Why This Social Media Star Stopped Posting Bikini Pics

Social media star and certified personal trainer Sophie Gray keeps it real. So when the 22-year-old Edmonton, Canada, native stumbled across a reshared Instagram photo of herself wearing a sports bra and showing off her toned abs with the caption, “Nothing tastes as good as being fit feels,” she decided to speak up.

Sophie Gray outed herself in a fitness photo being shared on social media. (Photo: Courtesy of Sophie Gray)
Sophie Gray outed herself in a fitness photo being shared on social media. (Photo: Courtesy of Sophie Gray)

“Actually from experience and seeing as I’m the person in this photo, I know that pizza and cookies taste way better,” Gray wrote in the comments section of the now-deleted post shared by Instagram user @gramousfitness.

On Monday, Gray reposted the photo to her Facebook page (where she has more than 35,000 followers), captioning it, “Just so we’re clear.” However, before sharing it, she used a digital tool to scribble out her abs. “In this situation, showing my body wasn’t relevant — people knew I was wearing a sports bra and that it was one of ‘those’ images — and I felt it would distract from my message,” Gray tells Yahoo Beauty.

Her reshare acquired 1.2K likes and dozens of comments celebrating Gray for rejecting fitspo clichés.

Gray, whose Instagram bio reads, “I want you to accept the sh*t out of yourself” spent her teenage years struggling with disordered eating and anxiety, two issues that stemmed from a lack of self-acceptance. A passion for fitness and nutrition helped her heal, but as she began building her career as a nutritionist and fitness trainer, Gray filled her social media accounts with enviable bikini shots and scantily clad exercise videos.

“A year ago, I had a panic attack while on a plane and began questioning why I felt the need to post those types of photos,” says Gray. “How could I preach self-acceptance and post these images? Why is my self-worth attached to a body type? I don’t even like working out! Once I realized those photos were a way to avoid who I really am, I made a vow to stop posting them.”

These days, Gray’s Instagram account is populated with makeup-free selfies (with commentary on her pimples), memes that read “Daily reminder to stay hydrated and not give a f*** about what other people think,” and snapshots of her adorable cocker spaniel, King Rio.

A post shared by Sophie Gray (@wayofgray) on Jun 8, 2017 at 4:05pm PDT

Yahoo Beauty could not reach @GramousFitness for comment; however, according to Gray, tension flared when she reached out and asked the model to remove her photo. “She basically told me that sharing my photo would help me get followers,” says Gray.

“I’m really into owning who I am,” says Gray. “Yes, I have a thin, privileged body but it’s not about that anymore. Self-acceptance is everything.”

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