Chessie King is among the new army of beautiful women who are wholeheartedly promoting body positivity. She is an Instagram model who encourages everyone to love the bodysuit they come in; she is also closely associated with Cybersmile, an anti-cyberbullying non profit that provides expert help and advice for cyberbullying victims and their families.
She told us about the journey to embracing her body, the women that inspire her and dealing with unsolicited criticism and trolls, among other things.
You are one of the biggest advocates of body positivity. What made you want to go on this journey? What are some of the biggest hurdles you have faced since deciding to show people the difference between Instagram body and real body?
Chessie: There wasn’t anyone on Instagram I could relate too & it didn’t help with my body confidence, which is why I posted my first ‘real’ image a year and a half ago.
From your posts it is clear that you used to have an unhealthy relationship with food and you have taken strides in this regard. What was that moment where you decided I cannot take my food intake for granted?
Chessie: For a (just scraping) 6 feet girl who has always been of a bigger build than my friends, I found the body shapes I saw on Instagram unrealistic & unachievable for me. I want my Instagram to act as a support platform & for girls to see me as an ‘older sister’ figure sharing my journey to help them.
What are some of your most favorite physical features about yourself? Have you always loved them or did you have to learn to love it over the years?
Chessie: I used to dislike my legs but then I’ve now realised they carry us around every single day, they keep us standing, they do so much for us – they are AMAZING!
What can you tell us about your association with the Cybersmile foundation? What were some of biggest goals you had while joining forces with them? How successful have you guys been in these regards?
Chessie: I was approached a few months ago by Cybersmile and Adam&Eve to create this campaign with them. I absolutely loved the idea as I have been affected by trolling and know a lot of people who have been cyber-bullied on a daily basis.
It was such a powerful campaign that affected so many people. It hasn’t only helped people but it has exposed the extremities of trolling. Some people were shocked that I had even received comments like that as I never call out trolls as I don’t want to give them the air time!
I have had so many people thanking me for using my platform to spread such an important message and a lot of victims of online abuse have now reached out to CyberSmile for help.
What is the best way to respond to an online troll? – Put them on blast, have a hilarious comeback or ignore?
Chessie: I don’t give them any satisfaction knowing I’ve seen their comment. Out of sight, out of mind – I block them & delete the comment.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations in terms of Instagram celebs and otherwise?
Chessie: I love Celeste Barber, she’s always keeping it real & her posts are hilarious!
Offline and she definitely doesn’t have Instagram, my mum. She is such a huge inspiration and has taught me so much about health & wellness from day 1. She’s done countless marathons and beats her triathlon time every year. She came first in her age group in the London tri last year!
Wouldn’t be in a bikini without giving you a chunk of reality 🇺🇸🌴 Just a little reminder how easy it is to change your bawwdy. We’re all guilty of trying to pose to make our bodies look the best it can & that’s okay but it’s photos like the right that help us all feel a little bit normal (I hope) ❤️🧡💛
What is your advice for anyone who wants to lead a healthy and active lifestyle but are unable to, because of a busy schedule?
Chessie: You are never too busy to look after yourself. I always say schedule in your workouts like they’re meetings, meetings with yourself! Even just 20 minutes walk a day, outside is enough to maintain your health. If you book in a class with a friend after or before work, you’re more likely to go, you won’t want to let your friend down.
What does fashion, beauty and fitness mean to you?
Chessie: Happiness. Wearing clothes that make you feel confident and amazing. Wearing clothes that make you feel like a superwoman. Moving your body in anyway that makes you feel empowered & in control.
What have been some of the most favorite feedback you have received from your fans?
Chessie: I absolutely love getting messages from mums, that’s so important to me. I’ve had a lot of them say how much I’m helping their children & how they let them see my profile because it’s so positive. ‘I want my girls growing up listening to you, we need more Chessie’s in the world.’”
Is Instagram a big reason for depression & mental health problems in young people? The stats say it all but what do YOU think? 🧠 When I was growing up, I only had the ‘perfect’ girls in magazines to look at & even that was an unhealthy comparison. I hate to think what young teenagers are now comparing themselves to; distorted, filtered, photoshopped versions of reality. There has always been a pressure to look good, but what’s scary is that Instagram is accessible all day everyday without any sort of time cap on it or restriction on what you can see apart from the choice of who you’re following. It upsets me so much to think how much this can effect young people’s mental health. Even the most educated still don’t know how easy it is to use photoshop or editing apps. I share so many of these posts but I just want to help as many people as I can find that true friendship with their bodies. – I’ve always been conscious of the back of my legs & refused to wear shorts for most of my teenage years. I thought I was the only one who had a ‘second bum’ 💁🏼♀️ I see girls beeeehinds on here looking smooooth as a peach which I’m sure they’ve worked hard for but I find it super unrealistic for me personally. The more I’ve shared on here about body confidence (or lack of) the more I realise I’m not alone & the more normal it becomes to look like the right in shorts. – I was speaking to someone about this earlier last week & they said their 12 year old cousin was posting photos on Instagram of her in a bikini & the caption was ‘rate me out of 10’ then another post of her in her underwear, if I get more than 50 likes I’ll send you a DM *winky face*. Instagram can be an amazing place but it can also be very dangerous. – Do you think there should be something on a post, a disclaimer to say the image has been edited/photoshopped? What are your thoughts on protecting young teenagers & preventing them from mental health problems connected with social media? ❤️🧡💛