Joey, 26, Community fundraiser
What is your diet?
Since I left uni I’ve got better at cooking, generally cooking clean. I used to be quite typical student, putting frozen pizzas and chicken slices in the oven. Now though I cook a lot more unprocessed and from scratch so I know exactly what I’m eating. I’m also a ‘flexitarian’, eating less meat because I know high meat production and consumption is unsustainable.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
There’s a great burger joint called Henry Burgers right by family home in Southend, Essex. So whenever I’m home I always end up there with my friend Katherine, eating burgers, sweet potato fries, hard Oreo milkshake with Baileys, then a couple of cocktails at the bar after.
Who’s your idea man?
It’s always been an American jock, because it’s a classic, athletic look. I still have the cardboard cutout of Zac Efron my friends bought me for my 18th birthday, when he was in High School Musical and before he was mega hot. I’m also pretty obsessed with Channing Tatum, and will refute anyone who says Magic Mike isn’t a good film.
What made you want to do this shoot?
Over the last year, I’ve been thinking a lot about all aspects of men’s health and talking to friends about it. I wanted to do the shoot to take a real proud ownership of my body, to believe it doesn’t need hiding away and to show anyone can look good in a pair of Aussiebums, not just models. And recognising it’s more than just a photo – the value these questions have in getting men talking and thinking about body image and self-esteem.
Has social media had an impact on the way you feel about your body?
Absolutely. I’ve spent too long looking at friends, models, athletes on Instagram before not ever believing I could be toned or muscular if I worked out for it. But I had a really good conversation with a personal trainer friend who competes in men’s physique and the realisation that those photos aren’t everyday real – the lighting is enhanced, they’re flexing, people use filters, all that stuff.
Do you think apps like Grindr and Tinder are also responsible for the emphasis on physical appearance?
It’s only in the last year I’ve thought about dating and using apps. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought I should get rid of my beard, because then I’ll get more people talking to me. That’s absolutely ridiculous, thinking I need or want that kind of image approval from other people. Grindr is awful for categorising yourself and others into tribes that perpetuate a limited set of ideal bodies. That and age – when people say ‘no over 40s’. Well David Beckham is 40+ and I wouldn’t want to miss a conversation with him.
What advice would you give to people about loving their body?
Make time to love your body. Cook fresh, walk, go for a run, have a digital detox, go for a manicure, whatever. You know what will make your whole mind, body and soul feel good so make sure you prioritise your time to do it.
If you’d like to be involve with Real Bodies and are available to be photographed in London, email firstname.lastname@example.org.