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Lotte van Eijk doesn’t care what you think of her body. She’s used to being told to lose weight. She’s heard all the insults. The abuse.

Aged 12, Lotte was told she was “too fat” to dance for 14 hours a week. At the time, she was hurt and angry, but she knew the issue went beyond one dance tutor. Lotte realised there was no positive representation of bodies like hers in the media. And she decided to do something about it.

She started photographing herself, aiming for honest, unfiltered images of her body, and over time began to see herself in a whole new light. She describes the process as “therapy” and encourages anyone struggling with self-esteem to try something similar.

“Embracing your flaws will give you the world. It’s tough. But it will make you tougher.”

Not content with “healing” and empowering herself, Lotte wanted to inspire the same confidence in others. She started an Instagram account that shatters conventional beauty standards — on a platform usually showcasing perfection. It’s a space for other women to talk. To share their stories. And be shielded from the usual online abuse.

“If I can be the only target they shoot at and the rest of the girls will be left alone, that’s fine by me.”

“We all fight battles every day. With society. With our own minds. Resilience is staying true to yourself as this war rages.”

Now Lotte’s community is thriving. And so is she. She’s received countless positive comments from girls in similar positions who’ve felt empowered by her imagery. She still eats what she wants. Dances when she likes. And even teaches dance classes, which aim to give life-changing confidence.

The fat-shaming still happens. But seeing the lives she’s changed, the “light shine in others' eyes”, has made her almost bulletproof. Lotte’s “flaws” have become her greatest strength. And armed with them, she’ll continue her fight against unrealistic beauty expectations.


In six decades, the definition of tough has changed.
We asked Lotte van Eijk what it means to be tough in 2020.