3 Social Media Influencers Behind The Body Confidence Movement And What It Means To Them

While Instagram still has its moments of being a bed of self-doubt, more influencers and celebrities are combatting the 'picture-perfect' social media image by opening up about their struggles and journeys with body image in the era of FaceTune and filters. The body confidence movement continues to rise in popularity across all forms of media, including television shows starring curvy actresses to plus-sized models gracing the covers of magazines, but it's important to remember where the movement first started and why it originated. In an effort to combat the unrealistic expectations of what someone's everyday life is like, influencers started to share more 'real vs Instagram' photos and videos that showcased what their life truly looks like outside of a clothing brand campaign, re-touched photos and glamorous vacations. The beloved social media app has led the way for body heroes to shine light on authentic fitness journeys and regimens, breaking free of society's unrealistic beauty standards.

While everyone may have a different take on what 'body confidence' means to them, these social media stars have pioneered the discussion and taken it upon themselves to create outlets for women (and men) to feel confident in their body and to understand that fitness is an individualized journey and no one's body is the same. From the creative visionary behind the #StrongIsSexy movement, to the world's most famous face and icon of the body confidence movement, these body heroes have dedicated their careers and platforms to empowering women of all shapes and sizes by allowing them to find their groove in life, the gym and beyond.

Photo Credit: Instagram.com/Ashleygraham

Ashley Graham, @ashleygraham

Ashley Graham is arguably the most famous plus-sized model turned body confidence icon with over 8.6 million followers on Instagram. The model and activist has graced the covers of Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, Elle, among others. "Confidence comes from knowing who you are and not allowing others to dictate otherwise," Graham shares via her Instagram account. "How do you gain confidence? It's a journey and everyone's is different."

iskraPhoto Credit: instagram.com/iskra

Iskra Lawrence, @iskra 

Iskra Lawrence, famously known as Iskra, has been in the modeling industry for most of her life. With a loyal 4.5 million people following her account, Iskra is vocal about her journey to self-love, the many changes her body has undergone throughout her career, her fitness regimen, how she stays active and in-shape and her relationship with herself through loving her skin and curves. "I wish I had known that photoshop and retouching didn’t make me perfect or beautiful," The model candidly shares with her followers. "My value [isn't]  based on a set of measurements, a number on the scale or the size I wear."

Photo Credit: instagram.com/chessiekingg

Chessie King, @chessiekingg 

Chessie King wants her followers to break up with the perfect feed. The London-based body-positive presenter candidly opens up about her struggles with body image, her fitness journey and relationship with food, and even the many struggles she's faced concerning stubborn, hard-to-get-rid-of acne and more. The influencer, presenter and fitness coach is famously-known and adored for her unfiltered platform including how she handles internet trolling. For King, the definition of what body confidence means to her has evolved over the years. "I tried every single way to change my body from the age of 18-24; I went to every gym class in London, I counted every calorie, I tried all the diets, I wished I looked like every other female on this planet, I competed in a bikini competition, I worked out twice a day. My mind constantly bullied my body." King shares on her Instagram account. "I’ve trained [my mind] to speak kindly [to my body] and recognize what it does for us. It didn’t just happen overnight, I had to keep reminding myself daily and I still do on vulnerable days."