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After a tough 2020, six inspiring Torontonians bare all and greet the new year with self-love and body positivity
2020 was hard on everyone’s minds, souls and bodies – whether it was dealing with isolation, police violence or the effects of the novel coronavirus itself.
In the 2021 edition of our annual body positivity feature Love Your Body, a half a dozen models open up about what they and their bodies have gone through – both last year and throughout their lives.
Their inspiring stories and photos could just make you love your own body a lot more in 2021.
After sending out the call for submissions in late November, we received dozens and dozens of applications. Because of COVID-19, we decided to keep the number of models lower than usual this year. Since this was the sixth year of the Love Your Body cover spread, I figured six subjects would be fitting. But finding the right balance of subjects was a challenge. In the end, I think we found a nice mix of people and stories.
Some words about the safety protocols used during the photoshoot last December. The shoot took place in a large, high-ceilinged warehouse in the west end of Toronto, and photographer Samuel Engelking and I, each of us masked, kept one window open throughout the day.
We staggered the timing of the shoots so that there was at least 20 minutes between one model leaving and another one coming. We wiped down and sprayed every surface – doorknobs, chairs, fabric drop sheets, bathroom faucets – between models.
While shooting, Engelking maintained a minimum of six feet distance between himself and the subjects, using a video monitor to show them his ideas and mimicking poses he thought they could try.
So read on. And keep loving your own body throughout 2021.
Denise Mcleod, producer, comedian, textile artist
Emma Hewson, musician, teacher
Jessie Olsen, aka Bae Savage, community manager, podcaster
Gelek Badheytsang, communications professional, writer, podcast host
Arianne Persaud, writer, documentary filmmaker
Gary Alderson, sales
Glenn Sumi discusses the Love Your Body issue with Denise Mcleod, Emma Hewson, Jessie Olsen, Gelek Badheytsang and Arianne Persaud on the latest episode of the NOW What podcast, available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or playable directly below: