One of New Zealand's most recognisable faces, Hilary Barry, has revealed why she's decided to bare "almost all" for a magazine.
Posing for NEXT magazine, Seven Sharp's Barry is this month's cover star, dressed in an oversized lilac shirt, buttoned low, and a pair of heels.
According to the magazine, the move by Barry is part of a bid to "speak out against age shaming" and "take a stand against the policing of women's bodies".
"If I can use my profile to project confidence in my body, and in doing so make another woman more confident in hers, I will," says Barry.
Now 50, Barry has appeared on New Zealand screens since 1993. Amid her much-praised work, she has been subjected to ridicule over her attire, image, and position as a woman in a prominent role.
In September last year, a woman felt so outraged by what Barry was wearing on an episode of Seven Sharp she decided to post a message on the show's Facebook page.
Barry responded with aplomb: She shared the post to Instagram along with a shot of herself and her cleavage, ready to greet the nation, and began the hashtag #newscleave.
And in May last year, Barry's co-host Jeremy Wells read an email from disgruntled viewer "Barbara".
"... we are being assailed by more and more of Hilary in low-cut tops exposing her cleavage. Unfortunately, it's become a worldwide trend which is mind-boggling considering we have the #MeToo movement trying to stop women being treated as sex objects.
"It is a fact of nature that women's breasts are sex objects and should be kept private except at the beach or at an evening do. Hilary should be seen as a professional, intelligent and have taste and her breasts being accentuated does not give this image," read Wells.
Barry's response to Barbara: "Well, here's the thing Barbara. I'm just a middle-aged mother-of-two who slapped on some lippy and a pretty top to look presentable for the nation and I'm sorry that you find my boobs offensive.
"They're just boobs. They're just boobs and half the population have them. Barbara has them."
Barry was also subjected to the archaic thoughts of a man on Facebook who in 2017 told her she should be at home taking care of her kids.
NEXT magazine details that Barry is taking "a stand against the policing of women's bodies ... " and describes her as "more confident at 50 than ever".
The publication's editor-in-chief, Nicky Dewe, says, "We want women to do what's right for them, celebrate what they've got and, especially as they get older, not feel pressured to dress or act a certain way. Hilary is owning it, as we all should feel free to do."
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.