International model Denise Bidot loves her body just the way it is. However, she’s the first to admit she hasn’t always felt that way.
The 30-year-old Puerto Rican and Kuwaiti mother of one shared a collage of un-retouched photos of herself on Instagram Monday, captioned with a candid and empowering message about self-love.
“I used to be so critical of myself and I overthought everything, including my posts,” she wrote. “But I realized that unless I learn to love and accept myself, nobody will ever know or love the real me. So here I am, no photoshop, and no fucks given...”
Bidot went on to encourage her followers to not let anyone tell them that they aren’t enough.
She punctuated her message with a series of empowering hashtags, including “#effyourbeautystandards” and #thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman,” the latter of which is a nod to her body positive campaign by the same name.
Bidot launched her body positive brand and movement “There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman” in June.
“My movement is all about inspiring others to love themselves exactly as they are because our differences are what make us perfect,” she explains in the campaign’s mission statement. “If we are sincerely ourselves without apology, there’s no way we can go wrong.”
Practicing what she preached, Bidot doubled down on her message Tuesday when she posted another set of un-retouched photos of herself on Instagram.
This time she was wearing denim shorts and baring her stomach ― two things she said she avoided doing for years.
She explained in her caption that she used to avoid wearing shorts because she doesn’t have a thigh gap, and she didn’t want to show her stomach because she has “stretch marks and some baby weight.”
However, she no longer feels that way.
“I refuse to be mean to myself and I refuse to hide what society has labeled as flaws any longer,” she wrote. “I am a work in progress, constantly learning/growing as a woman and I am going to enjoy every moment of my journey regardless of if my thighs touch.”