When Nike launched its first ever line of plus-size athletic apparel last week, the response was predominantly positive. “Ultimately, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and being strong is beautiful.
Strong is the keyword for us; size doesn’t matter,” Helen Boucher, Nike’s vice president of women’s training apparel, explained, and most of Twitter erupted in applause.
But, of course, a few trolls couldn’t keep themselves from criticizing the brand for suggesting that plus-size could, in fact, also be healthy — and Grace Victory, one of the models for the new Nike campaign, had some choice words for them. “Fat shaming me and my girl on our Nike campaign is hilarious. We be laughing all the damn way to the bank,” she tweeted yesterday morning, and her fans and followers quickly applauded her with positive comments and reaction GIFs aplenty.
Fat shaming me and my girl on our Nike campaign is hilarious. We be laughing all the damn way to the bank ☺️
— Gracie ???? (@GraceFVictory) March 6, 2017
But don’t go thinking the hateful comments don’t affect her. Victory followed up her spectacular tweet with a poignant essay on her personal blog, entitled “I Think Ive Lost My Body Confidence,” in which she gets inspiringly candid about how all the Internet chatter contributed to her recent bouts with insecurity — because even fame, alas, does not make one immune to self-doubt.
— Gracie ???? (@GraceFVictory) March 8, 2017
Despite appearances to the contrary, despite “still posting selfies on Instagram and trying to be positive and upbeat and happy and inspiring,” Grace admitted that she’s “been losing it for a while,” and cites comparing herself to others on social media as one of the reasons. “I occasionally get into a place where I compare myself to everyone and I get stuck into scrolling through Instagram wishing I looked like a Nicki Minaj style video vixen or an Australian beach babe – anyone but me,” she explained. And the online peanut gallery doesn’t help.
“I’ve read fat shaming comments about myself which has [sic] filled me with self-doubt and questions like; do I need to change? should I eat more ‘healthily’? will losing weight make them stop? (spoiler, it won’t),” she wrote. “There is also an added pressure being part of the body positive community, to love myself day in and day out. But right now I just can’t.”
What she can do is pen a refreshingly honest blog post, acknowledge those insecurities head-on, and try to counter those all-too-relatable feelings of self-doubt with a brief digital detox and a serious dose of self-care.
“I’m taking today out. I’m going to have an evening to myself to indulge in self-care, both physical and mental. Yes I’m going to have the longest bath, wrap myself in a blanket and watch crime shows. But I’m also going to go for a long walk, make myself a sexy dinner, read, meditate and place a small (I’m lying) order on Boohoo for some new threads for my upcoming trip,” she concluded. “I know I’ll be back to feeling myself soon enough but for now, here’s to a mini digital detox and some time out to find a little happiness.”
A lot of people think they have to have their shit together all the time. That they can’t break down or show weakness. But I’m here to tell you, that being vulnerable was the best thing I ever did. It allowed me to open my heart and deal with my pain & it’s allowed me to show compassion and kindness towards others. Especially to those going through difficult problems. Being vulnerable and letting my guard down has given me STRENGTH & a foundation to stand firm footed in the ground. I’m still soft and full of hope, in a world that can be cold and heartless – I like that.
A post shared by Gracie Francesca (@gracefvictory) on Mar 3, 2017 at 3:02pm PST
And here’s to women in the spotlight, like Grace, acknowledging that no matter what someone may look like on the outside, you never know whether or not they might be struggling on the inside — and that’s OK.