Scar positivity with Natalie-Amber
Self-love and body acceptance
Natalie-Amber is the model, performer and presenter bringing scar positivity to our feed. Three years ago she was rushed into hospital after collapsing in her home in Swindon.
She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and was fitted with a stoma bag. Natalie-Amber was left with scarring down her stomach, as well as a big knock to her confidence and mental health.
She has used her recovery journey as a way to inspire other people to love themselves and embrace their scars or so-called ‘imperfections’. Through inspiring modelling shots, empowering social media campaigns and powerful blogs, she has well and truly stuck her middle finger up to ‘traditional beauty standards’. For that, we salute her. We chatted to Natalie-Amber to find out more about her journey and get advice for anyone that may be struggling with their body image.
How were you first diagnosed?
I was misdiagnosed for 7 years being told because of my profession as a model and being in full time dance training I was anorexic. I collapsed in December 2017 and was rushed to hospital where I had sepsis and kidney failure. My parents were pulled into a room and told to prepare for the worst as they didn’t think I was going to survive. I had 35cm of my small intestine removed and a stoma put in.
How did you react to first having your stoma bag fitted?
I didn’t realise I had a stoma for weeks, I was in intensive care so heavily medicated and so I was not aware of anything that had happened to me.
It wasn’t until I was moved to a surgical ward and my surgeon came in and told me I could have the stoma reversed in 6-12 months that it really hit me. I hated it. Most people get to prepare for a stoma, I didn’t I woke up with one.
What impact did it have on your confidence?
It had a very big impact on my confidence, I was surrounded by some negative people at the time also so this made it worse, I would wear really high trousers mainly joggers and then make sure I wore a crop top just so people could see a little bit of my belly, I did this so people would think because they could see a little bit of my belly they wouldn’t of known I had a stoma or a scar.
How did you learn to love your scar?
I had a breakdown in August 2018, I spent 6 weeks or so in bed, I wasn’t eating, I didn’t see my friends despite them trying to get me to do things. It was then I found myself googling for some sort of ‘magic’ or quick fix to try to get me out of that rut.
I came across the Law of Attraction and it really changed my life for the better. I began practising gratitude, it made me realise just how lucky I was, I was so lucky to be alive. This scar saved my life, the stoma bag saved my life. I began to love her and embrace her. How could I not be proud of this beautiful scar when she is the reason I am here today, a scar is a sign of strength.
“How could I not be proud of this beautiful scar when she is the reason I am here today? A scar is a sign of strength.”Natalie-Amber
Why is it important that brands don’t edit out your scar?
My scar is part of me, without her I wouldn’t be me. I went from hiding her, to now never putting any sort of bio oil on her because I don’t want her to fade.
If brands edit my scar out it is showing they are not ready to up their game and help break a huge stigma in the fashion industry. It’s okay Brands preaching about real bodies but following through with it is a different situation. Also, if they edit my scar then they are not working with the real person they booked.
What does the phrase ‘body confidence’ mean to you?
Body Confidence to me means loving the skin you are in. It means looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I love my body’. It means knowing you are worthy and have the right to wear what you want and flaunt your body however you want. Knowing that you are unique and that is so beautiful because nobody else is you. We are all different down to the stretch marks on our backs, and freckles on our face.
Body confidence means you do not need to post pictures for validation and likes to feel worthy, you know you could get 1 like and you still know you’re one sexy Queen. It means not letting negative comments from people who say nasty things get to you, remember when people say these things it’s because they are still insecure with their own bodies, it’s nothing to do with you, it’s them.
“We are all different down to the stretch marks on our backs, and freckles on our face.”Natalie-Amber
What false assumptions do people have about you?
I have had people say I post my scar for attention. This used to really upset me to the point I nearly stopped posting and raising awareness, but my friends made me see sense and that negative comments will always be said whether you do the best thing in the world or the worst.
I used to get upset because I know how long it took me to love my scar and it wasn’t easy for me, I never want anybody to feel the way I did that’s why I dedicate my life to helping women to embrace their scars and be proud.
What advice would you give women that are struggling to come to terms with their body image?
I really like referring to the tortoise and the hare. Always be the tortoise, by this I mean take your time and don’t rush. Self-love is something that is never ending, it’s not going to be all flowers and hearts along the way, tears will be shed, and some triggers will hit you, but this means you are on the right direction. If you do not face your insecurities they will keep coming back to haunt you.
Take time writing down the things you are grateful for, look in the mirror at your body, If like me you have scar and want to show it but don’t want to jump straight in, start by wearing crop tops with high waisted things, or swimwear with a loose top over the top.
One thing I cannot stress enough is NEVER compare yourself to other women on social media. Remember, Instagram is a façade we can post whatever we want, do you know how many selfies your favourite influencer probably took before she posted her favourite photo? When it comes to self-love you need to really strip down to the core, step by step, getting to know yourself again. It doesn’t matter if it takes you 1 month or 10 years to accept your body, skin or scars you will get there.
What do you wear to feel most confident in?
I like to wear comfy but stylish clothes for my scar. I am really weird when it comes to jeans, but obsessed with Misguided jeans, they are so comfy, and they don’t rub on my stoma scar. I love jumpsuits, co-ords and big coats. You could pair some joggers, heels and your favourite slogan tee together and look so hot, simply because its something you feel comfortable. It’s not about what you wear, being comfy is the first step to feeling confident.
How have you grown as a person since your diagnosis two years ago?
I have grown so much since my diagnosis, it has changed me for the better. I am so proud of the Queen I have become. I no longer tolerate things that I shouldn’t, and I dedicate my life to breaking the stigma when it comes to Scars, I will normalise this. I used to think my passion was becoming a dancer but now I have found my true passion is to help heal others, to help raise awareness for things that nobody really wants to talk about. I am so grateful for the messages I receive from women who have the confidence to show their scars after following me on Instagram. That’s why I do what I do.