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James, 39, Tennis coach/DJ

Height: 170.1 cm

Weight: 74kg

Have you always felt comfortable with your body? 

No. I was teased for being overweight until I was 21. On the gay scene, at first, I felt as if I didn’t exist and it was rather depressing for a few years until I started working out. Life changed drastically after that! My mum was also overweight and I was told I got her genes. I decided that was not a good enough excuse for me to carry on being negative about my appearance.

What made you want to do this shoot?

I am proud of what I have achieved and this opportunity came up to present, hopefully, a positive story about how we can change.

Did you ever have a moment in your life that made you take steps to change your body through diet, exercise or surgery?

I got mugged on a train by four guys when I was 22 while at university. That event lead me to change my appearance. The idea was to change from “muggable” to “you better think twice”. I joined a gym and never looked back.

Who’s your ideal man and why?

A man who sees me, loves me and accepts me for the person I am on the inside and the outside because to me that is real and true. He may or may not look like Chris Evans.

What advice would you give to people about living their body?

Love who you are, know who you are and know what you want — and if you are true to those ideals, whatever your physical appearance is, be happy within yourself. If you are unhappy with how you look, do something about it. Absolutely anything is possible if we have a vision and if we believe in it. Physical appearance without personality equals: ‘NEXT!’

You can read more from Real Bodies in Attitude’s November issue. Buy in print printsubscribe or download.

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