Body image is something that many women struggle with. It can be very difficult for a woman to feel comfortable in her own skin, especially when the media portrays women in a certain way. But Jana Roller, a woman who has been working hard for the past two years to become a bodybuilder, is proud of her body.
Roller lost 135 pounds in preparation for her first bodybuilding competition, but was disappointed when her photograph failed to appear in the online gallery. When Roller contacted the photographer about why her picture hadn’t appeared, “[He said] that because her physique wasn’t as great, he decided to err on the side of caution to avoid her asking him to remove it or edit the photo. He assumed she was embarrassed.”
But that is where the photographer was wrong. Roller is proud of that picture and of her accomplishments, as she should be. She told People Magazine, “When I saw it, I was like, this is amazing. When I look at it, I see the progress that I’ve made, but also I can see what I can do to improve in terms of where I want to take myself in competition. When I look at that photo, I see one small step in a very long journey. It was really important to have that to see it, and it made me really excited.”
After the incident, Roller took to Instagram and shared a post encouraging others to be more positive about their bodies. The competition wasn’t about her body for her, it was about her accomplishments. She wrote, “Look. I get it that I wasn’t stage lean. I worked just as hard to be told that I wasn’t good enough to be showcased amongst everyone else. I’m proud of my loose skin. As someone who has battled body image for years, to stand up there next to beautiful physiques took a lot mentally. I’m so proud of this photo. Not of the photographer who took it.”
Roller continued, “See you at the #popeyesfallclassic when I bring my bad self to the stage again. Just because I’m not ‘there’ yet doesn’t mean I won’t be. They call it #transformation for a reason and I think when it comes to bodybuilding shows we don’t give enough credit to the journey and what it takes for athletes to get there. Every step of the journey deserves to be honored, not just the end result.”
Roller told People magazine, “I’m not the first person to step on a stage that isn’t stage-ready — I’m just vocal about it. I got messages from fellow competitors saying, ‘I’m so glad you stepped on stage.’ My photo has [brought to light] an underlying issue that is much bigger, and many people that are trying to make those changes are relating with it, and so many people are resonating with it. I want to be that inspiration and support for people that want to do it for themselves too.”
Jana Roller is an inspiration to all girls who feel their bodies don’t live up to “media standards.” Women should always be proud of their bodies no matter what anyone else thinks.
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