“As someone who grew up struggling with her body image, I know how it feels to hate your own body. So, I decided to promote body positivity for people who feel they are not accepted because they are different,” says Pidor Ham. The young influencer shares with Marie Lamy about her experience of being bullied, how she overcame it through body positivity and dishes out tips about fashion for women of all sizes.
While working as a communication specialist for an NGO and a social media influencer on the side, Pidor decided to run a long-awaited project which seeks to promote the acceptance of all body types. Using Facebook as a platform, she would regularly upload motivational videos and pictures in efforts to uplift those suffering from body dysmorphia or low self-esteem. Every day, the Phnom Penh native chooses to break the conceptual idea that only one type of body image is beautiful.
But how exactly did her advocacy begin? Pidor said everything started during her growing-up years. “For many years, I felt self-hatred. I used to hate everything from my curly hair to the scars and blemishes on my legs,” she said.
Turning to the media, she noted the unrealistic doll-like personalities that many idolised and aspired to be. However, she never recognised herself in their faces, having instead struggled to cope with low self-esteem.
After years of berating herself for not looking like someone else, Pidor finally chose to rebuild her battered self-esteem. She started looking after her mental health as she explained many of her internalised scars were caused by harsh remarks from others. By distancing herself from toxic crowds and taking care of her body, her journey to acceptance took her a year to trek.
Despite the positive results, she said this remains a continuous battle, acknowledging that someone somewhere would once again drop a fat-shaming statement disguised as a joke.
“I know exactly what a joke is and what an insult is. Sometimes, outsiders do not realise that their words have the power to hurt,” she said, noting that a strong mentality is important so as not to be demoralised.
At first reluctant, she admitted there was a fear of being criticised about her content. Despite this, she said the majority of her followers have received the contents well. In fact, she said she has received multiple messages from fellow girls who were in the same situation as she was. “I am glad people are reaching out to be informed and to support what I am doing. The interaction in the community encourages me to continue the project,” said Pidor.
Embracing and loving your imperfections is a big part of confidence and Pidor understood it perfectly. In one of her latest videos, she dished out fashion tips for curvy girls, telling them which clothing and style could accentuate their curves instead of hiding them. She also talked about how all body types are beautiful through the participation of up-and-coming influencer Lim Sonalis.
Pidor added most of her tips came from celebrities such as Ashley Graham, a well-known American top model and one of the active voices for body positivity. In an interview with Vogue US, Graham was quoted saying: “I think that when you use the word ‘plus-size’, you’re putting all these women into a category: ‘You don’t eat well,’ ‘You don’t work out,’ ‘You could care less about your body,’ ‘You’re insecure,’ ‘You have no confidence’. And that is none of this.”
Pidor refers to international celebrities such as Graham and admitted it is regretful to be unable to find such a local inspiration in Cambodia. “Unfortunately, there are not enough Khmer celebrities showcasing all body sizes and this should change,” she stressed.
With a whopping 43,000 views on her videos, Pidor is slowly but surely building a safe space in the local social media for girls and boys who feel insecure about their body.
“As long as you feel good on the inside, it will reflect on the outside,” she reminded.