Aqilah Norazman, 30, Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

I was always the biggest kid on the block and I was in TAF club all my school years, with the nickname AG (which stands for Aqilah Gemok - Gemok means fat in Malay). I lived 21 years of my life overweight and it was only in university that I decided I needed a change.

While the intention was good, the execution wasn’t. I started a very low calorie diet of no more than 1,200 calories a day and exercised like a mad person six days a week, making sure I burn 700 calories per session. With a diet that restrictive, I lost a lot of weight – 20kg to be exact and all in 8 months of work.

Because of the frequent binges, my weight kept creeping up and I started to eat only one meal a day while working out twice a day.

Because I was in the fitness industry as a trainer, there was pressure on me to lead by example and hence I had to suffer in silence. Then I made a choice. I went to study more about exercise and nutrition and I reached out to a mentor, my own brother, to learn as much as possible on how to get out of this rut. That helped me so much!

I’ve been a healthy 69kg for the longest time (only because I stopped weighing myself!) but more than just my weight, I am stronger, happier and full of life. I love every single bit of my body and I wouldn’t do anything to change it.

I believe everyone out there deserves to love their body as it is no matter how big or small they are. I wanted to be part of this campaign to give hope - even if it’s just a tiny bit of hope - to everyone out there who might be struggling with their body image that you deserve to feel beautiful. Not for anybody else. But for yourself. And you are.

Photography & Styling: Franz Navarrete, Timothy Chow, Coby Travis, Hosanna Swee.

Hair & Make Up: Airin Lee, Vicky Ang

Calligraphy: Trudy Zhang