This summer season has been with us for a while, and although restrictions are in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to get outdoors, enjoy the warm weather, and stay active. In order to feel your most confident and best self while you’re enjoying the heat, it’s important to take the right steps to get there - meaning that it’s time to get fitness-focused again.
Every body is a bikini body, so no matter your shape or size, height or ethnicity, embrace the skin you're in and enjoy your summer holiday by being authentically you!
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Kayla Fitzgerald, is the ultimate advocate for body positivity, especially during the summer season. As a petite model who has been discriminated against for her height, Kayla uses her platform to advocate for diversity and empower everyone to love themselves for who they are. This message is especially prevalent during the summer, when many of us feel pressure to look a certain way.
Kayla is here to say that we’re all worthy of feeling bold and beautiful in swimwear - and she has some supermodel-inspired tips and tricks to help us get there.
“Every body is beautiful and what you might not like about yourself, is something someone else could envy or love,” the model and reality star, exclusively tells GLAMOUR South Africa. “At the end of the day, we are always our hardest critics! I am actually really proud of how far we have come in accepting and loving all body types!”
In GLAMOUR's exclusive interview, Kayla dished on her top workout tips this summer, opened up about balancing mental and physical health, and revealed why she’s passionate about advocating for change in the modeling industry.
It's summer in South Africa! What are your best tips for getting bikini body ready?
Summer is my favourite time of the year! If I had to share my top secret weapon for helping me get "bikini ready," it would be using Sweet Sweat, look it up if you haven't heard of it, because it's seriously amazing for helping me tone up. But my best tips for getting "bikini body ready" is to try to stay consistent with a routine over time so that when summer comes, you don't have to feel like you're on a time crunch to get your desired bikini body. I try to move my body for at least 20 minutes a day. You would be surprised at what a difference makes if you just do a little bit of exercise every day. Also, drink lots of water!
What's the best fitness tips for toning and feeling confident in the summer?
I mentioned this above, but Sweet Sweat is my secret weapon and I always wear it when I work out. It helps me sweat more and definitely helps me tone up. I also love doing HIIT workouts and feel like I burn the most fat when I am incorporating HIIT training into my workout routines. Figuring out what works best for your specific body type is what is the most important. What works for someone, might be a completely different experience for you. For instance, I build muscle really easily so I can get bulky pretty fast, but if I do hot yoga and HIIT workouts with low weights and resistance bands, I stay toned and fit. Fitness is really just learning what works best for your body type and then catering to those needs based on what your fitness goals are!
What do you typically eat to stay tone and in shape?
I don't keep a strict diet by any means, if I want to eat a burger and cheese fries, then I do. Everything in moderation is my motto. I typically try to eat healthy for the most part though. I usually have meals that are high in protein and low in carbs, so I will either have grilled chicken or beef of some sort, broccolini (my favorite) or asparagus, and then I will do a small side of carbs. I usually have "Right Rice," which is a healthy rice alternative that is delicious. There are so many healthy alternatives out there if you just do the research.
Although you're a model, do you ever struggle with insecurities?
Definitely, I think it's in our nature to feel insecurities. I think if you asked any model or any girl, they would say they struggle with insecurities.
Being in an industry that constantly tells you ‘no’ and that you aren't what they are looking for, can spark up insecurities for sure. I just have to remind myself that those things I might be insecure about, make me unique and who I am.
How do you work through hate on the internet and stay feeling confident and strong?
I journal A LOT and that definitely helps with my mental health to keep me strong and confident. I think when I was younger, hate comments online used to bother me, but I just let them roll off my back at this point. I have learned to love myself fully and I surround myself with people who love and support me, so that is where I allow my energy.
People who spread hate behind the computer are cowards, and they only have as much power as we give them. I think it's important to protect your energy and focus it into things and people who deserve it. I don't even go down the internet hate rabbit hole.
How do you balance physical and mental health?
I try to move my body for at least 20 minutes a day and it makes such a huge difference in my daily mood. Sometimes, even if I am not actually working out, I will just turn on some music and dance around in my living room.
There is so much synergy between mental and physical health, and I noticed that when I have at least 20 minutes of physical movement, then my mental state is much better as well. I love to write down my daily affirmations too, and "The Five Minute Journal" is my favourite tool to help with staying consistent with that.
Having a consistent routine can really help keep everything balanced. I make sure that when I wake up in the morning, I check in with myself before I check in with the world!
What's your advice for someone who may not feel confident in swimwear to still get out there and do it?
DO IT!!! Every woman's body is beautiful. I mean, we are literally made to recreate life and there is nothing more powerful and sexy than that. There are also so many different bikini cuts and styles out there that accentuate different body types, so my advice would be to find a swimsuit brand, or brands, that you like and rock that bikini bod, because every body is beautiful and what you might not like about yourself, is something someone else could envy or love. At the end of the day, we are always our hardest critics!
Everybody is a bikini body - do you agree?
ABSOLUTELY!!! I totally agree with this, and I am actually really proud of how far we have come in accepting and loving all body types!
What struggles have you faced as a petite model?
Being a petite model has been extremely difficult. I simply do not get the same opportunities as other models in the industry and as soon as my height is learned, I feel like it automatically goes against me for booking jobs.
Beauty companies mostly only shoot from the chest up, so why does height matter? IT SHOULDN'T, BUT IT DOES. It has been so deeply ingrained in the minds of the industry leaders that models have to be tall, that almost every casting has a height limit and it's almost always 5'7 and above.
I have had to try twenty times as hard just to even get my foot in the door and have had to lie about my height so I can walk into a casting and be considered.
It's very frustrating because I know I can model, and you do not have to be tall to be a model. I think it is so important to showcase petite girls as well and have them be acknowledged.
How do you hope to use your platform to promote diversity?
I have always been an advocate for petite models, and if I had a dollar for every time I heard "I thought you were taller from your photos," I would be rich.
So I think that alone should make a statement to the industry, that you can be any size to be a model. I hope to continue to use my platform to make a difference and promote diversity by showing younger girls that if they put their minds to something, they can achieve it.
I have been told ‘no’ a million times, but the times I have been told ‘yes’ and been given a chance, I usually end up keeping those companies as recurring clients who book me for shoots, so I know it can happen, we just have to keep pushing the limits.
I will do everything I can to use my platform to keep fighting for more diversity so that petite models are fully recognized as models too!