I'm calling it – the era of FaceTune is coming to an end. The world has had enough of seeing these highly edited posts of bodies that have been smoothed, reshaped and blurred; we want to see real women, real women who come in all shapes and all sizes, not in just the very narrow standards of beauty we have come to expect from Instagram.
Pictured: Megan Jayne Crabbe with Enam Asiama and Grace Victory. Photographer: Linda Blacker
So I've come up with my very own list of body confidence heroes who light up my Instagram feed daily by showcasing and celebrating their natural bodies in all their beautiful glory. These women will help you to feel good in your own skin, develop a sense of body confidence and inspire you to throw on that bikini and just live your best damn life on the beach this summer.
Alex Light - @alexlight_ldn
I know, I know, I can't believe I started this list with myself either, but here we are. I've overcome various eating disorders and body image issues to get to a place where I am finally at peace with my natural, unedited body. I regularly open up about my eating disorders, my recovery and my ongoing struggles in the hope of helping other girls who might be going through something similar, and I try to highlight how commonplace editing is to stop the comparison.
Megan Jayne Crabbe - @bodyposipanda
Megan Crabbe is one of the first 'body positivity' champions I ever followed and is still one of my favourites. She overcame anorexia to become an absolute body positivity warrior and uses her incredible platform to call BS on society's obsession with dieting, all while encouraging women of all different shapes and sizes to love themselves unapologetically.
Stephanie Yeboah - @nerdabouttown
Stephanie is open about the struggles she has faced to become body confident, and she educates her followers about self-love and body acceptance. I also really like her fashion sense.
Danae Mercer - @danaemercer
A fitness journalist and influencer, Danae is using her platform to improve women's confidence and show a real, unedited glimpse into her life.
Tess Daly - @tess.daly
Tess Daly is a blogger who lives with spinal muscular atrophy type 2. The Sheffield-based Instagram star gives her followers a daily dose of beauty and fashion inspiration along with some inspirational captions, such as: "It’s taken me a long ass time to BE alright with me, but I’m finally here. You get one life with one body, so you may as well love it ❤️"
Iskra Lawrence - @iskra
I met Iskra years ago when I was in the middle of an eating disorder. She was so supportive and a bright light for me during a dark time, encouraging me to become at peace with my own body. Aside from my own personal experience with Iskra, she is one of the most popular body positivity activists around, having made it her mission to change the perception of women in the media and flying the flag for self-care and body diversity.
Jules von Hep - @julesvonhep
The pressures on men to conform to a certain standard of what society deems attractive have grown considerably over the last few years (no thanks to Love Island), so the male #bodypositivity movement is needed now more than ever. One of my favourite male #bopo stars is Jules von Hep, who educates his followers on defining themselves over their achievements, beliefs and morals, rather than their body, a message we all need to hear more of. Plus, Jules is hilarious and I love him.
Em Ford - @mypaleskinblog
Em Ford has amazing make-up tips and tricks, but I love her for her honesty about her battle with acne. She regularly opens up about her skin struggles and shows off her make-up free look, demanding her followers to look beyond imperfections.
Mama Cax - @mamacaxx
New York blogger Mama was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer at the age of 14 and lost her right leg soon after with an amputation at the hip. Since her recovery, the 27-year-old has landed multiple front covers and has a cool 178k follower on Instagram and is just really cool. I'm low-key obsessed with her.
Chessie King - @chessiekingg
Chessie brings a refreshing take on reality to Instagram. The health and fitness blogger has an infectious energy and radiates body positivity… I always go to her page when I need a pick-me-up because she's so funny.
Megan Rose Lane - @megan_rose_lane
Megan is a body confidence and mental health advocate who is open and honest about her body changing after becoming a mum. Her captions are thought-provoking and inspiring and I love keeping up with her.