When I started modeling, I was fully supported by everyone around me; having the encouragement of family, friends and loved ones is something I value highly and it’s sometimes nice to have that final push from others to get the “I’m actually going to do this” belief going.
Whilst having some degree of modeling experience behind me before moving to LA and worked on jobs to gain a modest level of exposure, I had not completely ‘put myself out there’.
Instagram. Insert nervous emoji with anxiety-ridden, scared AF face.
If you’re traveling on public transport today and see someone/everyone scrolling on their phone and not taking in the beauty of their surroundings … there’s a 90% chance they are on Instagram. I just came up with that statistic – it’s high, and probably very close. Whatever.
It is today’s beast of social media and a sure way to gain public exposure.
Pre-Instagram: just like any business, models never used to have the capability of gaining such exposure to high volumes of people… however you want, and for free.
Posting more photos and increasing my activity on Instagram was something I knew I had to do if I was going to grow my name in the industry. I saw it as my professional portfolio; I wouldn’t post anything I didn’t think represented who I was as a person nor what I wanted to be known for in the fashion industry as a model.
“How fun! Surely this will also be a great way to boost my confidence from all the positive feedback”, I thought.
The more I started working, the bigger my following grew.I had approximately 3,500 followers when I moved to LA.I now have over 77,000 people following my page.
As the numbers increase and I am met with more and more moving conversations about body positivity and genuine care for others, so does the flow coming through the flood gates of little internet trolls and the likelihood of me being personally attacked.
People can be just downright mean. I have received comments in regards to my weight, health, face and overall look. When it first began to happen, I would take it really hard and developed a negative view of myself. I started to become really self-conscious and was nervous to post new photos on my social media. I worried about my diet and appearance in such an unhealthy way.
Before any positive thought or my ability to remember why I got into the industry entered my mind, negativity and self-doubt took over.
I recall seeing one of my trolls (zero endearment intended) commenting on another girl's photo. It was that moment that something inside of me clicked and my perspective changed. I wasn’t the only one being targeted and this was the world I had entered by choosing to develop any public expansion through Instagram. Now I warn you, my logic about this is pretty damn black and white but hey, why not see it other than something to do with chocolate: I could create THE MOST DELICIOUS, FAT FREE, MAKES YOUR IQ SKY ROCKET, NEVER ENDING ONCE YOU OPEN IT chocolate. I expose that to 5 people, and the chances of someone criticising it are low. Expose it to the world, and there are bound to be haters REGARDLESS!
I’ll let you take a few moments to digest the fact I just tried to use some strange logic and unintentionally liken myself to the most incredible creation ever.
To this day, I still receive comments on my feed that are negative, rude, not to mention pathetic, but also hilarious. One that I have consistently had to defend is my weirdly, wonderful, boyfriend loves them, strangely shaped hips – people think I Photoshop them. Sorry folks, they’re just so strange that it looks like my edges
are 2D sometimes… I’m not joking; it’s my body. I’ve been told to get liposuction to these areas – sorry haters, I know it might be more appealing to the eye but I’m not going to!
Now, instead of focusing on the negative comments, I put my energy into liking or replying to the nice ones that I get. I receive comments all the time about how inspirational I am to other women, and it’s those comments that make me want to showcase myself and that I am confident. That’s just one of the reasons I got into the life I now live, and it’s just not worth letting the minority which is negativity & hate, win. Learning that you don’t need or crave validation from others, but rather the way you see yourself is what is important.
One day, I hope that if I have a daughter I can be a voice of reason against the negative pressures that society continues to impart on young women. As a young girl growing up, there is enough to deal with in this day and age. Some of you may already be aware of my passion towards breaking down the stigma to Mental Illness; messages of hate and general energy that is negative in nature doesn’t make that growing up any easier.
Love and positivity is much easier I say!
Check out the link to view my feature in Daily Mail- You won't believe some of the comments!