We recently spoke with Bachelor contestant turned Instagram star Abbie Chatfield (@abbiechatfield) about self love, travel and how she deals with online trolls.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m actually pretty boring! I’m from Brisbane but was born on the Gold Coast. I have a Bachelors Degree in Property Economics but have recently decided to change career paths. I’m currently looking into starting a Psychology degree, so fingers crossed. My hobbies change regularly, but I have always loved Yoga and I try to work out as much as I can, but also treat myself very regularly.
What is your ultimate travel destination?
I am dying to go to Mexico. So many of my friends have gone recently, and it just fits into my ideal holiday with the beach, drinking and eating! I also love Santorini, it’s probably my favourite place I have ever travelled to.
What do you never leave home without when travelling?
I never leave home without lip balm! It’s such a basic answer but I have the driest lips on earth no matter how much water I drink, so I always have at least two lip balms on me.
At Ete we are proud supporters of body confidence and self love. What does body positivity mean to you?
To me body positivity is being grateful for your body every day, but also acknowledging that you will have good and bad days when it comes to self image. I think it’s just about realising that your worth does not come from your body or from your looks, no matter how you look. It’s great to take pride in your appearance, and it is important to feel confident in yourself, but I think that true body positivity comes from realising that your place in the world isn’t defined by how you look.
Who are some women in your life that inspire you to feel confident in your skin?
All of my closest friends are beautiful women, inside and out, who all look completely different. They all have different body shapes, styles and personality traits, but each of them is as confident and beautiful as the other. I think their continued support of each other reminds me that beauty can come in all forms, and as women we must continue to lift each other up.
Have you always been body confident? If not, what insecurities did you overcome to reach a place of self love?
Of course not. Growing up as a girl, you’re taught to believe that your value is based on your looks and because of that, I think we all struggle with how we look. I always felt bigger than the other girls, and was called “thunder thighs” in primary school. I struggled with my weight all throughout high school, never feeling entirely comfortable in my skin. As I got older, and started to understand that firstly, my body was beautiful regardless of what others thought, and secondly, that there were so many other things about me that made me who I am.
What is your advice to women who struggle with body confidence?
I think most people have issues with confidence that stems from fear of what others think. I think a huge thing to remember is that most people aren’t focussing on how others look, and if they are, they have some deep issues within themselves. As the old saying goes, “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!”
How do you deal with negative comments, in particular those that criticise your appearance?It’s really hard to navigate negative comments about my appearance, particularly when I was thrust into the limelight virtually overnight. I went from having no one ever comment on my appearance, except for my girlfriends hyping me up, to then people commenting on everything I posted, whether good or bad. It’s difficult to not let the negative comment change how you view yourself, but I try to remind myself that how others view me is not how I must view myself. If I were to go through life taking on board negative comments and letting them wear me down, then I would be letting those people win. I also tend to call people out for particularly horrendous comments because I think if I don’t speak up, these people will continue to think that what they are doing is okay and will continue to hurt people who may not be able to handle it.
What role do you think the media should play in promoting body confidence?
I think the media has a huge part to play in body confidence. We are taught as women that our value comes from how we look, and the media supports this notion. While social media can be detrimental to body confidence movements, with so much editing on Instagram, I think as time goes on, social media is being used for good. It’s becoming cool to be real, and it creates a domino effect, encouraging more and more people to post unedited photos on their socials. Accounts like @i_weigh and @ariellanyssa are great for the body positivity movement and are (hopefully) indicative of a shift in how we use social media.
How important is it for you to be authentic online?
It’s extremely important for me to be authentic online, though sometimes I do find it difficult. I don’t edit my photos anymore, but sometimes I have to admit I am tempted. We see so many photos online that are edited that when we see a photo that is unedited, it can be quite jarring. I often struggle with self image, but I remind myself that if I keep posting photos that aren’t authentic, then I am not only hurting others, but also myself.
Are there any body positive Instagram accounts you would recommend following?
How do you practice self love and self care in your daily life?
I try to practice self love and self care by doing things in moderation. For example, I exercise around 4 days a week, because it makes me feel good, but I also try to not hate myself if one week it’s only 2 days. I treat myself to food when I feel like it, but also try to be mindful about what I am eating. When I am eating poorly and not exercising it’s usually indicative of something mental happening, whether it’s stress or anxiety.
I think it’s important to have balance, and to not be too hard on ourselves. I guess I’d rather be a few kg happier and be able to have a sleep in on a Saturday, miss gym and go and have pasta for lunch than be a little bit smaller and stress about what I am eating all the time.
How can women encourage each other to love their bodies?
Lift each other up! Compliment your friends, family, colleagues, strangers even. I think that’s the main thing. Try to be as kind as often as you can.
Follow Abbie's journey on Instagram @abbiechatfield.
If you enjoyed this Q&A make sure to check out our chat with @maya_gypsy!