Woman finds beauty and confidence after chemotherapy... in bodybuilding!

The man behind Humans of New York is in South Africa and he is taking the time to share our stories with the world!


Brandon Stanton started Humans of New York (HONY) as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.”

“Somewhere along the way, I began to interview my subjects in addition to photographing them. And alongside their portraits, I’d include quotes and short stories from their lives.”

Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog. HONY now has over twenty million followers on social media, and provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.

Over the past five years, it has also expanded to feature stories from over twenty different countries. The work is also featured in two bestselling books: Humans of New York and Humans of New York: Stories.

In recent years, Stanton has also travelled to various countries to feature “human” stories from around the world and in October 2018, photographs and narratives from South Africa appeared on his page which has over 18 million followers!

And this story of Lee Binks, a female Bodybuilder, will make you think twice about what ‘natural’ actual is…

I started bodybuilding after my chemotherapy. At first it was just a way to get healthy again. But I discovered I was good at it. I started winning competitions. And I got hooked.

My boyfriend didn’t like it. He thought it made me less desirable. But the worse our relationship got, the more I focused on working out. It just felt so great to be recognized for something. I was really, really good at it. And the bodybuilding community is so great. They’re some of the least judgmental people because they’re used to being judged all the time.

For the first few years I was really self-conscious about my body. But I’ve gotten to the point where the small comments don’t really bother me anymore: ‘ew,’ gross,’ ‘disgusting’– things like that. I can usually block people out if they can’t type more than a sentence. But occasionally the criticism sinks in. It still hurts when people question my gender. Or my sexuality.

And I’ve had some awkward Tinder dates. The last guy said: ‘Holy fuck, you’re bigger than I thought you’d be.’ But despite all this, I’ve gotten comfortable in my own skin.

I actually feel more feminine now than I did growing up.

I was always skinny. I never had breasts. I didn’t ever feel like a natural woman. But what is natural? Is make-up natural? Or botox? Or fillers? Or breast implants? All of us are flawed. My mask might be different than other people, but we all hide behind something. I just hide behind my muscles.

You can follow Lee Binks’ inspirational journey on Instagram by clicking here.

Sources: Facebook
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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