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A Lot Like Eve: Lessons on Self Identity

Yesterday, Bloxham welcomed Revd Joanna Jepson, an Anglican priest, author, broadcaster and coach, for a day of lessons on body image and identity.

Joanna was born with a facial deformity that led to her being mercilessly bullied through childhood and adolescence whilst a strict evangelical upbringing imposed further challenges. Reconstructive facial surgery and a religious meltdown left her unrecognizable and disorientated, and triggered a search for identity and belonging. After ordination, a spell in the cloisters of a Welsh convent and a burst of headline-hitting fame in relation to the cleft palate abortions in the news a few years ago, Joanna became the first Chaplain to the London College of Fashion, with unique opportunities to explore the world of self-image. Here she created The Empty Hanger project, which works with young people to explore identity, belonging, sustainability and faith through the medium of art and design and scriptural texts. Before ordination, Joanna worked with teenage victims of drug and domestic abuse and in 2012 she set up a mentor training programme for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary, America's toughest maximum security prison. 

In 2015 Joanna's first book was published by Bloomsbury, A Lot Like Eve: Fashion, Faith and Fig Leaves. Currently based in Wells, Somerset, with her husband and son, Joanna continues to serve as chaplain to the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and the Army Training Regiment, as well as broadcasting, coaching, and writing for national press including The Independent, The Times and The Telegraph. 

Joanna met with boys and girls from Third and Fourth Form, talking with them and getting them to think about looks, identity, pressure to be good looking and what it means to be made in the image of God. She also met with the Fifth and Sixth Form girls to discuss the same issues and provide a positive role model for Bloxham students. She concluded by giving students some thoughts about how they might daily reflect on their lives and give thanks.

Our thanks to Joanna for her time in visiting Bloxham and for her "inspirational" words of wisdom in the guidance and support of our students.