You Are Beautiful Project: Vivian Moyo relaunches campaign to boost young girls’ confidence

Vivian Moyo is re-launching her You Are Beautiful Project this month. Picture: Vivian Moyo.

Vivian Moyo is re-launching her You Are Beautiful Project this month. Picture: Vivian Moyo. - Credit: Archant

Vivian Moyo’s objectives are noble, but they are also incredibly challenging. In her role as founder of the You Are Beautiful Project, the 34-year-old wants to “change the perception of beauty in the media,” thus going some way to “teaching young girls to love themselves from within.”

In a world of sun-kissed models strutting flawlessly around the Love Island villa, and filtered Instagram posts which have been re-thought, and re-positioned, and re-taken countless times - this is not easy. If this is what an impressionable young mind is exposed to - day in, day out - it's surely reasonable for them to assume that this is normal.

For Moyo, it's about supporting young girls suffering with mental anguish and addressing their false beliefs that they simply aren't good enough.

"I felt like there wasn't anything (being done) to help young girls," she says. "With the You Are Beautiful Project, we go in to schools and boost girls' confidence by teaching them that looks are not everything. A lot of girls think that they have to look good, but it's not all about that, and the inside counts the most.

"We started going to schools and realised the issues were deeper than we thought. There are a lot of insecurities and issues going on with the girls; the workshop that we run allows them to open up about how they feel about themselves."

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Moyo founded the You Are Beautiful Project in 2016, and has run her 50-minute workshops for around 700 girls in secondary schools around London ever since. Now, she's hoping to scale-up the project, starting by officially launching her workshop programme at a free event in Holborn on Wednesday, August 14.

"I'm going to do a workshop demo on the day," Moyo continues, "and I've got young girls from an Inside Success youth club to take part. Not a lot of people have seen how the workshops work, and for parents and mothers, you can't support something you haven't seen properly (for yourself)."

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You Are Beautiful workshops come split into three sections; a questionnaire, a celebrity challenge - where airbrushed pictures of a teenage idol are contrasted with make-up free images of that same person - and a mirror challenge, where participants are asked to simply look at their reflection.

"Some of them hide their faces, and some of them go out of the room," says Moyo about the last of these tasks. "I thought it would be fun, but it's not like that. It's quite an emotional activity. Sometimes I have to literally force them to look at themselves in the mirror."

Any parent will know of the pressures that secondary school children are faced with, but hearing Moyo speak candidly about her experiences with the project are still jarring.

"When you see the paperwork (from the questionnaires), some of what the girls are saying about themselves is mind-blowing," she explains.

"(We've had) young girls saying that they feel like they are a mistake, that they feel ugly and unaccepted by society. These are girls in years seven and eight.

"I'm launching the You Are Beautiful Project now so that we can get more awareness out there, we're looking for people to help us fund it, because as much as the schools want us, they can't pay us."

As well as offering an insight in to how a You Are Beautiful Project workshop operates, Moyo will speak at the event next week to talk about pertinent issues, including 'how do we get the challenges of self-perception out in the open?' and 'how do we promote anti-bullying sentiments in our schools?'

There's plenty of work to be done, but initiatives like Moyo's are at least encouraging young girls to recognise and celebrate their value, rather than becoming fixated with things they don't like about themselves.

You Are Beautiful Project workshop launch is on August 14, at We Work Square, 138 Holborn, EC1N 2ST, from 6-9pm; More details here.

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