Inspired by stories that speak of the strong effect of choice in achieving our destiny, we're profiling women who have moved beyond the strict adherence to societal expectations and have chosen to live in the path of their destiny. So for Part Two
of our #ChangeDestiny series this month, we caught up with Cheryl Tay from Rock The Naked Truth
to chat about how she uses body-confidence to challenge societal norms.
Her drive to achieve a level of confidence within herself and challenge the norms of what it means to have a "perfect body" is reminiscent of the story of Beatboxer Aibo
who has brought about a new perspective on what it means to beatbox in a male-dominated field. Watch her journey below in this video from SK-II
For Cheryl Tay, her journey towards body confidence wasn't an easy one. Teased throughout her early years for her size, her self-esteem would continue to take a massive beating as her life spiralled towards a desperate pursuit to be thin. It took years before she learned to not define herself by the numbers on the scale, but rather the strength of what her body can do.
So if you're struggling with body-confidence and looking for an inspiring story on how to overcome your insecurities, read on to find out more about how Cheryl learned to feel confident in her own skin and how she has been helping others in their own body-confidence journey.
Rock The Naked Truth (RTNT) is a body image movement that reaches out to others who are facing self-esteem and confidence struggles. After overcoming more than a decade of body image issues myself, I hope to inspire others to find confidence in their bodies through fitness, as well as encourage them to take care of their body well. Advocating healthy methods of getting in shape, RTNT promotes an active lifestyle and embraces inner beauty. Most importantly, one of the main objectives of the movement is to bring together a support community to motivate each other.
Through RTNT, I hope to help as many people as possible to accept that it's ok to be imperfect and to learn to overcome their insecurities through our programmes and initiatives. We should try to appreciate the functionality of our bodies (ie. what it can do for us) and not try to force it into a size that it is not, just so we can be accepted by others. Your self-worth should not be defined by your appearance.
We love that you encourage others to be comfortable in their own skin and find confidence through fitness. What do you think is the hardest part to overcome that makes it difficult for some to fully embrace their body?
I think one of the toughest challenges in fully embracing their bodies is that people hold a perceived image of themselves - they compare themselves to others, they hold an ideal image of how they should look like. Because of that, they try to do everything they can to look like that ideal body they want. We need to learn to let go of these societal perceptions. We don't need to look like anyone, we don't need to be of a certain shape to be accepted.
Would you say that your life prior to launching Rock The Naked Truth somehow prepared you or set you on the path to advocating this movement? Is there an instance in your past where you can almost pinpoint as the turning point in your life, leading you to where you are now?
My struggle with my body spans over 13 years and it was really only in 2013 when I started to come around. I had already given up on myself then, and was filled with a lot of self-hate. It wasn't nice to wake up feeling inferior and unmotivated to do anything in life.
There wasn't a particular turning point which led me to the path I'm on now; rather, it was a gradual process. I began to appreciate the functionality of my body and what I was capable of. For example, I was lifting heavy weights, running a half-marathon, doing highly intense CrossFit, and now attempting triathlons. I started to see that there is more meaning to life than just moping around feeling sorry for myself, so I went out to travel and I have done skydiving twice, bungee jumping four times, and a lot of other more exciting stuff.
What has been the most inspiring part about starting that movement for you? What keeps you motivated to keep that movement going every day?
Seeing how it has helped people change their lives is what keeps me going every day. This movement is a voice for all the people out there who are silently suffering with their insecurities. Most of the time it's very hard to tell that people are struggling because they come across as outspoken or cheerful; but inside they are fighting this inner battle with themselves.
I want to make a difference in people's lives, I don't want them to be imprisoned by their insecurities and miss out on life, I want them to know that it is possible to recover from your eating disorders.
Would you consider the life you’re leading now part of your destiny?
I never understood why I had to go through all of what I did, but finally after 30 years on this Earth, I realise I have this purpose to help people overcome their body image struggles and lead a healthy, active and balanced life. I chose this path to set up Rock The Naked Truth
to spread a more positive acceptance on body image.