Let’s be real, social media can be a very toxic place depending on who you follow, not to mention the “popular” accounts that Instagram “thinks” you want to see. This can make it difficult to stay positive about bodies when we feel like we're unable to live up to the ideals of the photos that flood our feeds. It’s a great thing that body-positivity is so widely accepted on social media platforms (especially Instagram), but our feeds aren't always reflecting that representation.
Based on who you follow, you could get hundreds of photos of the same-looking people living the “glamorous” lives that we secretly wished we could have – but nothing that's real. While there is nothing wrong with gravitating towards this type of imagery, it’s good to have a bit of diversity in your feed, and to follow influencers that embrace all body types. Here's our faves that are making Instagram a more welcome and stylish place.
1. Megan Jayne Crabbe, @bodyposipanda
Always one to advocate for self-love and diversity of bodies in the beauty and fashion industry, Megan Jayne Crabbe, also known as bodyposipanda on Instagram, is a great addition to your daily scroll. With a balance between memes and images that are bright and fun, Crabbe is constantly featuring herself and others in their real, unedited forms.
Having previously recovered from an eating disorder, she details this, and the effect social media has on a person’s image, in her much-anticipated autobiography, Body Positive Power. Her unique style and love for other marginalized bodies are shown in her images, but it's her uplifting, inspirational captions that truly remind her her followers to love their bodies and love each other.
2. Shay Neary @watchshayslay
Being transgender in the beauty and fashion industries are hard enough, and being plus-sized doesn't make it easier. But model Shay Neary topples this stigma flawlessly. Having been featured in campaigns with all-inclusive brand Smart Glamour and UK brand Yours Clothing, she consistently shows the world that being plus-sized and transgender is what makes her beautiful. And she's a badass model, too.
Considered by most as one of the first plus-sized transgender models in the business, Neary is an icon in her own right. Besides totally killing it as a model for brands or being featured in major fashion spreads in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Neary does exactly as her Instagram handle says: She slays.
On her Instagram, whether it's a luxe photo shoot or a spontaneous behind-the-scenes snaps, you'll find Neary embracing her body with uplifting captions. She reminds her followers, and those who just happen to come across her page, that embracing who you are on the inside will reflect on the outside as well.
All that’s missing is a tablespoon of societal oppression... ? . ?: @rubcha for @cosmopolitan . #plussizemodel #plussize #transgender #transmodel #fat #bodydiversity #bodyconfidence #trans #diversity #inclusive #confidence #models #activist #changethenarrative #mybody #letstalkaboutsex #sex #sexuality #lgbtqia #women
3. Kellie Brown @itsmekellieb
The creator of #fatfashionweek, Kellie Brown is showing everyone that being fat and fabulous go hand in hand. Her feed features her on-point personal style and iconic looks that she always manages to pull off effortlessly. Brown is a legend in the fashion community. She's unapologetically plus-sized, and isn't afraid to share that she's probably more stylish than you.
Having been featured in publications like Essence and The Cut, Brown's no stranger to being the center of attention. She proves this in her colorful feed and reminds her followers that being big doesn't mean you can't wear cute clothes. On her personal blog, And I Get Dressed, she talks about fashion sales, trends and her current favorite pieces.
Brown truly normalizes fat fashion and has no problem claiming her space in the industry. Her bold and inspirational attitude is infectious, and will inspire you to post that picture that you once thought wasn't good enough.
4. Tess Holliday @tessholliday
One of the OG plus-sized supermodels, Tess Holliday is constantly calling out the fashion and beauty industries on their lack of diversity and inclusion. She shows her followers (and haters) that she can be fat and a supermodel, as proven by her iconic and historic Cosmopolitan UK cover.
Holliday isn't afraid to post pictures that may seem controversial--like a mirror selfie in only her underwear and bra, or a candid picture of her post crying sesh. She embraces her body like many of the women on this list, and urges open conversations on things that normally might feel difficult to talk about.
Being a mom of two, Holliday isn't afraid to reveal that the pressure to be a perfect mom sometimes feels to much. As any truly fabulous icon, she's been featured in so many fashion campaigns, particularly with Fashion Nova Curve and Self Magazine (which she was also the cover model for), and she is the epitome of #fashiongoals. She inspires her followers to wear that outfit they thought wouldn't look good on their body type.
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
5. Marcela Sabia @marcelailustra
Brazilian artist Marcela Sabia’s Instagram feed is a body positivity haven. She features her own illustrations and encourages her followers to embrace their bodies for how they are. She tackles topics like mental health and self-love, and features illustrations that support those who are disabled, suffering from eating disorders, or just think their bodies are not good enough.
Sabia's Instagram has something for everyone, and features drawings of diverse issues that many are self-conscious about. By including drawings of women, men and other non-binary people with real body's that sag or have scars, she reminds you that the things that you think are "different" are actually normal.
Her beautiful illustrations are paired with inspirational captions that remind you what you love about yourself. She is epically real about her own insecurities and inspires others to embrace their own identities and embrace their self-image, rather than be ashamed of it.
These amazing women take the most vulnerable parts of themselves and share them with the world to show others that their bodies are normal and beautiful. Even though they don’t look like the bodies that are often shown in media, they are beautiful and deserve a space to exist in any industry.
From their activism and postings, they're normalizing the body types that others say are too different to feature, and urging you to do so as well. Their Instagram posts and messages are a great addition to any feed, especially for those long days when you need a little something to pick you up or a reminder to love yourself.