wearing green knickers, a white t-shirt, blue blazer and a red scarf around my waist as a belt. This is more than 30 years ago and I still remember that comment which, for me, is a symbol that you’re not supposed to stand out - at least for some people.”
She continues: “I’ve never forgotten that thoughtlessness, but luckily I’ve never had anything against looking like a ‘carnival’. For me, life’s a party most days.”
In the last few years we’ve become more aware of body positivity and inclusivity than ever before. In my teenage years I remember reading a lot of articles in magazines with women in their 40’s saying how much their perspective had changed since having kids and getting older.
Kandi says: “My sense of body worth blossomed when I got pregnant the first time in my late 20’s. I suddenly became aware of how my mother had always had issues with her body and I refused to do that to myself.”
Something like this obviously doesn’t happen overnight, but Kandi found that celebrating her body for carrying a child was the first step towards a more peaceful relationship with her body. She also became aware that when grown-ups talk negatively about their bodies in front of kids, it can be really damaging and that’s why “my kids have never heard me complain about my body!”, Kandi says.
No one can be 100% happy about their bodies all the time, but studies have shown that if you keep saying nice things about yourself - whether it be your appearance, personality, intelligence (how are you smart?) and more - you will start to believe and live it. You can teach yourself to accept your body by saying nice things about it and that’s one more thing Kandi has done - it works!
To get you started on saying nice things about your body try think of all it can do. Dance, hug, walk, carry stuff, bike and much more!
“Another thing that worked for me is that as I’ve gotten older I don’t care as much about what other people think. I decided when I was 40 years old that now I wanted to wear bikinis on the beach - and that’s because I read an article that many thought you aren’t supposed to do that in that age”, Kandi tells.
At that time, Kandi didn’t even own a bikini, but in the years after she’d only wear bikinis when going for a swim. Yay, what a winner! Because truth is, we don’t owe anyone looking a certain way.
Dorthe Kandi has worked as a journalist for almost 25 years and in the last 11 years she’s worked at a women’s magazine. She’s naturally a part of a world with so-called ‘ideals’, glitter and models.
But ideals are not restricted to magazines. They are everywhere.
“I encourage diversity on all parameters - not only looks and body types, but in other ways too. However, it is also really important to me that we do not create new ‘ideals’ and boxes that we put each other in.”
What Kandi very well states is that ‘too fat’ should not automatically be replaced with ‘too skinny’. That we have to fight to change norms and ideals “...and in my eyes, that is best done with acknowledging one another without judgement - and that we always try to focus on the good in ourselves and in others.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Explore our exclusive collaboration with Retro Villa where Dorthe Kandi held a very moving talk.
All images are from Dorthe Kandi's personal Instagram @curvy_kandi - go give her some love and get inspired!