Inspiring Women: Sarah Taylor
This blog post was originally written by Madeleine Villa.
“Out of what was my deepest pain became my destiny...to inspire other women to love themselves, put themselves first and take care of themselves body, mind and soul.” - Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor is a personal trainer at her own gym, formerly crowned Miss Plus Canada a plus size model, motivational speaker, body positivity ambassador, and the editor of FabUplus and all the while is still working part-time at a software company helping charities hit their goals. As i’m sure you have gathered Sarah is an incredibly busy, successful and hardworking person.
However, Sarah wasn’t always this confident, outgoing and tenacious person she is now. She faced terrible adversity growing up “I was bullied really heavily for my height, weight and my faith.” The bullying wasn’t just verbal either “ I remember coming home in grade 5 and getting into the bath and my mom asking where the bruises came from...the guys had beat up on me during recess”. The relentless bullying left Sarah physically and emotionally hurt, and though the bullying started based on her appearance it seeped into every part of her being “all that bullying really affected my self esteem and how I saw myself. I grew up thinking I wasn’t enough, that I was in the way, that no one liked me and anyone who did pretended. I had zero confidence and hated that reflection in the mirror.”
The effects of the bullying followed Sarah into her young adult life when she met her future husband “he was the first man to tell me I was beautiful and I thought that was the goal in life. It was like once he said that, it didn't matter how he treated me.” He was abusive, unfaithful and controlling “I lost even more of who I was. I was a shell of a girl, not even a woman.”
After two years of marriage Sarah put her foot down and divorced him. “When I say that I literally had everything that defined me stripped away from me, I really mean it. But the most beautiful thing is...I rebuilt. I rebuilt something stronger, and a life I am proud of. ‘Started from the bottom now we're here’...I am proof that all things are possible and that there is hope.”
Healing and Achieving
Flash forward two years post-divorce, Sarah’s mom called her and said “Sweetie, it’s time to stop surviving and time to start dreaming.” That’s when it all began to change. Sarah purchased a whiteboard and began writing down her dreams. “I wrote plus size modelling down, erased it 3 times and then wrote it a 4th time and it finally stuck.” So that’s what she did.
Even though Sarah had never modelled before, she signed up for 2015 Miss Plus Canada Pageant. “ I had no experience modeling - so had never done runway, had never posed, I used to live in like hoodies and workout tights and it changed all that.” For the talent portion of the pageant, Sarah decided to do a spoken word piece about her past struggles for the first time.
“I remember having to share it outloud during rehearsal one day (after weeks of practicing alone in my room) and after I shared it I just broke down it tears and the girls surrounded me in love. It felt so freeing to get it out. I realized then the impact it had sharing that with women and that I was meant to share my journey.” Sarah won the title of Miss Plus Canada 2015 and that’s where Sarah Taylor’s Journey really took flight.
“Out of what was my deepest pain became my destiny...to inspire other women to love themselves, put themselves first and take care of themselves body, mind and soul.”
Since 2014 Sarah has continued to share her story to encourage and inspire women to love their bodies and embrace who they are. She has even taken it a step further and opened her own gym. Sarah’s gym and personal training is different than other gyms though, it focuses on inclusivity, self confidence and an anyone-can mentality. “As a plus size woman my whole life I know what it’s like to move your body and it’s a little different than someone not of size.” Her approach is different:
“I don’t just focus on working out but we talk about self love and confidence and getting to a place of peace with your body. The transformations I’ve seen in my clients in terms of how they carry themselves and the things their bodies can do is what gives me life. I know I’m doing what I’m meant to do and it brings me so much joy to see women fall in love with how amazing they truly are!”
The results are not only physical strength improvements but an overall boost in self confidence thanks to Sarah’s meaningful approach.
When Sarah thinks about her future she can’t help but think back to her whiteboard of dreams, some accomplished, some in progress and some that are for the future “I think it’s really important to be specific about the things we want in life and I’ve worked on allowing myself to visualize all I want and put it out there and things just happen as I take one step at a time.” Sarah one day hopes to have Women’s Wellness Centres all across the world so that all women can receive the help they need to gain confidence in themselves. Until then she will continue to inspire women around her.
Want to see it all unfold? Follow Sarah Here: