The fear of hitting a non-descipt beach abroad in your handpicked swimwear of choice is something most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. The pressure for women to get 'bikini-body-ready' reaches fever pitch in the run-up to holiday high-season which doesn't help diminish our insecurities but 13-year-old Paris Harvey is calling bullshit on unrealistic beauty ideals by encouraging females - of all ages - to love their bodies, no matter what size their swimsuit or bikini is.
The brave teenager from Gillingham, Kent, has become a viral sensation after sharing photos of her facing her biggest fear - wearing a swimsuit in public. "Omg so I faced my biggest fear today and went to the beach in a swimsuit," she captioned the pictures of herself enjoying a day out at the beach. The tweet has since accumulated in excess of 46K retweets as well as being liked more than 337K times.
The teenager was inundated with messages from thankful fans who reached out to say they'd been inspired to be a bit more brave when it comes to summer dressing. "You're beautiful!! You've inspired me so much that I'm going to start going out in my shorts which I've never done before," one wrote. Another added: "I had a breast reduction and for the first time ever I'm wearing a 2-piece bathing suit. Thanks for the inspiration "
Paris has since revealed she suffers from a metabolic condition, meaning she gains weight faster than the average person and it's harder for her to lose it - a consequence of being born with hip dysplasia whereby one leg is shorter than the other. Because of this, the teen has been bullied in the past, telling the Daily Mail: "I became really insecure about how I looked. I can be eating the same food as the next person but I gain weight. It's not like I'm sitting at home all day eating crisps."
But Paris is hoping to put that negativity behind her in light of her latest achievement. She finished: "I feel like we should embrace who we are. You shouldn't have to change yourself to make others feel comfortable around you. Focus on yourself.
"I'm not making myself a model but I wanted to show people that it doesn't matter what size you are - you are born into that body." Wise words from someone half my age.
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