Margie Belle Muise
Mental health and body positivity advocate with bipolar disorder.
In 2017, during her final year of studying architecture at university, Margie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. She embarked on a mental health journey in the years that followed.
One of the side effects of the medication she was prescribed was weight gain, which has led her to become an outspoken advocate for the body positivity movement.
“We have an issue with fatness that I just don’t understand - a huge fear of it. It seems we have this moral failure if you are considered fat, when actually in reality there are so many worse things to be,” Margie said.
Margie feels passionately about addressing those who judge others without knowing their full story. The stereotype that people are fat because they sit on the sofa and eat junk food is incredibly frustrating, and simply existing in a fat body means you get these opinions pushed on you for no reason. There are many reasons why someone might put on weight. Medication, like in Margie’s case, is just one example.
“I don’t owe anyone to tell them my full story, I should be treated with respect anyway.”
Being part of the body positive community comes with its own duality. There are times Margie feels like she would like to lose the weight she put on with the medication, and this can feel contradictory to the body positive message, and her work on accepting herself just as she is.
What she has discovered is that it's more important for her to be comfortable than to be preoccupied with the way she looks.
Margie’s journey of mental health and body positivity
Margie believes that her mental health and body positivity go hand in hand. During her mental health journey, Margie has unlocked new levels of resilience. Being in a bigger body has made her confront her own prejudices and encouraged her to love her body for what it is.
“Body positivity is a movement that was started by marginalised people that didn’t see themselves represented in the media. Everyone, no matter what you look like, is accepted. It’s just this idea that you should feel positive about your body.”
During lockdown, Margie began life modelling. In the art of photography and life drawing, she could see her body from other perspectives rather than her own. This has given her a new appreciation for her body, how it functions and what it is able to do.
“It’s really liberating being a life model. I really like looking at all the art that people make of me and that makes me feel more confident in my body because I see it from their perspective. I just hope that sometimes I can inspire [others] to love themselves for who they are.”
Margie’s advice to her younger self is: “Being in the thick of it may feel like you can’t get through it, but you are much tougher than you think you are, and you can. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, because all of us need help sometimes.”
Margie was a model for our Raw Beauty collection and a contributor to our self-love initiative.
Read the full story: Reigniting self love with the birth of the Raw Beauty collection.