This year, International Women’s Day isn’t just celebrating women but focusing on how each and every person can create positive change in society, particularly for a gender equal world. Their campaign message, #EachforEqual, highlights how the individual actions of many can lead to large, collective change.
This notion of ‘Collective Individualism’ shows how we as individuals are all part of the bigger picture that makes up society. Our daily choices, down to the things we do, say and even our own mindset, can help to challenge stereotypes and fight bias.
By believing in yourself and acting on those beliefs, collectively we can make change happen and help to create a world where differences are seen as advantages and not limitations.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we share one of our favourite interviews to date, with plant-powered bodybuilder and lifestyle blogger Sisi (AKA Miss Divalicious). In our conversation, Sisi opens up about body confidence in a world of judgement, how social media can be used for good or bad, and importantly, how believing in yourself is the first step towards positive change.
Read our catch up with Sisi below:
Q: So, tell us a little bit about yourself!
A: Well, my name is Sisi, also known as Miss Divalicious online, and I’m just crazy about fitness. I’ve recently, (well it’s been about three and a half years now) been vegan so – that’s me!
Q: Why do you feel it’s important to be vegan and what does being vegan mean to you?
A: Actually, I became vegan by accident. It was just after my first bodybuilding competition and for me to prep for that competition I did a bit of research and found that I needed to incorporate a lot of protein into my diet. I ended up having quite a lot of chicken and red meat and it was just so much that it completely put me off meat. So after my first [bodybuilding] competition I just wanted to make that change and I became vegetarian for a while then switched to becoming vegan after that.
Q: Where do you get your motivation from and what inspires you when you compete?
A: It’s weird because you might think that I’m an extrovert being on social media but I’m actually an introvert…well maybe a bit of both – an introverted extrovert? So, when I decided to compete at my first bodybuilding competition, that was really outside of my comfort zone. And obviously I practised so much – the poses – and got my body ready, but when I got on stage, I actually had stage fright. Then I told myself, “you know, I’m here and deserve to be here like everyone else”. And I did my poses and I actually enjoyed it! And even if I didn’t win, I won because it just gave me so much confidence. Actually, it makes me cry to talk about this with you!”
View this post on Instagram
It is not your goals that are scary, it is your lack of belief in yourself that makes it look scary. Do everything you can do to enforce belief in yourself. Build a strong work ethic, challenge yourself with bigger and bigger goals. #poweredbyplants 🌱 @el.obsession #fitfam #fitnessmotivation #abs
I’m here and deserve to be here like everyone else
Q: Aw that is your journey! It’s such a big thing and putting yourself on that stage competing and in front of the masses – it’s incredible. There are a lot of people who follow Myvegan who will be able to relate to you – especially being an introvert/extrovert. That’s the thing with being an influencer, people probably naturally assume you’re an extrovert and that’s not always the case. To put yourself “out there” and to be visible to the public, that’s a huge thing to go and do. I think that’s really relatable and you’ll probably inspire people just by talking about this.
A: I know, people say you find yourself outside your comfort zone and, you know, I’d prepared for [the bodybuilding competition], I was so excited, and I got my body in shape and I did my poses and I was ready to rock in my Swarovski bikini and when I got there, as soon as I got on stage I forgot my whole routine and I felt that stage fright. I started doubting myself that “I don’t look fit enough”, “all the other girls look absolutely amazing” but then at that moment something just clicked.
I told myself “I deserve to be here just like everybody else and I’ve made all this preparation – just go and do your thing”. I did my poses, I walked in front of the judges and tried to enjoy it and as soon as I got off stage, I just felt so proud of myself because I felt like I’d just achieved so much. because you might think that I’m an extrovert being on social media but I’m actually an introvert…well maybe a bit of both – an introverted extrovert? So, I think in life, whatever you do just give it your best and you’ll find that you find yourself in that place that you feel uncomfortable in.”
Whatever you do just give it your best and you’ll find that you find yourself in that place that you feel uncomfortable in.
Q: That is incredible! What a journey! That’s insane. How long have you been doing that for then?
A: 4 years.
Q: And when you go on stage do you still get those nerves?
A: I think I do but I’m more aware of it now, and in everything else that I do in my life, you know. There’s always part of me that thinks I haven’t done enough and then I remember that I’ve stood in a bikini on a stage in front of so many people, it was at the O2 [Arena]! It was so packed. And I’m thinking, if I can stand in a bikini half naked, I can do anything!
Q: It’s good to hear that because it’s easy to get a glossy version that it’s easy and it’s simple but someone won’t have necessarily had to go through that mentally in terms of putting yourself out there so to have that [experience], that’s incredible. It’s easy to judge from afar but for someone to get up and do it…
A: Yeh, I think people don’t realise that as an influencer you get all these insecurities as well. Just because you’re putting yourself out there doesn’t mean that you’re just showing off life, you know, and that you’re confident. That’s what gives you the confidence, being able to put yourself out there with no make-up, no nothing, looking tired. That’s why I try not to do too much to my photos because that’s just how I am and this is me.
That’s just how I am and this is me.
Q: There’s something there about body confidence that really resonates. I’d love to talk about that a little more if that’s okay. It’s speaking to me a lot as a female, what you’re talking about. You said something that hit home there, about getting on stage and saying “no I deserve to be here” and I think as females we do self-doubt ourselves a lot and I think a lot of males as well. How have you addressed this in the past and what are you doing now to fight it?
A: Body confidence to me is about accepting yourself the way that you are however you are, because we’re all different. Sometimes as people we like to compare ourselves to other people. We look at social media, we look at Instagram and wish that we had somebody else’s body but maybe someone is looking at your Instagram and wishing they had your body. I think it’s just about accepting yourself the way that you are. I know that sometimes with social media people say it can be damaging but I think it depends on the accounts that you follow. If you follow people who inspire you then you’ll find that you’ll be inspired.
Follow people who inspire you then you’ll find that you’ll be inspired.
Q: That’s amazing. Thank you! Your story is so inspiring, and I know a lot of women will be able to relate to you and feel inspired by this. So lastly, we have to ask you, do you have a favourite Myvegan product?
A: I’m absolutely crazy about the Myvegan Protein Cookie, the chocolate one. What I do is I put it in the microwave just for a few seconds so it’s nice and warm and the chocolate is melting and when you put it in your mouth…it’s like a party in your mouth. I absolutely love it.
Q: Ooh yes, everyone loves the cookies! So moreish…and still really good for you.
Sisi’s personal experiences and honesty about the challenges of self-doubt in a world full of judgement is a great example of issues faced by women all over the world. Her message, which she makes sure to communicate through her online platform, is perfectly in line with the #EachforEqual focus of this years International Women’s Day campaign. The message is this – that self-belief and individual action is the first important step towards creating positive change.
When women believe in themselves and actively embrace other women’s achievements, it will help raise awareness against bias and promote action for equality.
Let’s all be #EachforEqual.
Shop Sisi’s favourites here: