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Forget the filters and "perfect" posts — TODAY Style is getting real! This week is all about being honest, authentic, transparent and, well, real about everything from wrinkles and body image to dressing room anxiety and aging. Use the hashtag #RealWomenHave _____ to share the topic about which YOU want to get real.
Feeling confident in your body is a lot easier said than done — even for a model.
That's why curve model La'Tecia Thomas has made it her mission to inspire women to love the skin they're in by using her Instagram as a platform for body positivity.
In January, she posted side-by-side photos of herself that instantly created a stir on social media.
The photo on the left was a retouched picture from a photo shoot. The one on the right was shot around the same time, but without editing.
"In this instance I can’t even compare myself to myself," Thomas wrote. "If I can’t be that person on the left (which is absurd because it’s me) then I can only imagine the effect this has on women.
"I think both images are beautiful but be realistic with yourself," she continued, "you don’t need to look a certain way to be appreciated and know that you’re worthy."
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Thomas told TODAY Style that her goal was to show women that the images they see, even in "inclusive" ads and magazines, aren't realistic. She predicts something like 95 percent of the work she does is filtered in some way.
"I have a body that is what it is, and I want people to know this is how it is," Thomas said, pointing out that she's had cellulite since she was at least 12-years-old.
"If I'm not going to get used it to now, then I'm never going to," she said.
Plus, as Thomas points out, relatable images make sense from a business perspective. If she sees someone cellulite or back fat looking great in an item, Thomas said, then she has a better idea of how it will likely look on her.
But she wasn't always so self-assured. As someone who has struggled with her own body insecurities feeling through the years, Thomas understands how difficult it can be to find that self-confidence.
"My number one thing is not to compare yourself to anyone else and love and accept yourself for who you are. The minute that women stop doing that it will change everything in society," she said. "I look in the mirror and I am happy with the way I look. It doesn't matter what size you are, it's about having that positive mind-and-body connection and learning to love yourself."