What is your relationship with each other and how did you meet?
SWANA: Claudia is my colleague aka work wife. We've been working together for nearly 5 years. Laura is one of my dearest closest friends, we've been friends since mid 90s!
CLAUDIA: Swana is my work wife, she came for an interview to work alongside me. We work together on the Front desk in a Creative advertising agency, Swana is bad cop and i'm good cop - depending on the day and our impending menopause!
I had not met Laura until the day of the shoot but as Swana talked about her often, regaling stories of their nights of clubbing and dancing i felt i already knew her quite well so at the shoot it was like I was working with a friend.
LAURA: I have been friends with Swana for over 15 years, make it 20 more likely. We met through a mutual friend and although that friend now lives abroad for a long time, Swana and I have remained friends. I met Claudia through Swana. I guess you can say that Swana is the glue that keeps us 3 together!
Describe your relationship with your body.
SWANA: The relationship I have now with my body seems good and works well on a level of love and respect. I try to take care of it and keep it looking good, but more importantly, I like getting to know it. Getting to know the one companion
that has been accompanying me through life's journey. My body makes me feel tender and affectionate towards it, but it also gives me strength. I've learned to accept it as it is, to try and not change it, and to never neglect it.
CLAUDIA: My body when young was fit and i was willingly active, with age, a sedentary job and Sky TV at home, I am a self confessed couch potato and have started to resemble one. My personality is huge and my body is usually cleverly dressed to disguise any flaws that I can see, and I can see many.
LAURA: The relationship I have with my body is good; I do like to exercise and this has kept my body in a good shape (despite my age). I do like food, so I find it hard to diet. Therefore, it is to the gym I go when I over indulge! :)
Why do you like wearing Beija?
SWANA: Oh that's easy: Because they have great styles and the bras fit perfectly.
CLAUDIA: Beija is an inclusive brand, the designs are seductive without being slutty, which to me as a modern woman wants.
LAURA: I discovered Beija underwear recently and I really loved their items. I like the fact that most of the ranges come with different styles of brief and that I can choose between the wired and non-wired bras. Also, the bikini line is so pretty!!
What was it that made you want to take part in We Are Beija?
SWANA: The old me would have shied away from doing anything like this because the old me didn't like a lot of things about my body. There were many things I didn't like about my body. My uneven skin tone, my belly weight and my stretch marks. But when I heard about We Are Beija shoot, the small voice inside me just screamed, 'Go on, do it!' So I told Claudia and Laura about it and here we are.
CLAUDIA: I have reached my 50th year which was fine, but one does reassess ones-self. I want to be mentally stronger. I do not want to go through the second half of my life with the worry of never being good enough or thin enough or attractive enough to join in with any opportunities due to low self esteem.
LAURA: I heard about the "We are Beija" project at a time in my life where I needed the validation of myself as a person. This project has given me the confidence to go out there and say that we are all equally beautiful in our own shapes and forms, and to wear the scars, cellulite, stretch marks with pride!
It is also an incredible opportunity to celebrate friendships. Friends are the ones who are always going to be there for you no matter what; we should never take them for granted but cherish and thank them for being in our lives.