Influencers you need to follow now to serve some inspiration and confidence in your timeline.
Instagram had conformed into a feed filled with beautiful bodies, perfectly smooth skin and equally perfectly constructed lives. Yet, in a time of uncertainty with a gradual return to some kind of normal, now more than ever, our timelines needed to be filled with inspiration and hope, rather than an endless stream of guilt and comparison.
Like many of us during lockdown and quarantine, the harsh realities of life began to shred the endless goal of perfection, and we realised how meaningless it all seemed in the grand scheme of things. As we were locked in our houses for protection, the liking of overly photoshopped images and inauthentic influencers began to give us a bad taste in our mouth compared to the life we were facing in reality.
We quickly drew conclusions that we wanted to see people encouraging change and celebrating everybody instead of the frivolousness that is so common on social media.
So here is LN+B’s coveted list of ten influencers and bloggers changing beauty standards as we know it, standing up to change, and helping to make this often fake landscape a little more real for everyone.
Florence Given @florencegiven
Florence (aka. Floss) despite being only 20 years old, is a feminist queer illustrator that has been internet famous since her teens for her activism against sexual assault and objectification of women.
Having been assaulted herself at the age of 14 by an older boy at a party who called her ‘frigid’ after she declined his unconsented sexual advances, she began to share her empowering art online.
She is unapologetic of her body and self-confidence, a vocal supporter of female body hair, and dismantling the patriarchal views that marriage and partnerships with men are of vital importance to women.
You may recognise her slogan prints found on her online shop plastered on t-shirts, prints, canvas bags, and incorporated all over her latest book, such as ‘Stop raising him he’s not your son’, ‘Women don’t owe you pretty’, and ‘Life is too short to not love the shit out of yourself’. Her art serves as a celebration of female autonomy, teaching women to honour their bodies and femininity as they please unapologetically.
Follow Floss to feel an empowered woman and fight the patriarchy.
Grace F Victory @gracefvictory
Grace is an award-winning creator who began her journey as a YouTuber. She is predominantly known for her inspiring words, fierce fashion sense and refusal to diminish herself, values or voice to suit societal expectations as a plus-sized Black-British woman.
During the Black Lives Matter Movement, Grace was an active speaker on the issues black women face in the influencer industry. She spoke out against being used as the token black girl, or plus-size girl, as well as the failure to pay black creators the same as their white counterparts in beauty campaigns.
She is a TEDx speaker and has been awarded ‘Most Inspiring Role Model’ by InStyle Magazine. Plus, creator of How to Heal Holistically, a platform to encourage conscious healing and the reframing of one’s self, using spiritual methods and meditation practices.
Follow Grace to feel beautiful in your own body as you are.
Mik Zazon @mikzazon
Mik is an American blogger on a mission to normalise bodies and to help women find the confidence to love themselves at any size.
Having struggled with several eating disorders throughout her life, Mik grew tired emotionally, physically and spiritually of spending her entire life striving for perfection.
“I know what it’s like to feel uncomfortable in the body you live in and feel bat sh** crazy because all you can think about is food. To believe that if I could just hit that size and achieve that look, I’d finally feel good about myself and find the freedom I craved.”
Part of the #normalizenormalbodies movement on social media, Mik also shares images to normalise acne, rough skin, ingrown hairs and all other parts of our bodies we were told not to love and change.
Follow Mik to find beauty in being normal.
Nyma Tang @nymatang
Nyma became a popular YouTuber back in 2017 for her hit makeup series, The Darkest Shade where she explores how realistically the darkest shade of new foundation and concealer releases from beauty brands worked against her skin tone.
As a darker-skinned black woman, Nyma often found she was discriminated against – being bullied at school, and entirely ignored by beauty brands.
Her YouTube channel became her source of inspiration to become an activist towards colourism in beauty, and society, and serves as a social experiment to see how sincere beauty brands are when they claim they’re ‘diverse’ by bringing out a 40 shade range foundation.
Nyma’s channel celebrates the beauty of your skin colour, no matter what and inspires a whole cascade of women who have not spoken up to let their voices be heard. Her feed is a source of the best beauty recommendations for darker skin tones and an inspiration to celebrate its unique beauty.
Follow Nyma to see the beauty in the deepest skin tones.
Munroe Bergdorf @munroebergdorf
Munroe Bergdorf is an English model and activist, and the first trans-model to work for L’Oreal. Having famously been let go by L’Oreal for her views on white privilege, Munroe has been an active voice in the beauty and modelling industry against the sincerity of brands to be inclusive and diverse. Now working as a contributor at British Vogue, Munroe often uses her platform to call out actions that go against inclusive change, particularly speaking out about the beauty industry since the Black Lives Matter Movement.
All in all, Munroe’s feed and Instagram stories inspire all. A journey of self-confidence and love, with ongoing campaigns to become a part of and to encourage you to make a positive change in the world.
Follow Munroe for a celebration of trans-pride and inclusive activism.
Lottie Jackson @lottievjackson
Lottie is a journalist, researcher and diversity activist, her Instagram feed and website are a vision of fashion media defined by positivity and inclusivity, a platform that recognises the power of diverse voices. With a disability herself, Lottie’s work has featured in Vogue, Grazia, Elle and The Guardian explores what it means to be different in a world where sincere perfectionism is the driving force, and sharing disabled-friendly beauty products and tools.
Lottie’s feed encourages the able-bodied to see the daily injustices against the disabled and enlightens the necessary changes needed to be made in the beauty and fashion sphere.
Follow Lottie to help fight ableism.
Radam Ridwan @radamridwan.
Radam defines themselves as a non-binary queer model, who is “a work-in-progress that will never be quite finished, and that’s okay.”
In a world so bound by definitions and boundaries, Radam’s Instagram feed is a diary to explore the fluid, not the binary. To Radam, sexuality and identity are undefinable, but individual.
“Our thinking is so rigid around sexuality that we belittle & badger queer people who do not fit some traditional arc of closeted heterosexual to confused bisexual to unabashed homosexual. As if all queer people are building up to an acceptable level of queer that they must maintain throughout their life.”
Being non-binary Radam also discusses the dangers that go alongside expressing themselves confidently and unapologetically; his work is the sincerest form of activism to achieve a world “where wearing a dress isn’t considered a radical act.”
Follow Radam to be inspired to love and be yourself unapologetically.
Shalom Black @shalomblac
Shalom’s motto is ‘Be Your Kind Of Beautiful’. After surviving a horrendous accident after being burned with hot oil in Nigeria, Shalom suffered at the hands of childhood bullies, even when moving to America. After years of seeing herself as the monster, and having thoughts of suicide, Shalom’s journey to confidence and self-love began as a makeup-artist to use beauty as her tool for empowerment.
Now a popular YouTuber and influencer on Instagram Shalom embraces her past and refuses to let it define her future. She is a source of inspiration for anyone with a painful past or physical disfigurement, and to embrace your pain as part of your narrative.
“This was my calling. If I had a choice, to take it back, I definitely wouldn’t because it’s helping other people”
Follow Shalom to embrace every part of you – beauty comes from within
Sophia Hadjipanteli @Sophiahadjipanteli
While removing body hair may seem like a battle women have been waging against for centuries, we have only been removing body hair since the 1910s when men’s razor companies lost all of their target consumers during the war. The solution being, sell women the idea they need to shave.
Some may argue that women are supposed to have less hair than men due to hormones and physical differences in our genetics, but many would say that just isn’t the case – and that hair on women is beautiful.
Sophia Hadjipanteli is one of those many. Famous for her gorgeously lustrous unibrow, Sophia celebrates femininity with hair. Her look is completely natural and something that propelled her into becoming a model with her unique look. Founder of the unibrow movement Sophia’s Instagram feed is her protest to anyone who tells her to change to suit the approval of others.
“We are told to have a long full head of hair, thick eyebrows, but no unibrow… To have long luscious natural lashes but to remove our moustaches, to have shiny, healthy hair but no sideburns. Beauty standards are a ‘rulebook’ we have been forced to sign up for.”
Follow Sophia to see the falseness in beauty standards, and to create your own.
Afia Kufuor @dontpopthatspot
Afia founded Don’t Pop That Spot as a platform to embrace acne, and not to suffer, particularly for darker skin tones.
As deep and dark skin can have more complications with acne lesions than their paler- skinned counterparts, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, Afia’s Instagram works as both a recommendation page for products she likes, as well as a personal love letter to her problematic skin.
In an industry so over-saturated with products Afia’s page cuts through the fat of skincare to show you products that actually work as well as a beacon of positive light to encourage acne sufferers to go bare-skinned – you are still beautiful.
Follow Afia for celebrating your skin, no matter what.