When you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, it’s easy to see all the perfect pictures that influencers and fitness bloggers post and feel insecure. That’s the downside of social media. But! There are also plenty of body-positive Instagrammers who are focussing on posting more “real” or less staged pictures on Instagram.
Jessamyn Stanley is putting in the effort to show that anybody can become a yogi, and photographer Tarik Caroll is giving some love to the body positivity movement aimed specifically at men because women aren’t the only ones who can feel insecure about their bodies.
Tao Porchon-Lynch Has Over 70 Years Of Yoga Experience
At the age of 100 years old, Tao is the world’s oldest yoga teacher. She’s been practicing yoga for over 70 years and has taught students throughout the U.S., India, China, Russia, and France. If you need a little extra motivation to get up for that Monday morning yoga class you told yourself you’d go to every week, Tao is the woman to follow.
According to her website, Tao also enjoys ballroom dancing and wine tasting in her spare time and is a former actress and model.
Amy Purdy Came In 2nd Place On Dancing With The Stars
Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee at 19 due to bacterial meningitis and then she went on to become a 3X Paralympic Snowboard Medalist, Keynote TED Talk Speaker and 2nd place contestant on Dancing With The Stars. She’s also a New York Times best-selling author and she competed on The Amazing Race. What have I done? I watched her accomplish all this from the comfort of my couch…
The biggest draw to her social media is that Amy is always open and honest with her followers about her mental and physical struggles, as well as her successes.
Sara Guerts Inspires Through Her Modeling Career
28-year-old Sara is a model with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which is a condition that slows the production of collagen, causing the skin to be wrinkled, fragile and appear looser. Guerts was diagnosed at age 10 with EDS, and since then she’s been on her “journey of self-love” which she documents through her Instagram.
Sara says “I believe every single person is unique and beautiful in their own way,” and she hopes her modeling career will motivate and inspire anyone struggling with their own insecurities.
Shaun Ross Is A Spokesperson For Anti-Bullying Campaigns
Ross is an American model, dancer, and actor who is known for being the first male African-American model with albinism. Shaun has been featured in some of the biggest fashion publications in the business including Vogue Italia and British GQ and he’s modeled for designers such as Alexander McQueen and Givenchy.
With over half a million Instagram followers, Ross continually promotes the importance of self-acceptance and has participated in numerous albinism-awareness campaigns, as well as anti-bullying campaigns.
Shaun isn’t the only African-American albino currently killing it in the modeling world. Can you think of the other?
Jessamyn Stanley Is Here To Bring A Body Positive Approach To Yoga
North Carolina native Jessamyn Stanley began practicing yoga when she was in graduate school, and since then, she’s turned her passion into a lifestyle. She runs a successful blog and teaches classes throughout North America, promoting a “body positive approach to yoga which celebrates students’ bodies,” according to her website.
Jessamyn believes that “the outlook of a yoga teacher has just as much of an effect on your practice as the clothes you wear or the amount of water you drink” and she strives to create an environment where yogis of any size or experience can come to practice.
Harnaam Kaur Decided To Embrace Her Body Instead Of Change It
Also known as The Bearded Dame, Harnaam Kaur is an English woman with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which caused a hormone imbalance that led to her growing a full beard by the age of 16.
After years of bullying, countless attempts to remove her unwanted body hair, and struggles with mental health issues, Kaur decided to embrace her body rather than try to change it. She is now a model, activist and motivational speaker, aiming to teach others – specifically young people – about self-acceptance.
Megan Jayne Crabbe Focuses On Body Positivity, Feminism, And Dogs
Megan’s Instagram bio says, “I like talking about body positivity, feminism, and how dogs are better than humans” and she stays true to that. Megan suffered from anorexia in her early teens but considers herself to be recovered and she embraced the body positivity movement at 21.
Now Megan uses her platform to promote self-love and body positivity as best as she can through social media, tackling topics like eating disorders, fatphobia, and feminism.
Alba Parejo Has Over 500 Birthmarks Covering Her Body
Alba is a 16-year-old Barcelona-native who was born with over 500 birthmarks on her body. Some are individual smaller spots, while others come together to form large marks over whole sections of her body, due to a rare skin condition. She underwent 30 surgeries as a child to attempt to correct the spots and now has large areas of scarring.
After being bullied for most of her life, she decided to enter a modeling competition to be featured in an empowerment campaign. Now she uses her platform to share her story and promote self-love and acceptance.
Chessie King wants to show you how much work actually goes into those “effortless” Instagram photos you see…
Alicia Keys Is Now Makeup-Free
Alicia Keys chose to stop wearing makeup in 2016, appearing at multiple high-profile events since then, such as the Grammy’s and the BET Awards, with just a fresh face.
She’s quick to say she’s not anti-makeup, and she sometimes still wears makeup in her daily life. She just doesn’t ever want to feel like she has to be wearing makeup. She wants to feel comfortable enough in her own natural beauty to make the choice. And Keys wants others to do the same, particularly young girls who feel pressure to live up to the unrealistic standards set by the beauty industry.
Diandra Forrest Wants Us To ‘Stand Out. Stand Strong’
Diandra Forrest is a woman of firsts. She is the first person with albinism to ever be signed by a major modelling agency, and she is the first albino woman to ever be the face of a mass beauty campaign. She herself is also African-American, like Shaun Ross.
Forrest’s advice to any young person with albinism who feels like they don’t in? “…find a place of comfort and confidence within yourself. Don’t try to fit in. Stand out. Stand strong.”
The EveryMAN Project Wants To Liberate Men From Self-Hate
While working in the fashion industry, NY-LA photographer and body positivity activist Tarik Carroll began to realize that men struggle with body issues just as much as women do, and he wanted to create something that addresses that.
The EveryMAN project is to empower and inspire, “geared towards creating a safe space to liberate men worldwide from self-hate.” Tarik writes on the project’s website that “this is a visual conversation about inclusion and diversity which I intend to translate into an actual conversation about the positivity that begins within.”
Chessie King Wants Us To Be Best Friends With Our Body
U.K. body confidence spreader Chessie King wants to remind her followers that it’s not about what you weigh or what your body looks like. Focus on what your body can accomplish.
Chessie emphasizes that you need to be a team with your body, so she refers to herself and her body as “we.” She believes you need to be best friends with your body, and in order to do that, you must be kind to yourself and trust your body to do what it’s supposed to do, without the negativity.
Ash Soto Calls Herself ‘The Girl With The World Painted On Her Body’
Instagrammer Ash Soto was diagnosed with vitiligo at age 12, which is the same condition that model Winnie Harlow has. Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes patches of skin to lose pigmentation, and now at 23, Ash is embracing that condition.
She defines herself as “the girl with the world painted on her body.” Soto frequently paints outlines or colors on her skin based around her patches of vitiligo, which she calls her “canvas.” After first revealing her condition on social media, she received an overwhelmingly positive response, which inspired her to continue sharing.
Still to come: Kelvin Davis’ blog helps the brawny men find styles and brands that work for them.
Jeana Turner’s Life Changed After Appearing On America’s Next Top Model
When she competed on America’s Next Top Model, Jeana Turner was asked to take off her wig for the makeover round, and though traumatic at the time, it’s been life changing for her. Turner has alopecia, and since the age of 12, she hasn’t had any hair on the top of her hair.
She credits ANTM for where she’s at in her life now, saying in interviews that she wasn’t sure she would’ve ever come to terms with her bald head if not for the show. Jeana believes that “beauty is a personal battle and beauty is happiness” and she promotes that to her followers.
Katie Sturino Wants Everyone To Feel Comfortable In Their Body
Instagram blogger Katie Sturino is responsible for the blog The 12ish Style which is meant for “size 12ish-18ish girls living in a size 2 world.” After gaining a few dress sizes post-divorce, Katie realized she was more comfortable in her body than ever before.
The problem was, as a fashion publicist, Sturino was constantly finding that the styles she loved either didn’t come in her size or she was told they weren’t “right” for her body, and she wanted to change that. Her goal is to help other women feel as comfortable as she does now through her blog.
Sara Puhto Provides Everone With Both Sides Of The Picture
A Finnish vegan currently living in South Africa, Sara’s Instagram focusses on posting both sides of the story (or the picture). Meaning, she posts the before and after poses for a photo, the candid vs real, posed vs natural, and her 320K followers seem to appreciate the honesty.
We all understand that Instagram fitness models have some strategic posing, lighting and camera angles behind their pictures, but Sara receives a lot of praise for openly highlighting it in an effort to promote body positivity through her account.
Kelvin Davis Wants Men To Be More Accepting Of Their Size
Kelvin Davis started his Instagram and blog back in 2013 to “inspire and show men of size that you can be stylish regardless of our sometimes limitations.” Kelvin has appeared in ads for major brands like Chubbies, The Gap, and American Eagle in an effort to change the media’s portrayal of men and masculinity.
Now the brawny model and best-selling author spreads his message of size-acceptance and body positivity to other men every day online.
Celeste Barber Wants Us To Find Some Time To Laugh
Celeste Barber has nearly 6 million Instagram followers thanks to her more accurate recreations of photos posted by celebrities. You know those photos you see online where you think “wow, only a literal supermodel could get away with this.” Those are the photos Celeste recreates.
She’s a comedian, so her goal is to make her followers laugh, but it’s also to remind everyone on social media that these perfect images that fill our timelines aren’t realistic.
Jameela Jamil’s “I Weigh” Shows That Everyone Has Something To Bring To The Table
Started by comedian and self-described feminist-in-progess Jameela Jamil as part of her “revolution against shame” the I Weigh movement is about radical inclusivity, according to its Instagram page.
The point of Jamil’s movement is that your physical weight doesn’t matter because you are more than that. The movement emphasizes that regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or anything else, you are important, you need to be kind to yourself, and everyone has something to bring to the table.
Em Ford Is Looking To Redefine Beauty
In July 2015, U.K. blogger Em Ford shared a video to her YouTube channel titled “You Look Disgusting” which was a compilation of negative comments she received on her makeup-free photos and videos. Within the first week of posting the video received 10 million views, and since then, Ford has become an advocate for “skin positivity” and “redefining beauty” campaigns on social media.
She has partnered with brands like Kylie Cosmetics, The Body Shop, and L’Oreal and continues to promote body positivity, and she contributes to normalizing adult acne, emphasizing it’s not just an issue for teenagers.