As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy, and nowhere is this more true than on Instagram. While the social media platform can be a source of connection, support and community, studies have shown that it can also have a major negative impact on mental health, particularly as the majority of the images you’ll see while scrolling are heavily posed and filtered. In other words, they’re not real.
However, there are accounts that are rebelling against this hyper-perfect, unrealistic standard, including Sydney-based influencer Ariella Nyssa.
Exhausted by the barrage of supposedly flawless and ‘flattering’ images that consume most of our feeds, and having spent years criticising her own body, Ariella is sharing real, ‘unready’ photos that celebrate every part of her, and encouraging her 312k followers to do the same.
‘When I was a teenager I was constantly on the search for new diets and new ways to change myself. I had Victoria Secret angels as my background on my phone to remind myself that THAT is what I want to be, I want to look like her. Little did young me know, it was an unattainable ideal fuelled by today’s society and media,’ she explained of her motivation in an emotional post back in October.
‘There were nights that I curled up in a ball and would cry just because I felt so bad about being ME. I would have done anything to be someone else. To have a rock hard stomach, perky boobs, the perfect smooth butt, all in the attempt to accept myself.
‘I endured some trauma that tore me down and left me feeling as though I was nothing. It was only in my darkness moments that I realised that a genuine, authentic love and acceptance toward myself was the only way for me to be truly happy.
‘No more diets, no more starvation, no more guilt when I miss days at the gym and most importantly no more self-hatred. WE are all miracles. WE are all worthy. WE all deserve love and acceptance from ourselves. No matter what we face on our journeys we must always remember that we perfectly imperfect.’
To reinforce her message, she launched an online collective called The Self Love Bible, images of women posting their own stories of their journeys with their bodies, as well as continuing to share candid snaps of herself in her own bikini range, even the shots she would have instantly deleted in the past.
‘I urge you, post your unready photos! Post the photos that you “don’t like” at first glance,’ she urges. ‘It’s so freeing and makes you realise how beautiful you really are.’
Unsurprisingly, Ariella’s campaign has been amazingly well received, with endless compliments from fans calling her ‘inspiring’ and saying that the images had helped them to address their own insecurities too.
‘You are amazing! You really do help others feel good about themselves and rethink how our bodies are “meant” to look like,’ said one commenter, while a second revealed: ‘You helped give me the confidence to actually wear a bikini for the first time in my life this past weekend.’
‘You make me appreciate my body for what it is and not what people think it should be!’ said a third. ‘You are amazing!’
‘Thank you for reminding us that cellulite and curves are okay! Your posts make me feel much more confident every day,’ added another.
In fact, if your own confidence is in need for a little extra boost, following Ariella’s account could be the best thing you do all day.