Loving your body is extremely difficult - especially today, in a world where people have a certain idealistic view of what a perfect body is - but influencer Clara and Herself is here to make positive change.
The Teen Magazine had the chance to interview Clara Guillem, also known as Clara And Herself, on being the positive influencer and role model she is to many young teenagers on the TikTok platfrom @claraandherself.
Confidence comes from within say it with me ##bodyconfidence♬ Backyard Boy - Claire Rosinkranz
When asked how she came to start her viral platform on body confidence, Clara responded, "I became a body confidence (I refrain from using the term body positive now since I have a smaller body) influencer because one day, I made a TikTok video about eating disorders, and got flooded with hundreds of comments from teenage girls who were struggling and had no support and no help."
Without a doubt, social media has proven to be toxic regarding how teenagers view themselves in comparison to others, and Clara knew she had to do something. "It [hearing about the struggles of other young women] had me in absolute tears and broke my heart," she says, "I knew that as an adult who has been through so many hardships in my life, especially when it comes to body image, I had to do something to help these young girls."
You're Not Alone
Have you ever scrolled through social media and come to view other posts and contents- only to be put down with negative comparison to others and yourself? You're certainly not alone, if that is the case.
Believe it or not, Clara too struggles with body confidence herself. "Absolutely- I struggle with body confidence all the time. Everyone has “bad” days whether they’d like to admit it or not. Progress is not linear in the road to loving yourself," she says.
To Those Struggling
If someone struggles with body confidence, Clara wants to advise: "I would tell them that it takes really, really hard work. It doesn’t happen overnight and you really have to want it and work for it." As a saying says, 'The storm may last long, but at the end, the rainbow shall shine.'
According to Mayo Clinic, eating disorder can be termed as:
Eating disorders are serious conditions related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact your health, your emotions and your ability to function in important areas of life. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
To anyone struggling with an eating disorder, Clara says: "It gets better. It gets a million times better, and it’s worth it," Clara says, "Your eating disorder is in control of you right now and putting in the work to recover will make you enjoy life so, so, so much more."
The Hardest and Easiest Part
Without a doubt, reaching self-love and body confidence is not an easy feat. When asked of what the most arduous aspect of this journey would be, Clara says, "The hardest part is believing that you are worth it. A lot of times in my past, since I didn’t really love myself, I didn’t believe that I even deserved to put in the work towards loving myself. Everyone deserves self love."
Okay- we know the hardest part- but what's the easiest part of reaching body confidence? "The easiest part is how freeing and fun it really is," Clara says, "Once you stop caring about something as silly as bloating, you enjoy your life so much more."
To Reach Self-Love
When asked of how one could reach the point of self-love, Clara tells us, "You can only get to a point of self love through hard work. Whether that means therapy, following more body positive influencers, working on affirmations, etc. it has to be done through hard work."
Of course, nothing can really turn out without some input of effort - and Clara's words reiterate exactly that. This certainly could be a difficult journey, but with hard work, anything can come true.
The Pros and Cons of Advocacy
For Clara, it is an extremely rewarding experience to know that she is helping young teens find love within themselves. "[A positive aspect is that] I feel like I have built such a beautiful and strong community, and have never felt so supported and loved in my life," Clara tells us, "I have a creative outlet that allows me to continue working on my own self love. I’ve been told I’m saving lives."
However, as crazy as it seems, Clara has some negative aspects with her experience with advocating for body confidence. "The online hate that I receive despite my message being so positive [is definitely not the good side]," she says.
Advice from Clara and Herself
My number one piece of advice to people struggling is that they need to start recognizing their negative self talk. Most people have a voice in the back of their head constantly telling them negative things about themselves. Most people usually just either encourage or ignore that voice. I think the most important thing you can do is start to acknowledge that voice and see it as your enemy. Every time it says something negative to you, you should refuse to believe it. One thing that helps a lot is doing affirmations. If I look in the mirror and that voice is saying, “that shirt looks bad on you” I will actively look at myself and say out loud “this shirt looks great on me!” It works really well!
##edrecovery follow me for help ❤️♬ There Is a Light That Never Goes Out - 2017 Master - The Smiths
Something You May Not Know About Clara...
"A lot of people don’t know that I actually immigrated here from France when I was 6 years old!" Clara tells us, "[Another thing is that] many also don’t know that I’m currently finishing up a Masters in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University."