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What Lena Dunham Taught Me About Confidence

Lena Dunham. You love her or you hate her. 

Since the show GIRLS premiered nearly six years ago on HBO, I excitedly tuned in thinking this was going to fill the hole that saying goodbye to Carrie Bradshaw left in my heart.

I am a complete die hard Sex and The City fan who has seen every episode more times than I care to admit. I thought GIRLS was going to be the same indulgent fashion show with horrific advice on men and provide me with another how to on how to go back to the same toxic relationship we all are embarrassed to have no will power to get away from. Or at least used to.

The first episode saw Lena completely unflatteringly naked and having awkward sex which made everyone around the world just as uncomfortably squirm as I did. Me, still in high school, unsure who I was supposed to be hanging around with let alone knowing who I was or what I wanted to do. It was uncomfortable. It was raw. And it was something we had never really witnessed on tv, let alone knew we needed to see.

My first reaction was that it was awkward and at the time the only thing I was interested in seeing on TV was beautiful women who had an unattainable wardrobe, hair and make up. Because up until that point that was basically all we saw. What scared me the most was not that there was a chubby lady having awkward sex that was a bit too real for my liking, but that she seemed so comfortable doing so. Lena was targeted with comments on social media such as:”Look, whales ahead!” “What a blubber factory!” “No, her stomach isn’t huge, it’s just that her boobs are really small – it’s an optical illusion”. And she carried on. She went on to change how we see Television. How we view each other. And how we view ourselves.

The more I got to read and know of Lena, the more I realised not only did she write, direct and produce GIRLS and choose to have her body painted like this, but that this was going to teach me a lot more than Carrie taught me about staying in love with the same man who wouldn’t commit to her for nearly ten years. Who then basically left her at the alter once he decided to commit I may add. As Lena wrote “When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself.” And I sure as hell read that and decided I was going to be a Hannah (Lena’s character). Not a Carrie.

Lena became a target for hate. For Praise. What is undeniable about Lena is her relentlessness to just be herself, which is something I think we should all strive to be. As someone who has always felt less confident than anyone else around me, Lena showed me it was okay to not be perfect and still love yourself despite what anyone else said. Who was I to let someone decide what I thought of my body?!

“The older I get, the more I’m like, ‘I don’t f*cking know what anybody is seeing when they look at me,’ and the coolest thing is it’s not my problem.”

In the next few weeks I will be conducting a few interviews with important people to me on how they feel about confidence. As women I feel we need to stand together and love not only each other, but ourselves too. In a time where we have never been more aware of each other through social media, we need to learn how to feel comfortable in our own skin.

This is the main reason I use real girls as models. Because they are real women just like you and I.

“Confidence lets you pull anything off”. And here I am. On this ride to finding confidence just like you.

So wear the Manolo Blahnik’s like Carrie. But wear the aittidue & confidence like Lena.

Ps… if this isn’t cool enough she’s a Kiwi supporter. She’s wearing Karen Walker in the above pic and recently campaigned against retouching with Lonely Hearts.

Lots of Love,

Ashleigh x

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