It’s more important than ever to practice self-love. Social media impacts the way we view ourselves, and sometimes being inundated with photos of the perfectly fit and exquisitely dressed celebrities and models can bring us down. However, scores of women are working to counteract these effects through the body-positivity movement. By allowing us to peek into their personal and professional lives, the social-media trailblazers on our list of essential Instagram accounts to follow inspire us to be and love ourselves. Not to mention, science says that accepting your body can actually help you to lose weight. Make self-love a goal this year and read on to see who’s definitely worth offsetting your followers-to-following ratio for 2017.
1. Jessamyn Stanley, @mynameisjessamyn
Self-described fat femme Jessamyn Stanley teaches yoga with a body-positive approach that “celebrates students’ bodies and encourages them to ask, ‘How do I feel?’ rather than ‘How do I look?’ when practicing yoga,” her website reads. Stanley has “mixed feelings,” she tells New York Magazine, “about studios where you have to be larger-bodied to even go there because it adds to the community of people thinking you’re either one way or the other, as opposed to thinking that we’re all the same way.” On the other hand, she recognizes that many yoga instructors don’t know how to work with larger-bodied people and encourages them to learn. Follow Stanley’s Instagram account for a regular dose of mindfulness and awe-inspiring yoga poses.
Read more: Follow @mynameisjessamyn on Instagram
2. Dana Falsetti, @nolatrees
Falsetti’s Instagram looks like it fell out of a lifestyle magazine. Peppered with images of her doing yoga in nature and sexy lingerie snaps, her positively beautiful feed leaves nothing wanting. On her website, Falsetti shares that she found yoga after years of binge eating, depression, anxiety and weight loss. She’s since discovered that it’s not her body that sets the limits, but her mind. “Many people think they need to be thin, flexible or strong to practice yoga,” she writes. “Please, hear me when I say that yoga is for everybody.”
Read more: Follow @nolatress on Instragram
3. Barbie Ferreira, @barbienox
Barbie Ferreira’s no-bs attitude and striking looks catapulted her to fame when she emerged from New York’s indie fashion scene as one of American Eagle’s unretouched aerie Real models. She’s now modeled for Missguided, ASOS, i-D Magazine and Teen Vogue and has even graced the runway at New York Fashion Week. “I used to be very insecure,” she says in a recent Missguided campaign. “Before I started modeling I didn’t wear anything that would show off my body. I’d wear oversized things. And I got over it because I realized that I wasn’t happy in that.” Ferreira’s Instagram profile is everything you’d expect from your average millennial — selfies from every angle, relatable memes and candid videos — if that millennial starred in the occasional high-fashion photo shoot.
Read more: Follow @barbienox on Instagram
4. Morena Diaz, @m0reniita
Swiss blogger and body-positive feminist Morena Diaz empowers her 40,000 Instagram followers to love their bodies by sharing her experiences with disordered eating. “I enjoy every meal, because I eat whenever and whatever I want,” she tells LIVESTRONG.COM. “I don’t binge anymore, and I don’t look in the mirror and hate what I see. On the contrary: I’m able to accept my whole being and smile.” Diaz couples intimate stories with travel, fashion and food photography, making her an absolute must for your Instagram feed.
Read more: Follow @m0reniita on Instagram
5. Dounia Tazi, @dounia.t
Dounia Tazi and her partner in justice, Mina Mahmood, have lit the Insta-sphere on fire in their fight for gender, racial and body equality. “While we’re fighting for more people of color to grace runways and get parts in blockbuster hits, we have another outlet [social media] to offer the representation we desperately need,” she writes for Dazed. Tazi and Mahmood have graced the pages of major publications like Seventeen and InStyle for their fierce politics and looks. Now Tazi’s diving into music production: You can find her tunes on her SoundCloud account, @douniatazi. On her Instagram account, Tazi posts photos of herself in high fashion alongside videos of her dancing in an oversize T-shirt.
Read more: Follow @dounia.t on Instagram
6. Mina Mahmood, @bae.doe
Mina Mahmood started the #MyFavoritePictureOfMe hashtag on Twitter and Instagram as a way to get young women to celebrate themselves. One of the many topics for which she’s raising awareness now is plus privilege. “The average size of American women is a 14,” she tells Refinery29. “I fit into mediums, but I’m automatically labeled as a plus-size girl without anyone ever asking me about my measurements or actual size. It takes up space that real plus-size women should have.” Her Instagram feed will get you riled up for all the right reasons.
Read more: Follow @bae.doe on Instagram
7. Bree Kish, @breekish
Orange County-based model and YouTube vlogger Bree Kish is a total girl’s girl. On her YouTube channel (@Bree Kish) she shares makeup tutorials and goofy vlogs about everything from her favorite movies to an embarrassing commercial audition. Her Instagram radiates soft beauty, with a behind-the-scenes fashion feel. From fierce to relatable, Kish makes “being yourself” seem totally effortless.
Read more: Folllow @bree.kish on Instagram
8. Diana Veras, @mynamesdiana
Diana Veras’ Insta persona strikes a balance between New York “It Girl” and fashion model. Her dynamic character reflects the diversity she brings to the fashion industry. In an interview with i-D, Veras stresses the importance of diverse representation in the media: “I used to watch television as a kid, and all I used to see were white women with perfect teeth and blonde hair and light-colored eyes, and I used to cry because I wanted to be one of them so badly,” she says. “I just want to see all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. Not just different body types, but people of all ages, people with disabilities — more people of color! We all just need representation.” Her profile will bring beauty, honesty and intelligence to your feed.
Read more: Follow @mynamesdiana on Instagram
9. Iskra Lawrence, @iskra
Iskra Lawrence stunned the world last year with her unretouched lingerie photos as the new face of aerie. According to the pictures on her Instagram, being curvy doesn’t mean being out of shape. In fact, for Lawrence it means having abs that look like Michelangelo carved them. “I feel empowered when I use my body to exercise, play sports and explore the world,” she writes for Harper’s Bazaar. “My body allows me to sing, dance, talk, feel — and eat a damn good piece of cheesecake.” Her Insta feed boasts a ton of fashion shots as well as personal photos from days at the beach and evenings in.
Read more: Follow @iskra on Instagram
10. Healthy Is the New Skinny, @healthyisthenewskinny & @katiehwillcox
Katie Willcox pioneered the body-positivity movement as we know it. She’s the founder of Natural Model Management and Healthy Is the New Skinny. You may recognize her from the iconic image in O, The Oprah Magazine depicting, as the Healthy Is the New Skinny website describes, “what an average woman would need to alter on her body in order to look like Barbie.” In an interview with LIVESTRONG.COM, Willcox explains that women who strive to meet beauty standards are holding themselves back. “We’re waiting to live our lives until we feel like we’re meeting the beauty ideal.” Instead, aim to be healthy and accepting of your body. The Healthy Is the New Skinny Instagram page features fan photos, inspirational quotes and photos of Willcox — perfect for anyone looking for some self-love inspiration.
Read more: Follow @healthyisthenewskinny on Instagram
11. Parris Goebel, @parrisgoebel
New Zealand-born Parris Goebel took off among millennials when she starred in Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” music video alongside the rest of the ReQuest dance crew. It’s 2016’s No. 1 most-watched video, Forbes reports, with more than 1.8 billion views. Riding the wave of her overnight success, Goebel, who’s of Samoan decent, has since choreographed routines for Nicki Minaj and Janet Jackson. Plus, she recently released an EP on iTunes. Her Instagram posts are a daily reminder of the amazing things that anybody can do.
Read more: Follow @parrisgoebel on Instagram
12. Denise Mercedes, @denisemercedes
Plus-size model and Jersey girl Denise Mercedes loves to show women that they don’t have to be thin to look cute. “For example, crop tops: I love crop tops! They are my favorite, but many plus-size girls wouldn’t wear them,” she tells The Source. “So in many pictures I like to rock crop tops so bigger women can see that it is OK to wear them.” She’s a big proponent of staying healthy and squashes rumors about plus-size models being unhealthy by always making sure to get her cardio fix. Check out her Instagram for anything from fierce fashion shots and intimate selfies to goofy and relatable memes.
Read more: Follow @denisemercedes on Instagram
What Do YOU Think?
Did we miss anyone? How do you use social media to build a positive self-image? What are your favorite Instagram accounts? Let us know in the comments section!
Read more: Instagram Fitness Stars to Follow Right Now
Video of the Day
- New York Magazine: A Prominent Yogi on Fat Yoga, Instagram, and Changing Stereotypes
- Jessamyn Stanley
- Greatist: This Instagrammer Gets Totally Real About the Struggle to Love Yourself As Is
- Refinery29: Yes, "Plus Privilege" Exists. Here's What It Is
- Daily Mail: The ANTI-Kardashians: Selfie queens tackle body shaming and celebrate their flaws with feminist hashtag #MyFavoritePictureOfMe
- iD: talking body positivity, racial diversity and the problem with plus size labels with model diana veras
- Bustle: What Is Plus Size Privilege? Models Dounia Tazi & Mina Mahmood Spill On The Subject
- Harpers Bazaar: MODEL ISKRA LAWRENCE ON WHY YOU SHOULD "CALL OUT THE HATERS"
- Business Insider: This model who was dropped from her agency for being too big is giving the Victoria's Secret angels a run for their money
- Forbes: Justin Bieber's 'Sorry' Is The Most-Watched Music Video On Vevo Of 2016
- Vogue: Parris Goebel, the Dancer From Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Is Ready for Her Close-Up
- The Source: HER SOURCE BEAUTY OF THE WEEK | PLUS SIZE MODEL DENISE MERCEDES [INTERVIEW]
- Time Magazine: Meet the Curvy Model Whose Unretouched Photos Are Taking the Internet by Storm
- Cosmopolitan: Barbie Ferreira Is Unretouched and Absolutely Flawless in Missguided's Fall Campaign
- YouTube: @Missguided: Plus Size Styling Advice from Barbie Ferreira | Missguided
- LIVESTRONG.COM: Why Body Acceptance Can Actually Help You Lose Weight