Well known as the white guy who dances to amapiano and hip hop music on TikTok, Adriaan Hughes from Johannesburg actively promotes body positivity through his love for dancing.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Hughes recently relocated to Johannesburg to explore more about his dancing skills.
Hughes opened up about his weight battle on social media mentioning how he always wanted to become a dancer but was rather made fun of because of his weight, how his body looked, and how he danced. Despite the bullying, he continued to teach himself how to dance, and it became his happy place.
“As a kid, I always watched dancing movies and I told myself that dancing was something I really wanted to do. I was so unsure of where to start, but once I started to learn, I could not stop, and it became my happy place. I would not say I had a lot of support when I started dancing, but now that my parents have seen what I’m capable of, they have definitely become my strongest supporters.”
Eating more to cope with bullying
Hughes defines his health journey as a challenging one due to being unfit for dancing and being overweight. The bullying he endured was also an additional challenge, it caused him to eat more than usual, as food became his other way of coping with the bullying.
“Since I could remember, I was always bullied throughout my years of schooling, and that made me pick up more weight because I ended up drowning myself in food instead of dealing with the way I felt. I was always the one people pointed out and made fun of, so it was a horrible experience.
“I ended up not being able to finish high school because of that. My body was a bit too heavy for my legs but I did not allow that to stop me. My health has been completely better, and I have more stamina and am able to do many things now.”
Dealing with negativity
Hughes furthermore reflects on his biggest challenges: having to learn everything by himself, not being able to find clothes he is comfortable in, and people discouraging plus-sized people from following their dreams as it is stereotyped that they are unable to do certain activities because of their body weight.
“It is hard when people do not want to see that plus-size people can chase their dreams of being dancers as well. And even though I would want to make a positive post, you will get people that will still say negative things all the time, instead of understanding that even if you are overweight you are able to do anything you set your mind to.”
After working hard to build his confidence and body image, Hughes says he always starts his day by affirming himself by looking in the mirror and telling himself that he is enough and is capable of accomplishing anything he sets his mind to, regardless of his body size.
He also highlights that he becomes happier when embracing body positivity, and wants to be able to choreograph and tour the world by dancing.
Loving your body requires effort
According to Well Being Trust, loving your own body is often easier said than done, so changing the way we think requires daily effort. Thus, they mention that there are countless ways you can work on body positivity and living healthier. These are:
- Positive affirmations.
- Thinking healthier, not skinnier.
- Complimenting others freely.
- Surrounding yourself with positivity.
- Focusing on the things you like about yourself.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Cutting out negative self-talk.
- Doing something nice for your body.
Get the Health For Mzansi newsletter: Your bi-weekly dose of kasi health, wellness and self-care inspiration.