A plus-size model from Belfast has revealed how she went from avoiding the beach for years to more than 14,000 Instagram followers with body-positive photos.
Aimee Turley, 20, missed life for years because of her weight.
She told Belfast Live: “I just wasn’t living my life because I was so ashamed of my body. I wouldn’t go out with my friends.
âIn the summer everyone went to the beach. I hadn’t been to the beach in years because I was so embarrassed.
“And then I realized and thought, ‘What am I doing? I am a 20 year old female and I need to get out there and live my life as long as I can.
AimÃ©e moved into an apartment in the Ormeau neighborhood with her boyfriend Daniel, 20, and her confidence started to improve.
Aimee said, âI started shopping for clothes to show off my body. It looked good and I liked it.
The 20-year-old, who wore only black, began to choose the colorful clothes she once feared wearing.
She started taking pictures and posting them on social media, which got very positive feedback.
Aimee said, âI got compliments from people. Strangers on the street were stopping me and it made me feel really good about myself, so I kept doing it.
A year later, Aimee has over 14,000 followers on Instagram, as well as a growing number of subscribers on YouTube, which she uses as a platform to promote body positivity.
The 20-year-old said: âI love doing it. People are reaching out to me now to tell me how much my Instagram helps them. I feel so good that I am able to help other women feel much better about who they are.
While Aimee has an incredible number of positive fans, her social media presence has not been without challenges.
Speaking of the negative comments, she said, âIt’s definitely something that you go through as a living great woman.
âPeople always assume that plus size women are so unhealthy that we don’t do anything.
âYou only see my body, you don’t know what my lifestyle looks like. They just need to realize that it’s none of their business.
âIt was a bit difficult to deal with at the start, but it gets easier.
âThe important thing to realize is that someone else who takes the time to put someone else down is not a good person. You shouldn’t care about their opinions. What is a negative comment compared to hundreds of other amazing comments?
“They don’t hurt me anymore, but it makes me angry that they are doing this to other people.”
âI know I am happy and beautiful. I don’t need their validation.
So, after a year as an influencer, would Aimee recommend other low-confidence women to do the same?
âIt’s something that you can try to see if it’s for you,â Aimee said, not everyone likes it.
âThe best thing to realize is that you just have to stop worrying about others and you just have to live your life for yourself because you only have one life and you have to do everything to have the best.
âSitting in your house doing nothing because you are afraid of what other people might think – they don’t care that you are sitting in the house. You have to do things for yourself.
âPeople also need to understand that there is nothing you can say specifically to help someone. They have to do it themselves, as soon as they are ready.
Ultimately, Aimee is happier than she has ever been because she does what makes her happy.
And to sum it up perfectly, she said this: âI put some pretty funny photos on the Internet. If you don’t like them, don’t watch.