“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”1 Corinthians 3:16-17
What is a healthy body image?
Is it how the soul perceives the body? Or is it the Mind’s perception that creates a healthy self “image”? What a difference the mind can make for the body. How healthy is your mind, your personal thoughts, your body and your soul? How are you thinking about your body and how do these thoughts affect your soul? Sometimes how we see ourselves is not always how we are actually seen. Or how we think we our seen.
Would you be able to see your own body on display, right in front of you? How about in a room full of strangers? Could you volunteer for other people to try on and wear a spitting image replica of your physical body and take photos and videos in or of your body “suit”?
I still see myself as a temple of love after doing so but I didn’t always see my body in the positive way as I do now. Growing up in the nineties you saw two body types, Kate Moss or Pam Anderson. J Lo didn’t break any molds until the 2000s so in the nineties you were considered fat if you were anything over a size 4. Fucked up if you ask me but that was the MTV, Calvin Klein and Heroin Chic skinny propaganda that was popular at the time.
Then I moved to Vegas in the early 2010’s to work in the Visual Nightclub Entertainment Industry. Holy shit talk about an extra juicy mind fuck. I worked in a posh night club on the strip and would interact with the female staff often. Bottle servers and dancers had to be subject to the most strict weight, age and image discrimination I had ever seen in real life. All these women were already gorgeous with beautiful faces and bodies from years if not lifetimes of training and dancing. I couldn’t believe some of the nasty comments and “suggestions” I would read and hear from the nightclub gm’s and owners regarding the ladies appearances for these perfectly fit , tall and beautiful young ladies. Asking us to stretch curvy bodies out longer on the screens or putting a masks to cover a dancer’s face but keep their fit bodies in frame. I knew my 160 pounds on my 5 foot 4 inch frame must have disgusted them on sight an I needed to get out and find other work back in La as soon possible. As if my mental health depended on it.
Once back in LA I started using Instagram more often and started following all these different types of accounts. From photographers to artists and suddenly I realized I had a place to post pictures of my own. Once I started posting pictures of myself and seeing the response I got from other women about my body, I started getting more confidence about it.
Then in 2015, I learned about an artist from a Vice post on ig named, Sarah Sitkin. In the post she was donning a vagina mask with a third eye nipple, sticking her tongue out.
I remember feeling like I don’t know what this is but I can identify with this image deeply. So I followed Sarah on Instagram for a few years until one day she put up an open casting in her stories. I reached out to her with zero expectations. Within 20 min Sarah had cast her entire show of models. I was one of the lucky few that got cast. What a world we are living in that a little old
Right away Sitkin sent a questionnaire to communicate patiently and throughly that I understood exactly what it was I was about to be signing up for. Making sure I was fit enough to not pass out from standing still for too long. If I had good circulation. If I had any health risks or problems she should know about. Nothing major just the basics like if I had any “anemia, respiratory ailments, or blood circulation issues?”
Thankfully it was for me and I ain’t ever scared because body molds can be dangerous. You can pass out standing up perfectly still for almost an hour with practically %50 of the pores on your body covered in a thick silicone slop and then wrapped with wet plaster to cast, cure and dry. You basically have restricted breathing and yet you have to stay perfectly calm and just go with it. Standing still and breathing normally and calmly always seems easier than it is. I always crack jokes. Comedy is my natural defense mechanism whenever I am in duress. The feeling of having your arms propped up on two crutches and your feet on a bed of foam, butt ass naked in front of room full strangers while your partner films you can make one feel a little helpless.
“Just take deep breaths and relax. Don’t try to hold your breath or suck it in for a pose or you might pass out.”Sarah Sitkin advice on set at her studio
The first bucket of silicone is dripping down my chest and right shoulder, then my left side. I can feel a brand new soft house paint brush painting the silicone into all my nooks and crannies and hoo-hah. The drying part is when you really need to find your inner peace. I started to breathe as deeply as I could because once the cast of plaster starts to cure solid, your lungs have no give at all and you literally have to breathe as far as the cast will let your lungs expand. So don’t get claustrophobic if it feels like someone is sitting on your chest. That is only how far your lungs can move in what feels like a full body corset. I remember how incredibly warm my chest started to feel. That’s when I knew I needed to start deep controlled breaths and try to slow my heart rate as the heat was literally cooking me from inside the cast. This was only for maybe the last 60 seconds which Sarah warned would be the hardest. She was right. Once the mold was “broken” she removed the back and then the front layers. What a relief when she said now you can wiggle your toes and arms. Removing the green silicone was a relief and seeing my boobs indented with my little pussy print so perfectly encapsulated in her mold was so pretty, rewarding and exciting to see. We did it. We made a perfect mold.
Sarah Sitkin’s solo show at Super Chief gallery in Los Angeles was a surreal event to be at for both the models and patrons. Being there seeing grown men an women line up to wear my body was flattering and strange all at the same time. Seeing the aftermath on social media of people wearing your suit with less than polite captions and comments. Or even worse getting their accounts deleted for posting themselves in or by a silicone body suit and the Instagram nazis just see porn, nudity or gore. So sad to see innocent people get deleted just for sharing a talented person’s art. Yet I was so happy when I saw any press, post or publicity at all for the show. This was something bigger than all of us.
During the show at Super Chief we asked Sara where the Body suits were going next and she said a museum in Texas. Come again? A MUSEUM? How incredible this beautiful showcase of all different people of all different socio economic an ethnic backgrounds would have our bodysuits on tour to another state. How lucky am I that I get to see my body showcased a year later in an actual museum. For health and science yo! Being at the actual Health museum of Houston was even more surreal. I had planned on going to see the exhibit by myself but after careful consideration I thought why not ask if my mother would like to go. Hell, she created me in the first place why not let her see her creation replicated in a museum. Thankfully my mother, an artist herself, was ready to roll on our road trip.
Standing in the guided tour hearing the description off all the body suits and whispering to my mother “Don’t tell anyone I’m in this until after the tour, ok. ” I was nervous as hell. At the Super Chief gallery there was no personalized introduction for each suit like there was at the museum. This was much more intimate. You were not allowed to take any pictures or photographs because these are real people who are still alive and exist. Like me! Parents had to sign a release for their under age children to even see the exhibits because they look so real. They don’t make you sign a release to see the statue of David or
This was really real. Each suit was sectioned with another in its own display guarded behind a line barrier. There were 8 suits total and mine was in the last three of the tour. Each description was short and sweet for each suit. Yet none the less when the tour guide came to mine my heart was pounding. What is she gonna say about mine? Is it going to be accurate? Am I going to have to correct her? What if she doesn’t believe it is me?
When D’wanna our tour guide got to my suit she said, “This bodysuit belongs to a professional body positive model and activist. If you look in the back you can see how the bright pops of pink over the red represent how she says hey look at me.” This was her interpretation of the interior of my particular suit.
I had asked Sara at her show in 2018 why she chose the interior that she did for mine and she told me that I came across so animated with humor and energy that I was just like this “cartoon character”. Cracking jokes and loosening up the vibe of the room she wanted my interior to reflect that fun personality from our molding process. I think she nailed it. I am warm and fuzzy on the inside, soft and curvy on the outside with a sharp quick witted tongue. So here I am in this museum just biting my sharp tongue till the end of the tour.
“This body suit belongs to a professional body positive model and activist.”D’wanna our tour guide.
Once the tour had ended, D’ wanna asked if we had any questions about the body suits on display. No one really had anything to ask because the tour was so detailed and thorough. So I asked D’wanna if she had ever met any of the models from the show before. She laughed and said ” No. Not yet.”
That was when I extended my hand to hers and said “Well hello my name is Brissa Page and that is my body positive suit right there.”
D’wanna and the rest of the tour let out a slight gasp and a big laugh. After the rest of the people in the tour had left I asked if I could take a few pictures for myself of my own body suit with my mom while we were inside the museum. I did just travel from Los Angeles and it would be nice to document it. D’wanna’s eyes got so big as she said, ” Please let me go ask my supervisor because we have strict rules for Sarah and we don’t want to get in trouble.”
Understood. So we waited. For maybe the longest 10 minutes of my life. On the five minute mark I was ready to leave and give up but my mom said no and we should wait for what they say. I was scared they were gonna say no and would rather slink out the back then face the rejection. If I was alone I would have just left. But my mom made me stay and wait and I am so glad she did. On the ten min mark D’wanna comes back apologizing that the directors and supervisors were in a meeting and that they would let me know asap. Not even a minute after, Micheal her supervisor / museum director kindly came out and says, “Brissa, nice to meet you I am Michael. I just heard from Sara and she said yes. You can take pictures with your suit.”
Hallelujah they went to the master creator herself! I actually had just tagged Sarah on Instagram from my story right before the tour. How funny full circle from an Instagram story in 2017 to an Instagram story in 2019 how this story would unfold.
Graciously I got to go back into the exhibit and take pictures with my own body suit and with the wonderful staff. Everyone was so kind and asked me some awesome questions that made me feel so welcome like a mini celebrity. I think the staff would agree with Sara on my cartoonish personality as I was cracking jokes and having fun with them all as well. Afterwards I went to my car and internally screamed for about five minutes. Then we drove off to San Antonio to visit my loving God fathers and share with them all the new animated adventures we had just been on.
So cheers to the next adventure and hold on to your meat suits!
Brissa M. Page
@freshbybreezy on Instagram and @brissabreezy on twitter
“Self- love is a revolutionary act. In a society that is constantly telling you who to be and what to be, loving yourself as you are is beyond imaginable. Why would anyone want to love the skin they were born in? Why would anyone want to love their weight? Why would anyone want to love their natural hair color? Why would anyone want to love their nose? Why would anyone want to love their cellulite? Why would anyone not want to change who they were born to be? Simple, because each of us was born with exactly what we need. That’s why people meditate. You are the source. You are more than enough. We spend our lives running from ourselves, then begin searching for ourselves. It is a constant battle. Unfortunately, society has brainwashed us to believe we are not enough. Society has created a “perfect” image that is ideal for how we should live. In reality nothing and no one is perfect. We are all unique. Each of us brings something different and new to the table. We make up the pieces of the human puzzle.”Vanessa Pardo