Social media is everywhere. And like traditional media, it’s often a space for brands and celebrities to sell us aspirations in exchange for our sense of self-worth. But there’s a growing tribe of influencers using their platforms to reject notions of perfection in exchange for a radical new version of self-love, where external validation is not a prerequisite for inner peace.
Meet five influencers who have transcended their roles as beauty, food, and wellness experts to weave a powerful message of self-love and positivity into their content. They’re sure to add a healthy dose of good vibes into your daily feed, so read on!
1. Nabela Noor
A beauty guru with over a million Instagram followers and a ton of endorsements might seem out of place in this down-to-earth lineup. But the Bangladeshi-American has been a champion of self-love since her early days posting makeup tutorials on Youtube. For Noor, who’s quirk and charm belie a serious talent for caking and chiseling, it wasn’t long before she leveraged her growing popularity to start pushing for inclusion in the beauty and fashion industries. Whether she’s patiently schooling body shamers (“I’m not going to reserve my happiness for a later date or a later weight”) or ambushing pedestrians with messages of body love in her new project The Bright Fight, Noor has made it her mission to make women everywhere feel seen.
Her biggest lesson: There’s nothing wrong with celebrating ourselves in the moment, as we are, no matter where we happen to be in our journey towards a healthier life.
2. Sheer Lev
If there’s one person who totally exemplifies how social media can be leveraged to spread light and positivity, it’s Sheer Lev. The Israel-based spirituality vlogger welcomes followers into her personal journey of self-discovery, offering lessons along the way. She’s amassed over 100,000 followers on Youtube, where she shares content about everything from living and loving consciously, to self-acceptance, to dealing with anxiety and trauma. Her focus on inner growth over outer beauty is refreshing, and her content is bound to light up your day. Lev’s platform will appeal to anyone interested in delving deep into spiritual and emotional growth, but her worldview is particularly valuable for highly sensitive people (since she identifies as one herself).
Her biggest lesson: Accept that your thoughts and feelings are fluid, and don’t try too hard to hold on to them. Listen to the intuition that lives deep within you, and make choices that support your balance.
3. Lee Tilghman
Lee Tilghman first earned recognition for her food photography. A former eating disorder sufferer, she now speaks openly about her journey toward a healthier relationship with food and is a proponent of intuitive eating. Tilghman shares whole foods tips and recipes, encouraging words of wisdom, and general good vibes. Come for her trademark nail art and cool, slouchy style. Stay for her amazingly nourishing latte recipes and refreshing approach towards food.
Her biggest lesson: “We need to be proactive and remember it’s okay to take breaks, to log off, to hibernate, to rest, to say no, to not share, to be quiet, to not know what’s going on all the time.”
4. Joanne Encarnacion
“Fitstagram” was once the exclusive domain of 6-pack-wielding fitness models. Joanne Encarnacion defies that convention with frankness and humor, encouraging us to be healthier for ourselves and our loved ones — not for the image we want to project. But her focus on health doesn’t end with the physical. In between no-filter selfies, reading recommendations, and adorable shots of her family, Encarnacion shares insights on the important emotional and spiritual dimensions of wellbeing. She advocates radical, unapologetic self-love.
Her biggest lesson: “It’s time we start glorifying the raw, messy, and beautiful pieces of our whole self. Because the most impressive thing we can do is love ourselves unapologetically so we can show others how to do the same.”
5. Lauren Ash
Black Girl in Om founder Lauren Ash defies definition, but we’ll try anyway. Meditation guide, activist, and wellness guru are just a few of her potential titles. Ash was struck by the lack of diversity in the health and wellness industry during grad school and made it her mission to make it a more welcoming place for all. On her Instagram, you’ll find the occasional blissed-out shot of her on holiday in Bali, but never without insight into her spiritual journey. She’s a touring speaker and hosts retreats with an emphasis on welcoming black women into the wellness space.
Her biggest lesson: We must first accept ourselves for who we are before we can change, and we must seek change because we want to evolve with life, for change begins with love, not lack.
What links these women isn’t just that they’re great at what they do; it’s their sensitivity to the emotional needs of their followers. Through their words and the energy they project, they encourage us to love ourselves a little more in a space that can often discourage us with images of perfection. And that's a movement we can get behind.
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