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9 People Pose Nude To Show What Body Diversity Really Looks Like

"There are still so many people out there who believe they don't deserve to love themselves unless they look a certain way." (NSFW, obviously.)

Canadian magazine Now Toronto just published its third annual Love Your Body issue, and the results are stunning.

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via Now Toronto

The magazine asks Torontonians to strip down and tell their body stories. This year's subjects include author and mom Catherine Hernandez, who reconnected with her body after being diagnosed with two chronic illnesses:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"During the height of my sickness, I would write love letters to my body and post them up... I would post them inside my washroom cupboard and look at them when I was coming out of the shower. When I had flare-ups, it was extremely painful to shower, so instead of being like, 'I'm in pain!' I kept on writing these letters, just continuously professing my love for my body."

Prince Amponsah, who was severely burned in a fire four years ago, and who recently returned to acting — after some reluctance:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"I couldn’t see myself going back to acting because I didn’t feel I had a place there. You don’t see a lot of people who look like me on the stage or on the screen, and sometimes you need those kinds of role models — to see yourself, to feel like you can be a part of it."

Heidi Hawkins, a voiceover actor who talked about breastfeeding and the pressures put on new mothers' bodies:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"I wish, before I had a baby, I'd been more aware of how my body would change and how it was going to make me feel," Hawkins said. "All you hear about is 'bouncing back.' In magazines you see a lot of retouched photos of people after they have kids, and it gives women a really unrealistic idea of what you're going to look like after you give birth."

Monique Mojica, an actor, playwright, and artistic director at the Chocolate Woman Collective, who spoke about the connection between indigenous people's bodies and land:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"It's been so hard for me not to be at Standing Rock," she told the magazine. "But it's snowing, and I don't do well in the snow. And if it's no longer appropriate for this 63-year-old to lock herself down to a bulldozer, what the fuck can an old girl like me do?

"But here, I can use my body to talk not only about what has been happening to our bodies for 500 years of colonialism, but what is happening now."

Acacia Christensen of the League of Lady Wrestlers, who talked about making space in an exclusionary industry:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"I've always been a big fan of wrestling, but there's a really sexist, racist, homophobic culture around it," Christensen told the publication. "I started training full-time and loved it, but I eventually left. I had to deal with people making rape jokes in class and being told I was overreacting. Now I'm in a space where I feel like I fit in, but that's a subset of a sport where women don't belong. We put on and sell out shows, and it's kind of a huge fuck-you to wrestlers and promoters who don't have respect for women."

Ted Hallett, a writer and improv actor, who spoke on dating after kidney cancer:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"I gained a lot of weight after the [tumor removal] surgery," he said. "At first I worried about how the scar would appear to others... There was one situation where I connected to a woman and felt it was mutual. She also had a history of cancer. So I thought this was a person who had gone through what I was going through. It ended, possibly because she was over her thing and I was just starting mine. It might have freaked her out."

Activist, yoga teacher, and porn performer Jasbina Justice, who talked about being sex-positive, post-trauma:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"As a survivor of trauma, learning how to be okay being sexual on my own terms and how to have boundaries has been a big part of my work. There's a demand for respectability if you're a survivor of sex assault — you can't say you're doing porn or sex work or be a very sexual person. But when I went into some sex-positive spaces, it was hard to say, 'I'm coming with a lot of trauma, so this is scary for me.'"

Paul Lancaric, who spoke about how becoming comfortable with his body affects his work as a voiceover artist:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"There have been times when my voice-over work has had me sitting in a closet recording audiobooks of erotic novels, and I didn't feel comfortable taking on those jobs until after my experiences with nude beaches and naturism," Lancaric said. "It definitely connected to feeling confident enough to sit in a closet and read lurid passages about various body parts without laughing or giggling. Those books would have taken forever to record if that happened."

And model and activist Jewelz Mazzei, who knows the importance of spreading body love:

NOW Toronto/Tanja-Tiziana / Via

"To me, being a body activist means advocating for all shapes and sizes and never judging people based on who they are on the outside. Even though the body-positivity movement has taken big steps in the past few years, I feel like it's still super important. There are still so many people out there who believe they don't deserve to love themselves unless they look a certain way. I want to keep fighting for them and keep spreading the message of self-love."

You can check out Now Toronto's full 2017 Love Your Body issue here, and read about last year's subjects here.