Aisha Fairclough is one of the co-founders of Body Confidence Canada, which produces an annual awards show each year, The Body Confidence Canada Awards. As part of the fundraising effort for those awards, she’s helping to host the Body Love Ball, coming up at The 519 (519 Church St) on December 2nd. 

We chatted with Aisha about finding your voice, and speaking to your body with kindness.

SDTC: What does body love mean to you?

AF: As a young girl, I was very shy. I could’t raise my hand in class. I was terrified of public speaking. So body love for me means finding my voice and using it for change. It means being an advocate for yourself and others. It means being confident and embracing and acknowledging the messiness of life. Body love recognizes all the parts of you that make you whole.

Why is it so important to recognize and celebrate all body types?

“Everybody has a story” was the tagline we used when we created BITE ME Toronto International Body Image Film & Arts fest back in 2009, and it rings true today. EveryBODY has a story. EveryBODY has the right to feel safe and secure. EveryBODY deserves human rights. EveryBODY deserves fashion! We’re told that there is only one version of “beauty,” and that’s just not true. We all have different bodies and we have to celebrate each and every one of them.

How has your relationship to your own body evolved over time?

Every day is certainly a journey! As a young girl, I had my up and downs with my body. Now that I’m a bit older, I’m reminded constantly of what my body can do. Having a partner with chronic health issues reminds me to be grateful for every day with my body. It’s very easy to compare yourself to others. My relationship with my body is a tender one. I am constantly speaking to my body, but when I speak to it, I speak with kindness.

What would you say to someone who is struggling to accept and celebrate their own body?

That we are all on this journey together. That loving yourself is a lifelong process and it doesn’t happen over night. The more we accept and appreciate what our bodies can do for us and how they take us through the world, the more we can appreciate our entire beings.

I would also say to speak kindly to yourself and remember to never let anyone dim your light (that includes yourself). Your body is the story of your life. Take baby steps in celebrating your body every day. Whether you are celebrating your mind, your smile, your wrinkles, your stretch marks, your feet or your heart. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good, people that remind you that life is worth living.

What can we expect at the Body Love Ball? What do you hope guests will take away?

Have you ever walked into a space and thought, What am I doing here? I don’t belong! Well, the Body Love Ball is the exact opposite! We want you to walk in and feel surrounded by love (think of a big hug) because the truth is we all need one. You can expect DANCING – lots of DANCING.

Imagine walking into a space where you won’t be judged, where you can be free on the dance floor and embrace your fabulousness. You’ll be surrounded by body-positive art installations curated by the Feminist Art Conference. You’ll be greeted by the most fabulously dressed pianist ever, Darren Creech. Then you can indulge in the candy room; hear some really inspiring speakers like Talli Osbourne & Akio Maroon; live music by local artists Tasheka Lavann & Vanessa Lu; MC’s Daniel Pillai & Kat Leonard; live painting by Frizzkid; and then dance the night away with the sounds of DJ Maren Hancock and Craig Dominic.

We want guests to take away the feeling that being you is all that you need! We want guests to feel like they have space in the world where they can embrace their truest self. Dress code: fabulously you! Whatever fabulous means to you – whether it be your favourite jeans or a tutu.

Get your tix here.