Interview with Lily Akhmullaeva!
We recently spoke with Lily Akhmullaeva about her feelings on body positivity and societal pressures in Eastern Europe, along with her thoughts on a recent clothes-free experience in Ukraine.
Britain Uncovered: Hi Lily! Thank you for taking a few moments to speak with Britain Uncovered. Body positivity is a growing trend here in the UK at present – what does that phrase mean to you, and how do you go about achieving body confidence?
Lily: I wish it was a trend in my country. Frankly speaking, nearly a year ago I hated my body. I had some fat on my belly, some stretch marks and cellulite. I’m short and I don’t have clear and beautiful skin.
But then I looked into the mirror and saw my beautiful smile (and I really like it), my shiny hair, my waist - and I liked myself. If we speak about the 17th Century, it was beautiful to be overweight and now it is popular to be skinny. But who created these standards? And the whole world looks up to this criteria.
I think that everyone is beautiful and that there are no ugly people. You don’t have any imperfections, but simply your own features.
Britain Uncovered: This past weekend you paid a visit to a local nudist beach [at the Berdyansk Spit beach in South-Eastern Ukraine]. How did this come about, and has this always been on your ‘bucket list’ of things to try?
Lily: It was my first experience on the nudist beach. It was one of the points on my ‘bucket list’ and it was difficult to make up my mind because I’m quite a modest person. I felt nervous and uncomfortable.
But then I saw many people who were swimming, playing, laughing, taking photos and so on. All of them were absolutely different but no one was constrained. No one judged you with your appearance, and no one examined you.
Everyone just enjoyed the time and lived in the moment. And then I realised, that this atmosphere was absolutely natural and comfortable for me. I didn’t think about my legs or arms, about my imperfect body in general. I didn’t think about the right way to sit in order to hide my belly or something like that.
That evening I was happy like a child and didn’t think about anything in the world. And I can say for sure that all people on that beach loved themselves and their life.
Britain Uncovered: It very much sounds as though you enjoyed the experience! Now that you’ve crossed it off your bucket list, is social nudity something that you might like to try again in the future?
Lily: Yes, yes and one more time yes! There are no borders or limits. You are naked and at the same time you are the real you. You can be as close as possible to the nature, so you can feel it with your every body cell. And there is no way of being fake.
Britain Uncovered: Did the experience help you feel empowered or liberated, and has it helped with your body confidence? Or did you have concerns about doing something like this?
Lily: I felt much better after this experience, and more confident. All people are unique and all of them are beautiful. The way you perceive yourself is reflected on your appearance. If you love yourself and if you are satisfied with your body, everyone will love you and see you inner beauty.
Britain Uncovered: What advice would you offer to those struggling with self-acceptance and the way they look?
Lily: The thing which helps me a lot is just my mirror. Try to look in it as often as possible. And each time say aloud what you genuinely like in yourself. But the main rule is to always say different things and avoid repeating yourself. That’s how you can see your beauty and become more confident.
Britain Uncovered: Finally, do you feel that taking part in clothing-optional activities can help people to feel more confident about themselves?
Lily: Yes, why not? If it can help someone to believe in his or her beauty, and if it can help people to become more confident and to love themselves without the need for photoshops and plastic surgeries – the answer’s ‘yes’.
Thank you for your time and insight Lily! It was a pleasure speaking with you, and thanks for sharing your recent experiences with us! Follow Lily on Instagram by clicking here.