Sophie Turner almost didn’t post this photo on Instagram. The Scottish plus-size model, 22, hated how the picture, a behind-the-scenes snap from a recent photo shoot, emphasized her cellulite.
“When I first saw the picture I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s horrible,’” Turner told TODAY Style. “I thought it was a really bad picture.”
But after a while, Turner realized that by sharing the picture, she could send a powerful reminder to her more than 260,000 followers that cellulite is totally normal and should never be a source of shame.
“I thought, ‘Why should I hide it?’” she said. “Most women have it."
So Turner, who now lives in New York, posted the photo along with a message about embracing your body, cellulite and all.
“It’s natural for us ladies to have cellulite and we need to stop seeing it as disgusting or ugly,” she wrote in the post, which has been liked more than 13,500 times. “Yes we all want smooth skin but we also need to accept reality!"
“I’ve had cellulite since I was about 12, which is normal,” she continued. “After living with something for a decade it’s all a part of being me!”
Turner’s post struck a chord with her fans and many people praised her for sharing the honest picture and message.
“Can't thank you enough for your courage, your leadership and making a stand for the millions of us full-figure beauties,” one supporter commented.
“What a fabulous role model for young girls!” another fan wrote. “So much pressure on young girls today that they should look a certain way rather than embrace how they actually look. Well done ... you are beautiful.”
Unfortunately, there were also some negative comments in the mix. While Turner says she’s usually able to ignore the haters, she was particularly annoyed when a few people accused her of “promoting obesity or an unhealthy diet” with the post.
“They don’t know what I’m eating,” she said. “They act like I’m just eating McDonald’s, but actually I have a reasonable diet.”
And cellulite has nothing to do with health or fitness, she pointed out.
“I do work out about five days a week. A few years ago, I used to be at it constantly,” she said. “And even though I lost weight, the cellulite stayed. It’s just something that I’ve always had, and I’ve learned to accept it.”
The positive comments outweigh the negative ones, though, and Turner hopes that by opening up about her own body image, she can help other young women feel more comfortable in their own skin.
Turner has a message for other young women struggling to accept their own cellulite: “Everybody has it, it’s natural, it’s not something we don’t know about,” she said. “Even babies have cellulite ... it doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy.”
While Turner still has moments of insecurity, being open and honest about her journey has made her confident.
“I’m still learning to love (my cellulite) and not hate it,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s a slow road to self-love but it’s the best thing you can do for your confidence and mental health.”