New fitness ad featurs woman with her tampon thread hanging out

New fitness ad from Sport England is the first in the UK to feature a visible tampon string – to show the ‘unfiltered’ reality of exercising for women

  • Latest This Girl Can advert – the fifth in five years – is part of ongoing initiative by Sport England to try and get more women to exercise 
  • Ad sees Hannah Johnson, 29, slipping on yoga pants with tampon string visible
  • New video is believed to be the first in the UK to feature a tampon string clearly showing from underwear – as it aims to show ‘unfiltered’ reality of exercising 
  • Elsewhere, inclusive ad features a menopausal jogger and a disabled swimmer  
  • Dina Asher-Smith and Jo Whiley among stars heaping praise on ‘honest’ video

British television viewers will see a tampon string clearly visible from a woman’s underwear for the first time in a new advert that encourages more women to exercise. 

The unflinchingly honest video is the work of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign.

To mark the initiative’s fifth birthday, the inclusive advert aims to show the ‘unfiltered reality of women being active’ and features 29-year-old Hannah Johnson, from Essex, who is seen with her tampon string hanging from her knickers as she gets changed to attend a yoga class. 

Celebrities and athletes alike have heaped praise on the commercial, which hits screens on Friday and is the This Girl Can’s fifth ad since it was launched in 2015.  

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The latest ad from the This Girl Can campaign, part of Sport England, will show a tampon string clearly visible from a women’s underwear in a commercial for the first time. The woman in the advert is 29-year-old Hannah Johnson from Essex, who is seen slipping on her yoga pants before taking to the mat to help ease her period pains


The real-life scenario sees Hannah then striding out of the changing room and stretching out on a yoga mat. The 29-year-old says her cramps are so bad she once stopped exercising while menstruating – but says it now helps her to manage the pain

Elsewhere in the video, the one-minute production also shows a woman using jogging to help her overcome the symptoms of menopause, a busy mother-of-three enjoying time to herself through sport and also a disabled swimmer zipping carefree through a swimming pool. 

A slew of famous names have got behind the campaign and the new ad. 

Dina Asher-Smith, the fastest British woman in recorded history, wrote on Twitter: ‘Love love love this and loveeee #ThisGirlCan’

Radio and TV presenter Jo Whiley added: ‘Completely LOVE this advert and can relate to this on so many levels. I often work out with my daughter India and SO many times there are tears & indignities & bodily fluids & mucho swearing,’

Sports presenter Clare Balding added that she is ‘once again inspired by the brilliant women featured.’ 

Other women said they were delighted to see different women, with bodies like theirs, so confidently represented. 

‘Such a lovely ad, I’m thrilled to see bodies like mine represented, finally!! These Girls most definitely Can!’ wrote one woman in response to the video. 

‘Tampon string realness!’ enthused a second.  

Hundreds of women applied to be a part of the campaign and Hannah, 29, from Redbridge, Essex is seen using yoga to ease heavy menstrual cramps, and breaking taboos. 

Elsewhere in the ad, the one-minute production also shows a disabled swimmer zipping carefree through a swimming pool

Big names have got behind the campaign and the new ad. Dina Asher Smith, the fastest British woman in recorded history, wrote on Twitter: ‘Love love love this and loveeee #ThisGirlCan’

She is shown pulling up her yoga pants with her tampon string dangling from her underwear. She then strides out of the changing room and is seen stretching out on a mat, despite having strong period cramps in real-life. 

‘Recently, I have become so unapologetic about my periods, and what I go through with my period pains every month. 

‘But there was definitely a moment where I was like – ‘do I really want to be the one with my tampon out on a national TV campaign?’ Of course there was some trepidation,’ Hannah told Metro.co.uk.

Mum-of-three Kirsti (pictured), 37, from Chorley Wood, Rickmansworth, is shown breastfeeding before handing her baby over to her partner so she can play netball

Mother and daughter Patrice (left) and Yvonne (right), (aged 24, and 54 respectively), from Haringey, London, are seen jogging together in the ad. While Yvonne uses exercise to help with menopause symptoms, Patrice has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Hannah told producers that her painful stomach meant that she used to try and avoid strenuous activity. She says that she now uses exercise to help manage the pain, and says she’s become more comfortable in her body and more appreciative of how much it’s capable of.  

Sport England says 3.5 million women have become involved in sport or physical activity as a result of their efforts since launching This Girl Can.

However, it also reports that 40 per cent of women aged over 16 are still not active enough to get the full benefits of sport and physical activity.

Lisa O’Keefe, Sport England’s director of insight, says the campaign is once again trying to encourage women that they do not need to be ‘in shape’ or confident in their body in order to take part.

O’Keefe said: ‘This Girl Can is about helping women feel confident, so they can overcome the fears about being judged that our research showed was stopping many from getting active. Since we launched five years ago, we’re seeing more relatable images in advertising and social media, but there’s a long way to go until women’s lives are being shown in a realistic way.’

Other people were also pleased with the advert and thankful that bodies like theirs are finally being represented. ‘I’m thrilled to see bodies like mine represented, finally!’ said one woman

She added that the strong imagery used in the video is a way of women’s struggles becoming more visible: ‘We’ve designed the new adverts to show things we’re still not seeing – women using exercise to manage period symptoms or juggling motherhood – all while celebrating women of all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds.’

O’Keefe also called on ‘all advertisers, the fitness industry, influencers, and brands to think about how they can support women to be active and using more relatable imagery is an important start.’

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