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Amy Pence-Brown strips down to a bikini in a market to promote self-love

  • Amy Pence-Brown, from Boise, Idaho, teaches her three young children that 'all bodies are good bodies'
  • The 'nearly-40-year-old' woman decided to spread her message further by standing in a busy public market in just a bikini and a blindfold
  • Markers in hand, the self-described 'fat feminist mother' invited passersby to draw hearts on her body to support self-acceptance
  • She was overwhelmed and even brought to tears by the supportive comments written on her skin whispered in her ear

By Carly Stern For Dailymail.com

Published: 17:55 GMT, 9 September 2015 | Updated: 19:59 GMT, 9 September 2015

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One Idaho mother-of-three went much further than just sharing kind words to promote body acceptance: She put her own body on full display by stripping down in a public market and inviting strangers to draw on her.

Amy Pence-Brown, from Boise, is an artist and writer who described herself to USA Today as a 'nearly-40-year-old fat feminist mother'. Her most recent artistic performance, however, was a bit more of a social experiment, in which she challenged others to participate in spreading her message of self-love.

Wearing just a bikini and a blindfold while standing in a busy public market, Amy held out markers and asked people to draw hearts on her exposed skin - and was truly touched by the positive response, telling Daily Mail Online: 'I've made peace with my body long ago, and I hope I'm helping more people do the same.' 

Baring it all: Amy Pence-Brown (pictured) wore just a bikini and a blindfold while standing in a busy Boise, Idaho, market

Baring it all: Amy Pence-Brown (pictured) wore just a bikini and a blindfold while standing in a busy Boise, Idaho, market

Join in! The nearly-40-year-old mother-of-three wrote a sign asking strangers to support self-acceptance by drawing a heart on her body; she held markers in her hands

Join in! The nearly-40-year-old mother-of-three wrote a sign asking strangers to support self-acceptance by drawing a heart on her body; she held markers in her hands

Amy teaches her daughters, 11-year-old Lucy and seven-year-old Alice, and her son, one-year-old Arlo, that 'all bodies are good bodies', but she recently decided to spread that message beyond just her own home.

So on a Saturday in August, with two friends to record the proceedings in tow, Amy set out for Boise's crowded Capital City Public Market. She arrived at noon - the busiest time of day - and quickly stripped down to a black bikini and blindfold, holding markers in her outstretched hands.

In front of her, a chalk sign leaned against her knees read: 'I'm standing for anyone who has struggled with a self-esteem issue like me, because all bodies are valuable. To support self-acceptance, draw a [heart] on my body.'

She felt the crowd around her hush as she stood their in just a swimsuit, baring her stretch marks, cellulite, and 'sagging breasts that nourished three babies'. But while she kept a smile on her face, she was a bit worried that her experiment wouldn't exactly be an all-out love-fest. 

Body language: For 50 minutes, passersby stopped to draw hearts and encouraging messages on her skin

Body language: For 50 minutes, passersby stopped to draw hearts and encouraging messages on her skin

Positive response: Some people spoke to her to share kind words, while others even hugged her

Positive response: Some people spoke to her to share kind words, while others even hugged her

Above and beyond: Besides drawing hearts, some people wrote words like 'awesome' and 'you are very beautiful'

Above and beyond: Besides drawing hearts, some people wrote words like 'awesome' and 'you are very beautiful'

'I was scared that... no one would draw a heart on my body and I'd stand there alone and crying for minutes that felt like hours,' she wrote on her blog.

But the negativity didn't come. Instead, people did draw hearts - and a lot of them. They also wrote words and supportive messages on her skin, like 'awesome', 'strong', 'divine', and 'you are very beautiful'. Several even hugged her.

Amy stood in that spot for for 50 minutes, being showered with posititivy that brought her to tears. Besides writing kind words on her body, people found other ways to tell her that they loved what she was doing. Someone left lemonade next to her for when she was done, and one man crouched down before her with his two sons, telling them: 'This is what a beautiful woman looks like'.

Another 20-something man stood behind her and said: 'The effects of what you are doing here are far reaching. It's absolutely amazing. The power of this moment will go on and in ways you never thought possible. You are changing more lives than you know.' 

Making her mark: One young woman (pictured) stopped by after a nearby Color Run to participate

Making her mark: One young woman (pictured) stopped by after a nearby Color Run to participate

The next generation: Amy teaches her three children that 'all bodies are good bodies', and told Daily Mail Online that her two daughters, ages seven and 11, are very proud of their mom

The next generation: Amy teaches her three children that 'all bodies are good bodies', and told Daily Mail Online that her two daughters, ages seven and 11, are very proud of their mom

Take two: Amy was inspired by a young woman who pulled off a similar experiment in London

Take two: Amy was inspired by a young woman who pulled off a similar experiment in London

Even when she was done, teenage girls ran up to her to tell her she was an inspiration and a role model - and her own kids are incredibly proud.

'My two daughters... have been hearing at school about all their friends and teachers seeing their mom on the internet and in the news and [talking about] how brave I am,' she told Daily Mail Online. 'Just last night, my seven-year-old, Alice, was talking to me about how it's okay to have differently-abled bodies as well as different sized bodies; that having legs that don't work so well that may require you to be in a wheelchair, which is just fine, too.' 

While her stunt was certainly brave, Amy doesn't take all the credit for the idea. She was inspired by a similar stunt that a woman named Jae West, who is recovering from an eating disorder and is part of a group called The Liberators International, pulled in London's Piccadilly Circus recently.

Equal opportunity: Men, women, kids, and adults all took the opportunity to spread the love

Equal opportunity: Men, women, kids, and adults all took the opportunity to spread the love

Total confidence: Amy said she's made peace with her own body, and hopes others will be able to do the same

Total confidence: Amy said she's made peace with her own body, and hopes others will be able to do the same

Unexpected outcome: Though she was worried she'd stand alone and no one would draw on her, Amy was blown away by how many people jumped at the chance to add to the positive message

Unexpected outcome: Though she was worried she'd stand alone and no one would draw on her, Amy was blown away by how many people jumped at the chance to add to the positive message

Jae, however, had a more 'socially acceptable' appearance, and Amy wondered what would happen if a woman who looked like her tried the same thing

'The woman from Australia was thin and white and young, and so what if you were fat, and maybe about 40 and a mom?' she asked in a USA Today interview.

As it turns out, what would happen in that scenario wasn't disappointing - in fact, Amy was blown away.

'We can't truly love one another until we fully love ourselves,' she concluded on her blog. 'And once we do, I guarantee, that together we can move mountains.'

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