Love Island star admits 'I didn't want to take my top off' as they share body shame

Many will remember Anton Danyluk from his time on the fifth series of Love Island. Fans routinely saw the Scottish singleton appear with his top off as he sported a six-pack physique in the villa. However, Anton has struggled with body insecurity his entire life.

Anton appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday to talk about the topic of male body image and why he has worked on a new documentary to look at the challenges faced by young men struggling with these issues and the role that social media plays.

Speaking to hosts Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway, he opened up about how he experienced body shame, as well as the effect that it had on his life while he was growing up.

In a clip from the documentary, viewers see Anton and his mum looking through holiday photographs of him from when he was younger.

“There’s that one where you wouldn’t take your t-shirt off. Remember? Where were we? We were in the Bahamas there and you wouldn’t even take your t-shirt off,” Anton’s mum, Sherie Ann Danyluk, recalls.

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Speaking on GMB, Anton revealed: “At the time I didn’t realise that mentally it was making me borderline depressed.

"So what actually started to happen was I started, I was quite good at football when I was younger, and I didn't want to play football anymore because I didn’t want to take my top off in the changing rooms with the other kids.

“And then what happened was, I stopped playing football, I became less active, put on more weight and then I was in this vicious cycle.”

In the documentary Anton speaks to Scottish high school students, while also now working to change the way that his social media posts may impact young boys and men.

“By doing this documentary what I started to realise was by posting these photos I can be making these younger boys feel insecure with their own body image because they feel like they should be looking that way,” he surmised.

“But also, what was very interesting when I was doing the documentary, I spoke to a woman called Julie Cameron who was the founder of the mental health organisation and she actually said 'What you’ve got to realise Anton is when people are posting negativity on your photo, people are seeing that, your followers are seeing that and they’re thinking to themselves, if they’re saying that about the way Anton looks, what do they think of me?'”

Kate asked: “So, you were hoping you’d inspire people to choose a fitter lifestyle but actually you’re now worried that you’re raising other people’s insecurities?”

“Yeah, absolutely,” Anton replied and because of this he is now changing the way that he uses his social media.

“What I do now is I put a lot more context around my posts. So if I do post a photo with my top off, for example, I actually post ‘I’ve been training for this amount of time, I do this, I do that. If you’re willing to do that, great. But you don’t have to look like this.’

"I’m also posting a lot more about how there is no perfect male body image."

“The perfect male body image is your own. But I think you should always focus on bettering yourself, absolutely but you should not compare yourself to other people,” Anton concluded.

Anton Danyluk on Body Shame airs on BBC Scotland and iPlayer on Thursday May 18 at 10.30pm.

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