Adelaide woman Taryn Brumfitt has been named 2023 Australian of the Year for her tireless work in teaching people worldwide to love and embrace their bodies.
Ms Brumfitt leads Body Image Movement, an organisation which teaches people to love and appreciate their bodies.
She was awarded the top honour by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a ceremony in Canberra on Wednesday night.
The South Australian woman delivered a powerful speech upon receiving the award which took body shaming to task.
“Australia, we have 28,000 days on the planet if we’re really lucky and we’re not meant to spend them at war with our bodies,” she said.
“When you take your final breath on this earth, what thoughts will be going through your mind? What will you be thinking about?
“No one has ever said to me – the size of their bum.
“If we can embrace that perspective now while we are capable, breathing and able, and have the gratitude for our bodies we can all access a more joyous, rich and abundant life.”
Her journey to body image advocacy began when she shared a before and after picture of her on social media – one in her body-building era and the other post-children – which prompted an overwhelming response from women worldwide.
The 45-year-old then felt impelled to do something about the thousands of “heartbreaking stories” she had received after posting the photograph.
She wrote the book Embrace, which quickly turned into the 2016 documentary of the same name.
The book and film both tackle the issue of women’s body loathing and document her path to body acceptance.
Her Embrace Kids program will be rolled out as a classroom program curriculum this year in Australian schools and will be accompanied by a documentary aimed at children.
“There is a lot of work to do, and it starts early and it starts with us being role models for our kids by creating empowering environments where they can thrive,” she said.
“We’re tired of just talking about it, we are tired of the misery and pain of hating our bodies.
“My goodness Australia, we are ready for change, for ourselves and the generations to come.”