Since leaving the Great British Bake Off tent with her head held high as a finalist in 2020, Laura Adlington has swapped her apron for a microphone – and her voice is being heard loud and clear.
The 32-year-old star is now a body positivity and confidence campaigner, fueled with the aim of helping and empowering women.
‘I used to think of myself as a walking before photo,’ Laura revealed in a candid chat with Metro.co.uk.
‘I thought my life would start when I lost weight. I would long for Laura, version 2.0. I thought when skinny I would do things I never did, like date more, I’d have better sex, I’d wear better clothes, I’d socialise more, go clubbing, go on holidays.
‘I felt very alone, and very isolated.’
But now the world is talking about body positivity, alright – a movement that actually originated in the 70s that’s found its way into the mainstream over the last decade.
It’s not, we’re told, the social justice campaign it once was, for Black women and genuinely plus-sized people.
‘Sometimes I feel it’s been hijacked a little bit,’ Laura admitted of the movement.
‘Now we are seeing more smaller people and lighter skinned people taking on that body-positive mantle. And that’s why a lot of people don’t resonate with it anymore, and don’t want to be associated with it.’
But Laura is still flying the body confidence flag for everyone to see alongside her friend Lauren Smith, with whom she co-hosts podcast Go Love Yourself.
The pair won the wellness category at The British Podcast Awards held in Soho last night. Other big winners included Joanne McNally and Vogue Williams, who took home the podcast champion gong for My Therapist Ghosted Me.
You can see why Go Love Yourself resonates so much. A 20-minute chat with Laura is laden with lines destined for a coaster or a viral Instagram tile.
‘The way you look is the least interesting thing about you,’ Laura said at one point. In another moment, she quipped: ‘I’m not going to waste my life worrying about what size knickers I wear.’ Bravo.
But perhaps her most meaningful comment was one many women have for years thought – and still think – to be impossible. Almost like the north ends of two magnets trying to touch.
‘I am sitting here the heaviest and happiest I’ve ever been,’ she declared, full of conviction.
That’s all thanks to talking openly about body confidence on the podcast, and in wider life, in case you’re wondering.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Laura, who worried she’d be eviscerated as a plus-sized woman on a baking show – even as recently as three years ago.
‘There were doubts, because I was worried about what the UK population would think of a plus-sized woman around food especially. But because I’d always loved the show, and knew it was very wholesome, I tried not to worry too much.’
But as soon as her name and picture was announced as the line-up of amateur bakers, a comment on a local newspaper article made her question whether she should embark on what would become the ‘best thing [she’s] ever done.’
‘Looks like someone’s been eating all the practice cake,’ read the first comment, closely followed by: ‘And everyone else’s.’
‘I wasn’t expecting it that early on so my stomach just did a flip,’ she recalled.
But after the show aired, Laura got more messages from women saying how great it was to see a plus-sized woman on TV looking so comfortable around food than she did from trolls trying to bring her down.
‘My motto is don’t let the trolls win,’ she concluded. And that Laura hasn’t, as *paints nails* Alison Hammond – newbie Bake Off host – is actually a fan of the podcast.
‘We know she listens to the podcast,’ Laura said. ‘We’re now trying to desperately get her on as a guest.’
And yes, Laura will be watching the new series of Bake Off featuring the woman herself.
‘The first year after I was on it, I found it really strange [watching]. It was like watching people step into your grave, but now I can actually enjoy it as a fan again,’ Laura said.
Oh, and posed with a snog, marry, avoid question, Laura would snog Prue Leith, marry Alison, and avoid Paul Hollywood. Absolutely fair enough.
Laura’s new book, Diet Starts Monday: Ditch the Scales, Reclaim Your Body and Live Life to the Full (Welbeck Balance), will be published on 4th January 2024.
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