( ENSPIRE Feature ) Freedom from Body Shame and Redefining Beauty: How Olivia Kirkby’s Body Positive Content is Impacting Thousands in the Face of Society’s Brutal Beauty Standards
ENSPIRE Contributor: Margaux Jubin
Amid a fatphobic and diet-culture-obsessed society, it is easy to get trapped in the whirlwind of impossible beauty standards. For Olivia Kirkby, a TikToker in eating disorder recovery, accepting her body has been a long, difficult process. Throughout her recovery from a restrictive eating disorder, her body has changed. During this process, she has learned a lot about what body acceptance can look like, and wanted to share her newfound knowledge with others.
Kirkby started her TikTok account to set herself free from body shame by confidently showing her body and assuring followers they don’t need to change themselves. Over the past few years, Olivia has made thousands of videos about body image, self-acceptance, confidence, unrealistic beauty standards, and her recovery from her eating disorder. Committed to making a difference through the years, Olivia now has over 755,000 followers on TikTok.
Some of Kirkby’s most popular videos feature her explaining her “cute lil formula.” She uses this formula by saying “cute lil” before any insecurity about her body. Kirkby often says, “my cute lil rolls” or “my cute lil stretch marks.” She does this to get rid of the shame around her insecurities and to shed a positive light on them. Encouraging her followers to use the “cute lil formula” to be kind to themselves, she says, “You can apply this to anything, and it’s just a nicer way to speak to yourself. It’s speaking kindly to yourself that makes a difference.” These videos about this formula have garnered over 1 million views.
Kirkby has made videos calling out societies’ unrealistic beauty standards, and calling for change. Throughout her page, viewers can find videos of Kirkby explaining the way lighting, angles, and posing can alter someone’s body shape and create false standards. In these videos, she films clips at “good” angles, and then at other angles, unposed. On her Instagram, she shares both the good and bad photos she takes during photo shoots. In March, Kirkby posted a video about celebrating yourself, reminding her followers that, “health looks different on everyone”. She consistently assures her followers that, “nothing was ever wrong with you” and “we are all meant to look different.”
Once caught in the crossfire of beauty standards and disordered eating herself, Kirkby is committed to helping others who have struggled just the same. Olivia’s comment section is consistently flooded with messages from viewers who feel that her content has helped improve their body image. “I wouldn’t be here without you guys,” Olivia reminds her supporters.
Aiming to make her page a safe space for diverse bodies, Kirkby is making a difference by challenging society’s harmful narrative around body image and worthiness. By courageously opening up about her own insecurities, she encourages others to celebrate themselves and recognize their value beyond appearance. One post at a time, Olivia radiates a path of empowerment for women, harnessing her growth to instill hope and motivate change.