Warm, charismatic, sassy and even golden are the words that come to mind when you think of Bianca Le Grange. She’s a triple-threat musical-theatre artist who exudes enviable levels of confidence and carries a body many consider to be aspirational. But being an entertainer and, later, a mom has meant that Bianca did not always look at her body with the same admiring eyes we have.

I learned to appreciate you, to be more patient with you, and to simply love you

Everyone has walked a different trail as they summit the mountain of self-acceptance and self-love, and Bianca is no different.

This is her story:

Dear Self (inner bee child), ‘cause that’s how I see you

My dream of becoming a superstar and an entertainer – you knew the challenges we would face. You knew better than anyone how I struggled to accept you, especially because I picked a career that required me to be perfect for the jobs I chose. Whether it was playing Anita in West Side Story and losing 15kg so I could dance, sing and act at the same time, or doing the Sun City Extravaganza Show where I had to be a size two so you could get into the teeny-tiny costumes. Or when you had to hide your pregnant belly under layers of clothes so people wouldn’t know that you would gain another thousand kilos because in the entertainment industry they don’t book you when you’re fat, female and coloured.

Our journey has been rough. Thighs, you know I hated those potato sacks, and bum, those dimples and stretch marks – I hated them so much that I wouldn’t even wear bikinis. But something happened when you turned 30 and I saw you in a different light. My mind was renewed – I learned to appreciate you, to be more patient with you, and to simply love you. I started feeding you the right food, and I took you to gym. I’m 37 this year and look at us in Marie Claire’s The New Naked issue – flaws and all – how exciting! I’m super proud of you, and I am so grateful to have you. I love your thighs, bum, small boobs and tummy… Let’s shine and show the world our chlora body.

Bianca

Marie Claire’s 2018 #DearBody #NewNaked issue in partnership with American Swiss is on sale now.