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10 great gen-z body positive influencers you need to follow

From viral hashtags to YouTube videos meet the activists paving the way for a more body positive future. Because beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes.

by Tish Weinstock
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24 November 2015, 9:55am

1. Charli Howard

Charli Howard is the 23-year-old model who was dropped by her agency for being "too big". At size 6 (!) this seems absolutely outrageous. But instead of conforming to the emaciated image her agency demanded of her, Charli took to Facebook with a now viral open letter to call her agency's body shaming bullshit out.

@charlihoward

2. Denise Bidot

Denise Bidot is the half Puerto Rican, half Kuwaiti model who proves there's no wrong way to be a woman. Too pretty to play the best friend, too big to play the leading lady, Denise's dreams of being an actress were crushed in one fell swoop - so she tried her hand at being a plus size model instead. Fast-forward to today and Denise is one of the most successful models in the business. Most recently she took part in Swimsuits For All's Beach Body, Not Sorry, campaign which aims to celebrate un-retouched forms of beauty in every shape and size.

@denisebidot

3. Agnes Hedengård

At 5'11" and with a BMI of 17.5, Agnes Hedengård would make the "perfect" model. But having been rejected by many major modelling agencies for being "too fat", it would seem that it wasn't actually the case. In response, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty posted a video to YouTube calling out the industry for its impossible body type ideals.

@hedengard

4. Naomi Shimada

Naomi Shimada is a size 16, she used to be size 8, but who gives a f? She's the model that said, "fuck you" to dieting and refused to conform to the industry's unrealistic ideals of beauty. She's also becoming a bit of a whistleblower within the plus size modelling industry revealing that most plus size models are encouraged to wear extra padding, and some even wear fat suits. She's also keen to change how we think of the term plus, emancipating it from notions of obesity and unhealthiness.

@naomishimada

5. Barbara Ferreira

Like Naomi, Barbara also wants to redefine what we think of as plus size. At size 12, the Me & You model who is turning the industry's standards of their head. With 190,000 followers on Instagram, she's also becoming a role model for young girls to look up to, the kind of voluptuous and beautiful role model that Barbara wished she had when she was growing up.

@barbienox

6. Jordan Bone

Jordan Bone is the British make-up artist and disability activist who has been reshaping what we think of as ideal body types. At the age of 15 Jordan was involved in a car crash that left her paralysed from the chest down, but this didn't deter her. Fast-forward to today and Jordan has learnt how to apply her makeup from scratch and has amassed over 100,000 YouTube subscribers along the way.

@jbone89

7. Tess Munster

Never one to conform to mainstream standards of beauty, Tess never thought she could make it as a model. But at size 26 Tess has made history by being signed to a major modelling agency. An inspiration to millions (she has over 900,000 followers on Instagram), in 2013 Tess launched the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, a defiant retort to the volume of bullying she was receiving online. Since then the hashtag has gathered momentum, and her call for body positivity is being spread all over the world.

@fc_tessmunster

8. Diana Veras

Like her BFF Barbara Ferreira, Diana Veras is a role model to hundreds of thousands of young girls, Diana, who at 19 has already modelled for #mycalvins, Opening Ceremony, and Mass Appeal, is living proof that when it comes to being beautiful size and shape has nothing to do with it. What's more, she actively encourages girls to accept who they are no matter what they look like.

@mynamesdiana

9. Anna Collins

Petra's baby sister Anna Collins is the go to girl for advice on body issues. Her YouTube channel, Female Fiasco, features numerous videos on things like body dysmorphia, accepting yourself, and feeling confident. Having struggled with her own body related issues her knowledge and compassion on the subject lends a relatability that most agony aunts lack.

@annaballins

10. Zendaya Coleman

We all know what Zendaya thinks about cultural appropriation, but what you might have missed were her views on body image. After having her body totally manipulated by Modeliste magazine, the singer took to Instagram to release the unretouched image of herself. "Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso quite manipulated," she wrote. "These are the things that make women self-conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self-love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it."

@zendaya