28 Badass Women You Should Be Following On Instagram

Time for a follow spree!

A new initiative from Instagram will highlight women who are using the platform to tell their inspiring stories -- and challenging gender roles along the way.

Instagram's #MyStory initiative will launch with a photo exhibit featuring 28 women shattering stereotypes and using their voices on the platform in a positive way. The women being highlighted include model Tess Holliday, who promotes body positivity on Instagram, female firefighter Alli Meade, and artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, the woman behind the anti-street harassment campaign Stop Telling Women To Smile. The exhibit, which was curated by journalist Jessica Bennett, will be presented in Los Angeles on Oct. 26 at an event hosted by actress Rowan Blanchard and Instagram COO Marne Levine.

Blanchard, who has used Instagram to encourage intersectionality in feminism and raise awareness about campus sexual assault, stressed the importance of women sharing their stories.

"My Instagram is my platform to share and spread creativity and individuality," she told The Huffington Post. "I use it to tell my story and also to be inspired by others. I am especially excited that Instagram is highlighting women's voices and letting people know they have stories that need to be heard."

No woman's story is the same, but they are all worth hearing. Below are the 28 game-changing women featured in the #MyStory exhibit:

Petra Collins

👄 @palefoxsahara

A photo posted by Petra Collins (@petrafcollins) on

"I’m a 22-year-old artist living in NYC. Shooting from the age of 15, my images are fueled with self-discovery and femininity that explore the complex intersection of life as a young woman online and off."
Mehgan Heaney-Grier

Get your #shine on. #happyplace #breathless #blue #wildocean by: clay wiseman

A photo posted by Mehgan Heaney-Grier (@freediver_mhg) on

"As a life-long adventurer with a big passion for sharks, marine conservation, and all things water, I crave wild things and wild places. I strive to do what I can to ensure that my kids -- that all kids, get the chance to experience these wilds too."
Sarah Bloom
"I’m a 46-year-old freelance photographer and have been taking self-portraits as my primary form of artistic expression since 2006. The exploration of identity as a woman entering middle age has emerged as a persistent theme in my work. I identify with the buildings I photograph in a personal sense as I struggle with getting older and the feeling that I'm running out of time; in a broader sense I extrapolate that to women in society and how we (generally) are treated as we age - as damaged goods and something to be left behind for a newer model. This image is a self-portrait taken in the former J.W. Cooper School in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania."
Shantell Martin

Get out of your box and explore other surfaces! #areyouyou

A photo posted by Shantell Martin (@shantell_martin) on

"Sometimes I have to remind myself to get out of the box, to draw outside the lines to create my own new stories."
Alli Meade

Flashback Friday... #smaw or #stickwelding was the first method I learned.

A photo posted by Alli Meade (@oldsoulstudio) on

"I’m a 29-year-old female firefighter with a passion for welding and art. My professional and art careers unite when I utilize my arc welding skills to create metal sculptures and furniture. In this image, I am practicing the first method of welding I ever learned -- shielded metal arc welding, or 'stick' welding."
Camille Becerra

Pre-service fuel 😊

A photo posted by @camillebecerra on

"As a NYC chef, food writer and food photography stylist, Instagram allows me to share my cooking processes, ingredient acquisitions and favorite restaurants and chefs both here in NYC and throughout my travels.This image of one of my favorite foods, pizza, was taken on one of my daily walks to work at Prince Street Pizza, a neighborhood slice joint."
Toyin Ojih Odutola


A photo posted by Toyin Ojih Odutola (@obia_thethird) on

"I like to share the makings of things and what being an artist as a job entails. There are beautiful, exciting, glamorous moments that I savor, but most of it is working alone in the studio, figuring things out. I like to demystify this idea that being a working artist today is a romantic vocation. It's a job that requires a lot of time and effort, like all others. Eureka moments don't happen often; usually it's the day-to-day decisions and actions that are the most important."
Kim Meinelt
"I have been at Eileen Fisher for 20 years, where I am a Visual Concept Director. An artist and curator of things I love, photography has become my passion of expressing the visual world inside my head. As if listening to old scratchy records, the images bring an era of the past to the present."
Laura Johannet

feeling bold today. #bold #htmljokes #coderjokes

A photo posted by lauraj (@codergirl_) on

"I am a 24-year-old female software engineer. I use photography to capture the humor, challenges and excitement in my industry. This image is meant to play on the meaning of the html 'strong' tags (the manner in which you can bold text in the coding language HTML), but also show how I feel empowered by the work I do."
Eugenia Loli
"I'm 42 years old, and I started in tech. Art came late in my life, but in retrospect, that's what I should have always be doing. I do vintage collage, and this image is about all the kinds of satisfaction of the senses."
Denisio Truitt
"I am a 32-year-old Liberian artist, writer, and lead designer at DOPEciety, who currently resides in New Orleans. This is a photo of me and poet/organizer Mwende Katwiwa taken for a post about gender identity for our blog, 'Noirlinians.' This image is also a part of an ongoing photo-doc series entitled 'The Corner' by photographer Danielle C. Miles."
Lula Hyers

From ☁️ Raver Gals ☁️

A photo posted by Lula Hyers (@lulahyers66) on

"I am a young queer woman, student, and photographer -- documenting moments in my life and trying to make beautiful pictures of people I love. This image is from a series I made called 'Raver Girls.'"
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
"I’m an artist based in Brooklyn, New York, and the creator of the international project, Stop Telling Women to Smile -- an art series that addresses gender based street harassment. I use my work to tell the stories of women’s everyday lives. This photo is a snapshot from the process of drawing D’Zhari, a student in Chicago who experiences daily street harassment."
"I've been tattooing and photographing my work throughout my entire career. As a tattoo artist, photography is the way I document my work before it walks out the door. This image captures the transformative power of the tattoo, and celebrates Diane's survival and victory over breast cancer."
Saskia Keultjes

Happy International Women's Day. Treat yourself 💆💅💐🛀 #comics #drawing #feminism #women

A photo posted by Sask (@saskiakeultjes) on

"I’m a German illustrator in NYC. I make drawings, gifs and comics to capture my thoughts and emotions -- coffee and snacks mostly. This piece is inspired by the struggle of big boobs -- and one of the world's greatest inventions -- and I shared it on International Women's Day."
Tess Holliday
"I'm the world's first size 22 model. I use Instagram as a way to empower other women and share my journey."
Jenn Zeller
"I'm a 38-year-old artist, an aspiring horseman and part of a ranch family. Through my lens I share the day to day wonders I am blessed to enjoy in South Dakota."
Meghan Camarena

Oh? Happy #nationalspidermanday ☺️ Suit by @therpcstudio 📷: @nixja #spidergwen #spiderman

A photo posted by strawburry17 (@strawburry17) on

"I’m a 28-year-old woman inspired by the fictional worlds around me and refuse to be defined by any specific geek subculture. I embrace and live every day of my life as a super hero, in and out of costume."
Alana Smith
"My friends and I were on a Palm Springs skate trip on a journey to have fun and film, just one of our numerous adventures. The concrete bowl I'm skating in the picture was the first stop after the drive from the shores of San Diego to the desert of Palm Springs."
Katie Meyler

Another school. Seriously the community, the kids, and staff said their #1 need was a place to sit.

A photo posted by katiemeyler (@katiemeyler) on

"I moved to Liberia 10 years ago when I was 23. I started More Than Me, a school with wraparound services to empower vulnerable girls. Then Ebola hit. We fought with everything we had. I was named a TIME Person of the Year for 2015. Today, More Than Me is working with the government of Liberia to rebuild the entire education system. If Liberia is vulnerable, our girls are vulnerable."
Katie Vigos
"I’m a 30-year-old mother to three boys, registered nurse, and wife to my husband of nine years. I tell stories of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood to inspire and empower women. I snapped this photo while breastfeeding my son at the kitchen table during a typical afternoon in our busy, happy lives."
Stacey Baker

40th between 7th & 8th, @peachesubc

A photo posted by stace_a_lace (@stace_a_lace) on

"I'm a photo editor. Like most women, I'm critical of my body, especially my legs. I've always wanted longer, thinner legs. But it's not long thin legs that make great pictures. Fuller legs do. They're beautiful...they look like sculptures."
Melissa Spitz

#mom #youhavenothingtoworryabout #moving #nesting #home #family #mentalhealth #mentalillness #shhh

A photo posted by Melissa Spitz (@nothing_to_worry_about) on

Instagram/@nothing_ to_worry_about,
"I am a 26-year-old working artist. I have used photography as a cathartic way of understanding life with a mentally ill parent. This is an image of my mother in her living room complaining about her noisy neighbors."
Julia Xanthos

#younglove #nyc

A photo posted by Julia Xanthos 💕 (@juliaxanthos) on

"Love is holding hands on the sidewalks, kissing at a crosswalk, warm glances on a subway platform, laying in the sand of Coney Island and on the lawns of Central Park -- it is everywhere. Through the process of searching for tender moments of #younglove I finally learned to open my heart and find the love of my life, Tommy."
Signe Pierce

Broken Dreams 🔪💋

A photo posted by @signepierce on

"I am a multimedia artist seeking to explore the heightened reality that occurs within our increasingly digital lives. I photograph, film, and curate myself and my surroundings as an ongoing performance that others can spectate and take part in through social media. This image is a selfie-portrait taken in a vacant strip mall in Hollywood and was inspired by the harsh realities that exist in a town known for its perpetual fantasies."
Kate Bingaman-Burt
"I am an illustrator and the Associate Director of the School of Art + Design at Portland State University. I make work about the things we buy and the feelings we feel. Bright colors, hand lettering, inventories of illustrated objects, rule based systems and input and interaction from people all contribute to the way I make images and projects."

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