Self-esteem and pandemic are two words that, sometimes, don’t go together, right? This happens for many reasons: from the agony of being stuck at home for so long to the comparison that we inevitably do when we encounter beauty and bodies that aren’t real on social media.
Furthermore, we know that in the world of anonymity that is the internet, people with preserved identity can make very nasty comments about the appearance of others, the so-called cyberbullying – but at the same time that there are people with bad intentions, there are people who have a single objective: to help and represent those who feel bad about the daily attacks, whether virtual or in person.
Aiming to address issues about trust in general, influencers Lilith Furry and Clarissa Thompson talked about this subject at the The BodCon, launched in February 2021 as a virtual conference series centered around all things body confidence, body positivity and self love: “We want people to feel worthy in their bodies.”
Clarissa Thompson (@clarissatalks) started her Instagram page as a way to feel more confident with her body. Since then, Clarissa has transformed her page to be a safe space for everyone to also feel confident regardless of their shape and size. She has been to several events and partnered with many brands as an influencer and is proud to show more body diversity in the fashion industry. Her content creation goes well beyond fashion. She is also a filmmaker and an outdoor enthusiast who loves to travel. She hopes to always inspire others with her page and documenting how she is living her best life.
Lilith Fury (@lilith.fury) is a Latina, Indigenous, Queer and Disabled actress known for appearing in over 30 films to date. Her love for the horror genre has extended to her modeling career as well, as she was the first plus size model in her size category for goth brands Killstar, Too Fast and Sourpuss, etc. She’s made it her mission to help provide representation to those who otherwise go unacknowledged. Her goal is to bring body positivity to the world of horror.
These amazing people were interviewed by Her Campus Cásper Líbero, check it out:
“When I started my page @clarissatalks I really had no intention of becoming an influencer. I only wanted to post things to feel confident in my body and to just be able to express myself”, said Classica about her account. “Before this page, I was always working on my confidence but something just always felt like it was missing, I still felt like I was afraid to be my true self. Instagram really helped me find my voice. I had no idea anyone would follow me or relate to the content that I have made over the years. Once that happened I just went with it and I am still so honored to be able to spread positivity and self love through my account.”
Lilith talked a little bit about the importance of more and more diversity: “I’m here to provide some representation. There isn’t a lot of queer, disabled, or indigenous/Latinx models in my size category (66/44/78) out there. So many names in the body positivity movement are significantly smaller which really leaves a lot of people left without representation. I want to change that. Not just for my modelling, but in film with my acting career too. I want people to see a woman well over 400 lbs positivity portrayed on the big screen.”
When asked if they ever have problems with self-acceptance and self-love, they both said yes and shared their experiences. Clarissa admits that for many years she couldn’t find value in herself, while for Lilith, the problems took on an even greater proportion.
“I began to develop anorexia in 1 grade, and suffered with restricted eating, excessive exercise, and occasional purging for 26 whole years. I felt like a monster. That I was unlovable, defective, and inherently wrong. I’d only eat in my underwear, while seated in front of a mirror that had horrible things written all over it. I’d surround myself with as many triggers as possible to keep myself in my sickness. I’d even beat myself with a belt as a sick form of punishment. When my lipedema decided to go into overdrive and begin piling on weight, I didn’t know the cause, but I did know that weight loss was impossible for some reason and that ended my eating disorder. My body dysmorphia ended after a brief run as a cam girl where I realised that my self hatred was a reflection of the feelings and opinions of others which I no longer cared about. I didn’t want anyone else to have power over me and how I viewed myself. I took that power back and ever since then I’ve felt beautiful and free”, said Lilith.
Due to the help the internet gave them in self-acceptance, they said that they started talking about self-acceptance on the internet because they wanted to represent people who identify with them.
“I had hopes that I could be someone that people looked up to. That I could be the role model I needed when I was growing up. Being vulnerable on the internet is an interesting thing but I appreciate it so much because it allows me to heal, say my truth, and hopefully connect with others who struggle with the same things.” – Clarissa
“I put my life on hold for too long, and gave up countless experiences out of fear that my body wasn’t good enough to enjoy them. Beach trips, parties, festivals, concerts, shopping, restaurants, swimming pools, etc. I don’t want others to miss out on life, love, and memories just cuz they’re fat.” – Lilith.
But Lilith also said that what makes her feel more secure about herself: “When I worked on cam I realised that no matter how I looked, there would be millions of people who’d think I’m beautiful. That being thin wasn’t the only path to beauty because beauty was subjective. Then I thought about how much I couldn’t stand the men who watched me, and how meaningless their opinions were. That I had wasted so much of my life because of how people like them might view me. At that point I just stopped caring what anyone thought about my body. I felt beautiful, and no one else was going to have the power to change that ever again.”
And Clarissa adds: “Realizing that everyone may have opinions about me but that doesn’t mean that I should let those opinions affect me and how I live. Once that clicked, everything else fell into place. I also realized that if I did not love myself, how could I give my love to anyone else? How could I be my best self if I wasn’t truly happy. That was something that stuck with me and I just wanted to be able to attract that positive energy into my life.”
They also left advices for people who are working on building their self esteem: “Think about the root to your fears surrounding your body. From what I’ve learned talking to thousands of other women, and enbys over the years is that almost all of them have the same root as I did. The way others perceive or might perceive you and your body. Does their opinion really matter? If you like kittens, and they’re horribly anti cat, and start saying all kittens are disgusting, are you gonna believe them? Of course not. Because you that kittens are cute and their opinion isn’t fact. It’s opinion. As for trolls…. I see them as super stalkers. I don’t like kale, but I don’t hunt down pages about kale, search kale hashtags, and start spewing hate about it. I don’t work myself up in a rage that others dare to eat something I think tastes like bile. And I certainly don’t join forums or threads about hating kale so I can talk to others who hate it too, and share pics of people who like it, keeping up to date on every bit of news. I also don’t make a page dedicated to my dislike. If I did that I’d be ridiculously pathetic wouldn’t I? But that’s exactly what these trolls do in regards to fat people. So why would anything they have to say matter in any way? You can literally ruin their day by simply existing”, declared Lilith.
Clarissa said that you should just be yourself and not hold yourself back: “My biggest advice would be to just really sit back and ask yourself, “What is holding me back?” and truly think about that. For me, I was the one holding myself back but I put that blame on others so I didn;t have to face that truth. And then just go out and do all the things that make you scared and nervous. Try the things you have always wanted to do but were too afraid to do them. And to never forget to give yourself love, grace and so much compassion. It is okay to fail, it is okay to not be perfect at everything that you do. Trying things is the hardest step and you were brave enough to put yourself out there. The self-love journey is not an easy one to take but the hard work pays off in so many ways that are unimaginable to you now.“