I can remember looking into a mirror as a teenager, it was the most painful experience. Fat, ugly, disgusting, these were the words I would hear inside me screaming out. It was like being bullied by myself!
For years I would try 'the next big diet', losing 9 stone on Weight Watchers, then gaining 3 stone, then losing 4 stone to the cabbage diet, my body was in pain from all the yo-yo dieting and fads, my mind was in even worse pain. Hating yourself for the way you look is self destructive; I was at war with myself.
I remember the first time I self harmed because I hated the way I looked, I was also struggling with my sexuality. I hated these feelings, I didn't want to be gay. I wanted to be normal, have a beautiful body and not have these terrible feelings consuming me. The gay scene was incredibly hard, it was all about sex, cheating, the perfect face and a stunning six packed body. With guys going for looks over anything else, the only thing I had was a cheeky grin and the fact I was the 'class clown'. I wanted more, I wanted to be so handsome, it became so obsessive that I would spend hours in front of the mirror pulling myself apart, making me hate myself even more.
I struggled for years, losing and gaining weight, and then losing self respect and gaining a hatred towards myself. Taping my body with duct tape and later tearing my skin pulling it off. Even making myself sick after meals, I know it was wrong but I wanted that awesome body!
It took me many years to finally look in the mirror and say 'YOU are ok, YOU are fine the way YOU are!' I think the start of my career in fashion really helped me to find myself, I had my dream job, why couldn't I be happy with myself inside and out?
The fashion and beauty industry really helped me to realise that, even though it's built on body confidence with beautiful models and celebrities everywhere, I was really happy with the way I looked. Looks are not everything, some of the most attractive people I have met have bigger issues than I had, and from that I gained the best confidence. Sometimes I slip and think 'you're fat' or 'you're ugly', but then I realise that it's not important, who cares what I look like, what is important is drive, ambition and self respect, also the fact you can LOVE yourself inside and out!
Supporting body confidence is so close to my own heart, #BeReal is a platform to show people that they should have no fears or worries about the way they look! I want to show the world that even the most beautiful people on earth have issues with the way they look, even the most stunning celebrities and models have bigger hang ups than me at my worse!
Body confidence is NOT having a body like a super model it's about being comfortable in your own skin, and I am so glad that inside I feel like a movie star!
Joey Bevan is supporting the national movement Be Real, a group of individuals, charities, public bodies & businesses campaigning to change attitudes to body image and build a body confident nation. berealcampaign.co.uk