Stacey Solomon has said she is keen to “challenge the narrative” about body-shaming, calling for more acceptance of diversity.
The Loose Women panellist and former X Factor star has become known for her honest posts on social media, including pictures of her stretchmarks and hairy stomach while pregnant with her third child.
She has also highlighted the importance of body image acceptance and its positive impact on mental health.
Solomon, 29, told the Press Association that her desire to speak openly on the issue was prompted a few years ago when pictures were published of her on a beach.
She said: “They said my boobs were a big saggy and that I should look more like somebody else.
“I’m so grateful for my body. It works and it has served me well all these years. I don’t take too much notice of what it looks like because I think I’ve got a nice body.
“Everyone’s got a nice body, everyone’s completely different.
“But when I saw the article written about me, I couldn’t get my head around why we were telling people that they should look like someone else and saying ‘Don’t wear a bikini like Stacey, wear it like this person because they’re doing it the right way.’ And you think ‘Well, I look fine too.’
“They’re telling a whole group of people that they’re not good enough, and I don’t agree with that at all.
“So I always feel like any way I can challenge the narrative and build people’s confidence rather than the opposite – which is what I think society sometimes does – then I’ll do it.”
Solomon added that she likes to tell people: “Look, it doesn’t matter, let’s all celebrate who we are.”
The TV star said being active is one of the most important things to her, and that she has been swimming more often throughout her pregnancy as it is one of the only forms of exercise she can do.
Solomon, who has sons Zachary and Leighton from previous relationships, is expecting her first child with TV presenter and actor Joe Swash, her partner of around four years.
She said that keeping active with her sons is her main intention, adding: “I’ve not been able to do things like go to a trampoline park or climb rocks for nearly a year, so it’s got to a point where the only time I can really be active with my boys at the moment is in the water.”
With that in mind, she took her son Leighton to a preview of new Disney-inspired swimming sessions, in partnership with Swim England.
“Swimming has taken over as our number one thing while I’m pregnant, and I want my children to be confident in the water and to enjoy swimming,” she said.
The swimming sessions, which will be available next month across the country and are aimed at children aged three to 11, are inspired by Disney storytelling and will feature characters from Toy Story 4, Mickey And Friends and Frozen 2 across a number of games and activities in the water.
Solomon said Leighton, seven, has “grown in confidence” after taking part in the sessions, and that it is an important life skill they should have.
She said her sons are also “really, really excited” about the impending arrival, but that it “goes through stages”.
“They’ll be like ‘Yes, can’t wait to start organising things and I’m going to give this to the baby and help with the tidying’.”
She added: “But sometimes they’re like ‘Oh God, are you still pregnant?’”
The Disney-inspired family swimming sessions are available from June 1 in more than 250 pools nationwide in partnership with Swim England. Sessions inspired by Toy Story 4 are open for bookings at swimming.org/Disney.