WWE star Nia Jax showed her vulnerable side by posting a photo of herself wearing only a bathing suit to Instagram.
While many celebrities frequently post selfies of themselves in swimsuits, it was a big step for Jax, who opened up to her 400,000 Instagram followers about her own insecurities, in hopes that her message would help spread her body positive message.
“Posting a picture of myself in a bathing suit is VERY hard for me,” Jax wrote in the caption of the photo, which shows her in a black, one-piece swimsuit. “I have never been one to show off too much skin, and it’s not just because I’m a larger woman.”
The 6-foot-tall wrestler, who is known to usually wear a full bodysuit while wrestling, told her fans that she was inspired to post the revealing selfie after she met up with fans during festivities for WrestleMania 33.
“Most, if not all of them, mentioned that my #BodyPositive mindset had helped them to be able to find confidence within themselves, which really touched me and even brought me to tears numerous times,” wrote Jax.
The wrestler (whose real name is Savelina Fanene) told fans that she has learned to appreciate her body and the physical features she has that have set her apart from other people.
“Don't get me wrong, there have been many occasions where I wished I could be thinner or have a different nose or hairline to fit in, but I realized that fitting in is not always as important as it seems,” Jax wrote. “I realized that I love standing out in positive ways! I love sending a message of self-confidence and getting to share that with people.”
The 32-year-old former bodybuilder credited her mother and the rest of her family (which includes her cousin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) for supporting her and reminding her that beauty comes from within.
“Self-confidence also goes along with being healthy!” Jax added. “I work out all the time, I eat healthy & try (emphasis on TRY) to get as much sleep as I can. There are obviously times where I love to pig out and enjoy myself, but I always make sure to never lose my focus on being healthy, because no matter what, your health is the number one most important thing in life. We aren't meant to look the same, but we are all meant to be healthy.”
Fans applauded Jax for being so open with her feelings, and many related to her body issues.
“You are beautiful inside and out,” one fan wrote in the comment section of the photo. “Thanks for being a positive role model for everyone struggling.”
“You are gorgeous and an inspiration to me Nia!” another wrote. “Thank you for being your dominating powerful self.”
This is not the first time Jax has spoken out about wanting to be a role model for curvy women. Before becoming a pro wrestler, Jax worked as a plus-sized model, which gave her the chance to inspire other girls.
"Being my size is something I've had to deal with my whole life,” she told The Miami Herald in 2016. “I've always been the big girl. I've always had curves, and I never could relate to any of the girls like the Victoria Secret models. Once I realized, when I became a plus-size model, that there were more women like me, my confidence immediately shot through the roof.”
This story was originally published April 9, 2017.