Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Wales Online
Wales Online
Stephanie Colderick

‘I was bullied at school for being so tall but now I’m a model who appeared naked on TV’

Teenage years can be tough for most young people who just want to fit in with the crowd. Hannah Lewis, who is from the Rhondda Valley, was badly bullied for her height but has gone on to use her tough experience to help others with their body image.

Hannah, who is now 6ft, has always struggled with her body image after always being labelled "the tall one" and getting bullied for her appearance. Now Hannah is a model, promoting body diversity, and has this week appeared on the Channel 4 show Naked Education, where she posed in an empowering naked photo shoot.

Talking about the bullying and her teenage years, Hannah told WalesOnline: “I have always had body issues, I’ve always been the tall one. I grew up in school being the tall one. I had a lot of negative comments. I wasn’t able to dress like my friends when they were dressing in trendy clothes I was different in every way because the world didn’t accommodate for me and it was difficult.”

READ MORE: Sir David Attenborough's special moment on Skomer Island while filming Wild Isles

After school Hannah began dancing and performing on stage, going on tour with cruise ships and this helped to build her confidence. She said: "I grew more confident in myself because I could be someone else on stage, I was putting on a character."

By the time Hannah was 30 she was the most confident she had ever been but was still struggling with her body image and wanted to help others going through the same thing. Hannah explained: "I still got comments, they still got to me. I thought what can I do to push that completely and help younger people, younger girls and boys, who are growing up tall like I did, and how can I help those people."

Hannah wanted to help other young people who felt like she did (Stella Morais)

After seeing an advert on Instagram for Naked Education Hannah decided to apply for the show: "I thought this will be a great opportunity to be able to work on the psychological effects the comments had had on me and do something that is hopefully going to alter that view of myself."

In the programme Hannah met the Naked Brigade, who are people who are totally comfortable in their own skin, who helped her defy the negativity around her body image. She joined in a group photoshoot with the Naked Brigade where she wrote the words that her bullies called her on her skin, to "reclaim" and "own" them.

Hannah, who is 33, loved her experience on Naked Education, she said: "It was really fun, it was really empowering. It was a really really positive experience and really really great to film. The team at Channel 4 made me so comfortable... the Brigade was amazing, they are all really inspiring positive people, everyone made me feel really safe and empowered and made me feel like my body isn’t a bad thing.”

At end of the two days Hannah felt very comfortable about stripping off for the naked photoshoot. She also felt a lot more confident in her body and no longer sees being tall as a negative.

She said: “If somebody will comment on my height I don’t see it as a bad thing anymore. It has definitely changed my perspective - we are all born to stand out and tell our story and that is exactly what I am going to do from now on.”

Hannah decided she wanted to become a model and work to make the modelling industry more diverse. She said: “When I was younger the modelling industry wasn’t diverse. I got hundreds of 'nos' and ploughed on continuously. It took me years to get representation... I really want to push for more diversity in fashion shows. My dream is to walk in Paris fashion week, Milan, America one day."

Hannah was very passionate about why there needs to be diversity in the modelling world, she said: "It is healthy. We don’t all look the same, if we all looked the same as everyone else in this world life would be very boring. If brands want plus size women to buy their products then use plus size women in their shows."

You can watch Hannah's episode of Naked Education on All4 and the next episode will air on Tuesday, April 11 at 8pm on Channel 4.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.