After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Angels for Our Body Demons and a Lingerie Fashion Show

Some of Shea O'Connor's spanking good designs modelled on girls with nice bums.

We live in a world of media. We are bombarded with advertisements of airbrushed models that are a size zero and dying to be fed a steak.

We live in a world of fat blaster and biceps on top of biceps where thin is in and fat is well, just straight f’ugly or so we’re told.

Then at some point this crazy adult obsession of obtaining idealistic beauty in the 21st century rubbed off onto the next generation of women so that right now 40 percent of nine to 10-year-old girls are already weight worried and trying to shed their biological puppy fat.

Scary hey? But unfortunately true.

In the US, eating disorders affect five to 10 million females and they’re not alone.

I’m sure you know at least one woman who has at some point in her life been ashamed of her figure – we all have, but you know what?

We’re all human and we’re all made up of the same cellular structures, chemical reactions and atomic matter.

But we think that isn't good enough that one size must fit all, so it’s easy to be swept under the idealistic unrealistic sizes we constantly see and take an unhealthy path to be that size zero.

Whether its guilt and gluttony, eating then throwing it back up, crash dieting, refusing carbs or eating zero calories and existing on vapour, women (in particular) will do extreme damage in the pursuit of happiness to fit into those skinny jeans often killing their spirit and cells in the process.

Step in Shelley Jensen, a woman who says “I was bullied at school and food became my best friend. At the age of eight, I was over 100lbs.”

After dealing with several years in between stages of anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating Shelley began to recover at the age of 22 following a divorce and becoming a single parent. But it wasn’t easy.

“I sought help through counselling and as my self-esteem began to rise; my eating began to return to normal. Recovery is a long road, but with perseverance I was finally able to reclaim my lost self and discover I was not alone, I was not helpless and I didn't have the right to give up on myself” said Shelley.

Fast forward to the present day and Shelley is a professional counsellor, nutritional consultant and eating disorder specialist running both "S" Team Counselling Services and Shelley's Angels Society, a nonprofit organization that helps provide bursaries to those with eating disorders unable to afford counselling.

When asked about eating disorders and the fashion industry Shelley commented that “We definitely need to see real women in fashion.  We need to stop being ashamed of our bodies and their differences and we need to work together as women to create safety and to care for one another rather than pit against each other.”

However, instead of fighting the industry as one might expect, Shelley and her organization harnesses and collaborates with designers and events that promote the natural feminine form to “celebrate healthy bodies and women’s sensuality and femininity at all sizes together.”

No better is this movement toward real fashion to be seen than tonight with a lingerie show at the Caprice Lounge, featuring the risqué and sexually empowering designs of Shea Couturiere Lingerie using realistic-sized models with proceeds donated to Shelley’s Angels.

If you want to come down check some booty and support your sister, wife, aunt, fiancée, girlfriend, niece, granddaughter, friend, mother or daughter dealing with her weight and self esteem, then bring her along tonight and support a cause to help her and every other woman.


For details and tickets please visit the Beauty and Bras Facebook page and for more about Shelley Jensen and her organization please visit Shelley's Angels Society

Look out for a follow-up as I go to the show and bring a photographic bonanza, blow by blow.

More in Fashionably Forward

Natural beauty tip: homemade pumpkin face mask

With Halloween just around the corner, it's almost time to hit the pumpkin patch. And as most know, a pumpkin can be much more than just carved decor for the doorstep. Toast or roast the pumpkin...

Board of Trade Co. fashion boutique opening party tomorrow

Chinatown’s latest addition is The Board of Trade Co, a concept clothing boutique that aims to highlight and support Vancouver’s growing creative community. Located at 227 Union Street, the...

What will Kate Middleton wear on her wedding day?

What will Kate Middleton wear on her wedding day?"All we have been told is that the dressmaker is fairly unknown and from a relatively small design house.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.