Body + Wellness

#BodyPositivity: Celebrities who embrace their curves and are keeping it real


By Kelly Lim

#BodyPositivity: Celebrities who embrace their curves and are keeping it real

Just last week, Billie Eilish kicked off her Where Do We Go? World Tour in Miami with a powerful statement about body positivity. Shedding her signature baggy clothes, the singer shared a video interlude of herself taking her top off to protest against body shamers and reclaim her own body. Encouraging self-love whether she’s in an oversized shirt or a form-fitting top, Eilish is shutting down critics to say the opinion of others has nothing to do with those of your own.

The message of self-love has never been more prominent within the media, as more celebrities are speaking out about their body image and embracing bodies of all shapes, sizes and ages. Through unedited selfies and empowering performances, the increasing diversity and frequency of body positivity representation is redefining the meaning of beauty and spreading positive encouragement to everyone out there who might struggle with low self-esteem. It’s important to practice self-love but also feel worthy of it no matter what you look like. Scroll on to see the celebrities who are embracing their own bodies and encouraging us to do the same.


Queen Ri has shattered the exclusivity of beauty and fashion with her Fenty beauty brand and Savage X Fenty, a body-positive, size-inclusive approach to lingerie that empowers a diverse spectrum of women. Leading the way for all women to feel included, the multihyphenate is all about accepting and celebrating every type of body out there. Before that can happen, self-love has to come first and on own body image, she’s come to terms with her fluctuating weight and has grown to love her curves just the way they are.


Often called the Beyonce of Japan, Naomi Watanabe has transitioned from comedienne to fashion icon, gracing the front row of Gucci’s SS18 show, to designer of Punyus, her fashion line catering to women up to size 22. She might keep adding different titles to her roster but the one thing that’s unchanging is her confident attitude of body positivity. With 9 million followers, Watanabe is the nation’s most-followed person on Instagram and she’s using that platform to show everyone that unabashedly celebrating yourself, no matter what size you are, is the way to go.


As a female athlete in a male-dominated court, the 23-time Grand Slam Champion has had to endure sexism, racism and criticism about her body for every championship she’s won. But after years of thinking that athletes’ bodies should be long and lean, Williams now loves her muscular physique because the only standards you should live by are your own and nobody else’s. She continues to celebrate her own body and encourages others to do the same through her fashion line, S by Serena, even taking to Instagram to showcase the same dress on women of all different body sizes.


Body positivity isn’t just for women. A healthy body image and self-love applies to men too. Singer Sam Smith led the charge last year, posting a shirtless photo of himself on social media to reclaim is own body. Choosing to celebrate his body instead of trying to change it, he vowed to “stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally”.


As fans know, actress and singer Demi Lovato has long worked to push the conversation about body positivity and self-love. The star shot to fame at an early age and has spoken out about suffering from eating disorders and how she’s arrived at a place of self-acceptance since. Lovato recently shared unedited bikini pics of herself on social media—something she used to consider her “biggest fear”—saying she’s no longer going to lie to herself about trying to have a body that meets other people’s standards, choosing to love and be grateful for the healthy body that she has.


Body-positive activist and model Paloma Elsesser first caught the eye of makeup guru Pat McGrath on Instagram to front her beauty line. Ever since, it’s launched a modelling career that has landed her campaigns for brands like Fenty Beauty, walked the high fashion runways of Alexander McQueen and Fendi, and was most recently featured on the cover of American Vogue’s April 2020 issue, where she was selected as one of the 28 models around the world who are changing fashion. The mixed-race beauty is changing industry conventions and beauty ideals and has become an outspoken voice for curvier models everywhere. Through it all, she’s made sure to use her following on Instagram (250k to boot) to keep it real, posting moments of her everyday life and candid messages about body image and mental health in a world constantly telling us to size down. Back in 2018, Elsesser stripped down to become the face of Glossier’s Body Hero ad campaign and spoke out about shedding her insecurities to advocate body positivity even if it means putting your vulnerabilities out there: “I did this to show that being fat isn’t a burden. Being fat isn’t ugly or shameful. To prove to one person that it isn’t BRAVE to be fat, but bountiful.”


Whether she’s calling out retouching apps or shutting down body shamers, Lili Reinhart has always been real on the topic of body image and mental health. She’s been honest on social media about struggling with her fluctuating weight and the criticism that she’s faced for talking about her body image as a skinnier woman. In 2018, the Riverdale star took to the stage for the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year Summit to make a powerful speech about loving every inch of yourself and the need to change the conversation around women’s bodies for future generations to come: “There is no fine print. You can be naturally beautiful with acne or scars, cellulite or curves. So let’s celebrate each other, and ourselves, as we are, as we will be, and as we were meant to be. Unique. Imperfect. Beautiful. And so incredibly powerful.”


Nicknamed the “Elephant Queen”, American drag star Eureka O’Hara (who now self identifies as gender-neutral) has been using their voice to support body positivity, teach self-worth and spread love since competing in Seasons 9 and 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Empowered by the women in their life, O’Hara stands proud and tall of their curvaceous figure on stage and online, commanding attention with a Southern charm that glimmers with self-love. And they continuously remind us to do so too through Body Positivity, their 2017 Gaga-esque anthem created in collaboration with American actor Adam Barta: “Be proud. Love every inch.”


Top model Tyra Banks came out of retirement last year to become the oldest supermodel at the age of 45 to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Throughout her entire career, the boundary-breaking star has always fought against antiquated body ideals and spoken out about her struggles as a model in an industry that didn’t appreciate women with curves. Since she began gracing catwalks in 1991, Banks chose to embrace the body she had and in turn, only working with brands who recognised her beauty the same way she did. Through 24 cycles of America’s Next Top Model, the star has helped project different types of beauty onto mainstream television, foster conversations about race, sexuality and size in fashion, and inspire others to do the same, regardless of your size or age.

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