Every year, Toronto's Now magazine proves that all bodies are good bodies with its Love Your Body issue.
In it, a diverse group of people pose nude and talk about their relationships with their bodies, all in the spirit of body positivity.
For the 2020 issue, eight people bared all — emotionally and physically — in the name of self-love.
The cover model is Leisse Wilcox, a podcaster and life coach who is in remission from breast cancer and decided not to have breast reconstruction surgery.
"I was really hungry for beautiful images of women who had also had mastectomies. Nikki McKean did a campaign with Knix, and I was like, oh my god, here’s this beautiful woman — I’m gonna look like that! It was such a redefinition of beauty, and I wanted to pay that forward. Now any chance I have to share that awareness of what bodies look like and what people of value look like — which, spoiler alert, is everyone — I jump at the chance."
Mackenzie Kundakcioglu is a nonbinary, transmasculine barber who loves to fuck with gender but struggles with body image.
"Coming out as trans involved a shedding of the expected femininity. When I stopped shaving my legs, there were two days of anxiety, and on the third, I realized nobody cares. That was very freeing. I also had an idea of how I would look post-transition that did not pan out. I’m still heavy-set. The interaction between beer and testosterone meant the beer gut came 30 years earlier than it does for most cis men. I went through a rise, a very deep valley and then plateaued. I’m still getting used to the balance."
Maxx Daviid is a model who has loose skin from weight loss — but that doesn't stop him from loving himself.
"It is a struggle to look at yourself, see the loose skin, and know that there’s more work to do. I want to see my body in the best way possible, and I don’t want my excess skin to get in the way of seeing my progress, even if that means having cosmetic surgery to remove it. Once I have the money for it, I’ll be able to get the surgery. But it’s not something I’m going to beat myself up about."
Roxy Menzies is a body movement instructor who's embracing every part of being in a pregnant body.
"I used to be a professional dancer and I was going to dance classes even at eight months pregnant. I’d tell the teachers beforehand and I could see the fear in their eyes. They thought I was going to give birth in their class. But I just wanted to move my body. It was fun to see what I could still do and what I couldn’t do. I wanted to take every opportunity to explore what it’s like with this body, embracing all of the changes."
Jaime Eisen is a writer and cam performer who has used sex work to help heal from trauma.
"The first time I cammed, I saw my body as this separate thing that wasn’t connected to trauma, and I had the ability to experience pleasure. It felt really groundbreaking. I don’t like talking about 'female empowerment' because I don’t think that’s the right word, but camming allowed me to see my body from a new perspective and reclaim control over part of my identity in a safe environment."
Juan Medina is queer and Latino, and doesn't want to feel shame or guilt about his body anymore.
"With being Latino comes an emphasis on masculinity, both in having an ideal body type and not showing weakness or emotion. I started to associate femininity with negative features. Conforming to that was easy until I started to question my sexuality and how I fit into the queer community. I had internalized the message that homosexuality is wrong and undesirable."
Kasha Blu is a mom who is finally learning to celebrate herself.
"After pregnancy, I thought that I was going to have this glorious, voluptuous mom body. Instead, I totally lost my appetite and fell really hard into postpartum depression. I’d gone down to skin and bones. I feel super strange in my body right now — and I feel almost guilty for saying that, because right now, I’m fairly healthy. It’s a bit of a weird place to be, but I’m learning to love my body and give it everything it needs, including positive feedback and energy."
Kayla Logan is an advocate for body positivity and mental health who decided to practice what she preaches.
"I was promoting loving your body at every size, but I still hated myself. When I was a size 2 I thought I was fat, and at a size 18, I still felt the same way — the issue was my relationship with my body, not my size. I decided I was going to do something I never thought I had the strength to do: I was going to quit the diet, and work on learning how to love myself instead."