Plus-size model Olivia Campbell is signed on to the Bridge models name and has starred in stunning magazine spreads. However, it is in a new viral video, viewed more than 500,000 times that Olivia has taken the internet by storm.
In a candid and bare interview with StyleLikeU, the single mother-of-one discusses her battles with body images, abuse and consequent depression and her struggle to overcome these. Whilst occasionally her vulnerable past shines through, Campbell appears staunchly confident and proud of her body. It is a powerful rebuttal to the difficulties of her past and her bullies.
“We allow ourselves to be dictated to by everybody else, it’s really easy to just kind of become resigned to the fact that this is who we are because this is what you’ve been told you are.”
Perched atop a stool, a fierce Campbell discusses the impact of the bullies in her past. From the age of 10, she was the victim of severe bullying, insulted for both her race and her weight. She describes the abuse that she underwent at this fragile age; pushed into bin sheds with her clothes attempted to be taken off, felt up, called a ‘fat, ugly bitch’ ‘water buffalo’ (this last from a boy she loved).
Consequently, Campbell reached such a low point at the age of 15 that she left school, a decision she says she really regrets, not quitting because she wasn’t intelligent but because she just couldn’t cope anymore with the verbal and physical abuse. Here, she is brought to tears at the memory of how ‘worthless’ she was brought to feel, even, at one point, contemplating suicide.
“Words are powerful, powerful things.”
The lessons Campbell speaks here are those that should be inscribed around the world. As the mother-of-one states, “words are powerful, powerful things,” “choose to use good words, make someone feel good rather than making someone feel bad, because you don’t know how much you can damage a person with just one sentence.”
“You are treading water, or treading quicksand.”
Campbell does not shy away from the harder topics. She goes on to describe depression to those who have not experienced it. “It feels like you are treading water, or treading quicksand, and you are trying to get out, all of your physical and emotional mental energy is going into trying to stay on the surface, but even though all your energy is going into that you are still rapidly, rapidly sinking into a hole.” Finding out her mother and stepmother had cancer definitely sucked her deeper into that hole.
Due to her tough earlier experiences, she says that this was a saving grace at this point, as talking through things had, unlike antidepressants, proved itself to be her best outlet. Even though, she describes this point in her life as her lowest point, losing the two people in her life she had never felt herself to be a burden to, still she says that at this worst point was also her best point in learning to stand on her own two feet.
“For me, fat’s not a bad thing, I am fat, it’s just a descriptive word.”
One of the biggest takeaways from this candid video is Campbell’s perspective on weight. Abused for years due to her size, she says that “for years, it was possibly the worst thing you could say to me.” However, times have changed, and whereas previously she says that she had tried to change this, now she says, “I get offended when I say I’m fat and people say oh “you’re not fat, you’re curvy.” She says that it’s just a descriptive word, fat unlike it’s negative connotations, is ‘not a bad thing.’ Now she’s learned to take pride in her appearance, loving her curves.
Even just sitting on a stool, sitting in her underwear, Campbell exudes confidence. She is a woman not just ‘happy with her body’ but ‘happy with her madness.’