Two-time World's Strongest Man winner Tom Stoltman of Invergordon backs stereotype-busting L'Oreal campaign
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HE'S best known globally as a two-time World's Strongest Man winner and closer to home as an Easter Ross hero who dreamed big and overcame all of the hurdles placed in front of him.
Now, Invergordon-based Tom Stoltman has ventured into a new partnership with cosmetics giant L'Oreal to redefine what it means to be a strongman in 2023.
In the campaign, Tom shares the emotional strength it took him to free himself from the shackles of his bedroom by opening up in the gym, going from strength to strength and doing what was necessary to become the World's Strongest Man two years in a row.
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Findings by Opinion Matters for L'Oreal's campaign found that only 23 per cent of men find it easy to talk to family about their emotions – and a worrying 14 per cent say they have nobody to turn to with their struggles.
When asked about the biggest sign of strength in other men, 15 per cent selected ‘how much they can lift in the gym’ or ‘how many iron man contests they have completed’.
Those attributes come a long way before ‘opening up about feelings’ in the eyes of most men.
Over 1 in 10 men view ‘burying emotions’ as what being strong means to them.
Because of this, L’Oréal Men Expert and the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competition teamed up in the hope of creating a culture where every man feels strong enough to open-up.
Sometimes, the heaviest weight can be lifted by starting a conversation, the campaign suggests. This sentiment is shared by the three of the world’s strongest men who are at the centre of the campaign, each with their unique stories of mental health struggles and the strength they found in opening up.
L'Oréal brand leader, Jennie Flatt, explained: “We are excited to collaborate with the World's Strongest Man competition to challenge the taboo that continues to exist around male vulnerability. 'Be Strong, Open up' aims to shine a very well-deserved light on the stories of men who demonstrate that strength comes in all forms. Opening up the conversation of how vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but a strength to be celebrated is something we feel very passionately about as a brand.”
The research for L'Oréal Men Expert was carried out online by Opinion Matters between amongst a panel resulting in 2015 UK men responding.
Both Tom Stoltman and big brother Luke have helped tackle the stigma surrounding mental health challenges by talking openly about the issue, writes Hector Mackenzie.
Both spoke movingly about the impact the death of their late mum, Sheila, had on their mental health and the dynamic duo has also backed campaigns by Highland charity Mikeysline. One of that charity's biggest targets is younger men who and the Stoltman brothers are seen as perfect role models.
Tom took time out of his schedule to meet up with 'Speedo' Mick Cullen during the Liverpudlian's head-turning walk from John O'Groats to Land's End. Mick (57) has raised over a million in a personal campaign to destigmatise mental health challenges and during his walk through the Highlands – wearing just a pair of Speedo swiming trunks in bone-chilling winter temperatures – he contributed to Mikeysline too after hearing about its work.
In a video which sees the pair together, Tom endorsed the fundraising effort for mental health, saying: "What a crazy man, but what a crazy great charity!"
Mikeysline offers confidential support to those in emotional distress, feeling lonely or isolated through a textline and a drop-in centre in the Highland capital.
He talked about getting help from a therapist after the death of his mother and says that it was "so beneficial".
He said: "I didn't feel like I was getting judged for anything. Your family and friends can sometimes judge you whether rightly of wrongly. There is help out there and that is why Mikeysline is such a great charity."