7th December 2007 at 00:00
There's nothing like a good lather to help boost a pupils' self-image.

Well, that's the thinking of soap makers Dove, who are on a marketing mission to help young people feel better about their bodies.

A host of female celebrities has been drafted in by Dove and Beat, an eating disorder charity, to front its BodyTalk sessions in schools. Former Popworld presenter Miquita Oliver (below) and Zoe Salmon, a Blue Peter presenter and former Miss Northern Ireland, have been called upon to boost teens' confidence about their bodies.

Accompanied by Anita Naik, a self-esteem expert, Miquita turned up at Stoke Newington School in north London last week in jeans and an old hoodie. She explained to pupils that this is what she looks like on a day off.

She asked how long they thought she spent in make-up for TV. "The pupils said 'Half an hour?'," Miquita told The TES. "And I said sometimes it's three hours. Having your hair under the dryer for ages is really boring. They seemed genuinely quite shocked."

It was important that pupils understand how much work goes into making models in magazines look perfect too, she said.

And why did Dove pick Miquita for the task? Because she's a "normal" celebrity, apparently.

"I'm not slim naturally at all," she said. "If they had some skinny blonde model come in, it wouldn't hit home as much. Hopefully I look as real as possible."

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