After sharing a non-traditional before and after picture on Facebook, Taryn Brumfitt's life changed forever.
In April 2013, Taryn Brumfitt shared a unique before and after picture on her Facebook page. The "before" image showed her on stage at a bodybuilding competition, while the "after" photo showed her nude a few months later, having gained a few pounds.
"I loved how I looked in the second shot," she wrote for an exclusive Cosmopolitan story. "I saw a sexy, confident woman. I thought it would be good to share the photos with my friends – to make the point that you can feel good about the ways in which your body changes."
So she posted the picture to her Facebook and captioned it: "Here is my non-traditional before and after photo..." And the aftermath has been inspiring other women ever since.
The years leading up to her now-infamous photo were full of changes for Brumfitt. The mother of three had experienced the incredible physical and emotional changes one's body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth, and says at times she felt "disgusting." She describes the shame she felt while watching her young daughter play. "How am I going to teach Mikaela to love her body unconditionally if I can't do the same? What sort of role model am I going to be? I can't do this."
This revelation led to many changes. First, she says, it was small steps toward a more positive way of thinking. Then, she began an intense 15-week training regimen ahead of a bodybuilding competition—losing 33 pounds in just 15 weeks.
By the time she took her "after" photo a few months after the competition, she'd gained a few of those pounds back—but had a newfound appreciation for her body. She turned her new confidence into a blog, inspired to share her story about "feeling good from the inside out" with other women.
Her unconventional take on the "before and after" photo resonated with people across Brumfitt's native Australia, and by December 2013, she'd appeared on Good Morning America. "I was thrilled," she wrote. "It was a great opportunity to share my message of body acceptance with a very large audience."
Almost overnight, Brumfitt had become a spokesperson for body acceptance for women around the world, but for her, that simply wasn't enough.
"I grew frustrated with the four-minute interviews," Taryn writes. "I had so much more to say. I needed a bigger platform. One day I thought: "I'll make a documentary." And that's exactly what she did.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign and several donations from celebrities who'd heard her message, Brumfitt set out to film her documentary. Over the next two years, she visited eight different countries in hopes of answering one simple question: why do so many women hate their bodies?
The film makes its US debut September 19, and we can't wait to see what she found out about body image on her journey.
"I made Embrace for women to feel empowered to make a change, to understand they can make a choice," Taryn concludes in her essay. "They can be at war with their body, or they can embrace it and experience all life has to offer."
Watch the gripping trailer below.