Picture this: it’s been a long winter, and you can finally soak up some sun on your favourite beach. You’re super amped to dash towards the ocean and take that long-awaited dip… Until you look around and see all the chiseled abs and bikini babes. Suddenly, you’ve lost the ability to take your shirt off.

But not to worry, we’ve recruited international model and life coach Marciel Hopkins to help you overcome those body insecurities, take great summer pics and hit the beach with confidence.

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Every Body Is A Bikini Body

 The Women’s Health Cover Star for November has been an advocate for body positivity for quite some time now, and even before she was a model, she received criticism and shaming for her body type – an experience many people can relate to. However, in recent years, the notion of having a “beach body” has slowly changed into being “a body at the beach,” straying away from the idea that you have to look a certain way before you get in the water. And Marciel is loving it.

“I’m so happy we are finally seeing the light. As a teenager I was so often so self-conscious about my body that I wouldn’t take off my shorts at the beach or get into a bikini at pool parties. I was bombarded with images of perfect looking women & men in magazines and on TV. This made it nearly impossible to feel good.

“No woman or man should ever feel that they are not allowed to be in a bathing suit at the beach, because of unrealistic body standards set out by society. Every body is a bikini body!”

Related: We Asked 5 Insta-Beauties One Question: What Makes Women Follow Guys On Instagram?

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Feed Your Mind With Positivity

Social media has also played a big role in how Marciel conveys her message of embracing one’s uniqueness to her many followers. On the flip side, we find ourselves living in a culture of comparison: we’re constantly searching for insta-worthy moments throughout our days. Marciel’s advice is to be more conscious about what we consume, because it can either be both positive or negative.

 “Be very careful with what enters your mental space on a daily basis whether it’s social media, books, TV shows or the people you surround yourself with. All of those things communicate subtle messages which build or break down your self-image. Do a proper clean up, re-evaluate your relationships and take care of what you read and listen to. Make sure your ‘brain food’ is positive, realistic and empowering.

“If you choose to follow positive and uplifting pages that are real and realistic about body image, it will encourage you to feel more comfortable in your own skin and you’ll realise no body is really perfect.”

What’s next for Marciel Hopkins?

 “New York next year! We are busy finalising my O1 work visa. I was in LA for a job last year and decided to go to New York on my own for a few days. I got signed with an agency within 2 days while being in New York, which is a massive dream come true for me. I also hope to do more acting and presenting work in South Africa.”

Bonus: Find Your Best Angle

Question: “Have you ever gone to the beach just to take photos… and not swim?

“Haha, for sure! Not because I just wanted photos. Cape Town’s water is often just too cold to swim in!”

For those of us who aren’t models, but still want to look more than decent in photos while the sun is out, here are some posing tips from the beach bombshell herself.

“When taking those summer snaps for Instagram, or any photo for that matter, posture is key. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Always check your lighting, background and angle. If you’re not sure which angles work for you, ask a friend to take a couple of shots while you are playing around in front of the lens. By practising, you’ll get better with every shot.”

Related: Here’s How To Take Photos Of Your Girlfriend, With Pro Photographer Tegan Smith

For more about Marciel, make sure you get your copy of the November issue of Women’s Health (She’s on the cover, you can’t miss it).


Women's Health SA November 2019

R 44.40


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