body positivity
photo: Lane Bryant

Jumping on the body-positive bandwagon has become trendy and even lucrative for fashion brands.  

H&M received tons of positive press for using Ashley Graham in a major campaign and putting plus-size models in its commercials while silently pulling plus sizes from all of its NYC stores. 

But then there's Lane Bryant, which has done an amazing job at representing plus-size bodies, in my opinion. The brand's #ThisBody campaign with Danielle Brooks and Gabourey Sidibe had me in tears. Seeing bodies that truly look like mine in media isn't a regular occurrence. 

And now Lane Bryant has gone and poked my tear ducts again, with a new activewear ad. 

See the happy, smiling woman in the bra top on the far right? She's one of the stars of Lane Bryant's ad for LIVI, its fitness range. And she's slaying my life right now.

lane bryant LIVI activewear
photo: LaneBryant

The ad also features yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley, body-positive activist and model Julie Henderson, and professional dancer Jesse Diaz. 

The woman who stopped me in my tracks is triathalete Krista Henderson, who, like me, has a decidedly non-hourglass shape.

body positive LIVI activewear ad
photo: LaneBryant

Henderson's visible belly line and sports bra ensemble filled me with so much pride for myself and bodies like hers and mine.

Now, I am no stranger to a crop top. I've worn so many in the past year that I lost count. But a sports bra? That's shrouded in way more intimidation.

With crop tops, I get to manipulate how much or how little of my belly I want to show. In a sports bra, your belly is extremely pronounced and visible for everyone to see. There are no big T-shirts hiding the jiggle. 

Recently I summoned the courage to audition for a gym commercial, and in a sports bra at that. It was hard...

So seeing Henderson in that sports bra meant all the more. It reinforced and supercharged the confidence I have in my body.

photo: LaneBryant

Representation is important. Henderson will inspire women to not only work out, but to shed the shame and lose themselves in the fun and mental game of pushing yourself in the gym or on the field or wherever. 

And in turn, I want to do the same, by donning my sports bra at the gym and inspiring others to feel free and unashamed about their bodies.

No matter where you are in your journey of self-love and body positivity — or what you wear when you work out — know that your body is powerful and beautiful and subject to no one's approval but your own.