Search This Blog

Real Talk: Why I am glad I was an ugly teenager feat. Studio 8 Embroidered Summer Dress of Dreams

I've got a bit of a combo post for you to today - a review of this beautiful embroidered dress from Studio 8, which is perfect for any summer special occasion or event, and a bit of Real Talk, about why I am glad I was an ugly ass teenager. Yup you heard me right. I'm glad...

I don't really feel the need to review this dress, because the pictures in this case very much do it justice - it's pretty much perfect. It fits just right in my usual size (a 22) and is just as high end and beautifully designed as you'd expect from the dream team over at Studio 8 London. It sit’s just over my knee on my 5’8 frame, the cape style sleeves are roomy and won’t get hot, but give me coverage – which is great for those who aren’t loving their arms. The embroidered flowers are a rainbow of colours, meaning you can pick out a number of different hues for your accessories. I opted for a nude shoe and a big pinky red hair flower, but really there are loads of options. I would have liked a slightly fuller skirt to really live me best fairy tale life, however it’s certainly not a deal breaker - if you have a special occasion this summer, you should really consider this dress! That's all! If you want to know how another babe found this dress, then check out my bae George’s review over on Fuller Figure Fuller Bust – we are totally different shapes, but we are both IN LOVE.

Check out my girl George's review here

Now that that's out of the way, I wanted to talk about something a little different today. In fact I suppose this could have been part of my Real Talk series. Because that's what it is. It's a bit of real talk. Today I wanted to talk about why I am glad I was an ugly teenager. 

Before I start - I know that really, aesthetics shouldn't matter. I mean really, if we are going to measure core qualities that count - fuck what you look like! The things that really make a person beautiful are kindness, consideration, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, open mindedness, respect. And yet we all know that we live in a world that, initially, values the physical above all else. Conventional beauty, attractiveness, general good looks - these things come with unearned privilege. They make it easier to navigate the world. They make it easier to get along. And for those who have always had a decent dose of good looks, you won’t know just how much easier that makes things.  

I was a cute kid. I was a pretty little girl - I was all golden curls and a button nose. I was cross between Kirsten Dunst in Interview with a Vampire, Shirley Temple and little orphan Annie. My mum says I was one of those kids that people stopped to comment on. I don't remember this, but apparently I was. What I do remember is starting to feel awkward (thanks to societal pressures) about my body as early as six or seven (I have written about my journey with my body here) but as I hit my teens it became a real issue. And it wasn't just my weight. 


My immediate family have a joke (that I started about 10 years after the worst was over) - I was the World's Ugliest Teenager. Some sort of perfect hormonal storm happened when I was like 13 and everything went haywire. As my face shape matured and changed I seemed to be all nose and chin for a while. My brows grew in with some severe force, and suddenly I looked like the Gallagher sister no one wanted in the band. My hair reacted really badly to the hormones and the humid weather in my hometown and frizzed to fuck. I spent years fighting it and trying to straighten it, only making it worse. My skin went to shit (it wasn't acne, but it was typical teenage skin) and I had pimples on my face, chest and back. My body shape and size changed rapidly - my boobs took ages to come in, but when they did both by boobs and hips came in suddenly, leaving me streaked with red, angry stretch marks, which it took me a long time to be okay with. There was pretty much no market for plus size fashion in South Africa (even when I was a relatively small size 14/16 back in those days) and I wore everything too tight and was usually uncomfortable, because I would rather have been seen to be wearing a smaller dress size than actually wear something that fit (oh Hayley!). 

 So yeah, it wasn't great. And sure, it doesn't matter. Looks are fleeting. They give you no idea who that person really is, or what their value is, or whether you might get on. But if you've ever been on the lower end of the physical attractiveness scale you'll know that looks matter. They really fucking matter. Because they dictate how, or even if, people speak to you. And sure that probably makes those people not worth talking to, but try telling that to a teenager. Teenagers are cruel and deeply self-conscious - they don't want to be associated with fat and ugly. And it shows. 


So why oh why would I say I wanted to talk about why I am glad I was a ugly teenager? Because goddamn when you're ugly as fuck you pretty quick figure out your other strengths, and find other ways to make people like you! For me, I developed a lethal sense of humour. I am constantly told how I come across as super sweet and nice on my blog (I think it's just the pictures - when you have curls and tend to smile, I think you look nicer than you really are) but if you have met me in real life you probably quickly realised that I swear like a sailor, and am sharp as a whip where wit is involved. I developed a sharp, wicked sense of humour as both a defence mechanism and my saving grace. I had to be funny. Being funny meant people wanted to be around me, wanted to be my friend. And it meant I could protect myself (and other unfortunates) against bullies and assholes who always had something to say about my weight, my looks, my skin, whatever. It meant that in a second I could have them wishing they'd never made their (usually pretty fucking lame) remark. At school it meant people would prefer I was their friend, because they didn't want to be at the receiving end of one of my quips. So yeah, I was probably going to be funny anyway, but thanks to being ugly I’m quick and funny as fuck. 

To me two of the most important characteristics someone can have is being interested and interesting. They need to show interest in things - the world, history, other people, me. And they need to be interesting. Because when you show interest in things you learn things, and this in turn makes you interesting. No one was giving me a free pass for being pretty, so I used what I was good at. And that's my brain – I realised early that it was okay to be smart and to want to know things. And I am good at communicating and making people feel like I hear and understand them. And that is always useful. And always valuable. It has stood me in good stead, and is probably the reason that to this day my life is filled with wonderful people.

 I’m glad I was ugly because I was bullied. Bullying is fucking horrible. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. It is the most isolating and horrid thing in the world. And I am aware I certainly didn't get the worst of it. But it means I know what it is - I recognise it. I can sympathise with those experiencing it, because I have been there. And I will not tolerate it. Ever. I find it abhorrent. And if I see it in someone else, that's it. I'm done with them. 


I also see through bullshit. I know what it is to be the person no one wants to get stuck talking to, no one wants to dance with, no one wants to date. And so I can sense insincerity a mile off. I know when people are just making nice because they want something, or they haven't seen anyone else they want to talk to yet, or are purely being polite but scouting the room for a hot girl, or a cooler influencer. And I don't give one shit. I don't do ass kissing where it's not warranted. I don't change myself (EVER) to make people like me. And I won’t give those sorts of people my time and energy. Because the ugly girl that still lives inside me knows they wouldn’t have given me their time 15-20 years ago.

What I learned about myself in those years is that I don't have to be pretty to be liked. I don't have to wear cool clothes, I don't have to be a size 8, I don't have to have flawless skin or perky boobs for people to love me. That I am enough of a package without good looks. Because I am funny, and smart, and kind and considerate - the things that really matter - if I look objectively attractive for a few years that's just the cherry on top. But I am still one helluva sundae. I think it's why, although I have fought with my body of the years, I can handle being fat. I can love all the extra of me that there is to love. Because I know it doesn't matter. Because I know it doesn't mean I am not amazing and awesome. And I know that the fat isn't going to drive away the people who really matter. Because if I could find people to love me and want to know me and hang out with me when I was the World's ugliest teenager then I will be fine. Because right now I feel pretty damn fine. And since I started my blog, I have realised that, while I am not the prettiest girl out there, I am certainly blessed with a certain amount of objective attractiveness - and that comes with its own privileges. It's an unearned step up. It's a luck. But I know it could go just as quickly. So I know it's not to be relied upon. And it will never be all I have or am...

** Photos taken at the picturesque Sugnall Hall**


  1. I see a lot of myself in what you wrote here - now that I'm in my thirties, I'm happy with my looks, but I also know that there's more to me, and still will be as I age. I feel like people who like me/are attracted to me, really like me. Thank you for sharing - and for sharing that gorgeous dress, I hope I can get it in the US <3

  2. You both look so amazing in this dress! It's such a stunning print and cut. xx

  3. This dress is awesome as are you.


Copyright @ Curves & Curls. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign