WEIGHT GAIN: Danica says she feels happier now she has gained three dress sizes
As a teenager, Danica Marjanovic was a size 10 and miserable. Today is she a size 16 and happier than ever.
From a young age, Danica, now 24, battled with body dysmorphia. In her late teens the body-positivity blogger lost a considerable amount of weight, documenting her diet tips on social media, but never felt happy about her slim figure.
But after a difficult break up, Danica from Belfast, was motivated to start her life on a new journey of body positivity, self acceptance and self love.
Rather than be overwhelmed by her insecurities, she embraced them by thrusting them into the spotlight via her blog.
Now, she is taking the next step into accepting her new body, by entering a plus-size modelling competition.
She said: “I’ve always had a curvy body, so I think that’s also what played into my body dysmorphia. Even when I was so slim, I was probably about a size 10 on top, to me that still wasn’t good enough.
“I started my journey with body positivity probably about a year ago. I blog about my body because I’ve suffered quite low self esteem my entire life.”
A 2015 report commissioned by Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, estimates more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder.
CURVE QUEEN: The 24-year-old has now entered a plus-size modelling competition
Danica originally began using Instagram and YouTube as a diary to document her make up, diet and daily life.
She explained: “When I look at photos from back then, I can remember the exact emotion that I felt at that certain time and I just remember being really unhappy and miserable.
“My blog helps me deal with my mental health”
“I went through a really nasty break up which kind of brought to the surface a lot of mental health issues that I have been battling with for years that I never really got the right help.
“I quit my job and I had to move back home to my mum’s house.
“I wanted to start posting about body positivity online, I kind of thought to myself – what was the scariest thing I could do that would challenge those insecurities that I have about myself.
“My blog helps me deal with my mental health firstly because showing my body is obviously helping my self esteem which is a huge impact on my depression – I see it like my online diary.”
HAPPY: Danica has learnt to love her stomach rolls and stretch marks
This year, after searching for body positivity inspiration online, Danica stumbled on a body confidence modelling event called Miss Curvaceous and decided to enter.
She said: “Ms. Curvaceous is a modelling competition based for women size 12 and up, and it’s just all about encouraging women to feel confident, if they want to get into the modelling industry.
“I’m not a model. I’ve never done a catwalk, and I have to be walking in front of judges. That alone is going to be a big deal for me body dysmo I’m just generally really excited to go to the audition.”
Danica feels auditioning for Ms. Curvaceous will be the start of a new chapter in her body positivity journey.
She said: “Two years ago I couldn’t walk down the street without having a panic attack, so coming from that level to being able to walk in front of people and being proud of my figure. To now be up to UK size 16, it’s possible to love yourself at any size.
“You are beautiful if you have stretch marks, you are beautiful if you have stomach rolls, you are beautiful if you have cellulite.
“That doesn’t determine your level of respect from others.”