Meet our leading lights

At The Body Shop, we believe that self-love is our superpower that lifts us up to fight for change together.

That’s why we want to give a platform to the emerging global collective of fearless people who have been on the journey to self-love and feel empowered to step up, speak out, challenge what is broken and fight for a fairer and more beautiful world.

Read the inspirational stories of our Leading Lights here to discover how they started their journeys and shared that love with the world.

Char Ellesse, @GirlsWillBeBoys_ Founder

Char is founder of @girlwillbeboys, an online platform blurring the lines between gender roles.

Char Ellesse smiling away from the camera
Char Ellesse smiling away from the camera

As a queer black woman, me existing is defiance.

Char Ellesse

CONTENT CREATOR & CHANGE-MAKER

What does self-love mean to you?

Self-love is choosing yourself over and over and over again, regardless of who is telling you that you shouldn't or who is making you feel like you shouldn't.

My wakeup call to self-love was shaving my hair around six or seven years ago. It was the start of me creating a platform which encourages other people to share their stories of self-discovery and the importance of self-love. I want to encourage women and non-binary folk to make that initial move that helped me.

With any experience that you're going through, to know that you're not alone is key to helping you move forward with your journey. I feel where there’s a collective or shared stories, it helps you to feel seen and it validates your experience.

What would you change about the world?

One thing that I would change about the world is to remove all the toxicity targeted at marginalised people.

I feel like, especially as a woman, especially as a black woman, especially as a queer black woman, me existing is defiance. Period. I feel like the world was not built for people like me. It's rebellious for me to do whatever I want to do and to thrive while I'm doing it.

How do you unlock the power of self-love?

The key to unlocking the power of self-love is being committed to the cause and understanding that it's a journey, not a destination. And it’s something that you have to continually work on.

Self-love is not linear and you will go up and down, but as long as you’re moving forward, then that’s absolutely fine.

Gina Martin, Political Activist

Gina is an author, activist, feminist and UN ambassador. She campaigned to change the law on upskirting.

Activist Gina Martin wearing a red jumpsuit and smiling at the camera
Activist Gina Martin wearing a red jumpsuit and smiling at the camera

Loving yourself is a practice in a world that tells you that you shouldn't.”

Gina Martin

POLITICAL ACTIVIST & UN AMBASSADOR

What does self-love mean to you?

Self-love is permission to completely be yourself.

I think the key to unlocking its power is stepping into the things you care about really honestly. It's very difficult to respect and love yourself when you're doing things that aren't authentic or don't feel completely you. The key to self-love for me was figuring out what I cared about.

Once I did that, I respected myself and felt strong enough to start loving and taking care of myself far more.

Why is self-love a journey?

If you're at the beginning of your self-love journey, it's really important not to rush it. Don’t feel like you have to go from struggling to loving every part of yourself. Slowly put more time into the things you love, spend time with the people that really care about you, get rid of people that don't, and start to make specific positive actions in your life.

My journey to self-love probably began in 2017, when I launched a campaign to change the law and worked full-time. I took on far too much, so I decided to make taking care of myself, looking after my body, resting, all those things, part of my routine.

Loving yourself and respecting yourself is a practice in a world that tells you that you shouldn't. It has to be a little bit every day, so take it slow and be honest with yourself.

How powerful is collective self-love?

I don't think there's anything more powerful than sharing our stories and experiences.

If you look at major changes over the past 10 years, like the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, it has started from people sharing their stories. Constantly people feel like their stories don't matter, yet they collectively change our consciousness and culture.

That’s the one lesson that I wish everyone would heed – stand up and say something that's happened to you. That's your experience. And there's going to be other people that have felt the same way. You're going to make them feel less alone and take the shame away. That's what brings collective self-love.

Sophie Butler, Fitness Coach & Activist

Sophie is a fitness coach and activist who campaigns to support women and empower through education.

Activist, Sophie Butler in pink gym wear
Activist, Sophie Butler wearing pink gym wear

When we go out into the world bold and empowered, we raise everyone else.

Sophie Butler

FITNESS COACH & ACTIVIST

How can we learn to self-love?

The key to unlocking the power of self-love is questioning everything.

Throughout our lives we’ve been taught so much and we've picked up so many things subconsciously, so question why. If you wake up, look in the mirror and think, ‘I don’t like that’, ask, ‘Why?’. When you question yourself, you can move forward and start to unlock the mechanisms of overcoming that negative thought process.

I’d love to give more people the empowerment to question everything. That really is the most powerful thing. You can't make people love themselves, but you can help them to stop in their tracks and think why they don’t. Because when you think why you don’t fill your life with self-love, there really isn't a good enough answer.

How powerful is collective self-love?

I think self-love is really at its most powerful when it's in a collective formation and we're all really coming together with our own individual self-love. I think when we can go out into the world bold and empowered, we can then help raise everyone else up.

How do you help others self-love?

I think helping other people wake up to the power of self-love really does start within yourself. When you’re starting your self-love journey, the most important thing is just to be kind with yourself. I don't think we all wake up one day and immediately jump to self-love.

I’d say my journey to self-love actually really began with my accident, when I became paralysed. Before I became a disabled woman, I always thought that I loved myself. But it wasn’t until I went through a life-changing event, until I became someone who is now living in a marginalised body and a body that isn’t often celebrated, that I really had to learn what self-love was.

Charlie Craggs, Author & Trans Activist

Charlie is an author and trans rights campaigner. She uses her platform to make allies and break misconceptions.

Activist, Charlie Craggs
Activist Charlie Craggs

Collective self-love builds a culture of kindness.

Charlie Craggs

AUTHOR & TRANS ACTIVIST

What does self-love mean to you?

Self-love to me is about accepting yourself and loving yourself, even if there are things about yourself you don't like. For me, it’s about treating myself with care in a world that doesn't care about bodies like mine.

My journey with self-love began from a place of really not loving myself, like a lot of trans people and a lot of people in general. I think sometimes you need to reach rock bottom before you can start building yourself up again.

The advice that I’d give to someone at the beginning of their self-love journey is just to be kind to yourself. That's an act of self-love in itself. It's really important to understand that it's not a step at a time – it’s often just a toe at as time.

How can self-love change the world?

If I could change one thing about the world, it would just be for people to be more kind and loving to each other. And I think that starts with being kind and loving to yourself.

Collective self-love is so important because this is what will build a culture of self-love and kindness, being kind and loving to ourselves, being kind and loving to other people. I think that's what our culture and our society need right now.

How do you help others self-love?

I try to help others wake up to the power of self-love by just being my most authentic self, especially for trans representation. I think it’s so important just to be boldly trans, be proudly trans.

Self-love is really pivotal in my life as an activist. I don't think I would be able to do what I do and encourage people to want to change the world if I didn't have this foundation of self-love.

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