That was my nickname at school: “Kipper” I’ll never forget the first time I realized what the kids meant by it, the shower that followed and every shower to follow that for years to come. I scrubbed myself until it hurt, I poured talc and perfume over myself and never left the house without a flannel in my bag.

It’s amazing what weight just one mean word had on my entire life. Looking back I realize that I never actually smelt of fish. But because I believed that I must have done it changed me forever.  

I was sitting on the school bus. I had a black hooded jumper I pulled over my head and as far over my face as possible as I shrank into my seat with my hands over my waist desperately trying to hide my ‘fat’ in an attempt to keep some dignity whilst five or six girls and boys, hocked up their phlegm to their mouths and spat it at great force towards my face because it repulsed them.

A few years ago, in a moment of complete trust, knowing that I’d found someone who could not lie to me I asked my husband if he thought I was normal. Had I lived my whole life with special needs and nobody ever telling me? Was I ‘slow’ and had just never had it explained to me? Did I look ‘normal’ to him? 

I very rarely speak of my few yeas at school. To be honest as hellish as they were they always paled in comparison to everything else that was going on. I went to five secondary schools in three years and never continued past year 9. All my secondary education managed to give me was a hygiene complex and a clear and cemented opinion that I was not normal, and that I was ugly. 

So why am I telling you this? Well, if you’d have told me then that I would grow up to be on stage, on CD inlays and on the cover of magazines… well, I’d have thought you were as cruel as the kids I had the bad luck of sharing a school bus with.

All these years later I’m finally discovering that there’s nothing wrong with me.

I want people to know that there is hope, I want people to understand the weight of their words and I want to tell you how utterly and unbelievably appreciative I am to all of those people who have helped to put me in a position where I can have my face on the cover of a magazine and be proud to look like me! 

Yes, I still have fat days and I struggle regularly with which chin I should angle at the camera first ;) but there are people out there that see ‘Ange’ and not ‘chins’ and because of that I’m starting to realize that showing you all ‘Ange’ is far more important than trying to show you something ‘normal’.

Ange x

Posted by Ange Hardy on November 9th 2015

Loading... Updating page...