I entered a competition on Facebook during August, to win a Mentor Mani session from Sorbet. We were asked to pick from a panel of outstanding women, and the winners would get an hour to spend with their chosen Mentor, plus a manicure.

It took me a while to choose, because each of these ladies had some really important knowledge to impart on the rest of us. In the end, I chose Marciel Hopkins. To be honest I had no knowledge of her except the description that was given on the Facebook page, and that said that she was an ambassador for body love. This description alone caught my eye, since I believe that it is something everyone should embrace. Male or Female, whatever size you are, you should always have respect for the body that keeps your organs safe!

But most importantly I thought that Marciel was someone I could learn from right now, being quite a bit “bigger in size than I am used to and trying hard to regain my healthy body and in turn my healthy self-image. Also, having re-joined Girl Guides and becoming an adult leader, I figured that perhaps this is something we should all know to be able to pass it on to the girls.

Once I was notified that I was chosen to meet Marciel, I did what any sane person would do… I Googled her.

I found out that she had competed in Miss SA, and to do so she had lost a whole lot of weight! I saw that after the competition, she had become a “plus-sized” model. When I saw a picture of Marciel and saw the words “plus-sized” I was confused; she was smaller than me! I also got a bit nervous, I was far from the modelling type and I got quite nervous that we wouldn’t have anything to say!

The day arrived and I had to find Sorbet dry bar in Tygervalley mall. Just FIY there’s two Sorbets in Tygervalley, and if you don’t ask specifically for the dry bar, you will be sent to the other one, and then you will be sent to the dry bar allllllllllll the way on the other side of the mall! Lesson learnt.

When I finally got to the correct place, I was even more nervous and unsure that a model and ex Miss SA finalist would enjoy spending the next hour with just me…

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That was, until Marciel walked in.

She came in explaining that she had gone to the wrong Sorbet and had to rush from the other end of the mall, and we laughed that we both had the same problem. From there, the conversation just kind of flowed, and I learnt that Marciel really is just a nice person, who happens to be a model! We chatted, and it was such easy conversation. I got to ask all about her Miss SA journey, and was quite amazed at her determination through the competition. As well as her current life of Modelling, travel and adventure. And we spoke of girl stuff too, families, the men in our lives, work and hobbies.

I realised after I walked out, full of bubbly with pretty nails and a great big smile that perhaps we hadn’t actually touched on the “Mentoring” part of the session, since we had just chatted and not really spoken of anything too serious it seemed. But I was very wrong.

In the next few days our meeting was in the back of my mind and I realised a few things:

  1. During our chats Marciel had asked quite a few questions about me, which at first, I thought wasn’t too good that I was taking up so much time talking. Then I realised that what I speaking about was actually not boring! I got to tell her about a burlesque show I was going to; about my one-month pole dancing adventure; the Brownies and Guides that I am volunteering with, and during my stories she didn’t seem bored! (well I hope she wasn’t). And while I was listening to her life of travel and feeling quite jealous, I realised that I did have an interesting life, even if it is just in one place for now.
  2. If Marciel Hopkins is classified as a plus-sized model, I am a plus-sized person. And if she can dress in pretty clothing, so can I! Since I went up in clothing size, I have tried not to buy clothes, since I will lose the weight, of course. And if I have bought clothes, they are not nice ones! So, I walk around in really ugly or boring clothing, almost as punishment for being “fat”. I have since followed Marciel on Instagram and Facebook and not once have I seen her in a boring outfit, so I have made myself a promise to at least try to buy nicer clothing, even if they are a size bigger than I’d like.
  3. I do have something to offer the world. While I may not be mentor material for anyone, not once did I feel inferior during our meeting, and I was really inspired by her persistence and determination for what she wants from life. Hearing her story really helped to remind me that you can do whatever it is you want, if you try hard enough. And I definitely left with a new-found ambition in reaching my goals.
  4. I should really do manicure sessions more often! And I should also meet new people more often. Both of these things can really refresh your dusty mind.
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Since then, I have followed Marciel as she continues to encourage women to love their bodies. As she crushes her goals and stays true to her message, she manages to pass on her sense of respecting the female body and all of its curves.


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