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Podcaster Callie Thorpe on boosting your confidence on holiday (and in life)

Callie Thorpe in India

We all have a dip in confidence every now and again, but for some of us, how we feel about ourselves and our bodies can hold us back from doing the things we love! And while growing our self-confidence isn’t an easy feat, there are some things we can all do to help shift our mindset into a more positive place. 

Here we ask Callie Thorpe, founder of the Confidence Corner, for her advice on building a more positive Insta feed, where to shop for inclusive swimwear and how to supercharge your confidence on holiday (and at home). 


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Why did you set up your platform and podcast, Confidence Corner?

I’d been struggling after my wedding – I’d planned everything and suddenly it was all finished. On top of that, I’d had an accident on the tube. I was the ONE person who fell between the train and the platform… I really injured myself and ended up with a hematoma (basically a massive bruise) on my leg that took ages to heal. I still have remnants of it now, three years later! So, this was a time when I was feeling super self-conscious.

During my honeymoon, I realised that I’d become so focused on my story, that I’d forgotten that SO many people felt the same way as me when it comes to self-confidence. When I started to share that I was anxious about being in swimwear and showing my bruise, so many people got in touch to say that they could relate. I learnt that if there’s one thing that unites us as people, it’s that we all feel pretty much the same things! 

I think the more we share, the more we normalise things. So, with the Confidence Corner I wanted to create a space where I could help to nurture a community of people and where everyone could share their stories. Then I started the podcast, where I ask people to share what confidence means to them and how feeling confident has affected their life. Even the most ‘confident-seeming’ people have felt vulnerable at times. 


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Callie Thorpe on travelling solo in India

Callie Thorpe on travelling solo in India

by Ange Law Mar 04, 2019

Why do you think so many of us dislike our bodies?

I think the problem stems from when we’re young. Especially as women, we’re taught at such an early age that everything we are and everything that makes us successful is about how we look. When you think back to us growing up, we’d see supermodels on TV, successful movie stars and singers that were all a certain body type. We never saw a reflection of diversity in the media. And I think that sticks with people – we have a big self-esteem issue that carries through generations. 

Now, there’s much more diversity out there – people are starting to see themselves reflected back. But before, if you were ‘different’, you felt different. I think that’s why so many people struggle with their body image. Everyone has something they’ve been taught not to like, or to spend money to make it better. Saddest thing is, we get in our own way! Especially when we go on holiday.

Boys, the body confidence movement isn’t just for women

Boys, the body confidence movement isn’t just for women

Dominic Oliver
by Dominic Oliver Aug 11, 2018

For many of us, getting into swimwear is scary. How can we change our thinking?

The one thing I always say to people is that it shouldn’t be ‘brave’ to wear a swimsuit. When someone says that I’m brave, I think, why?! For me, bravery is taking on the government like Greta Thunberg! 

However, I also know that it’s not as easy as saying: “Today, I’m going to wear that swimsuit.” A lot of us struggle with confidence on holiday, because it takes a lot of motivation to get there sometimes. One key way to start changing our thinking is to start curating the spaces we’re hanging out. We have more freedom to choose what we look at in the media now – with Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and other social channels – so why not use it to your advantage? 

Start to follow people who inspire you and make you feel more positive, rather than the opposite. It might take months of following people that have a similar body shape to you and seeing them do it, but this is a really powerful way for us to start breaking out of this body shaming cycle. 

Callie Thorpe in her swimwear

Image source:Callie Thorpe

Who inspires you?

I love Megan (Body Posi Panda), she wrote a book called Body Positive Power about loving your body and who you are. I also look to a friend of mine, Chrissie Metz (from the show, This Is Us). She’s an amazing actress in an award-winning TV show and it reminds me that it doesn’t matter what your size is, you can be successful and happy. Oh and then there’s Lizzo – I love her music and attitude towards life.


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What would be your advice to your teenage self about confidence on holiday?

I would say that you only get one chance at life. No one is you and that is your power. If you let the inner doubts about what people think about you (who probably don’t care at all about what you’re doing by the way!) get in your way, you might end up missing out. 

If you’re not going to go to the beach because you’re worried about someone looking at you in your swimwear, what a waste of your holiday! There might be a time when you look back when you’re 70 years old and you’re not going to look back and say, ‘I really regret going to the beach that day’. Instead, you’ll want to look back on all those amazing memories!

Of course, I can relate to the fear. And there have been situations where people have stared at me or said nasty things, but having been through that and having come out the other side, I’m still surviving and thriving! I just really refuse to let anyone decide my fate and life. 

Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from living the life that’s the most true and authentic way you want to live it.

Where do you shop for cool, inclusive swimwear?

When you’re choosing swimwear, find pieces that work for you. I’m a plus size woman and I’m quite top-heavy so I always focus on finding comfortable swimwear that I can actually swim in. I love to swim! Say you were going on a Contiki trip and you wanted to go diving or jump off a boat, think about swimwear that makes your experience comfortable. You almost want to forget a bit about what you’re wearing.

I love…


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The self-love lessons you need – according to a body acceptance coach

The self-love lessons you need – according to a body acceptance coach

Amy Bonifas
by Amy Bonifas Feb 12, 2020

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about feeling more confident?

My friend shared a great quote with me: You can’t change the past, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, you can only live in the present.’ I love it because we always reject ideas before we’ve even made them happen. Many times before I’ve gone travelling I list all the things I can’t do – I won’t be able to fit in, it won’t cater to plus size. But then, I think, did I give it a chance? A lot of the time we get stuck in our own heads. We’re so busy worrying about what might happen that it limits us from living our lives in the present. 

Now, I try to ask myself, ‘what’s the worst that can actually happen?’ Try to remember that you can only control your decisions in the present moment. It’s actually quite freeing!


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How can we stop comparing ourselves to others so much?

An amazing woman called Lucy Sheridan has this mantra: ‘good for you, same for me.’ I love the concept of wishing good things upon people, while still also wanting them for yourself. Positive affirmation is really effective, so next time you start comparing yourself to someone else, try manifesting those good things happening to you, too. You can’t go wrong with good vibes.

When I was choosing my Contiki trip, I loved browsing all the trip hashtags. It’s amazing to look through all the travellers’ shots, taken by all kinds of people from all around the globe. You really could insert anyone into any of those images. Seeing everyone living their best lives and hanging out in groups made it more accessible for me, and instead of comparing myself to everyone in the photos, I just wanted to BE there with them!

When you’re having a down day, what do you do to lift your mood?

Confidence is so intertwined with our mental health. If you’re having a bad mental health day, then it will absolutely affect your confidence and stop you from feeling good.Sometimes you need to take care of your mental health before you can even dream of being confident and getting out there. So, I’ve got a couple of really good pick-me-ups…

  1. Swimming outdoors: I got into wild swimming and lido swimming last year. Finding a hobby that you enjoy and planning out time to do it is really important for your mood. Swimming really helps to clear my head, especially when I’m stressed. Weirdly, it’s also a confidence boost for me, because usually I go through the whole of winter not bearing any skin, but swimming outdoors gives me the excuse to put on my swimsuit and feel good. Last year, I did a swim in Hampstead Ladies Pond on 29 January, for charity. It was 5 degrees! 
  2. Meditating: I love this motivational meditation app called Headspace. There are loads of guided meditations to listen to and just chill for a few moments. I find that podcasts have the same effect too. We live such stressful lives, sometimes you need to just focus on one thing. 
  3. Red lipstick: When I’m having a down day or not loving myself, a bright lip always makes me feel like me. People always compliment me and it reminds me to smile. It’s the small things that can make a big change. Whatever it is, do that thing for you.

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