Laura Adlington has switched her apron for a microphone since departing the Great British Bake Off tent with her head held high as a finalist in 2020 – and her message is being heard loud and clear.
The 32-year-old actress is now a body positivity and confidence advocate, with the goal of assisting and inspiring women.
‘I used to think of myself as a walking before photo,’ Laura revealed in an interview.
‘I thought my life would start when I lost weight. I would long for Laura, version 2.0. I thought when skinny I would do things I never did, like date more, I’d have better sex, I’d wear better clothes, I’d socialise more, go clubbing, go on holidays.
‘I felt very alone, and very isolated.’
But today the world is talking about body positivity, a movement that began in the 1970s and has made its way into the mainstream in the last decade.
It’s no longer the social justice crusade it once was for Black women and legitimately plus-sized folks, we’re informed.
‘Sometimes I feel it’s been hijacked a little bit,’ Laura admitted of the movement.
‘Now we are seeing more smaller people and lighter skinned people taking on that body-positive mantle. And that’s why a lot of people don’t resonate with it anymore, and don’t want to be associated with it.’
But Laura is still flying the body confidence flag for everyone to see alongside her friend Lauren Smith, with whom she co-hosts podcast Go Love Yourself.
The couple won the wellness category at The British Podcast Awards, which were hosted Friday night in Soho. Joanne McNally and Vogue Williams, who won the podcast champion award for My Therapist Ghosted Me, were also huge winners.
You can understand why Go Love Yourself is so popular. A 20-minute conversation with Laura is jam-packed with quips fit for a coaster or a popular Instagram tile.
‘The way you look is the least interesting thing about you,’ Laura said at one point. In another moment, she quipped: ‘I’m not going to waste my life worrying about what size knickers I wear.’ Bravo.
But arguably her most profound remark was one that many women have long believed – and continue to believe – is impossible. Almost like the north ends of two magnets attempting to make contact.
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‘I am sitting here the heaviest and happiest I’ve ever been,’ she declared, full of conviction.
That’s all thanks to openly discussing body confidence on the show and in general, in case you’re curious.
But it wasn’t always easy for Laura, who fretted about being ostracised as a plus-sized woman on a baking programme as recently as three years ago.
‘There were doubts, because I was worried about what the UK population would think of a plus-sized woman around food especially. But because I’d always loved the show, and knew it was very wholesome, I tried not to worry too much.’
But as soon as her name and picture was announced as the line-up of amateur bakers, a comment on a local newspaper article made her question whether she should embark on what would become the ‘best thing [she’s] ever done.’
‘Looks like someone’s been eating all the practice cake,’ read the first comment, closely followed by: ‘And everyone else’s.’
‘I wasn’t expecting it that early on so my stomach just did a flip,’ she recalled.
However, when the episode aired, Laura received more letters from ladies expressing how wonderful it was to see a plus-sized woman on TV appearing so at ease around food than she did from trolls attempting to knock her down.
‘My motto is don’t let the trolls win,’ she concluded. And that Laura hasn’t, as *paints nails* Alison Hammond – newbie Bake Off host – is actually a fan of the podcast.
‘We know she listens to the podcast,’ Laura said. ‘We’re now trying to desperately get her on as a guest.’
And, sure, Laura will be watching the new Bake Off series starring the lady herself.
‘The first year after I was on it, I found it really strange [watching]. It was like watching people step into your grave, but now I can actually enjoy it as a fan again,’ Laura said.
Laura would snog Prue Leith, marry Alison, and avoid Paul Hollywood if posed with a snog, marry, avoid question. That is entirely correct.
Laura’s new book, Diet Starts Monday: Ditch the Scales, Reclaim Your Body and Live Life to the Full (Welbeck Balance), will be published on 4th January 2024.