Wow, what a crazy year 2020 has been. It’s crazy how we got this far! We wanted to congratulate you all for making it this far! 2020 was a year of change, a year of adapting to a new normal, a year of hardship, a year of problem-solving, and a year of self-reflection. All of you deserve a tap on the shoulder because you all made it this far.
It is now 2021, it is the first Monday of 2021, and what better way to start off the year than publish a new interview with the one and the only Stephanie van Rijn @StephvanRijn from Canada! Stephanie is the epitome of a multidisciplinary woman. She is an actress, a model, a writer, an activist, and a loving mother!
We came across Stephanie after having to witness her journey as a model on Instagram, many of which relates to the idea of body-positivity. Stephanie is very outspoken when it comes to body-positivity; she has strong views as to why women should start accepting and respecting their bodies as opposed to comparing and shaming their bodies. As she eloquently said in this interview, “You may want to gain weight, lose weight, remain the way you are, go through a pregnancy, age, change your hair, let your body hair grow...But body positivity is about accepting and respecting the body you're in every step of the way, treating yourself and others kindly.”
From the moment we came in contact with her, we knew she would be the perfect person to share her fascinating story, how she started her journey as a boudoir model in her early 20’s, dealing with an eating disorder to becoming a body-positivity activist and an exceptionally talented actress.
We hope this interview inspires you to be fearlessly you and we wish you all a Happy New Year!
Interview with the one and only Jill of All Trades @StephanieVanRijn
LECHERY: First of all, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to interview you! It is such a pleasure to have you here with us (virtually) of course haha! Let’s first start off by telling us a little bit more about yourself. What do you do?
STEPHANIE: The pleasure is all mine! I'm very multidisciplinary, I'm an actress, model and writer as well as an activist and a mom!
LECHERY: We see that you're into hosiery and lingerie, what got you into posting hosiery and lingerie? Tell us more about it.
STEPHANIE: I started modeling lingerie when I was in my early 20's. I was extremely shy at the time and I had been dealing with an eating disorder since I was about 14 years old. I was working with a female photographer who proposed to do a few boudoir photos which was totally outside my comfort zone. For some reason, that day I decided I had enough with hiding and with how people were trying to dictate how my body should look like. So I did it and I felt so liberated, as if I was reclaiming my own body.
LECHERY: What does lingerie mean to you? Does it give you confidence? Or is it just something you wear to give an added extra sex appeal? How do you feel when wearing lingerie?
STEPHANIE: It depends on the day to be quite honest. Sometimes it's just for photos, sometimes it's to add a little extra, but it's usually mostly for me and for confidence.
LECHERY: As wearing hosiery and lingerie can be seen by the wider-community to be vulgar, especially when posting them on social media, how do you react to the negativity?
STEPHANIE: When I started modeling lingerie, it was taboo. I remember being judged a lot and there was this kind of stigma around it. The negativity mostly came from women, but as time went by, some of those who judge me started posing in lingerie as well. Lots of them approached me later on to apologize, saying they understood the reason why I was posing like this. And that was always my goal! I always wanted others to do their own things, wear whatever makes them feel confident and good in their own skin. So I guess I've always tried to ignore the negativity. If I feel good, that's all that matters at the end of the day!
LECHERY: We live in a very double standard society, when a man is topless, it is normalized and accepted, but for a woman, she’s hypersexualized and stigmatized. As women, how do you think we should combat this?
STEPHANIE: Absolutely! Breasts have been sexualized in a way that it makes it so taboo to even breastfeed in public. It shouldn't be a problem. I feel in general, women's bodies have been made to be play things, sexual objects when in fact...A body is just a body. I'm not saying it's wrong to be attracted to someone's appearance at all, but nudity and lingerie doesn't necessarily equal sexuality.
LECHERY: What does body-positivity mean to you? And how do you feel about where we are right now when it comes to this movement?
STEPHANIE: To me, body-positivity is about being comfortable living in the body you're in, wherever you are in your life journey. You may want to gain weight, lose weight, remain the way you are, go through a pregnancy, age, change your hair, let your body hair grow...But body positivity is about accepting and respecting the body you're in every step of the way, treating yourself and others kindly.
LECHERY: What do you hope to find in the hosiery and lingerie industry in the future?
STEPHANIE: I'd love to see more diversity, of course. Everyone should be represented and feel like lingerie and hosiery is made for them as well. I'd also love to see if we could make lingerie more accessible for men as well.
LECHERY: What is one thing you would always wear that would make you feel much more confident and sexy? What is your advice to other women who struggle with confidence and body-image?
STEPHANIE: The classic little black dress is always a must! But to be honest, it really depends on my mood. Sometimes I'll feel sexy in a pair of jeans with a simple white shirt and other times just completely naked! I would encourage anyone to brush off the negative comments, because there will always be someone who's not pleased with something. The important thing is that YOU like it. If anyone makes you feel inferior and makes you feel like you shouldn't feel confident, walk away from them. You deserve to feel beautiful.
LECHERY: Describe lingerie to you in three words:
STEPHANIE: Liberating, decoration, confidence
STEPHANIE: It is a really tough time in today's world with the whole COVID-19 pandemic going on, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy and healthy? I've been working a lot! I'm finishing my latest novel, been doing a few photoshoot/films (COVID friendly obviously), taking care of my twin babies and lots of workout/dancing (yes, I LOVE dancing).