He figures is Yahoo Life’s body image series, exploring the journeys of influential and inspirational figures as they explore what their body confidence, body neutrality and self-love mean to them.
Natalie Noel quickly became the internet’s favorite girl next door as people fell in love with her for being the assistant and best friend of famous YouTuber David Dobrik. But even though Noel has developed her own social media presence, she stays true to herself by being genuine and kissing those who praise her for being “normal” – even when it is her last. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit start.
When the 24-year-old announced on Instagram that she was one of the 2021 recruits for the famous magazine, her 3.8 million followers were eager to see what she had in store for them. Among a diverse cast of beautiful women who have flooded the pages, Noel has been called “reliable,” something she finds flattering.
“I think it’s really cool,” Noel told Yahoo Life. “In the supermodel fashion world you see a lot of very skinny and you see a lot of plus sizes [models], and being able to be that intermediate standard, which represents such a large part of the population, I think that’s so cool. So when people say “You have a normal body” I love it. How I like that I represent the normality of the body. “
While Noel didn’t seek to become a fashion influencer or body positivity model, it makes sense that she fell into that position as mid-rise fashion begins to gain traction on social media. For her, and for the majority of women who fall in that between straight and plus sizes, this created a dedicated space for those who thought they didn’t belong to a specific category before.
“I think it’s weird that there isn’t more bodily normality in fashion. For example, why are there two extremes?” she says. “Fashion is super important just because I feel like it’s your first interpretation of who I am when you first meet me. You see what I’m wearing and either I’m in my sweatpants , my pajamas and it’s a side of Natalie or me I’m completely glamorous in a really cute and sexy outfit, and it’s the other side of Natalie. “
But the influencer’s versatility goes way beyond what she wears. In fact, she explains that she has gained a better understanding of her body and her self-confidence by allowing herself to explore different interests throughout her life. She even credits her athleticism for being so sure of her body image.
“I played football growing up, so I always had an athletic build, which is just a little taller, a little more muscular, you know. But I’ve always been a part of a team and I have always been surrounded by my family and friends who have always supported me. And I mean, it’s the most important thing in everything is to have people around you who are positive and who you argue, ”she says.“ It makes everything so much easier to go through no matter the situation. Especially with my body, I always had my parents telling me ‘You are beautiful. You’re great. You can do what you want.’ If I didn’t have that. I certainly wouldn’t be here today. “
She also had models that demonstrated the importance of a powerful body, separate from physical appearance.
“I’ve always watched women’s football teams so that was kind of my standard. I think Alex Morgan is the prettiest. She has the most perfect body and it’s super strong and you can see that. ‘She’s a superior athlete,’ says Noel, noting that the sport has helped her believe that she is the authority of her own figure. “I know my body better than anyone. No one can tell me if my body is fit enough or is the best because I know it better than anyone.”
Still, entering the social media arena proved difficult for Noel who felt “completely consumed” by the images and highlighted the life coils of so many other people. Building a platform herself made her realize that trust can’t come in the form of instant gratification from others, but rather from within.
“You have to learn that you are yourself and that there are millions, billions of people on this planet who are beautiful and skinny and all these things, but you cannot compare yourself to others,” she said. . “You just have to be yourself and you have to love yourself and know yourself. That’s where trust comes from.”
It was this confidence that earned Noel a spot in the 2021 issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and on the track during Miami Swim Week – although the opportunity challenged her as well.
“I really struggled with my body as much as any other woman, especially during this time when it’s being highlighted,” she says. “As much as there has been constant positivity and I have received so much, so much positive feedback from all this experience from the team, friends, family and other supporters online, it comes with it. also a lot of negative feedback. People tell me that you don’t deserve to be in the magazine or that you are not like other models … no matter what negative things they say, but you just have to persevere. “
Overall, Noel says her inclusion in the magazine was the most “empowering” experience of her life.
“It’s amazing that I was even chosen to be a part of this and I feel that every day,” she says. “I think I represent a population of women who are like an average girl and I don’t think I’m superior to anyone. I feel like that’s what so many people identify with. . And that’s exciting to me. It’s just cool that people can say, “I look like you, I have the same body as you, I have the same hair.” It doesn’t matter what they can think of. ‘identify, they can say that about me and I can make them feel represented. “