When Lexi Placourakis, mother and successful plus-size model, looked at her 200,000 Facebook followers, she wanted to make sure she used that platform to stand for something really, really important.
Nothing against anyone who just shares pictures of their kids and their dogs and fun nights with friends on Facebook (I’m definitely guilty of a few of those), but what Lexi did is so much cooler. She started asking her followers to submit photos of themselves that they felt reflected their most confident self, which she treated as a sort of casting call for a photo shoot she then organized, called Shooting for Confidence.
“I chose girls from size 8 to size 16. I wasn’t focused on a particular size. I [just] wanted to get girls out of their shells. Lacking confidence is a problem for all women and all sizes,” Lexi told SheKnows. “A lot of people think that heavier women are the only ones that are not confident. That is not the case.”
She received over 400 entries from women of all shapes and sizes, from all over the world — some who submitted photos publicly, and some who submitted them privately. And this was the result:
Image: Lexi Placourakis/Brad Olson
Lexi herself had struggled with confidence, facing harsh criticism as a plus-size model who was always, according to various industry stereotypes, either not skinny enough or not plus size enough.
Since when was it not OK to just be somewhere in between, to just be who you are with the body you were given? Not to mention all this talk about “getting your bikini body” that is naturally starting to fill our feeds given summer is “right around the corner.” Eek. Better start toning up, ladies, or you won’t be able to wear a swimsuit.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with toning up and losing weight if that’s what you choose to do for your own personal reasons, but why are we practically force-fed the issue? Summer is to the health and fitness world what Valentine’s Day is to Hallmark: an excuse to sell you products and specific ideas about what your life or your body or your relationship “should” be like. By all means, buy the products. But don’t buy into the ideals.
I asked Lexi to define what “bikini body” means to her. Her answer happens to also perfectly sum up the purpose of her whole project:
“It means confidence to wear any bathing suit, and look and feel beautiful and sexy. You need to have confidence. That is why I chose suits to wear for my campaign. Hearing that I inspire people to buy their first suit in over five years or that they can’t wait to flaunt their body this summer… it’s why I do what I do. Own what you have, and if you don’t like how your body looks and feels, do something about it!”
Keywords are all you, you and you.
See more of Lexi’s work here.