Question: How did you feel when you woke up this morning, people of Adelaide? Of course, being a Radelaidian you woke up fabulous (that’s a given, right!?) But for many of us, this isn’t the feeling that comes to mind. We are all well aware of the unrealistic pressures honing down on us from the beauty, fashion and fitness industries and we are also starting to clue onto just how much the culture of social media is taking a toll on our self-esteems. But one Adelaide gal is fighting fire with fire (or likes with likes, shall we say?) by using her social media power to promote the exact thing that social media usually prevents — self-love.
Lani Pontt, aka: @fullyedited1, started blogging a couple of years ago, initially for personal reasons and as a self-therapy tactic. As a young woman, she experienced some traumatic challenges that severely lowered her self-esteem. This resulted in a long battle with an eating disorder and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). ‘My blogging about body image began as a form of self help,’ explains Pontt. She spent several years battling with her illness and mental health, and while she managed to conquer that, she realised that there was still work to do. “I gradually grew to realise (with the help of my other half) that the real answer to my happiness still relied upon some very intense work on acceptance of myself,’ she explains, ‘So I began blogging.’
Writing under the screen name ‘Fully Edited,’ Pontt first started blogging about self-love and body image acceptance via Tumblr in early 2015 and this eventually spread to Instagram. She now has over 17K followers, with people flooding to her account to get a refreshing dose of self-love amongst the usual mood-deflating Insta-scrolling. ‘I never imagined that my little journey would create such a following of supportive people!’ says Pontt. Her page is full of original inspirational quotes (written by Pontt, herself), cute light-hearted body-image cartoons, and thought-provoking statements that encourage a fresh way of thinking. She has an uncanny knack for posting just what you need to hear, and for putting a more realistic spin on the bikini model post that you may have just guiltily scrolled past. ‘We look in these magazines and catalogues and see airbrushed people. Everything is altered. Everything. These unrealistic ideals are setting unrealistic standards, for children, men and women,’ Pontt argues.
While the self-proclaimed op-shop addict creates conversations surrounding lots of different social issues such as gender equality, sexual preference and self-love, her topics about body image are often the most powerful. When she first started posting, she aimed to post everyday, just for herself and to improve her own body thoughts. ‘I figured that if I wrote about these things, then eventually I would grow to believe them – and I did,’ she explains. Eventually, as her following grew, so did her love for herself. Now, she has become a pioneer for body image change and has inspired many to follow in her self-loving footsteps. ‘I thought, if someone like me can change my perception, anyone can. It was incredibly empowering,’ she says.
The body image movement is on the rise, and it is starting to expose the fact that the beauty and fashion industries have a lot to answer to. Pontt tackles these issues and has a lot to say about changes that need to be made. “If these industries used people of all shapes, sizes, abilities, gender, sexuality and skin colour AND refused to manipulate the images — we would be setting the standard that our current form is perfectly okay!’ Pontt suggests. Last year, for her ‘September Self-Love Challenge,’ Pontt came up with the hashtag: #daretofallinselflove, which has become a staple mantra on her page. Many of her followers participated in this challenge, writing the hashtag across the part of their body they felt most self-conscious about, and daring themselves to fall in love with it. ‘We are all so afraid to love ourselves,’ Pontt explains, ‘we are taught that loving yourself is being conceited and so instead we do the opposite and then in turn, we believe it.’
Because this topic is relatable to so many people coming from all different journeys and backgrounds, the body image conversation can often get quite narky and aggressive. But Pontt’s page isn’t this way inclined. It instead takes a positive step forward and aims to involve everybody. “I guess the whole main focus is to let people know – YOU are okay, just as you are,’ Pontt urges, ‘You with your illness; you with your coloured skin; you with your body shape and you with your sexual preference — we are all wonderful just as we are and we do not need to succumb to anyone else's expectations of who we should be.’ Of course, as with any opinion, there has been some backlash. ‘A lot of people think I am promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, but I'm not,’ says Pontt, ‘I'm promoting equality for all. That's it.’ Pontt says at times like these she turns to her biggest life inspirations. “I have four major inspirations in my life. My mother for her humble confidence and resilience, my father for his struggle and strength, my sister for her kindness and compassion and my wife for her passion and powerful motivation.’
So what does this retro-loving, positive body image promoter think about the Adelaide landscape in regards to these issues? While she admits that Adelaide has not been totally kind to her, she feels that we all face discrimination in some avenue of our lives, regardless of where we live or how we look. “I have definitely dealt with discrimination,’ she says, ‘I have been teased about my weight since I was a child, I have suffered the effects of an abusive relationship and I have been laughed at, yelled at and sexualised because of my sexual preference, and because I am a woman.’ Pontt says that she never used to speak up, and finds that some people aren’t comfortable with her doing so. “Some people in Adelaide find my honesty a little confronting, but I believe we should all be honest and real.” Adelaide — we have some work to do. In saying that, Pontt does love Adelaide for her her op-shopping hobby, and has some favourite a-town spots. “I am always thrifting. It's kind of my religion and it's great for the earth,’ she says, ‘On weekends, I am generally frequenting all three Adelaide Savers stores with my wife. The best Salvos that I have found have been on South Road not far from Castle Plaza, Payneham Road and Arndale shopping centre.’
Looking through her account, it is clear that the @fullyedited1 account has made a big impact, with comments from people thanking Pontt for changing their perspective and like-minded followers applauding her original approach. Amongst the endless highlight reels of accounts that promote the ONE idealist body type and look, the @fullyedited1 account is a place of empowerment, positivity and self-acceptance — with a dash of retro and vintage style for good measure! Let's hope she keeps dishing out the good stuff for the self-esteems of Radelaidians and people everywhere.
Images via: Instagram/fullyedited1