A slightly different advocate perspective. Jess Williamson is the founder of successful Australian label, EteSwimwear. She Founded Ete Swimwear at just 22 and left her corporate job shortly after turning 24 to dive (pun intended) head first into accomplishing her goal of being her own CEO. What has a swimwear label got to do with self love and body positivity you ask? One word... #etelove.
And, she's a Pilates fan! Win win ;)
Jess, can you tell us a bit about the #etelove campaign?
On Valentines Day, Ete Swimwear launched a whole month of Love… yourself. We want you to come with us on this journey and challenge yourself to remember to love yourself, and to encourage others to do so too. As a collective force, our dream is to inspire girls and women everywhere to love who they are, no matter what!
100% of profits from the sales of our Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful T-shirts will go directly to the Butterfly Foundation and ProjectHEAL, to do our part in funding and supporting positive body image and eating disorders.
What lead you to start the #etelove movement?
I wanted to use the platform I have with Ete Swimwear to inspire girls. One of my goals is to be a great role model for girls all around the world. Especially when swimwear is one of the most revealing things someone can wear, insecurities do play on our minds! I want to really focus on making everyone feel amazing and embracing their uniqueness, because it is something that should be celebrated.
When someone can be 100% confident and happy with themselves, amazing things begin to happen and you can see the ripple effect as it flows on into their work, relationships and life goals. I know shopping for a swimsuit can be stressful, and I want to take the anxiety away from shopping and wearing swimwear to become something girls are excited about. We are currently working on new sizing, cuts and shapes so we have something that will make every girl feel amazing, comfortable and confident.
What does Self Love mean to you?
Self love to me is about embracing all your unique traits on a deeper level including; emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally.
It’s about knowing that the way you look doesn’t define your worth. We need to begin focusing more on the things we love about ourselves rather than nit picking at the things we don’t, because there is a whole lot to love about yourself and spreading this to others. You will never look like someone else and that’s because you are YOU and that is what makes you pretty darn special!
Could you share with us a time when you struggled with body esteem?
When you think about body positivity, the first thing most people think of is weight and size but for me, my biggest insecurity has always been my skin. I have suffered with acne for as long as I can remember and it has been a massive journey for me over the 10+ years. I would spend hours every morning in front of the mirror trying to make my skin look “acceptable to leave the house”. I use to be so shy, and hated attention because I didn’t want anyone looking at my face. Some days I didn’t even want to leave the house so would cancel plans and opt to stay in instead. I hate that this insecurity has meant I missed out on those days of my life, days I can never get back.
I have always eaten healthy and lived a healthy lifestyle. I had been to doctors, naturopaths, dermatologists, hormone specialists, and nothing seemed to be wrong or out of balance. On paper everything seemed great but I still had a face full of pimples and nothing worked! That’s the thing with genetics, you can’t change them, but I can manage it the best way I can and I certainly can try to manage the way I react and feel towards it.
What worked for me won’t work for everyone but it’s so important to remember to listen to what your body needs, whether that be meditation, certain foods, a workout or a catch up with friends. Don't let your skin, size, colour or any other insecurities ever hold you back from what you want to do in life. You are all beautiful in your unique way and that is what makes us so special.
How does social media impact your body confidence?
Social media has the ability to inspire, empower and ignite, but it can also be the source of insecurity and self-doubt. It is so important to pay attention to the accounts you follow and ask yourself “do they provide me value?” “do they make me feel good?” if the answer is no, then you need to unfollow these accounts. We’re living in a world where people can be easily influenced by what they see on social media it is important to choose who you follow. It’s the same as in the real world, if someone always made you feel bad about yourself, you wouldn’t be friends with them, so why would you follow them on social media. We take this responsibility really seriously at Ete, and we aim to support and nurture our amazing community and show them that their potential is limitless!
If you could tell your 15 year old self anything, what would it be?
I would tell myself to believe in my abilities and that there is no limit to what we are capable of. Being a teenager is hard and kids are mean but you are more than what they make you feel, and these “friends" are not worth being around if they make you feel bad about yourself.
Favourite self care practices? I actually need to get better at this myself. But surrounding myself with people who support and love me for who I am is so important to me because I feed of others’ energy and when its positive, I feel my best!
Favourite way to move your body? I have been really enjoying Pilates! I need to do it more often but I enjoy it because I feel so energised after and my body feels great for it. I get easily bored with going to the gym or doing cardio so being in a class is great for me.
Best tips for getting out of a funky headspace? I usually just stop whatever I am doing and do something that relaxes me and brings me back down to earth… I will admit I love a bit of reality TV, its actually so relaxing and helps me switch off :)
Who inspires you? There are so many! I just love surrounding myself with other girl bosses in whatever field they are in. Having a great support base of others who just get you is all I can ask for.
What motivates you? I have always been a very motivated person so Its quite rare that I would get unmotivated doing something I enjoy. I think the key for me is to just do what I love and am passionate about and then I will be excited to get going each morning.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Or are all pleasures guilt free?! Hmm I’d say chocolate and watching the Kardashians haha! But I don’t feel guilty about that at all ;)
Favourite insta accounts to stalk *ahem* follow at the moment? @matildadjerf of course! She’s always so body positive and I love her style. @lisamessenger for inspiring quotes and motivation. @katiehwillcox is an amazing ambassador for body positivity and she always keeps it real and honest. And can I say @eteswimwear?!
You sure can! Thanks so much for your time Jess. We love that this campaign is not only raising funds for important organisations but also spreading much needed awareness on topics very close to our heart. Thank you :)
Support the campaign: Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful T-shirts
Shop: Ete Swimwear