In the world of Instagram, it’s incredibly scary to see what people think is attractive. Social media has taken magazine and regular media editing and warped it even more, so now it may seem like everyone you know looks like Megan Fox or Kim Kardashian—perfect curves, teeny waists, striking features, and some
light plastic surgery. But don’t worry, guys: pretty much everyone you see on Instagram is full of sh*t. Thankfully, most people who post like this on social media do not know what the f*ck they are doing, even when they should def have the budget to hire a decent photo editor (looking at you, Kylie. One billion dollars and not one person knows where your waist should be?). Especially since most of us are still staying home, it might seem like all you do is look at other people’s photos on Instagram, and if you’re not careful, this can get real toxic real quick. To save you from the B.S., I’m here to give you a few quick, easy tips to figure out whether someone on Instagram is misleading you.
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Same body, same underwear, different shape… On the left: – popped hip – underwear pulled high to waist – stretching up my torso – tensing my stomach muscles – sucking in my waist On the right: – relaxed Both images are my body that I love and am proud of. We don’t see unposed and relaxed images on IG often but I want to make it normal, because it is normal. You can completely transform the shape of your body through cleaver poses but at the end of the day, you should be so proud to share your relaxed and natural body because it’s beautiful just as it is. 💕
I don’t really know who Georgie Clark is (a reality star, says Google?) but you should follow her immediately. She started posting her thirst trap photos with a twist, throwing in a real picture that isn’t perfectly posed to show you how important knowing your angles can be. It’s really cool to see because this is even before Facetune. Just knowing how to show your body at the right poses (and having proper lighting, but we’ll get there) can make you look completely different.
In the photo on the right, you can tell she’s fit, but has a super normal straight waist and minimal ab definition. According to Georgie’s post, if you see someone stretching out their torso, with a hip out, and clearly sucking in (spoiler: it’s all of them), IT IS STRATEGICALLY POSED and not this person’s body IRL. That’s also true if you see underwear or bathing suit bottoms over the hips—it’s a super flattering silhouette, but they probably don’t look like this all the time. I have zero (0) issues with posing strategically in photos and wearing flattering outfits. In fact, I think that’s pretty necessary to take your most flattering pics; just ask any pro photographer. But just know, this is an art that people spend a lot of time perfecting and it’s not what they look like 24/7.
I don’t know who this chick is either (but apparently 1.8 million people do? Who are you people?) but after seeing this photo, I thought one thing immediately: Who TF does she think she’s kidding with this v v v fake Facetune waist job? Apparently, quite a few people. 175k at time of posting. This is the kind of sh*t I have a problem with. It’s not just posing your real body; it’s taking out body parts to fake what you look like. Thus creating the toxic AF wormhole we’re in as a society, especially for women. Sigh.
So, how do we know this photo is Facetuned (badly) and isn’t just well-angled, like Georgie’s? Take a look at Sarah’s stomach. Her sides are scooped out (and blurry BTW). Her ribs are smushed. This is anatomically incorrect. And how do we know this isn’t just her body? Well, here’s an easy little trick. Your bellybutton is actually level with your hip bones, so it basically sits at the widest part of your torso. The smallest part of your waist is actually right under the rib cage. Here’s the big mistake people make when they try to give themselves super cinched waists: they put the smallest part of their waist too close to their bellybutton instead. It gives you more of an hourglass figure, but unless you’re wearing a few pairs of Spanx, it’s just not possible. You can fake it by putting high-waisted stuff up on your hips (see above) but as we can see in this photo, Sarah’s waist indents are both too low and NOT at the bikini bottoms like Georgie’s is. Also, her waist is the same size as her head. Not possible without a corset because of, you know, organs. Why do influencers want to pretend they don’t have organs?
Here’s a throwback photo of Chrissy Teigen, for an example:
This is her real stomach. You can tell because the smallest part of her stomach is under the ribs, while her bellybutton is at the widest part where her hipbones are. See how much higher up her waist indents are than Sarah’s? Even check out the above photo of Georgie Clark. In BOTH photos, even the posed one, her bellybutton lines up with her hipbones. Sarah tried to sidestep this by removing her hip bones entirely, but you guys are too smart for that BS now.
My rule with most celeb or influencer photos is that, if something looks off, it’s probably because it is. Take, for example, the giant leg craze of last year (simpler times, truly). We did a whole article on celeb-fave app Spring that gave everyone very scary Jack Skellington legs, but there are always a few ways to tell it’s being used. 1) The person looks like Jack Skellington, or this lovely 9-foot-tall Kylie monster, featured above. 2) Their feet are ENORMOUS from the stretching (LOL). 3) The background is stretched along with them (Kylie is on a boat, so it’s harder to tell, but check for it anyway). And 4) if all else fails, and you REALLY NEED TO KNOW whether this photo is real or fake, you can always bust out some anatomy skills and see if the person is disproportionately too tall.
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Just a little reminder for Monday… you are beautiful from any angle, lighting or pose. You can see just how quickly I can change how my body looks from knowing: 1️⃣ Where the light is most flattering 2️⃣ What pose looks the best for my body 3️⃣ Which angle compliments my skin These are all tricks that every influencer and model has learnt so when you see “the best” shot on here… just remember it’s a snapshot of their real life and it doesn’t mean that’s the reality of what their body looks like. P.s does anyone know why when I post these videos on here it strips my tan? It takes the saturation out of my videos! So annoying 🤬
These videos from Georgie are everything. We already talked about how important posing is, but here’s another video that shows the importance of good lighting! It’s all an illusion, guys. Everyone has fat, cellulite, and rolls no matter how thin or fit you are—it just is what it is. So how can you tell if lighting is hiding imperfections? Well, pay attention to where the sun and shadows are. If the shadows are soft rather than harsh, if the person is outside, or if it’s golden hour, chances are it’s just good lighting that’s making them appear so flawless. (You can read more about lighting here.) But this is why you don’t look like a supermodel under the fluorescent lights in your bathroom when you’re getting ready for the day. Because Georgie is a badass, here is another amazing photo of her in harsh lighting, with cellulite and stretch marks, not sucking in her stomach. Be nicer to yourself.
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It’s taken me a while to get here but Reality vs Reality ☺️ I posted a picture of my stretch marks a few days and YES I was sucking in (it’s like I can’t stop myself sometimes because my body’s been under so much scrutiny as a female for years!) I’m trying to unlearn this now as sometimes I do it without realising… how sad is that… that women can be doing normal everyday things and be uncomfortably sucking in all day because of the scrutiny her body has been put under?! Anyway, under this picture of my stretch-marks and me sucking in… A girl commented “How can I get a flat stomach like you?” I quickly replied and said “I’m sucking in to the point I can’t even breath 😂 “ Which then so many of you gorgeous people said… “We want to see the real shot then!” With all of your encouragement, kind words and amazing messages (even sharing my content) has really given me the confidence to finally post just my reality 😍 it’s a liberating place to be at and you’re all the people who’ve helped me get here. So THANK YOU, I don’t deserve you all but I’m bloody glad I have you all supporting me. Even if you can relate to just one of my posts or one caption has helped you then it’s worth it for me. 💕 #selflove #normalisenormalbodies
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just bringing a bit of reality to your Saturday morning workout sesh 🔥💪🏼 ⠀ ⠀ Do you find yourself thinking one of these photos is “healthier” than other? Why is that?⠀ ⠀ I have known my body for decades. I have known that dieting and exercising towards this “ideal” body shape has lead to unhappiness and toxic cycles of binging. ⠀ ⠀ And so I know now that my body is meant to look this way. We are in homeostasis. We are happy. ⠀ ⠀ You know your body and you know best . You have no obligations to let the social misconceptions of others change who you are . ⠀ ⠀ We are absolutely enough. ⠀ ⠀ @gymshark #gifted ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #bodyacceptance #gymsharkwomen #gymshark #workoutoutfit #workoutclothes #matchingset #bikeshorts #backrolls #bighips #bodyneutrality #idealbody #antidiet #antidietculture #midsize #allbodiesaregoodbodies #effyourbeautystandards
Christine is another body-positive model that I follow, and you totally should, too. This picture shows how choosing clothing that fits well and hits you in the right spots can make a huge difference. Take the first pic of Georgie—she looks way smaller because her underwear is up on her hip bones, cinching her waist further. Here, Christine shows us the difference something as simple as pulling your pants up to your waist can make. You’ll probably notice all the celebs and influencers hike their pants high up on their hip bones for this same effect, too.
There are things on Instagram that I find really toxic, like creating a new body with Facetune. And there are photography tricks that I think are fine, because it’s at least your body, just showcased in a very specific way. But the bottom line is that none of these things are reality or what these people look like on the daily.
I hope this has been helpful and made you feel better about the content that’s being shoved down your throat. No matter how thin or perfect celebrities seem in photos, I promise you that it’s 99% bullsh*t—we didn’t even get into all the plastic surgery, makeup, hair stylists, and body makeup (yes, body makeup) that celebs also use!
What are little tricks and giveaways that tell you a photo isn’t real life? Do you compare yourself to the models, celebrities, and influencers you see on Instagram? Did you know how much goes into taking the “perfect” photo? How do you feel about the difference between posing vs. completely giving yourself a new waist via Facetune? LMK!
Image: Meital Anlen / Unsplash
Because I am supremely lazy, get department store-induced migraines, and am under the age of 35, most of my shopping takes place online. I’m currently in hot pursuit of a wedding guest dress that says, “This is a fancy designer, but it was on sale” so I headed to the one place for this kind of lewk, Revolve, and let me just say, I’m disappointed. Either they have an incredible model scouter that has somehow managed to find all alien-women crossovers who have four-foot long legs and normal-sized torsos, or the brand’s photo team retouches the sh*t out of the models’ bodies. I’m no Photoshop expert, so the fact that even I noticed something was wrong is a serious problem. From a consumer standpoint, I am not tempted to buy a dress that, according to the photo online, will only flatter someone who does not have a ribcage.
I absolutely stan brands that are proud to show their clothes, makeup, accessories, etc. on models who look like real people. Beyond just showing size diversity, I love a brand that chooses to not erase stuff like scars, freckles, cellulite and a bunch of other sh*t photo editors consider unsightly in a picture. Clap once if you’re more down to buy something if it’s shown on a model who looks like you…but, like, really pretty because they’re still models. Since major beauty and fashion brands don’t do this often enough, I want to commend a few who don’t retouch their models to the point where they are unrecognizable.
This list is in no particular order, except for this first item because Rihanna is obviously the most amazing fashion designer/beauty guru/musical genius/God that ever walked the Earth and deserves to be first in everything. Riri showcases overwhelmingly diverse gorgeousness from Paloma Elsesser to Camila Costa to Slick Woods. I mean, all I can say is hell f*cking yes! I already knew Ri is a boss who does whatever the f*ck she wants, but what made me feel like this article needed to be written was an ad for her jewelry featuring a very untouched Aweng Chuol. The South Sudanese model is the definition of glowing. Like, what highlighter is she using? She has a few subtle facial scars, but so does everyone! I have one from the chicken pox under one of my eyes and, guess what, no one cares. Scars aren’t offensive and shouldn’t be edited out of anything—especially a beauty shot, which is a term I learned from ANTM. Thank you, Tyra. At the end of the day, Rihanna has the right idea here: she designs her makeup, jewelry, and clothing lines for all women to wear and feel hot in. We applaud you, Rihanna!
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Proving that age is just a number, 55-year-old marathon runner, mother and cancer survivor, Ruby, shows us there are no limits to what you can achieve, at any age ??♀️ Encouraging women in all walks of life to live their lives to the fullest, she’s an inspiration to us all ? Ruby wants to see more athletes that look like her, who do you want to see? Just click the link in our bio to upload your photo to Project #ShowUs. @girlgaze ?: @debysucha ?? ?: @gettyimages #Dove #ShowUs #RealBeauty #Athletes #WomenWhoLookLikeMe #Mother #CancerSurvivor #Strength #StrongWomen #girlgaze #GettyImages
I obviously couldn’t write an article about brands that celebrate real people without mentioning the OG. Dove boarded the body positive train way back in 2004, you guys. “As a beauty brand, Dove has always celebrated real women and their beauty. We believe the Mark will help women identify reality in what can be a confusing, digital world and relieve some of the pressure to look a certain way,” Amy Stepanian, Dove’s Marketing Director said of the brand’s No Digital Distortion Mark campaign. It’d be cool if there was no need for a campaign like this, but we live in a superficial world run by superficial people, so we’ll have to take what we can get for now. To me, Dove is the epitome of realness and, although their ads can be a little aggressive with shoving their agenda down our eye sockets every chance they get, I love what the brand stands for. They’re like the opposite of Abercrombie’s former CEO, who didn’t believe that larger people are capable of being the “cool kids.” Gag. Correct me if I’m wrong, but any full-grown adult using the phrase “cool kids” in complete seriousness is still bitter about not being invited to parties in high school. Anyway, cheers to Dove for not being like this. Now everyone go buy some soap!
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TBH I haven’t stepped foot in American Eagle since 2007, but I have ordered a few Aerie bathing suits and pajama bottoms online. The only reason I did such a thing was because I could get a sense of how the pieces fit because they are shown on everyday body types. The only evidence of Photoshop may be adding a cloud or two to their beach pics, but it looks like the models bodies are left intact. The fact that there’s like a bikini body ideal out there in the first place is gross, and brands like Aerie are thankfully shutting it down. Like, want a bikini body? Put on a bikini. Boom, done.
Aerie has been promoting body positivity sans photo editing for a while now—since 2014, actually. Yes, their creative teams edit the photos to give them a more editorial look, but they generally leave the models alone. When the brand first stopped editing women’s bodies five years ago, Aerie’s sales skyrocketed almost 30%. Wait, so you’re saying clothing that real women buy sells better when shown on real women? Color me shooketh! Well done, Aerie. We need more brands like this to show us the way when it comes to knowing your audience.
As far as I’m concerned, ASOS can literally do no wrong at this point. I liked the brand before I learned about their editing policy, and now I am addicted. They stopped airbrushing back in 2017 with its ASOS Face + Body launch, which was a rebranding done right, if you ask me. In fact, if you’re a big ASOS fan, you know that they reject the word “beauty” because it’s too subjective and broad. Check out their IG for a refreshing celebration of their values, which we all need to adopt. I’m sure some of y’all are wondering why I chose the pic I did to represent the absence of Photoshop, as this model clearly never had an awkward phase and it shows. The reason I chose it because she’s clearly stunning and has gorgeous skin, but you can see her pores! Unlike most severe closeups beauty brands use to highlight whatever overpriced cream they’re trying to sell by trying to convince us that it erases pores, ASOS left this girl’s pores alone. And guess what? She’s still really f*cking pretty and I would gladly trade skin with her. Regardless of if you buy a beauty product or not, you should be happy to have the skin you’re in—even though it has pores. Everyone has them, people. Literally everyone. If you see someone who doesn’t have them, get them help ASAP because something is wrong.
Images: Matthew T Rader / Unsplash; asos_faceandbody, aerie, dove, awengchuol / Instagram
There are obviously a lot of great things about being famous and successful, but being constantly body shamed isn’t one of them. For years, Ariel Winter has been the target of relentless scrutiny based on her body, even when she was still a teenager. Despite the hate she gets, she’s been public about her choice to have a breast reduction, and has always come across confident on social media. Over the last several months, Ariel has lost a lot of weight, but people have recently started to really take notice. This is mainly because, a couple weeks ago, Ariel dyed her hair red, which basically makes her Bella Thorne’s celebrity doppelgänger. These photos have gone pretty viral, leading to increased scrutiny about her body as well. Ugh.
In the same way people used to criticize her curves, suddenly she was being shamed for being “too thin,” and being accused of suffering from an eating disorder. It’s almost like women can’t win, no matter what we do!! Look, Ariel Winter doesn’t owe anyone an explanation for her body, but she responded to the questions about her weight loss anyway in an incredibly thoughtful way.
Last month, Ariel posted a Q&A to her Instagram story, and one of the responses she shared was “Why so thin?”
Her answer is obviously lengthy, so I’ve broken it down below in a way that’s easier to read.
“For years I had been on anti depressants that caused me to gain weight that I couldn’t lose no matter what I did. It was always frustrating for me because I wanted to be able to get fit and feel like the work I was doing was paying off, but it never felt that way. I had accepted it and moved on. I stayed on those medications for so long because the process is really long and difficult. I wasn’t ready to go through it again so I just accepted feeling eh instead of trying to find something to actually feel better.”
What Ariel Winter is describing here is all too common. Certain medications (especially antidepressants) are notorious for making people gain weight, wreaking havoc on your hormones and metabolism. While these medications can be super helpful for what they’re prescribed for, there’s no question that these side effects are, at best, frustrating, and can even cause serious problems for patients. Ariel continued with her story:
“Last year I decided I was sick of feeling eh (had nothing to do with weight), so I started the process again and was able to find a great combination of medication that works for me. The change in medication instantly made me drop all of the weight I couldn’t lose before by just giving me back my metabolism. That was very unexpected. While I feel better mentally with the change, and it’s nice to work out and have your body actually respond, but I want to gain a few pounds of muscle and get healthier.”
I applaud Ariel Winter for being open with her struggle, and acknowledging that she didn’t have the energy to go through finding a new medication right away. Sometimes the side effects are worth it for the positive impacts of a medication, but luckily she was able to find something else that worked better for her. While Ariel Winter has definitely had some drama in the past, it seems like she’s approaching this topic from a positive, level-headed perspective.
In her journey with depression, Ariel Winter is far from alone. A few months ago, Ariel’s Modern Family costar Sarah Hyland also opened up about her experience with depression, saying that she struggled with mental health alongside her battle with kidney dysplasia. She had to undergo 16 surgeries in less than two years, and it took a toll on her mentally. Hyland encouraged those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts: “It’s not shameful. For anybody that wants to reach out to somebody but doesn’t really know how because they’re too proud or they think that they’ll be looked upon as weak, it’s not a shameful thing to say.”
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I can’t believe it. My baby sister is 21 today!!!! I remember meeting @arielwinter a month after she had turned 11. She loved wearing black and saying outlandish things. 10 years later…not much has changed ? it’s been an honor to watch you grow in to the woman you are today!!!! Very very lucky to have you in my life. Love you @arielwinter!!! And happy frikkin birthdayyyy!!!!! ? ? ?
Of course, Ariel did have one last wish through all of these medication struggles:
“Also want my butt back…”
She’s only human!
Images: Shutterstock; @arielwinter (2), @sarahhyland / Instagram
Before I give you my thoughts on Shrill, here’s a little context. The first time I sat on a guy’s lap, he jerked back and pushed me off. “How much do you weigh?” he demanded, rubbing his legs in pain. I was 13 years old, standing in the aisle of a school bus filled with my 7th grade classmates. Over a decade later, I barely remember the guy—but his comment, I remember. The same way I remember, later that year, comments under pictures of me on my cousin’s Myspace: “Who’s your fat friend?” Or in 4th grade, when another girl and I broke our ankles at the same time and had to be carried down a flight of stairs. “Looks like I got the light one,” a teacher joked, picking up the other girl.
If you haven’t yet watched Shrill, the new Hulu show starring SNL’s Aidy Bryant, I highly recommend it. (I also recommend tuning out of this article, because duh—spoilers.) Shrill, in six too-short episodes, tells the story of Annie (Aidy Bryant), a fat woman who finds herself taking far too much sh*t from her mother, her boss, and her f*ck buddy-slash-boyfriend. While Annie’s struggles are not solely derived from her size, Shrill emphasizes the harmful assumptions made about fat people (namely, that their size is a result of being lazy, or lacking willpower), and how licensed people feel to treat Annie differently because of it. From well-meaning “concern” expressed by strangers to her boss telling her to her face that she doesn’t “take care of” herself, the sheer fact of walking around as a woman of Annie’s size translates to an onslaught of uninformed, unsolicited opinions about her character.
All this is to say: though I have not, in my adult life, been overweight, I expected to relate to Annie while watching this show. From my own memories of middle school fat-shaming, I was ready to raise a glass in solidarity and share in Annie’s triumph as she gained the courage to issue a massive f*ck you to her haters. But while I did find the show highly relatable, it wasn’t, ultimately, Annie’s struggle in which I saw myself. Instead, I felt my stomach sink every time a passive-aggressive barb was thrown out against her—and I heard it clearly in my own voice.
To fill you in on the decade between being cyber-bullied on Myspace and now: just before high school, I lost about 25 pounds and grew three inches. (Don’t hate me; it was the last time I lost weight effortlessly in my life, I promise.) From that moment on, likely because of how I’d been treated when I was bigger, I have been obsessed with getting, and staying, thin. From 8th grade on, no diet was off-limits—from South Beach in 2009 to keto about six months ago. (Am I crazy BTW, or are those diets basically the same?) All that dieting was successful, depending on how you define it. While I’m perpetually in a state of wanting to lose “the last” 5-10 pounds, I am by no means overweight. And importantly, my body allows me to suffer none of the public shaming and discrimination that Annie receives every day.
So, let’s take Annie being accosted in a coffee shop by a personal trainer, who grabs her (apparently, tiny) wrist and says earnestly: “There is a small person inside of you dying to get out.” Watching that scene, I had no idea what it was like to be Annie. I did, though, have years of memories of grabbing my own wrists and admiring their smallness, of looking in disgust at the rest of my arm and hating myself for the way it (in my mind) ballooned outward. When Annie’s mom tells her, “you always feel better when you exercise, I can tell,” I hear the same lie I tell people about going to the gym. Sure, it makes me feel better—but only, I’m pretty sure, because I know it’s helping me lose weight.
I came into Shrill thinking it would be a feel-good empowering romp, with twinges of painful memories from my past. I was mostly right (it felt great! and super empowering!), but the twinges of guilt I feel are from how I think about my body right now. I hope that my constant desire to be smaller doesn’t spill out in how I treat other people—but I can’t imagine that it doesn’t. If I hate myself for struggling to zip up a pair of size 27 jeans, how would I not judge someone who wears jeans that are two, four, or ten sizes larger? When I look around in envy at the tiny women NYC is riddled with, have I been kidding myself that I’m not, also, looking at fat people with pity? How many people, beyond myself, have I actually been harming with the constant internal monologue of self-directed fat-shaming?
I won’t say that Shrill cured me of these habits. Midway through writing this article, actually, I stopped to measure myself to decide which size pants to reference (every company is different, y’all know this). Then I measured myself again—and three times after that, with different tools, because I wasn’t happy about the number I was getting. This can’t be right, I thought, furiously switching out a charging cable for a piece of ribbon to wrap around my waist. Never mind that reading a different number off my tape measure has exactly zero effect on my actual body. My negative body image, clearly, is still in effect—but Shrill is the first show I’ve seen in a long time that made me want to do something about it.
If I can recognize how sh*tty people’s treatment of Annie is, I reason, I should be able to apply that same logic to myself. And hopefully, if we can all be a little kinder to ourselves in private, we can be kinder to others in public too. I’m grateful that Shrill brought my fat-shaming into clearer view, but the most pressing issue the show elucidates is our policing and shaming of fat people for simply living their lives near us. And whatever personal struggles you may or may not be dealing with, that kind of bullying on a societal level has got to stop.
Images: Hulu Press; @aidybryant, @dietstartstomorrow/Instagram
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by your mirror, front-facing camera, or the reflection of yourself in a glass of wine *entire population slowly raises their hands*. As much as you try, it’s difficult to love yourself all the time. Especially when you realize that you downed an entire box of pizza, eight tequila shots, and a small village last night, and now you feel like sh*t. Instagram makes it kind of hard to love yourself sometimes, what with all the models on your feed who make beauty look so effortless (not to mention, the trolls who might comment on your pics if you dare go a day without wearing makeup). That’s why we brought plus-size model Tess Holliday on our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast to get real with us about body positivity and confidence.
For those of you who don’t know, Tess is a super important figure within the plus-size modeling and body positivity communities. She’s the creator of the viral hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, a movement that called out unrealistic beauty standards. She also became the largest plus-size model of her size and height to get signed to a mainstream agency when she signed with Milk Management in 2014. On social media, Tess is known for her fearless, take-no-bullsh*t attitude. If you troll her, she will clap back with facts. All in all, Tess is a boss-ass woman.
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Phew, I’m literally a COSMO GIRL!! Can’t believe I’m saying that! ???????? Thank you @cosmopolitanuk & @farrahstorr for this incredible opportunity ???????? If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life & hope this does that for some of y’all ???? Issue hits stands 8/31! ???????????????? Photo by the incredible @wattsupphoto #effyourbeautystandards
A recent UK Cosmo cover star, Holliday has used her social media platform as a model to speak up about what it’s really like to embrace your body. Holliday is one unfiltered betch, and she doesn’t mask anything when it comes to talking about her triumphs and struggles with self-image. It’s not f*cking easy no matter how famous you are (sigh) to love yourself. Here are Holliday’s top tips to keep in mind about the body positivity movement, confidence and embracing who you are:
F*ck Society’s Beauty Standards
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I was laughed off stage at a beauty pageant when I was growing up, so @cosmopolitanuk decided to crown me queen in my October cover story ???? I wish 13 year old me could see me now ???? #effyourbeautystandards | Dress made by @zelieforshe / styled by @amybannermanstylist and @maddyalford / photos @wattsupphoto / production, art and props Cat Costelloe and @colesontoast / glam by @jessica__mejia @sofiasjoohair @kimtreacynails ???????? #cosmogirl
It can be really hard to love the way you look when the only people that ever come across your Instagram feed are stick-thin models in crop tops pretending to eat chicken nuggets. You might think you look super hot—until your post is right below Alexis Ren’s bikini pics. The problem is, you’re never going to feel good about yourself if you can’t see other people who look like you, and are actually killing the Insta game, looking flawless as anything.
That’s why Holliday created her own Instagram campaign in 2013 called “Eff Your Beauty Standards”. It started as a hashtag for people to share photos of themselves in an outfit that scares or makes them feel beautiful. Now, it’s evolved into a community that supports your everyday gal just trying to take a cute selfie. Holliday explains; “there are a ton of people around the world no matter their race or gender—that feel sh*t about themselves too, so let’s talk about it.”
Don’t Let Brands Trick You Into Thinking They’re Inclusive
It’s like, super trendy right now to be body positive, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s doing it properly. Holliday explains, “companies like Flat Tummy Tea have stuff that’s like ‘love yourself babe’ but they’re really saying ‘you’re disgusting, babe’.” If you think drinking colon clearing, sh*t-inducing tea is how you show your body “love”, you’re out of your f*cking mind. Holliday says, “they’re literally trying to capitalize on the fact that people feel horrible about themselves,” and she’s right.
There are so many brands that hide behind so-called body positivity when in reality, they’re still trying to sell you something by capitalizing on your insecurities. And they sell products that at best, won’t do anything for you and, at worst, could be harmful. Holliday suggests looking for brands that follow through with their promise. Brands who cop out at a size 12 and say they’re inclusive literally don’t account for 68% of American women who are size 14 and above to wear their clothes.
Here are some brands Holliday says are doing it right:
It’s Okay To Have Bad Days
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You can’t feel like Beyoncé every day unless you are Beyoncé (and even she has off days). So, it’s okay to wake up and feel more potato than human. Holliday notes, “sometimes I feel like I look like a hot turd and I’m just polishing .” Major mood. It may look like body positive Instagrammers like Holliday have their sh*t together, but in reality, they struggle a lot too. Being transparent on social media is something Holliday prides herself in. She shares moments of success, but also shares the moments where she needs to remind herself she’s worthy and beautiful.
So, cut yourself some slack. Even when you’re at your worst, you can find something you love about yourself. It could be your eyes, your intelligence, or your ability to put your entire fist in your mouth. For Holliday, it was working to reclaim the word fat and acknowledge that while she may see herself as fat, she’s so much more than that.
To hear the rest of Holliday’s interview, check out our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast. And if you want more Tess Holliday in your life (hell yeah you do), check out her new series on People TV.
Images: Getty Images; tessholiday / Instagram (3)