Bella Stockler went from feeling self-conscious to strutting her stuff in a swimsuit — and a big smile.
Stockler described herself as being about 38 pounds overweight, often wearing long skirts and dresses and big tops to cover up her body.
“There’s a lack of confidence that never existed before,” she said.
Around the world, “millions, millions of women” want to know: “How can I cover up my tummy? How can I look slimmer in this? And what do I wear?”
That was Gok Wan’s response Friday to TODAY anchor Tamron Hall's question: What is the No. 1 question you're asked?" The fashion expert and host of Britain’s “How to Look Good Naked” appeared on TODAY as part of the week-long “Love Your Selfie, Reclaiming Beauty” series.
“It’s as broad as that,” said Gok, who was on TODAY to help seven women with their fashion dilemmas.
The result, seen live on TODAY Friday, had Stockler, 44, walking a runway on the plaza in a bathing suit fashion show.
Stockler’s coral-red one piece bathing suit was flattering, Wan said, with ruching on the sides and a buckle detail below the bust, which makes the waist appear slimmer.
“She looks incredible,” Wan told Natalie Morales. “She looks absolutely wonderful.”
So how did Wan, the host of Britain’s popular television show, “How to Look Good Naked,” coax Stockler into feeling secure enough to sport a swimsuit and heels on live television?
Earlier, he helped her get her mojo back by sizing herself up.
In a taped segment, Wan brought Stockler before the group of women standing in size order, dressed in nothing but black bras and underwear.
“Every single one of these girls represents the whole female America,” he said.
He asked Stockler, dressed like the women, to take off her robe. She felt “like I fit right in with everyone else,” she said. “We’re all different.”
Then came the challenge. Wan asked her to place herself in the line based on size.
“Imagine you are looking in the mirror and I want you to imagine that you can see yourself,” he instructed.
Stockler stepped in between two women.
“I think my peers and I have the same shape,” Stockler said. “I'm not alone.”
But, Wan had news for her.
“Officially, you are putting yourself one dress size bigger than you actually are,” he said, asking her to swap places with a woman. “You have just lost a dress size.”
Everybody, Wan said, has some body dysmorphia, “and that is probably because we don’t spend enough time looking at our fabulous naked selves.”
Stockler said she saw beauty among the other women, but not within herself.
“It saddens me that I’m looking at myself negatively,” she said.
But Wan urged her to look beyond size to find beauty.
“You have to stop registering size with negativity,” he said. “The biggest body can be absolutely beautiful. Just look at these girls for inspiration for that.”
Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.