Lexi Mendiola is beloved on Instagram for her photos of herself at the beach in a bathing suit and other pics that exude a general “I wish this was my life” vibe. But this week, she shared a side of herself she doesn’t normally let her more than 24,000 followers see: the one with cellulite. Following in the footsteps of stars like Ashley Graham and fitness personality Dorothy Beal, Mendi used an unretouched image to embrace herself and hopefully inspire her fans.
The image is a simple shot of Mendi posing in a bathing suit, with the one daring-for-Instagram note that her “tiger stripes,” aka stretch marks are visible. Mendi writes that she hesitated at first over whether to post the photo. “I was thinking thrice if I wanted to keep this photo or dump it in the bin…ONLY because of my tiger stripes,” she captioned the photo, which has already garnered over 17,000 likes.
I was thinking thrice if I wanted to keep this photo or dump it in the bin…ONLY because of my tiger stripes. I caught myself right before tossing it and just could. not. believe. how I let myself get so insecure about something so natural!!! It's taken me quite a while (23 yrs to be exact) but putting this out there to remind myself and everyone that it's really nothing to get all worked up or feel weird about. here's to learning to love the lines ????
A post shared by Lexi Mendiola (@leximendi) on Mar 3, 2017 at 6:57pm PST
“I caught myself right before tossing it and just could. not. believe. how I let myself get so insecure about something so natural!!! It’s taken me quite a while (23 yrs to be exact) but putting this out there to remind myself and everyone that it’s really nothing to get all worked up or feel weird about. here’s to learning to love the lines,” she wrote.
Just three days later, she’s posted again, thanking fans for their gracious responses to the picture. “Absolutely floored by all the positive feedback, comments, and messages from everyone. I didn’t see that coming!!” read the follow-up.
Mendi has likely been inspired by the body-positive campaigns of celebs like the aforementioned Graham, whose #beautybeyondsize initiative works to help women embrace themselves, “flaws” and all. After all, if a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model is allowed to have cellulite, an Instagram celebrity can certainly follow suit.
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on Jan 25, 2017 at 6:41pm PST
Lena Dunham has even taken the campaign to the next level, letting her cellulite show on the cover of Glamour magazine.
“Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without Photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display,” she points out. “Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn’t matter — my body isn’t fair game,” Dunham said of her choice to go unretouched. “No one’s is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there’s a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful.” We’re getting there, one cellulite selfie at a time.
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