How Burlesque Helped Me Love My Body -- And All Bodies

04/06/2015 03:53 pm ET | Updated Apr 07, 2015

"We are on the edge of a brave new world of body love and acceptance."

That's the good news burlesque performer Lillian Bustle shared in her TEDxJersey City talk about body image.

Bustle explains that "fat" has become synonymous with "ugly," and shares how she reclaimed the word to describe herself.

"I'm 5'3", so I call myself short," she said. "I'm married, so I call myself a wife. I weigh 240lbs, so I call myself fat. And I am beautiful, so I call myself beautiful. And I am all of those things at once."

Bustle also spoke about her experiences as a burlesque performer, explaining how the genre embraces performers of "all sizes, all colors, all ages... Masculine bodies, feminine bodies [and] trans bodies."

lillian bustle

Not only has Bustle found the burlesque community to be inviting to people of all shapes, but she's also learned to love the audience, empower herself through performing and heal her relationship with her body.

"You get to decide that you're gorgeous," she said. "You get to decide that you're powerful. You get to decide that you're amazing. And you get to decide that you're worth looking at."

Watch the full video above.

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