“I am a plus-size model and body-positivity activist," Tijerina said. "I love encouraging women to live their best and most authentic lives through everything that they do.”
She says her followers really grew after she posted fitness videos to TikTok.
“It’s about doing something that you enjoy, moving your body, celebrating all that it can do and I really love that when people come to my platform they see that and that they see a plus size body doing exercises that they typically don’t see.”
Body positivity has become a recent welcoming trend on social media that’s different from what we’ve seen in the past.
“The media and social media has told us that only one type of beauty is the right type of beauty so often times you see young girls and women who are constantly striving to achieve something that they just weren’t designed to be," Tijerina said. "And body positivity, body neutrality, body acceptance – whatever term you want to use for it – is encouraging women to find the beauty and uniqueness that they have themselves.”
Tijerina says there’s a big mental health aspect to it and she’s a big believer in therapy to help overcome the barriers we face to feel confident in our own skin.
Alice West-Goers is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist. She says she talks about body positivity with her clients.
“Showing up in the world and having people criticize you for your body is really challenging," West-Goers said. "It’s important to go out into society and feel valued.”
West-Goers says she teaches her clients to practice positive affirmations – reminding themselves about the great things their body can do. She says influencers like Tijerina are a big help by empowering people to view body image in a different light.
“When you are struggling with low self-esteem it can spiral into depression and anxiety and maybe possible other self-harming behavior, self-loathing, and so I think it’s important to be able to look at these social media platforms and see people who look like you,” West-Goers said.
Tijerina says society has come a long way in only a couple of decades. Growing up, she says she couldn’t wear brands she really liked because they didn’t offer her size.
“One of my followers she commented and said ‘so are you telling me all of my childhood trauma that I had from not being able to fit in this brand is now gone?’ And I was like ‘yeah, it kind of is,'” Tijerina said.
However, she says there’s still room for growth.
“One of the things in particular that I wish more brands did is that when they expand to plus size, I don’t want that to only be available online, I want that to be available in stores just like it is for somebody with a straight body.”
No matter your shape, size, or ability, Tijerina wants everyone to know your body is beautiful. And if you’re struggling with self-confidence, she suggests looking on the inside first.
“Maybe you think you’re a very smart person, or you think you’re kind or you love the types of relationships that you have," Tijerina said.
"Start small with things that are personal about you. And then pick things about your body in particular that you love. So maybe it’s ‘I love my smile, I think I have great energy and charisma’, and telling yourself that every single day helps just a little more and more to continue to get that confident vibe that you might be looking for yourself.”