Revealed: Qld’s top body-positive influencers
CURVES, imperfections and stretched post-partum bellies.
A new wave of social media influencers are reminding women to reclaim their bodies as they fight back against beauty standards.
The shift comes after curvy model April Hélène-Horton was announced to be the face of Curvy Swimwear's new campaign, 'Beach Please', with her picture featured on billboards across the country.
The move by the swimwear label was prompted after they discovered women were too self conscious about their bodies to go to the beach.
April, who has over 19,000 followers on her instagram account @thebodzilla, is one of many Queensland women changing the body conversation.
Health experts say people, particularly women, are choosing to follow influencers who are relatable rather than those who promote unrealistic expectations.
For years, Gold Coast influencer and fashion designer Karina Irby has been a loud voice in the body positive movement.
To her 1.1m followers, Irby embraces her cellulite, bloated stomach and chronic eczema in a bid to normalise different body shapes, sizes and imperfections.
"I think that people are sick of content that makes them feel bad about themselves," she told The Sunday Mail.
"People want to use social media to connect and feel good about themselves, especially after so many have been isolated and alone throughout 2020."
Irby said she struggled with body image as a teenager and hopes to empower her followers to feel comfortable in their own skin.
"I just don't want anyone to feel alone or lonely when they are going through or experiencing whatever struggles they might be facing," she said.
"I want people to realise that someone, somewhere in the world is going through the exact same issues or problems as you and that just reaching out and talking will help immensely."
Psychologist Trish Obst says these types of influencers are helping to change social norms.
"There is certainly a group aspect to what's considered acceptable or not and social media is a huge amplifier of the impact of the group on our thinking," she says.
"These body positive influencers are changing that discourse and consequently our attitudes.
"Having a size eight model tell you to not worry about your weight is never going to have the same impact as someone who is not a perfect size eight but none the less in comfortable and happy in their own skin."
Sunshine Coat influencer Natalie Angel, 41, uses her platform to break down barriers in fashion.
"I hope my content inspires women to feel joy when they put on their clothes and to dress to their shape and not feel they have to hide," she says.
"I am passionate about speaking to the everyday Australian woman, to help her and make her see her worth is not defined by her age or size."
NATALIE ANGEL, @letmetrybeforeyoubuy, 90.3k followers
Sunshine Coast fashion guru Natalie Angel describes herself as a body positive advocate.
In 2019, she started a Facebook page where she tried on different clothes to help women get a feel for how it might look on various shapes.
She struck a chord with women everywhere and she says she's now become Australia's No. 1 IGTV fashion video influencer.
"Watching someone with lumps and bumps try on size 16 garments reassures women that my try-ons are authentic," she says.
"I want every woman to feel welcome, appreciated and that absolutely nothing is wrong with her body."
EMILY SKYE, @emilyskyefit, 2.5m followers
The Gold Coast fitness influencer likes to keep things real. She's given her millions of followers an authentic look at the changing body of a mother. Skye gave birth to Izaac, her second child, last year in June and fills women with confidence to embrace their pre and post pregnancy bodies. She's a huge advocate of self love, persistence and patience and reminds women to never compare themselves. She empowers her followers with tips and tricks to gain confidence and feel healthier and fitter in mind and body.
CURVY SAM, @curvysam, 31.5k followers
Sam has been a strong body positive advocate for over 10 years.
Each year, Sam hosts a BOPO (body positive) pool party, which she says is a safe space for women to celebrate their bodies and be themselves.
Through her positive posts, Sam says she aims to represent 'visibly plus size women'.
"I share photos of myself online and I keep it very real in my stories showing the highs and lows of life because we live in a world where we will be happier, richer, prettier and be more loved existing in a smaller body," she says.
"Confidence is contagious so if I inspire just one woman to love herself a little more than that's so awesome."
LEANNE WARD, @the_fitness_dietitian, 303k followers
Leanne Ward is here to tell you how to make positive changes in your life.
The nutritionist shuts down myths about weight loss, calories and educates her followers with practical tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ward offers helpful advice for busy women on how to adapt a healthy lifestyle and reminds her followers to ditch photoshop and love their bodies.
SAMI ROSE, @samirosefitness, 52.1k followers
Sami Rose is fearless and she encourages her followers to be the same. The fitness trainer, counsellor and psychology eating coach advocates a healthy relationship with food, active lifestyle and provides healthy ways to cope in times of heightened emotions.
Sami's accounts aim to create a safe space for women to turn to for advice.
"The most important weight you'll ever lose is the weight on your shoulders of what you assume other people are thinking," she writes.
"What other people think of you is not your responsibility. What you think of you is everything."
TARA LEONG, @thenutritionguruandthechef, 23.6k followers
Tara Leong is an enthusiastic presence who finds fun and entertaining ways to break down myths and offer words of encouragement on how women can embrace their 'real' body.
As a qualified nutritionist, chef and mother, Leong unpacks the complex world of food and body confidence by squashing myths and reminding women to embrace their cellulite.
"The #beachbody diet culture is in full swim. So much so that we don't even notice it any more. That doesn't mean it's not slowly filtering in to our brain and tormenting us," she writes.
"Imagine how many industries would go broke if we didn't hate on our bodies?"
Leong, who goes by The Nutrition Guru and The Chef, also offers advice on her podcast, 99% Fad Free.
BROOKE FALVEY, @what_brooke_wore, 37.7k followers
If you're not feeling your best, Brooke Falvey is the ultimate pep talk.
She'll remind you it's OK not to feel OK, use her joyous posts to comfort you through the rough patch and encourage you to do whatever it is that makes you happy, even if it's ordering that delicious cheeseburger.
The Brisbane stylist boosts her followers with confidence through her helpful fashion advice which aim to make every woman feel comfortable in their skin.
"Shopping for swimwear can be about as fun as a root canal, you can feel exposed ...then you think 'but I don't have a beach body'," she writes.
"Well I'm here to tell you that you do. Everybody has a beach body and your body is ready for the beach (or the pool, sprinkler etc); all you need to do is put on your swimmers."
Not exclusively fashion, Falvey is a strong mental health advocate and let's her followers know they're never alone.
DANI ADRIANA, @iamdaniadriana, 104k followers
Dani Adriana describes herself as a 'fat activist'.
The Cairns influencer is open about her previous struggles with an eating disorder and shares her story to recovery.
Adriana uses her social media presence a voice for 'fat activism', mental health awareness, body positivity and self care.
"Something that made me feel a lot more accepting of my body was to ask myself why it had to be beautiful?" she writes.
"If the people who loved me loved me now why did it matter? Why did I need to fit into something that is so objective, ever changing and varies from place to place from person to person.
"I started to take tons of photos of myself, I started to touch my belly with kindness, I started to watch the ways in which I honoured my body unfold. All bodies deserve this
Adriana also co-created The Body Reconnect Collective alongside Ashlee Bennett and runs body image events around the country.
Originally published as Revealed: Qld's top body-positive influencers