Putting yourself out there on the internet is not easy especially if you are so transparent and real. That‘s why we love the way you use your social media platform to empower women and make them feel good about their appearance. What made you decide to start helping women to build confidence about their bodies and goals?
I honestly felt super called to sharing my journey and the message of self love after I was starting to find it again myself! I was in a long term abusive relationship that really had knocked me down over the years, causing me to reach my lowest. Once I found the strength to leave, I focused 100% on taking my power back, and learning to love my true self again, I started sharing this all on my TikTok and Instagram, and the rest is history.
Do you mind sharing your story with us? Starting with where you were and how you got to where you are today?
So, I really did grow up from humble beginnings, my parents had me at 18 and we lived in the Bronx, NY for quite a large chunk of my life in a small apartment with not a lot of money. I think once I became aware of how much of a cycle my family as a whole was in with struggling financially as young parents, I made it my personal mission to break it. I was the first girl in my family to go to college, getting my bachelors in Fashion and then my masters in fashion marketing. I worked a couple years in Fashion and beauty PR, and when COVID started, lost my job. I took that specific moment as a sign to get a re-do. As that’s when I left my relationship, started taking social media seriously, and even co-founded a talent agency all within a year, it was so transformative. Now, I am a full time creator, and it can be scary as ever when finances fluctuate, but being my own boss and sharing with the world is the greatest reward!
Do you think because of the media there is a specific definition of ‘perfection’ that most people want to achieve?
Absolutely! I can go on and on about this. Growing up as a Latin girl who wasn’t what the ideal beauty standard was being thrown at me (slim with straight hair) definitely caused me to struggle with my self esteem growing up. Until one day I just said f*** this, and embraced ALL of me. Because who is to say we have to be a certain weight, body shape, hair type, even skin tone. As a society we still have a long way to go, but at least I know I am doing my part to try and make women around the world learn to love themselves unconditionally.
How do you see the body-positive movement growing on social media these years?
I only see it growing, hopefully one day we get to a point where it isn’t even a “movement” people have to fight and advocate for, but is just a universal acceptance. I can’t wait for brands to continue to be more inclusive from the start.
Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting themselves, especially their appearances?
I think the press makes it hard, images and stories involving celebrities and models re constantly being pushed out as the idealistic beauty standard, or even stories about these celebrities gaining weight, when it’s completely normal for people to fluctuate. When we as children and young adults witness this over and over again, it really makes you feel like you have to live to these standards, when no one should.
What would you change in social media to have a better effect on people?
I think I would change some algorithms to be honest, there’s a lot of controversy with creators who meet idealistic beauty standards being the only ones pushed out to explore pages and for your pages. That only contributes to what younger girls are seeing, and then we have a whole other generation that feels like they aren’t perfect the way they are.
If you could change the way women are portrayed in the media, how would you?
We need more women shown for their strength, and less for their beauty, as women we are so lucky to be able to be strong, in touch with our sexuality, and smart at the same time. Like how freaking cool?!
Have you ever had a time when you felt insecure due to portrayals of body image in the media? What has been your journey towards loving yourself more?
Like I mentioned earlier, it was really hard growing up not seeing influencers and celebrities that looked like me, but once I started to see models like Iskra and Ashley Graham celebrated, I too started to be like.. hey my body is bomb!
What is your advice for women who are looking to increase their self-confidence?
What worked for me was learning to be selfish, take moments for you, do what makes you feel good, and be your own biggest advocate. It starts within, it really shouldn’t matter how anyone feels about you except for you.
What are your goals for your followers, yourself, and the body positive movement at large?
All I want is to continue to inspire, and grow as a person along with the women who follow me. I can’t wait to evolve alongside them, and be able to offer more to them as a true cheerleader of theirs.
Follow Jaina‘s journey on Instagram! @jainaazalea