It was a night to remember as the finalists celebrated at a top London venue
When Evans launched its #IamMe Awards – celebrating body confidence and embracing who you are with pride – we knew we’d be hearing some amazing stories from a lot of fabulous women. But as the entries flooded in, you simply blew everyone away with your heartfelt, moving and inspirational entries.
It was a tough challenge to pick the winners from among so many wonderful nominations, but we’re thrilled to announce the five Evans #IamMe finalists, in association with Evans and Garnier.
All five winners were treated to a VIP shopping experience in the Evans Flagship store at Marble Arch, where they could choose an outfit from the latest A/W drop before being whisked off to have their hair and make-up done.
Looking their best, the five winners made their way to 100 Wardour Street in the heart of London’s Soho, where they were presented with prizes of a £250 Evans voucher, a year’s subscription to Marie Claire, and a Garnier hamper. Top curve model Hayley Hasselfhoff – who featured in the #IamMe campaign – was there to present, and said: ‘It’s an inspiration to be surrounded by these girls.’
The woman behind #IamMe, Evans MD Fiona Ross said, ‘The #IamMe campaign was born out of seeing how our customers’ confidence soars when they try on the right outfit. We want all women to realise they can wear the latest trends, and enjoy their own unique, individual style.’
MEET THE WINNERS
Without further ado, here are the category finalists of the #IamMe Awards 2016…
For opening doors and being a great role model
Winner: ANITA POWELL
‘I want to help people flourish’
Single mum Anita has cared for her family for many years, but started to volunteer for a local radio station to rebuild her confidence.
‘From being nervous to start with, these days they can’t keep me quiet!’ she says, as she now presents a community radio show that makes sure local groups and charities get publicity and exposure.
Sometimes the people who need help are hard to reach, but Anita knows it’s easier to engage them through music. ‘I aim to help put them in touch with the right groups,’ explains Anita. ‘I’m a strong believer in creating a better, flourishing community.’
She was thrilled to win the award. ‘I felt surprised – and privileged!’ she says. Anita’s tip? ‘Appreciate who you are, and try something new, even if it scares you.’
The award for fearless fashion flair
Winner: LUCY EARNSHAW
‘We can wear whatever we want’
Lucy started shaking when she realised she’d won #IamStyle.
‘I’d only just got back from holiday and thought there must be some mistake!’
She describes herself as a realist – and she wants other women to enjoy fashion and style just as much as she does.
‘I like to wear high-street fashion, with trends translated into my style – and I blog at Lucy Loves to showcase my take on style, beauty and travel.
‘The fact I’m plus-size doesn’t define everything I am or do, but I use it to show others like me that we can wear affordable fashion and look fantastic doing it. I could go on forever about what I’m not, but what I am is me.’
Celebrating how beauty starts from within
Winner: LAURA TOWNSHEND
‘There’s beauty in difference’
As mum to toddler Gillen, Laura is determined to show how beauty comes in all forms, colours, shapes and sizes.
‘I didn’t enter the competition because of an inflated opinion of my own attractiveness. In fact I know my post-baby body is far from what is considered perfect in our society – but I want to rock what I’ve got!’
Laura was shocked, but over the moon about her award.
‘I feel I need to be an ambassador for showing that there’s beauty in difference, as Gillen has a congenital heart condition and a large chest scar. I want to show him that beauty isn’t about perfection.
‘I don’t want him ever to define himself by his scars – any more than I define myself by my size. It’s all about being happy and confident in your own skin.’
When curvy means strong and healthy
Winner: CATHERINE GILCHRIST
‘I’m raising money for the British Heart Foundation’
Nominated by her friend Kayleigh, who describes her as ‘such a positive person’, Cat took up running two years ago after joining a ‘couch to 5K’ class – and hasn’t looked back.
Just 12 weeks after starting the class, she was out on her first 5K run. More recently she took part in ‘marathon in a month’ challenge in aid of the British Heart Foundation, running the full 26.2 miles but broken up into shorter sections.
‘When I entered the IamMe awards, I told myself I’d never win, but it felt really good to hear that I had,’ says Cat. ‘I was very emotional – but in a good way.’
Being active has boosted Cat’s confidence, and she’s made a difference to others too. ‘I post on Facebook and Instagram to show everyone where I am and where I’ve been running, and it’s lovely to hear back from people who tell me they’ve been inspired to take up running because of me.’
The winner who will star in the next Evans campaign
Winner: STACEY LAMBELL
‘I want to be accepted’
Stacey nominated herself for a very good reason. ‘Not because I think I’m something special – in fact I think the polar opposite,’ she explains. ‘It’s because I need to learn to love myself. How’s my son going to have any confidence if I don’t have any in myself for him to look up to?’
As the very proud mum of little Harrison, three, Stacey encourages him to try new things, and loves taking her boy out for walks or just chilling at home. ‘He’s my world – if he’s happy, I’m happy.’
Stacey wants to be accepted for being a bigger woman – and that’s one of the reasons she enjoys shopping at Evans. ‘There’s no judging, just friendly, accepting staff and customers.
‘So I’m nominating myself just for a confidence boost, if that’s allowed.’
Yes, Stacey it is! You’re the beautiful winner of #IamMe!