It was a year ago that I met writer Nicole Stephani; she was then Nicole Rohr, about to be married. It’s a big day for anyone, but for Nicole, it came as a special milestone, as she had successfully battled years of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Nicole has worked hard to accept herself just as she is, and in her commitment to share her story with honesty and openness, Nicole created Body Boop. Created in March 2014, Body Boop has grown in its following, providing hope and inspiration to people everywhere. I promised to follow Nicole on her journey, and I am happy to report that at the time of Nicole’s 30th birthday, she is moving forward with continued courage and positivity. Here is my latest conversation with Nicole …
MKG: Tell me about Body Boop’s mission. What has changed since its inception?
Nicole: Body Boop started as a personal outlet. I had always wanted to write a blog about my story. But prior to 2012 I wasn’t ready; I wanted to start when I was well into my recovery. I created Body Boop in March, 2014. As it developed, I began to feel more confident. The more I shared, the more I noticed that I started receiving messages from friends, from strangers, from so many people who felt supported and heard. I saw that this was now more than a personal story; it was a chance to create a place where others could be heard and supported – where they knew they were not alone.
MKG: What happened when you turned 30 recently? What did that mean to you?
Nicole: Turning 30 always was a scary number for me, a kind of age landmark. And I think it is negative for many women. But it’s really a positive thing. I wanted to do something inspiring and empowering for my 30th birthday; to say something positive about my body image and also about aging. I am much happier now; in my 20s I was sick. My situation was life-threatening and I didn’t think I would make it to 30. I am feeling great at my present weight and I wanted to celebrate that. I had special pictures made so that I could always remember this birthday and how happy I am, here and now.
MKG: Yesterday, you announced the launch of t-shirts in support of Body Boop’s message. Tell me about that.
Nicole: I was in New York City for a conference recently; I had a life-altering experience meeting Ashley Hayes, who encouraged me to fulfill my passion with Body Boop. I wanted to create retail opportunities to purchase products where a part of the proceeds will always go to support eating disorder organizations. I am hoping to emulate retail brand, Tom’s Shoes; with products that are body positive. To start I have created a t-shirt with intersecting geometric squares. Purple is the color that represents eating disorder recovery.*
MKG: Where do you see yourself and Body Boop in five years?
Nicole: I would like to continue to add retail products where a percentage of the proceeds goes to eating disorder organizations. I want to add body image workshops and spread the message of positivity. And I would also like to pay writers and expand the contributor base. This is something that I deal with constantly. I want to be responsible about it and simple and candid in the way I approach my days, even those when I myself am struggling.
I know Nicole will do that and continue to make a difference, by her courage and by keeping this important conversation going. The launch of Body Boop’s first t-shirt collection will be Wednesday, August 5th, with 10% of Body Boop’s profit donated to the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). To find out more about the launch or to learn more in general, sign up for emails here.
All photos of Nicole by Dory L. Tuohey Photography