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I am not ashamed anymore!

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I am not ashamed anymore!

hanna spanna
hanna spanna

BY PHILIPPA MANNAGH

As one interview concluded on the Good Morning show, Hannah Gough had a window of ten minutes to chat to SAVVY editor, Philippa Mannagh before her next press meeting.

There has been a media explosion after being kicked off New Zealand’s Survivor series and Hannah is proudly in the middle of it.

Speaking for myself, I was proud of Northland girl “Hana Spana” when she confidently stepped out on international television baring her pin up bikini. Many women, no matter what size or shape often talk themselves out of parading the beach in their togs. It can leave us feeling venerable and judged even if we tell ourselves that we don’t care.

All this was taken into consideration by Hannah before she ‘raised her brave’ and decided that to change the opinions of society and spotlight issues around confidence, she had to take a big step herself. Not an easy choice when the world is watching. There is nowhere to hide and the scary part she says, was that she had no idea what way it would go.

“There was a moment when I thought, what am I doing? But quickly I went back to telling myself no, I am not ashamed anymore!”

“My body tells my journey, stretch marks, cellulite and all.”

Most of New Zealand are also proud it seems, with the female presenters now thanking her on national television, the press is all over her and Hannah has made a difference to many female lives from preschool age, right through.

The message is very clear, love yourself no matter what you look like and own what you have!

“My message is that you are not defined by a number. It’s your body so be proud and wear it! The support has been amazing, there are so many people behind me,” says Hannah.

She spent years being bullied at school and knows first hand about low confidence and negative body image. Hannah is on a mission to share her story, she has come through it and now sees herself very differently.

Her power lifting experience saw her as one of the most physically strong contestants on the show, however, even though she was an asset to the team, she heard her body size had her voted off and classed as weaker than others.

“Tribal council was the most challenging part for me. I found an inner strength in that jungle, in the middle of the night, in a strange country, my body was sick and I had no concept of time.”

“This showed my fighting spirit; I kept charging through. It was when that last tile broke, I fell to my hands and knees, vomit everywhere as the camera swept past me. I never gave up.”

Hannah had hours of life changing time by herself to think about things when she was sent to Redemption Island. Hours, minutes, seconds that felt like they had no end. No idea when the sun would rise and kept company by spiders, scorpions and insects, one whom climbed into her ear and died. Later, this was what had made her ill, stopping to throw up between challenge takes before dropping her bandana into the fire and heading home to the welcoming arms of Aotearoa.

The New Zealand Herald ran an article recently which included Hannah’s favourite piece of feedback to date, and we tend to agree, “Hannah, you’re a God damn treasure in reality television.”

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