Brooke Birmingham has spent the past four years shedding 172 lbs. but claims Shape magazine was not welcoming when she wanted to show off her success.
Birmingham is a 28-year-old blogger from Quad Cities, Ill. Her blog, Brooke Not On a Diet, features healthy recipes, workouts routines, and the progress of her weight loss journey.
Birmingham’s success was noticed by Shape magazine, who contacted her to be featured in their "Success Stories" series. She had a phone interview with a Shape reporter discussing her journey, weight loss tips, and she sent over a bikini photo to be featured.
However, shortly after emailing her photo, she received a reply back, stating, “Hi Brooke! So great to speak with you the other day. My editors were hoping you could send over a different after photo. (You look ah-mazing, of course, but they are looking to include one with a shirt.) Thanks!”
In a later email, the same reporter told her their editorial policy has specific guidelines, which includes fully clothed photos for stories like Birmingham’s. However, prior success stories in the magazine have featured both shirtless men as well as women in bikinis.
She declined to be featured in the magazine if she could not show off her bikini body.
“If anything, the [sic] should want my picture on their site. My body is real, not photoshopped or hidden because I feel like I should be ashamed. This is a body after losing 172lbs., a body that has done amazing things, and looks AMAZING in a freaking bikini,” Birmingham wrote her on blog.
Since her encounter with the fitness magazine, her story has gone viral. Birmingham believes her photo was not featured due to the excess skin on her stomach caused by significant weight loss.
“Being asked to send a photo of myself with a shirt on made me feel like I again should be ashamed of my body. That since I have the loose skin, I shouldn’t be in a bikini,” Birmingham wrote.
As Birmingham’s story is quickly spreading, her Facebook is being flooded with kind words and messages of support. She credits her weight loss to Weight Watchers, an international weight loss company.
To read more about Birmingham’s interaction with Shape, check out her blog post “Why I Refused to Put a Shirt on for Shape.”