Meet Our #swimsuitmodel - Chantal Lacoste
Meet Chantal (@tillieandtrue). This fearless beauty from Winnipeg is a self-love and body image coach and #swimsuitmodel.
Why did you choose this career path?
I chose this path because I want all women to stop spending so much time and energy worrying about their bodies, and start focusing on the things that really matter to them! I want them to find their power within and start living their truth. I’ve struggled with mental illness and eating disorders for years and I don’t want women to go through pain any longer! I want women to realize they can choose to live another way!
How would you describe yourself?
I am courageous, passionate, driven, intuitive, creative and open-minded.
What are three words your best friend would use to describe you?
Courageous, passionate, dedicated, driven, loving, kind, inspiring and intuitive. My friends said they couldn’t pick just three!
How do you hope to connect with and inspire your followers?
I hope to connect with them in one-on-one coaching sessions (where we dive deep into what’s going on in their lives and where they often feel safe to be as raw as possible). I also hope to inspire and engage with my followers everyday through my online platforms like Instagram, with positive and educational content I am living by and learning every day.
We selected you for this campaign because we believe your life is aspirational. What do you feel makes your life aspirational?
I believe I work hard to lead and live by my values. I trust my intuition. I change my hardships into strengths and I am always learning and evolving. I love helping others using the skills and experiences I have overcome. I am passionate about being more and doing more!
Why did you decided to participate in this campaign?
I believe in the power of collaboration and using one’s power and platform for greater good. I believe Swimco’s values are in alignment with what I work so hard to share to others. Swimco is an amazing outlet where I can reach others who I have not been able to reach on my own! And let’s be honest, Hawaii sounded very appealing!
What does being a #swimsuitmodel mean to you?
Being a #swimsuitmodel is inspiring women to change the way they feel and value themselves and their bodies. Being a #swimsuitmodel is redefining and rewriting the ideals of both beauty and health. It’s combating toxic messages in our society, celebrating diversity, empowering choice and educating our communities. It’s an outlet to provide the tools and skills to challenge negative body image and educate self-love!
What makes a body beautiful?
All bodies are beautiful. All bodies are GOOD bodies and they should all feel beautiful and valid!!
Can you describe your self-confidence journey?
My self-confidence journey began the day I stepped into my psychiatrist’s office seven years ago, after having my 3rd car accident in only a few months and contemplating suicide. I was diagnosed with depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. I was lost and in desperate need of help. I was finding more ways than I could keep up with to self-sabotage and hide from my problems and feelings, including a nine year battle with bulimia, anorexia, and orthorexia. I wasn’t using hard drugs, but I was binge drinking and finding myself in dangerous situations, waking up regretting almost everything I had done the night before. When I wasn’t partying, my eating disorder was consuming my life. It got so bad that I had to drop out of university because I couldn’t focus without hearing eating disorder voices and falling asleep in class from extreme fatigue. I couldn’t remember a single thing I learned and was failing all my classes. Once I went and saw my psychiatrist, it opened the door to finally ask for help. I started getting counselling and using free resources wherever I could. I began to see a significant improvement in my relationship with myself and my family (who I didn’t get along with well for they had their own issues they were dealing with). However, I was still using my eating disorder to deal with my emotions, using fitness and food to have some sort of control in my life. Then I met my coach, Terra, where I began to see REAL change in my life. She helped me hold myself accountable, make action plans, and work on the emotional traumas I couldn’t fix in traditional therapy. She is a mentor and a friend who I can go to whenever I need help. She taught me how to trust and believe in myself, and gave me the foundation and strength to move forward and continue to grow. And once I found that confidence to pursue my healing journey, I referred myself into any resource I could, including referring myself into the eating disorder program here in Winnipeg, where I spent every week for two years with a counselor, a dietician, and support group full of women, trying to unlearn all the mixed messages that diet culture and society taught us. I began to read and read, and learn anything I could about feminism and body positivity. I created boundaries for myself and began trusting my body and my intuition again. I started figuring out what my true values are and started LIVING by them. Once I finished university (just eleven short months ago), I began a career in the not for profit world, helping feed and nourish youth in my community through a program called Mealshare. For the last few years, I have volunteered for causes including family violence, mental health awareness and eating disorder recovery (all issues I have experienced and desire to help others wherever I can). I found through the confidence of volunteering, I met many strong women in business who were able to stand up for themselves, and stand up for what they believe in. I wanted their strength and courage more than anything. So I created Tillie + True, a coaching business (which means “strength in battle” and “live your truth”) to help support women struggling with self-love and body image issues. Women who need what I needed too. Women who need an extra hand to get them on the right track to focus on what really matters to them. It’s hard to put my self-confidence journey all in one short story. It really has been a wild ride – but I guess it’s still just the beginning!
If you could say one thing to someone who may not be confident with their body, what would it be?
“Love, listen to this. Your body is miraculous. Your body is an amazing vehicle to help guide you through life. It takes care of you, it helps you feel and helps you take care of your loved ones. It helps you love and helps you do the things that you need to do every day to stay alive. It is your home and it’s your vessel. All the negative thoughts you have about your body’s appearance are there because society has taught us it is important. But I want to tell you, you too can unlearn the things you have been taught and conditioned to believe. You too can accept and be grateful for your body. Start with closing your eyes and taking one big deep breath. My body is a good body. My body is capable of incredible, wonderful things.”