Oyama Botha, or “Yammie”, is a digital content producer and strategist. She focuses on body positivity, fashion, travel, and lifestyle. Her work extends to her business, Yammie Hearts and Curves, which focuses on products and services that enhance holistic self-esteem. She also owns All Bodies are Beautiful Meet Up, which is an annual meet-up that inspires everyone (especially women) to celebrate themselves through #RadicalSelfLove.
In episode #7 of the Future Females Show, hosted by Media Personality & Transformational Coach, Susana Kennedy, and Co-Founder & CEO of Future Females, Lauren Dallas, Oyama shares her tips on how to practice radical self-love.
Oyama, please introduce yourself. How did you get to where you are today?
When people say “introduce yourself”, I always struggle because if you’re a multifaceted woman, where do you begin? Do I begin with the fact that I’m a UCT and Oxford graduate, do I begin with the fact that I create platforms to empower people, or do I go with the fact that I’m really an amazing person full of life who loves connecting with people? 😉
You are the CEO of body positivity… What does that mean?
I’ve always embodied the essence of body positivity in the sense that there was never the term “body positivity” when I even began to think about doing work that has to do with body positivity. So I always talk about how the term found me because I’ve always embodied the person that I am in the sense that I live to be the fullest version of myself – be it academic, be it social, be it where I want to better myself. Being a fully-sized, body-plus-sized woman in the context of what’s been happening in society, obviously comes with challenges and it’s always been that way. I remember going back to my second year in varsity, one girl from high school said she thought I should start a blog because there’s always been a light about me. I always believe that I’m a model after one person asked me if I’m a model. I didn’t know a model could look like me and I was like, “Hell yeah, I’m a model!” I started telling people that I am a model and I decided that I’m going to start that blog – and that’s how Yammie Hearts and Curves came about. When I thought about a name, I thought about Yammie because people and friends generally call me Yammie (I think it’s quite evident why 😉). It started out as a blog and I wanted to write about the experiences of just being a curvy girl and being accepting of the fact that we’re all different and all bodies are beautiful.
Where did you learn to take up space?
When I say this is literally who I am, I really mean it. For example, when Instagram started I wasn’t thinking about what content to create, I was literally just being myself and showing a bit of my personality. What was so inspiring to me was the day when I realised there are people, specifically women, who are looking up to me and loving how I’m being my true self, literally oozing and being authentic. It changed my life. Imagine just being able to live your true self online and then somebody can take something positive from that. I started realising it’s serious and that I’m impacting people’s lives, but I was never concerned about the future prospects of that because I knew I was being myself all along and people were being inspired by that. It’s honestly such an honour!
What hang-ups have you had to work through and how have you tackled that?
When your presence demands attention, that’s already a big hoo-ha! For example, I always say I’m just naturally sexy because I remember when I was in primary school I used to look at this one tiny girl and think why isn’t the top I’m wearing giving me the same effect that it’s giving her. I was trying to tap into being as cute as her, so much so that I realised I was acting upon that, in that I was shying away from it. When I would do bikini shoots I would always try and smile because I have a very childish smile and I didn’t want the picture to be perceived as too sexy. It stuck with me and I asked myself why I was doing that. It’s about navigating how you become so multifaceted as a woman in that you can put on one hat, embrace that and then put on another hat. I realised I could be all these different women in one, and that’s okay.
The whole conversation around girls hating each other – I am very delusional in terms of my positivity, because I am naturally positive and I don’t force it. So, I move into creating spaces where conversations like these can be had. We always talk about the issue in itself, but why do girls hate each other and where is it coming from? I think a lot of it comes from self-projection because there are levels of your self-love journey that you go through – it is not a destination, it is a journey and when you reach a comfort level of your self-love that you contain from within, you’re not going to judge anyone.
What are the practical or spiritual tools you have utilised in your self-love journey to get to where you are now?
For me, there wasn’t a point where I was so bad or negative about myself that I had to sit down with myself and think about what steps I need to take to get to where I need to be. But, what has worked for me is the company that you keep because it has such a big influence. I always go back to the example of a friend of mine. She has a sister who has never worn a bikini before and when I met her, I was wearing a very low-cut bikini. I didn’t tell her that she has to get to a point where should also wear one, but she was seeing and getting my energy and one day she just did it! Being positive in the affirmations and in the delivery of the message to your friends is very important. Then also, affirmations to yourself and doing the inner work of loving yourself.
What are the things that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of the fact that I’m very zealous and resilient. No one can take away my spirit and my energy. People think that, when you’re such a positive person, you never cry. But I’m very proud of myself because it’s carried me through all the ups and downs and all the phases of the work that I do.
I want everyone to know that I was here, that I lived, that I loved and that I made a difference in people’s lives. That’s what I want to be remembered for.
Watch the video interview here:
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