Tuesday, 19 January 2010

How to Look Good Naked With a Difference

I mentioned in a previous blog that I'd been busy with a great opportunity, and I'm pleased to say that some of it is on television tonight. Late last year I was offered the chance to participate in "How to Look Good Naked With a Difference" and I jumped at the chance. I've watched the programmes before and have appreciated how much attention Gok Wan pays to rebuilding self esteem and re educating women to see the best in themselves.

I do feel very strongly that negative body image is a big problem for disabled women. Millions of able bodied women complain about trying to strive for physical perfection through diets, exercise and plastic surgery; but what about us disabled women for whom there is no quick fix through those routes? We have to learn accept what we have and make the very best of it. I think that makes us pretty strong, formidable, sexy women.

And who dictates what physical perfection is? Who is our judge & jury? Is there some illusive organisation that dictates who is imperfect? Or is it just us as women running ourselves down? As a disabled model I often feel under scrutiny, but not because I'm paraplegic with no stomach muscles, but because in recent years I've put on weight. That has caused me more stress before stripping for a shoot than being paralysed in front of the camera ever did! We need to learn to love our bodies for the fabulous machines that they are; love every lump, bump, scar, stump, slack muscle, stretch mark, rebuilt bones. They all tell a story and contribute to the women we are; pretty damn perfect!

I haven't seen the final edit so I'll be watching tonight, but I had a brilliant time during filming, everyone involved was great to work with and it was a joy to collaborate with two gorgeous and talented disabled presenters Natasha Wood and Nikki Fox.

Hope you enjoy - Channel 4 8pm Tuesday 19 January




  1. Unless I am mistaken I only saw you in the show for a few seconds wheeling up a street ? I hope you will be more involved than that - at least hear you speak ! Anyway on a more serious note I only had the following concerns. It was the scene where Gok unveiled the big street poster of Tracy & asked passers by what they think - and tracy was right by him so off course they are inclined to be complementary. If it's genuine great, but I mean with the camera on you, Gok hustling you & the subject of the photo also present, how can you say anything critical & if you do it would most likely get edited out. The same thing happened later on when one of the disabled co-presenters modelled in the shop window & her colleague asked shoppers what they thought. All seems a bit fake & I thought the whole issue about disability & indeed life is to make it realistic -even if it p*sses people off - you can't please everyone all the time. Furthermore, wasn't the way the show was categorised & promoted as being "special" possibly some kind of positive discrimination ?

    However....despite this, ultimately, yes I thought it was really good. I appreciate where C4 was coming from & what it was trying to do & in that respect I think it was a success so I commend the channel & the boy Wan who is a real character & was great with Tracy. It opened a few minds & broke down some barriers & I think it would have got the watching public thinking about the themes & issues discussed. I look forward to further episdoes.

  2. Hi Shannon,

    My uncle forwarded me on the link to the iPetitions website, with a note: he and your dad are friends! I had already seen the show and thought it was great. I love Gok, and it's nice to see something a bit different on the telly. I get a bit fed up of women sobbing their hearts out over their looks when all they have to do is get a better bra and cut their hair!

    @TexasPete: of course they wouldn't show anyone being insulting, he is trying to build this woman up, not tear her down! Also, who cares if it is positive discrimination? I am lucky enough to have the use of my two legs and I find it horrendous that people complain about wheelchair parking spaces etc. I feel, people in wheelchairs often have enough to struggle with- how can we begrudge them a row of spaces next to the front door? I feel the same way about positive discrimination. After so much negative discrimination, wheelchair users are OWED a bit of positive discrimination.

  3. ShaCiara

    I did a collection for the Back Up Trust (Spinal Injuries charity)in London yesterday
    The para guy who was with me told me it took him hours driving around trying to find a disabled parking bay and when he did yes...you guessed it: 4 out of the 5 cars parked did not have a disabled badge. He even got a ticket for his troubles & was not even late.
    It also took him a while to find a disabled toilet. And this is in Sloane Square, Central London in 2010 ! Can you believe it ? Me neither. This highlighted to me some of the everyday difficulties chair users face so
    I therefore appreciate and respect what your saying.
    I did not mean any offence with my opinion in anyway. They are just minor concerns and did not in anyway hinder the show from achieving its objectives. You can see from my comments above I enjoyed the series & fully support Shannon and what she is doing. Regards :-)