Playing with lights and contrasts, photographer Joanna Legid created an intimate series with body image activist & model Melodie Michelberger, celebrating her softness and her power.

My body and I have known each other for quite a long time. Forty-five years, to be exact. I wasn’t always as round and soft as I am today. I spent most of my life fighting my body because in my eyes it was too chubby and for that reason I thought it wasn’t beautiful enough.

Melodie Michelberger

The senseless search for the ” perfect ” body has occupied my thoughts and robbed me of much of my happiness in life. I preferred to starve than to have a soft body. I was obsessed with shrinking, shaping, slimming and toning my body. I wanted to burn fat, flatter my figure, smooth my tummy, hide problem areas, fight curves, defeat the scale, reduce dress sizes, all in the belief that this would transform me into the best version of myself.

Melodie Michelberger

It was only in the last five years, after a breakdown and burnout, that I managed to gradually free myself from these ideas. And the more I freed myself from unrealistic ideas of what women’s bodies should look like, the bigger, softer and rounder my body became. With the growing body came a new sense of security. I am grateful for what my body has done for me. Now that it is heavier, more voluminous, I am a better friend to it than I was all those years before. I used to want to be less, more delicate, lighter. But now I enjoy my size and strength.

Melodie Michelberger

Photography: Joanna Legid @joannalegid
Model: Melodie Michelberger @melodie_michelberger

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