9 body positive Instagram accounts to follow
No love like self love
Stop! That thing you’re doing in front of the mirror, on Instagram and when you think no one is looking. Stop judging yourself, comparing yourself and putting down other women as a result of it. It may sound like a tired old cliché but self-love is important. Secure people, people who love themselves don’t feel the need to live up to other people’s standards of beauty, they make their own. Like the women behind these body positive Instagram accounts, whose honest take on beauty will inspire you.
Like stereotype-defying models Ashley Graham and Liza Golden-Bhojwani who make the case for loving your curves and embracing different ideals of beauty. Or straight-talking fashion designer Masaba Gupta whose refreshingly open take on struggling with weight loss, acne and India’s obsession with fairness are oh-so relatable. And even New York Times bestselling author and poet Rupi Kaur whose oeuvre stretches from period shaming to heartbreak. These women have each had their own journeys, ones they continue to document and use to empower their followers. Follow their example and lift each other up, ladies.
Here are our favourite body-positive Instagram accounts:
The Grammy winner deserves an award for the simple fact that she stopped wearing make-up. Why is that award worthy you may ask, you haven't been wearing make-up except occasionally for years? It's commendable because Alicia is constantly in the public eye, her moves being watched and judged. Every pimple, every bad hair day and every unruly eyebrow hair. But what does Alicia Keys do? She shows up to shoot an internationally aired television show without a dot of make-up on her face. Not to say that wearing make-up should be condemned, or that if you chose to wear make-up, it makes you insecure. Alicia does too when she feels like it. In a piece she wrote for Lena Dunham's Lenny newsletter last year, Alicia explained, “I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
Extremely comfortable in her own skin, Liza is proof that the only thing you need to have for a bikini body is a body. The full-figured model is toned and healthy, and regularly works out to maintain a size she is comfortable at. Liza, at the peak of her career, was the size she claimed she needed to be, surviving on 500 calories a day. But after she fainted because she wasn't able to adhere to a lifestyle that suited her body type, she found happiness and success with a fuller figure. Listen to your body, it knows what's good for you.
Your body is art, and Nimisha Bhanot's art is body positive. The artist uses her paintings to paint women as she sees them. Dark skin, full figures, sexy, accomplished, hungry and human. Women lifting weights can have both tattoos and a bindi. You don't need to have a flat stomach to show it off in a sari and because you're wearing a sari doesn't mean you're void of sexual desire. Nimisha's prints are edgy and showcase women we either are or know.
A skinny, pretty model on our body positivity list? Some people would be offended. Not Nidhi Sunil though, she's all about doing her own thing. Sure, she's a model who has appeared in countless magazines at a size one would expect models to be, so with all this validation, why shouldn't she be happy with herself? Precisely because of it, we say. While there is a certain pressure to always look flawless in order to uphold the illusion of the profession, Nidhi is all about shattering stereotypes. The model can be seen sporting her freckles, pimples and natural hair — make-up be damned — all over her Instagram feed. She inspires everybody to get moving with her posts and yoga poses because for her, fitness is a lifestyle. And while most with dusky skin might avoid the sun to comply with society's need to be "fair", Nidhi Sunil soaks it all up. In a world full of negativity, Nidhi is here to promote positivity and we're happier for it.
From fat to fit, Dionne is documenting her ever evolving fitness journey. The Instagram fitness model is 46kgs down with the stretch marks to prove it. She inspires and encourages others on their fitness journey with advice from her own. From videos of her sweating it out in the gym to sporting the results in a bikini at the beach, Dionne's is a real life story that you can seek inspiration from. Her Instagram feed is as much about fitness as it is about acceptance. It's not just about getting the body you've always wanted, it's also about learning to love the body you have.
You may have seen Winnie's face plastered on billboards or on your television screen, standing out because of her skin condition, vitiligo. Winnie Harlow went from being bullied in school for her appearance — she confessed that she had contemplated suicide — to being a model. With a 2.7 million strong following, Winnie has since fronted countless brands and featured in international fashion magazines, even being nominated for model of the year at the British Fashion Awards. You just need to sample some of the motivational posts on her account to see why: "Young woman.. stand up for yourself. Be confident in your truth. Don’t let them condition you to think your views are crazy. You are smart. You are intelligent. You are passionate. You are strong."
The poet doesn't just write uplifting poetry, she lives it. Rupi Kaur understand that to truly love your body, you have to appreciate everything it does. That includes the dreaded, inconvenient period. Rupi has posted pictures of how natural it is for one to stain, or have stretch marks. Accepting that all these things make up who you are. Let Rupi's Instagram do the talking:
The artivist is all about self-love and empowerment. Under the Instagram name Zinteta, she posts images of highlighted stretch marks, period blood in paint and painted nude bodies in all shapes and sizes. Zinteta also has a few women who have fought and conquered breast cancer. The vibrant colours and the positive message are of hope and happiness. And even in their rainbow hues covered in flowers, the female form has never been more real.