There will always be things we don’t like about our bodies, so it’s always reassuring when we see others who are just like us. What’s been especially great is seeing more and more companies and brands bucking the system and showing their models in all their beautiful glory — stretch marks, arm hair, cellulite, moles, acne scars and all. Because, let’s face it — most, if not all, women deal with stuff. That’s what’s normal and what we see every day when we look in the mirror, not a Photoshopped body.
So seeing lifestyle vlogger and model Nià Pettitt kick off her partnership with Aerie, which stopped retouching and editing their photos in 2014, has been an amazing thing to behold. Not just because the 20-year-old is gorgeous but for so much more.
Pettitt has suffered from back acne and used to feel insecure about the scars it left. Combine that with her stretch marks, and a trip to the beach was something she dreaded. That was a time when she would rather cover up than show anything off, something many women can relate to. But no more.
I remember when I was 7, acne started to show on my face and I used to get bullied in school all the time about it. It didn’t go till I was 17 but by that time it had spread onto my back. I used to be so self-conscience. I remember going to a party and wearing this cute dress but I had to find a sweater to put on over it because it showed my back. Then when my lil cakes decided to show, wearing bikinis was never a thing. I would always cover up and feel ashamed of my skin. In changing rooms, I’d always deter from looking too intensely at myself or I’d end up pointing out every single flaw on my skin. I’ve had family members emphasise it to me at occasions and it took me so long to finally embrace and accept it. Yet, despite all of that I am now about to be all over America with @aerie flaunting my lines of love. If you have them, ROCK them. Look in the mirror the next time you get dressed and tell every stretch mark and every acne scar that it is a part of the magic that makes you, you. Wear that dress without worrying about what people will think. Wear that bikini without hesitation. You got this baby girl. You got this Queen. 🌬💛 #NiaTheLight #AerieReal cc: @alimitton
The photoshoot made Pettitt realize she’s not alone, that so many women share these insecurities. But it’s how you overcome them that matters.
I’m so happy that my soul is beginning to match my exterior. ✨ Going to @theartofmetanoia event without my curls out empowered me which then allowed me to empower others. Thank you to @subiianika for giving me a safe space to not feel dependant on my hair. I had such a beautiful evening filled with love, light and radiance. I met so many beautiful souls I won’t forget. Thank you to @auriella_ for putting this together. Cc: @art_mason #NiaTheLight #TheArtOfMetanoia 🌬💛
Pettitt’s journey from blogger to Aerie model began in 2016 when she tagged the brand to images of herself in their pajama bottoms that she wore constantly. (Admittedly, it may have helped that Nià has over 400,000 followers.) A year later, Pettitt headed to the U.S. for a retreat with the company, and she’s been flying high with them ever since.
Hello New York 🇺🇸☁️ So a year ago I was in Marshalls and I bought a pair of @Aerie pj bottoms and took pictures with in Sweden with @shaaybaee! I remember tagging them trying to get their attention and telling her I’d love to work with them. A year later, I receive an eMail and fly 24 hours from Bali to arrive in the Hamptons with the boss ladies of @darling & @Aerie sharing my journey and embracing it with so many magical women. I’m so grateful to be here but I was meant to be here and I will forever cherish this weekend. 💓✨💓✨ #AerieReal #DarlingRetreat #Ad 📷: @morganashleyjo
Moral of the story? Tag companies to your Instagram photos. You never know who might be looking. We kid. But seriously, love yourself. Because as long as you’re comfortable in and with your body, nothing else matters.