Grace Victory describes herself as “the internet’s big sister.” It’s not hard to see why: the London-based vlogger, blogger, and presenter lives her life online, baring all her thoughts about body positivity, style, and mental health. Her feeds act like the guiding light of comfort, advice, and positivity you would want from an older sibling — not to mention the killer looks worth raiding her wardrobe for. If you haven’t come across her blog posts, you might have seen her in Stormzy’s “Big For Your Boots” video, or a BBC documentary she presented on the dangers of the “clean eating” trend. Her debut book No Filter (out July 27 via Headline) is a memoir that dives unselfconsciously into traumatic past experiences, and explains how she found her way to being the confident, happy public figure she is today.
With swimsuit season upon us, The FADER spoke to Grace about how she keeps on loving herself when it can feel like every headline and Instagram post is telling you that only one kind of body is right. “All my life, I’ve been programmed to try and get skinnier for summer,” Grace explained in a laughter-filled phone call from her south London home. “This is the first year where I’ve been really empowered to not do that, and to embrace my body as it is. My body is ‘bikini-ready’ now.” Here’s how she did it, and how you can too.
1. Let go of negative thinking
“A really good task is to write down all the negative thoughts you’re having, and then counteract them with positive ones. It’s important to recognize why you’re having these thoughts; usually it’s society that has created this illusion of how we should all look. Surround yourself with people that understand the body positive movement. If you read a magazine, and it’s trashing a woman, don’t buy that magazine. You have to empower yourself. [Give yourself] daily reminders, even if it’s sticking up a [note] on the mirror that says ‘You’re beautiful, no matter what you do.’ It’s so cheesy, but it really helps.”
2. Help your skin glow
“I think of skincare like self-care, because I love it so much. When summer comes, it’s so good to exfoliate, because it gets rid of all the dead skin — especially before you go on holiday, because it makes your tan deeper and more even. I also love highlight — I know it’s a massive Instagram trend, but highlight on your shoulders and your legs gives a really nice summery warm glow.”
3. Express yourself with bold colors
“I love bright lipstick. In summertime, you can have really minimal face makeup, and let your natural skin and your freckles show through, and then just wear a bit of mascara and a statement lipstick. I also match my outfit to my mood. During the winter months, I tend to [wear] black and grey and khaki, but when the sun is shining, especially on holiday, I love really amazing prints. I’m really into African prints at the moment, and florals. I often go for statement shoes and earrings; I’m a massive fan of outrageously loud, in-your-face earrings. It’s just nice to express yourself.”
4. Learn to love your "flaws"
“I feel like I’ve got really saggy boobs, because they’re big. I always wanted a boob job, and I was actually offered a one, because I’m a blogger. I thought, Do I really want to do this? If I’m just going to give a quick fix to it, am I going to love it, or am I going to find other things I want to change? So I went on this little journey of learning to love my boobs. I decided to embrace them for what they are. They’re amazing, they’re mine.”
"When I find things difficult, I’ll just come off of the internet for a while, and re-evaluate. The block button is my best friend.”
5. Experiment with your hair
“I had this overwhelming urge to change [for summer], because normally I’m so used to trying to lose weight. So I thought, How can I change my appearance in a really nice, safe way? Let’s try braids. People [recommended] Radiant Salon, so I went in and got them done. It took a while to get used to them, but I am obsessed. I feel so confident. I’m mixed race, so it’s nice to embrace a black hairstyle, and they look amazing.”
6. Eat food that makes you happy
“As a society, we have very disordered eating. We’re so fueled by the media, and people on the internet who are too judgey. Eat whatever you want. You have to be intuitive. Teaching people to listen to [their] bodies is so empowering, because from a very young age we’re told to count calories. That’s not how humans should live. When I have down days or I feel sad, I revert to childhood favorites, like beans on toast or bangers and mash. It’s so important to nurture your inner child.”
7. Find a swimsuit you love
“[I love] Curvy Kate, Figleaves, and a U.S. brand called Swimsuits For All. They are incredible, if you want really loud prints. I love high-waisted bikinis, I find them really comfortable and I love how they accentuate my body. I love a bikini that’s supportive, but strapless, because I hate having bikini tan lines.”
8. Hit the block and mute buttons
“It can be hard putting yourself out there on social media, because you’ll get unsolicited advice on what you should look like and how you should dress. When I find things difficult, I’ll just come off of the internet for a while, and re-evaluate. The block button is my best friend. That gives the power back to me — because this is my life, and my social media feed, and I should be able to tweet or Instagram in a safe way. If people make you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them. Curate your own little bubble.”
9. Describe your body however you want to
“A girl’s worst nightmare is to be called ‘fat.’ The world is so against the word. But it’s just a descriptor — it’s like being petite, or tall. Society feels like if you’re fat, it means you’re lazy, or gluttonous, or you’re greedy. Taking away all those negative connotations, and reclaiming that word changed my whole world. I never realized until a few years ago that you could be fat and happy. You can be fat and healthy, my doctor’s told me so. So people have got to let that whole thing go — they don’t care about fat people’s health, they just care about the fact that you’re not thin and you don’t fit into their ideal of what you should look like. As long as you love yourself, and you’re happy with who you are, that’s all that matters.”