03/27/2017 01:45 EDT

3 Canadian Women Who Are Giving Love To Body Positivity In Their Communities

You go, girl!

If there's one thing we learned from Miss Universe Canada, Siera Bearchell, it's that more people need to spread the message of self-love and body positivity.

And here in Canada, there are women all over the country striving to do this.

Learning to love your body is something many young girls and women have a hard time doing, especially as we're bombarded with images showing us that if we want to be beautiful, we have to look a certain way.

But when communities and programs are designed to celebrate who we are and empower females to support one another on our path of loving the skin we're in, beautiful things can happen.

Here are three Canadian women who are making a body positive impact in their communities:

Katie Zeppieri, GIRL TALK Empowerment


What is GIRL TALK Empowerment?

"It is a social enterprise that inspires, empowers, and mobilizes girls to become world-changers. The organization provides life-changing experiences, a multi-platform support network, ethical merchandise, and leadership opportunities that give girls the tools they need to overcome personal challenges and make their mark on the world. We are best known for our annual pep-rally titled GIRL TALK Empowerment Day, which brings 1,000 girls ages 11-18 together for a day of inspiration."

Why did you start it?

"I started GIRL TALK Empowerment because I wanted to create the type of support network that I wished I had when I was growing up. What the world needs more than ever are changemakers — young people who are committed to making the world a better place. GIRL TALK speaks to girls growing up in a society filled with pressures and encourages them to see that they have the power to make the world a better place each and every day, right where they are."

Why is celebrating different female bodies types and different shapes so important?

"The world we live in today is quite an image-obsessed one. As girls flip through magazines and scroll through their Instagram feeds, they are continually bombarded by pictures that suggest how they need to look in order to be beautiful. These images are curated, edited, crafted, filtered, and positioned in order to sell something — usually beauty or fashion-related products — to girls and women.

I think it's important that girls see different female body types and shapes represented so that they realize that healthy is not just one dress size or one number on a scale."

What does beauty mean to you?

To me, beauty is the essence of a kindhearted person that reflects from the inside out. When I say someone is beautiful, I'm choosing that word over "pretty," "hot," or any other physical descriptor, because beautiful to me encompasses the whole person — not only their physical features. There is something special about a person who is filled with goodness, joy, love, and empathy."

Chloe Wilde, Healthy Is Hot


What is Healthy Is Hot?

"[It's a] hashtag that has since turned into a digital space online and on Instagram where we promote body positivity, self-love, female empowerment and encourage honest discussions on all aspects of health: mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, sexual and everything in between. There is a need for a space like this, with a large majority of women having an "I hate my body" moment every single day, we need a place where we celebrate each other and help each other stay accountable on our journey to health."

Why did you start it?

"Healthy Is Hot started as a hashtag three and a half years ago when I was travelling across Canada on a reality show called the 'MuchMusic VJ Search' in hopes of winning the top prize and landing a coveted role at MuchMusic in downtown Toronto. The show was an experience that changed my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but the process was hard and stressful for me, and I stopped taking care of myself and lost a drastic amount of weight. When the tour stopped in the city where my mom lives, Ottawa, both her and my boyfriend were shocked and quickly urged me to focus on my health throughout the rest of the show. In that moment I realized how bad I was being to my body and decided to take back some control. That evening, I went to the gym and posted a photo with the hashtag #healthyishot for the very first time."

Why is celebrating different female bodies types and different shapes so important?

"Women are not one thing, we are many things and we come in various packages, each just as beautiful as the next. Growing up I had a very boyish body, and I remember looking at my beautiful mother and her stunning Marilyn Monroe type body and being filled with jealousy. I craved those womanly curves.

Celebrating different female body types and different shapes is incredibly important to the Healthy Is Hot movement. There is not one mold for beauty, there are infinite molds and each is just as beautiful and worth celebrating as the next."

What does beauty mean to you?

"Some of the most beautiful people in my life are beautiful not necessarily because of what they look like, but what their personalities and their energies give off into the world. Being beautiful on the inside radiates out and can make everyone stop in their tracks."

Jenna Green, Anuja Girls

Calgary & Montreal

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What is Anuja Girls?

"The program started as a yoga class in Calgary, where we would offer free yoga every week for teen girls. It has become a community of young women who are encouraged to get active, support one another, and truly abolish their limits. I grew up in a low-income family, so it was always difficult to self-sustain my finances for sports — especially "luxury" activities like yoga. My intention is to create an inclusive resource for girls where they are provided with strong mentorship, mindful activities, and overall wellness at a low, or no cost. I study in Montreal, so I have been working with Lululemon to start offering the program here as well. As the program grows in Montreal, I hope to start an Anuja Girls run club and collaborate with the YWCA, refugee centers and various high schools.

We are currently planning a wellness retreat with Jacqueline Jones from Heartfelt Health. She is a nutrition psychologist based in Calgary who will be helping us with the self-love, nourishment and body image aspect of the retreat. If this goes well, we hope to start hosting these retreats in various communities around Canada."

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Why is celebrating different female bodies types and different shapes so important?

"Celebrating different female body types and shapes is important because we are all naturally different. Something we should really focus on is body nourishment and overall wellness rather than perfection, or meeting a certain standard. Our bodies are amazing, powerful human machines — it is so important to appreciate what our bodies are capable of, and to shift towards a more forgiving and positive attitude. By nurturing our bodies and embracing different female body types, we can set a powerful example to those around us."

What does beauty mean to you?

"To be beautiful is to shamelessly be ourselves. Everyone has different goals, passions, strengths, ideologies- it is beautiful to love ourselves for these qualities, and to celebrate those of others."

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