Friday, December 30, 2016

Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2016: Heidi Klum

(Photo Heidi Klum by Norman Jean Roy for Allure Magazine)
Sounds familiar? Yes, Heidi Klum was my Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2011 http://thenudeguru.blogspot.tw/2012_01_01_archive.html and received a mention as a runner-up back in late 2014.
She's still a naturist after all those years ... because she's still open about the lifestyle, which for millions of Germans like her is not some kind of exotic minority quirk that has to be hidden in the shadows, but just an ordinary habit, like collecting stamps or cycling or playing tennis.
As a model and as presenter of the fashion designer show Project Runway, one could accuse Heidi Klum of hypocrisy. If she's a naturist, why is she promoting clothes? Shouldn't she be doing the opposite, condemning clothes and telling everybody to throw off the tyranny of textile and design?
A world without clothing would be a wonderful thing - especially if you got to live in a country where temperatures are elevated enough year round - I'm thinking of parts of Thailand here.
Unfortunately, most people still live in environments where that is not possible - often for merely climatic reasons, but also because turning up at work or going out eating naked is not accepted in most parts of the world.
There are people working on changing that - I'm thinking of my Real Naturist of the Year 2016, Lady God1va, who went naked at a hotel in Thailand, or the Free the Nipple people, the Go Topless activists, the people behind naked restaurant projects like London's The Bunyadi, the World Naked Bike Riders, and so on.
Yes, Heidi Klum is not a total 100 percent naturist, but thanks to her comments in interviews, she shows that naturism is not the outrageous hobby of a small minority, but is a practice that should be acceptable to every and any "body."
A Heidi Klum interview with Miami's Ocean Drive magazine:
https://oceandrive.com/heidi-klum-on-project-runway-her-lingerie-collection-why-she-loves-miami
Heidi Klum's only partial nude photo shoot for Allure in 2012:
http://www.allure.com/gallery/heidi-klum-2012
More Heidi Klum, from Allure and from the Young Naturists of America website:




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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Real Naturist of the Year 2016: Lady God1va

(Photo credited to @nigelwill2001 by Lady God1va, World Naked Bike Ride 2012).

Each time around this year, I name someone who has promoted the cause of naturism as my Real Naturist of the Year. Unfortunately, this is just an honorific, there is no fancy artistic statuette, no impressive sum of money.
Past awards have gone to founders and owners of naturist hotels and resorts, and even to a country association.
This year, I am naming a person who has been promoting the cause of naturism on- and offline for many years.
Known as @LadyGod1va on Twitter, she has not only tweeted and blogged about the cause for naturism, she has also been active in organizing World Naked Bike Rides in London and has promoted the cause during an appearance at The Fourth Plinth, a public speech project on Trafalgar Square in 2009. As said here before, while WNBR is not a specifically naturist action but an environmental protest against the dominance of motorized traffic, its use of public nudity helps to promote the notion of the naked body as non-sexual and public.
Lady God1va has also played a crucial role in the naturist movement because she is a woman and a non-Caucasian, two categories that need to be persuaded to join naturism.
It was after I was already looking into her as my main candidate to become the Real Naturist of the Year 2016 that I found out she had been banned from Twitter, due to an avatar that was reportedly "too naked." I never saw the picture, but due to her naturist convictions, I am certain that there was nothing offensive about it. Social online media such as Facebook and Twitter claim to be the new vanguard, but their views on nudity are still hopelessly out of date and simply wrong.
Choosing Lady God1va as my Real Naturist of the Year 2016 is not just an award and a recognition of her years of work, but also a plea for more tolerance. Yes, you, Twitter, bring @LadyGod1va back.
Her blogs, which date back some time, are at http://ladygod1va.wordpress.com and http://ladygod1vadaily.wordpress.com
Lady God1va about her appearance on The Fourth Plinth: https://ladygod1va.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/the-plinth-hour/



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Monday, December 12, 2016

2017: Nude Calendar Ahead

Another year is nearly over, which means it's time for me to look around to see whom I will name Real Naturist of the Year and Celebrity Naturist of the Year near the end of this month. It also means that the world is getting ready to buy calendars, and a rising proportion of those are nude calendars.
For several years, the phenomenon has been expanding, and since naturism is about the acceptance of all bodies, including naked ones, the trend is to be applauded.
A group of elderly women in Great Britain might not have started the trend, but they certainly succeeded in giving it a boost when their handiwork became the subject of a successful movie. Until then, most nude calendars had been thought of as pornography, or at least as things you would hang in a garage but not in your home.
Despite Italian tiremaker Pirelli's decision to move away from nudity in its calendars, the trend to link nude calendars with good causes has persisted and is growing.
What inspired me to return to my blog after a long absence, was actually spotting an article on a Belgian newspaper site this morning about a Dutch woman, Marisa Papen, who was banned from Instagram for posting too many nude pictures of herself. As a result, she decided to head for safer shores: publish a nude calendar of herself, with the proceeds going to a worthwhile cause, in this case the protection of the oceans against the avalanche of plastic rubbish.
She called her project www.plastic-sushi.com  and we can only wish her - and the pollution fighters - success.
Nudity might be a way to seek the spotlight for causes or to promote one's own fame, but if it promotes acceptance of non-sexual public nudity, why not.
While I'm not in the business of drawing up a list of best nude or naturist events of the past year, I can still note that several other nude phenomena have been doing well. The World Naked Bike Rides, the World Naked Gardening Day, World Topless Day, all seem to be growing in provoking interest. The International Naturist Federation held its World Congress in New Zealand, and I do hope naturist beaches around the world will expand. Here in Asia, the Naturist Association of Thailand has expanded, and is helping to find investors in a new resort, showing that naturism in Asia is possible.
While in some parts of the world, there is cause to worry about the regression of tolerance for nudity and naturism in the face of religion, on the whole I am still optimistic that naturism can expand, if it promotes itself as non-sexual, wholesome, and open for men, women and children. Maybe the global naturist movement can learn from the successes of the gay rights movement around the world, but that's fodder for another blog post.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thailand launches naturist magazine

Asia used to be a desert for naturists.
Conservative governments and what was seen as a 'conservative' mindset among the population, and add to that a fear of fierce tropical sunlight and a beauty ideal which puts a white skin way ahead of a tan.
All those factors have conspired to make Asia a difficult continent to promote naturism to reach the level of popularity it has won in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and now recently, Latin America.
Yet, one country is steaming straight ahead, regardless of all preconceptions.
Thailand first saw the formation of a Naturist Association of Thailand (NAT) in 2007, the gradual opening of naturist hotels and resorts around the country, from Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and this year also the island of Phuket, the staging of an international NATCON conference now in its fifth year, and now, again in a major move forward, the launch of a magazine, titled Bare@ll.
Despite what some might think, naturism in Thailand is not something for the thousands of expats calling that country home only. At least a third of NAT's 3,000 members are Thai, and the new magazine is bilingual Thai and English.
That is an excellent move, since most Thai are unlikely to find objective information and background about naturism in anything but eventual foreign publications, and that only from time to time. The new publication will bring naturism right to the doorstep of any interested Thai citizen. When a Thai questions naturism or wonders what it is all about, a naturist will have the magazine to show them and make them understand.
The annual NATCON conference is also a focus for other Asian naturists from India to China and Taiwan, allowing them to learn from the experiences of their Thai colleagues and prepare for a day when each Asian country will have at least a similar organization, and possibly also its own naturist resorts.
http://thailandnaturist.com


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Friday, June 10, 2016

Naturism in Thailand and beyond

Today, June 10 marks the opening of the 5th International Naturist and Nudist Conference in Thailand, hosted by the Naturist Association of Thailand on a lake.
The choice of site is original, and in many ways the association itself is also groundbreaking. Naturism has for too long been thought of as a mainly European, overwhelmingly Caucasian affair. Virtually each European country now has free clothing-optional beaches, naturist hotels or at least resorts where one can play sports, walk, run, swim, eat or just sunbathe naked.
Naturism also exists in other continents, in Latin America, in South Africa, and of course in Australia and New Zealand, the latter playing host to the International Naturist Federation's world congress in November this year.
Yet Thailand is the spearhead of an effort to make naturism more acceptable in Asia, and it is working. Since its inception years ago, NAT has been successful in converting more resort operators in the Southeast Asian country - one of the world's top holiday destinations - to give naturism a chance.
According to the NAT website, http://thailandnaturist.com, at least two new resorts are likely to open in the near future, the first on the popular island of Phuket, the other west of Bangkok. That comes in addition to those already in existence in other tourist destinations like Pattaya, Chiang Mai and the Bangkok region.
One of the features of this weekend's three-day conference is that NAT is also looking beyond Thailand to help local naturists set up similar associations in other Asian countries, such as India.
Residing in Taiwan, I know what the problems are. Public nudity is banned in most countries in the area, and even topless bathing is unseen or frowned upon. Add to that, the fear of many Asians of the hot sun in their countries, driving them away from beaches, and the beauty ideal which says that a white skin is more beautiful than a healthy tan.
Topless bathing and naturism are also not allowed in Thailand, but because the naturist resorts are shut off from the outside world, they are legal, as the nudity is not deemed public.
The more than 50 delegates from over a dozen countries present at the Thai conference will enjoy water games and a trip on rafts, but they will also discuss the situation of naturism in India, the Southeast Asian ASEAN nations, and other countries.
Last June 5 was World Naturism Day, this weekend sees NATCON 2016 in Thailand and many World Naked Bike Rides across the globe, leading into the summer, which should see naturist activities all over the world.
Now is the best time to prepare for more naturism, and try it during your holiday, even if it's just an hour on a free beach somewhere.


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Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Garden of Eden

Today, May 7, 2016, is World Naked Gardening Day.
Why? Because the first Saturday of May has the ring of spring to it, at least in most of the Northern Hemisphere. I imagine even fellow naturists in the Southern Hemisphere can still venture outside in the nude today and take care of their bushes and trees.
I often use the formula #thingstodointhenude on Twitter to promote things you can do in the nude, and as the organizers of the World Naked Gardening Day say, gardening is the second-best naturist activity after swimming.
When the sun is out, there's nothing better than communing with nature in the way God created you. You can have your own Garden of Eden.
Or in my case, a microgarden of Eden.
As you can see in the picture, my garden is no bigger than a sixpack. It's set on a low wooden chair on my balcony - which gives me a grand view of the river and the six-lane road beside it, but unfortunately, that also works the opposite way.
The busy intersection below is often manned by police, as it is today, a sunny 33-degree weekend day, when thousands of drivers, but also motorcyclists and cyclists, head out of the capital Taipei toward the closest coastal town.
So my nude gardening is hardly nude and barely gardening, but I'm sure thousands, no, millions of people live in conditions better 'suited' for naturist plantwork.
Back in Europe, I used to live in a house with a huge enclosed garden. Walking around naked was still difficult, because in some spots, different neighbors might see you from their upper-floor windows, and of course, you could never tell whether they were home or not, and on which floor they were.
My dream, as any naturist's dream, would be to live in an environment where it doesn't matter whether you're nude or not. The weather would be the only force dictating whether you should be wearing anything at all, and gardening could be naked all year round, in any place, at home, behind the house or in front, alone or in full view.
For those who have already realized that dream, every day will be World Naked Gardening Day.
http://wngd.org/



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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Naked Lunch

The news that rocked the naturist world - and much of the media beyond that - this month, was that London would get its own nude restaurant.
A restaurant where not the waiters or only the female waiters would go topless or naked, but where the guests would actually be allowed to disrobe and dine or lunch completely nude.
The idea was so popular that the number of people who registered to reserve a place shot up to 11,000 just within a few days, and has now surpassed 28,000 as I am writing this.
Most of those people will never make it, for the simple reason that The Bunyadi is a limited space operating for a limited time as a "pop-up" restaurant. Gawkers will be thrown out as they should be, and according to the website http://thebunyadi.com, visitors will even hardly see their fellow diners naked because of the interior outlay of the place.
So imagine my surprise to find the first criticism of the place not coming from puritanical or religious sources, but from nobody else than the head of the Dutch naturist federation NFN speaking to a women's magazine.
In the interview with vrouw.nl, Christine Kouman says the location might be wrong for naturism, and no real naturist would feel comfortable eating "in the middle of a busy city." Really, Miss Kouman?
You won't be sitting naked in front of a window for all passersby to see. It won't be a naked Starbucks, where anyone outside will be allowed to peek in and watch everything. As the organizers have said, there will be absolute privacy, and diners at different tables might not even see each other.
As a naturist myself, I was absolutely stunned during my first visit to a naturist resort, in Croatia more than a decade ago, when I was not allowed naked inside its restaurant.
As a result, after I woke up from my naked sleep, I had to put on clothes to go and have breakfast, then return to my room to take my clothes off before heading for the beach. By noon, I would go to my room to wear some clothes to go to lunch, then back to take them off, and the same annoying routine again for dinner. Is that how real naturists want to live? No, when they are at a naturist resort, they want to be naked all the time and wherever they can, weather permitting.
So I think NFN chairwoman Christine Kouman is totally wrong to condemn The Bunyadi initiative. She does have a point when she says that naturists on a nude beach should not be required to put on clothing when they go and order something at the beach bar, but her rejection of the London restaurant is something I cannot agree with.
Just like Spencer Tunick's mass naked photo shoots and the topless equality movement, The Bunyadi might not be true naturism, but as a form of promotion of non-sexual social nudity, it deserves the full support of all true naturists.
The Bunyadi website is http://thebunyadi.com/home.php
The article about Miss Kouman's views - in Dutch - is http://www.telegraaf.nl/vrouw/actueel/25648342/__Naturist_Christine__45____Naakt_dineren_is_geen_naaktrecreatie___.html
A general media article, one of dozens, about The Bunyadi project is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/restaurants/would-you-dine-at-londons-first-naked-restaurant/
The picture above comes from the Croatia camping website camping.hr and shows guests at the Koversada naturist resort.

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