Jae West stripped down to her underwear and stood blindfolded on a busy sidewalk to make a statement about about body image and self-acceptance.
Wielding only a marker in each of her hands in Picadilly Circus, a huge intersection on the West side of London, she propped a whiteboard up in front of her to explain what she was doing.
“I’m standing for anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or self-esteem issue like me… To support self-acceptance draw a ‘❤️’ on my body.”
The video of West’s performance, which now has more than 700,000 views, shows strangers hesitating at first, unsure of how to react to the demonstration.
But soon the support flooded in.
Strangers who didn’t know West or the details of her story stopped to draw hearts on her body.
“It’s a very strong message,” one passerby said in the video. “You’re brave.”
West is a part of an organization called The Liberators, a group of Australian activists dedicated to raising awareness about social issues through public performance.
West described her own experience with the demonstration on her blog.
“The feeling of the felt pen was [sic] on my skin was one of the most overwhelming feelings of relief, gratitude and love that I’ve ever felt,” West wrote. “I just burst into tears.”
West herself has experienced an eating disorder and aimed to help raise awareness about body-image issues through the presentation.
“One of the most moving and inspiring moments for me was listening to a father explain to his children what I was doing,” West wrote on her blog.
“He was acknowledging the fact that everyone should love themselves exactly as they are and appreciate the bodies that they are given,” she continued.