The pressure on women to look a certain way is well-known.

Now one Southampton woman has been chosen as a global ambassador in the fight against body shaming.

Vie Portland suffered from body confidence issues all her life, hiding her face with her hair and wearing shapeless clothes to cover her body

But it was not until the age of 36 that she realised she wasn’t living life to the full - and she had to do something about it

After being diagnosed twice with depression Vie, from Woolston, was also diagnosed as bipolar.

She said: “I got really ill with it, and have also got a genetic condition called epidermolysis bullosa - which can be fatal - as well as bursitis in both hips and tendonitis in my left hip.

“A car accident left me with nerve damage in my spine. I’m always in pain, some days are better than others.

“But one day I was really ill, and I was watching Singing In The Rain. And in Gene Kelly’s dream sequence the word burlesque flashes up in lights, and I wondered if people still did it."

She had a look for some burlesque groups, and with some encouragement from friends was soon performing all over the UK.

At the same time Vie realised she could help others feel good about themselves so started teaching burlesque and self-esteem workshops.

She said: “Before, I couldn't cope with standing out, being looked at; I expected I would fail everything I tried so I didn't try anything.

“Now, if I want to try something, I try to find a way of doing it. I have to be careful as I'm always in pain - as to be expected with the amount of chronic conditions I have - so if I plan to do something energetic or challenging, emotionally or physically, I have to ensure I have rest time either side of it and I have to ensure I take care of myself.

“But life is short. Life is for living. And the importance thing is to be grateful for all the incredible things our bodies can do, rather than criticise them for not living up to high, if not completely unattainable, expectations.

"It’s this new lust for life that has made her an ambassador for a new ‘body image movement’ set up by Australian mum Taryn Brumfitt, whose 'unconventional' image of her before and after weight loss went viral."

The movement is “on a quest to end the global body-hating epidemic,” with a campaign aimed at celebrating body diversity, growing old and being healthy at every weight.

Vie’s first project is screening the film ‘Embrace,’ the story behind the movement.

Told from the point of view of Taryn as she travels the globe talking to experts, women in the street and celebrities about body image issues, Taryn bares all (literally) to explore the factors contributing to this problem - and the solutions.

Embrace had its world premiere at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival, where it made it into the festival directors’ top 5 picks and was nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Best Documentary.

Vie will be screening the film on International Women’s Day - March 8 - at Odeon Leisure World Southampton. To book your ticket go to