Saira Khan: Abuse as teenager disconnected my sexuality from my body

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Saira Khan interview

Presenter Saira Khan said being molested as a teenager led to "a disconnect" between her sexuality and her body, as she shed her inhibitions to pose in swimwear with her fellow Loose Women stars.

The star, 46, revealed earlier this year that she had been sexually abused by a relative when she was 13.

She is one of nine stars of the ITV show who are baring their bodies, without filters or airbrushing, to encourage women to celebrate their bodies and the stories they tell.

Khan said: "Coming from a Muslim background you had to hide your body and could not expose your skin. I was brought up with the mentality to not draw attention to my body.

"I battled against my curves when I was younger as I didn't want boys to notice me for being sexy - I was brought up to never bare my skin in front of men - it took me a long time not to feel guilty for wearing a dress or baring my arms.

"I have talked about being 'touched up' when I was 13 years old and that experience led to a disconnect between sexuality and my body.

"I have never done a bikini shoot but I'm really excited and honoured to be part of this campaign, and to just be honest with other women about how I am.

"I want to say 'this is NORMAL', particularly to women of colour. Forget the airbrushed images you see. This is what I REALLY look like. I'm sticking two fingers up."

The ladies were photographed by Bryan Adams, with the results featuring on billboard posters across the country.

Presenter Nadia Sawalha, 52, said she was "panic stricken" at the thought of being in front of Adams in her swimsuit.

She said: "To be honest that's why I wanted to do the shoot. I wanted to practise what I preach to my daughters.

"What the hell does it matter what we look like as long as we are smart, brave and kind?"

Sawalha said she hoped to feel liberated after the shoot and that she would "no longer be living in my secret cellulite hell!"

Coleen Nolan, 52, admitted she has had "a constant body battle" but has accepted her shape.

"I've made peace with the way my body looks and, quite frankly, I like cake just a little bit too much!" she said.

Adams said: "It was a funny thing to get a call and be asked to do this... and what I thought was interesting about the brief was, they wanna be natural, they don't want any retouching, and they want it to be real, and I thought, 'Ok! that sounds really good!'"

:: On Tuesday's show, the Loose Women panel will invite viewers to tell their own body stories with the hashtag #MyBodyMyStory.