***Scroll down to see a behind the scenes video
body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/Marianne Espinosa

The one question I constantly get asked is how I became comfortable and confident in my own body. 

Although I still struggle with fully accepting my body, it's motivational to know that my journey can inspire others. The best advice I've learned is that you have to make the conscious decision to want to like yourself. You have to decide, commit, and put in work. 

My journey started five years ago and to this day I still have to work on it. There is no end goal — just new challenges and a freer existence with every threshold I pass.  

To do something like this nude shoot, with no clothes whatsoever, I imagined I would have to work up to it mentally and emotionally. But it was more of a plunge, just an idea that came up and that I said yes to. Today is as good a day as any to really test my confidence, I thought. 

I called two friends who are also on self-love journeys to take the plunge with me. Wearing nothing but glitter, we exposed our deepest insecurities — and it turned into a celebration.  

The first to bare it all was Ashleigh, who works in fashion but isn't used to being in front of the camera.

covering body with glitter
photo: Revelist/Marianne Espinosa

Like many of us, Ashleigh struggles to accept her back fat. "My relationship with my body has always been overwhelmingly negative. When I do feel good about it, I can remember those moments vividly."

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

"I'm self-conscious about my back because it has a lot of fat on it," said Ashleigh.

covering body with glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa
"Having back fat is normal, but the amount I have is seen as 'disgusting,' so I would go to tremendous lengths to hide it so that OTHER PEOPLE could be comfortable while I sacrificed my comfort and style for their approval."

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

Ashleigh gives the impression of being empowered and in control over her body image, but deep down her feelings are different.

covering body with glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

"I don't know how my back looks on film, and that scares me because it's the center of my entire shoot. I started taking my own look and style into consideration when I was 15, and since then have become very strategic in how I represent my body and how it's consumed, so the photo shoot was very scary for me," said Ashleigh.  

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

So why did she agree to do the shoot?

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

"I'm hoping that my internal fears will be alleviated once I see the photos," she confided, "and that I'll feel more accepting of this area of insecurity for me."

Watching her become more confident with every click of the camera was amazing. Soft-spoken and quiet, she stayed for the rest of the shoot, which went on for hours. She reminded us that you don't have to have 50,000 Instagram fans be a body-positive icon. You can do it for yourself, for your best friend, your sister, your mom... we're all beauty and style influencers to someone. 

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

You may recognize Brittany, the 25-year-old fitness queen who produces all of Revelist's videos. People look at her and think, "What could she be insecure about?"

body cover in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

"Growing up, I never let my body prevent me from doing anything, but I’ve always been self-conscious about my thighs. I used to hate wearing shorts because that part of my body was always thicker than the rest of me," said Brittany.

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

What you can't tell by looking at her, and what she revealed to us long after she began working here, is that Brittany is an eating disorder survivor.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/Marianne Espinosa
Switching positions from behind the lens to in front of it, Brittany answered our questions about where her body image struggles stemmed from. One of the comments that cut the deepest came from a boy in high school. 

"When I was in high school, I remember sitting cross-legged at the pool in a bikini. My guy friend reached over and lightly slapped my thigh to get my attention. He said, 'Whoa look at your leg! It ripples!' As he continued making my thigh 'ripple,' I slumped into an internal hole," she told us.

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

After gaining 15 pounds in college, Brittany's obsession with working out and dieting turned deadly.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

"During my eating disorder, I finally had that thigh gap I always wanted, but with that gap, I also lost part of my personality. I wasn’t living life, I was surviving it," said Brittany, whose disorder caused her 5'5" frame to shrink to 94 pounds.

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

After an intervention, she slowly began to understand that the value of her body did not depend on a thigh gap.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

"The beginning of my senior year, after many failed attempts of getting help, my friends finally got through to me. I started seeing a therapist, nutritionist, and doctor to nurse my body and mind to health. Four years later, I have a much healthier relationship with my body," she said, smiling.

That last word above is important. Brittany's entire aura is like one big smile — even when she's not smiling and wearing the inkiest black lipstick, she looks like the friendliest person in the room. She lives life to the fullest and is an inspiration to everyone in this office. The reason she's such a skilled producer is that she makes our video guests comfortable and at home in a weird camera situation; she's able to do that because she's so comfortable and at peace with herself. 

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

I saved myself for last — this shoot is the hardest thing I have ever done in relation to my body image.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

I never had a great relationship with my body. I always thought that my body was a work in progress, something temporary. I was constantly told that to be pretty, I had to be skinny. I did so many crash diets and wore girdles for days, to the point that they left scars on my skin. 

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

When I first started trying to love my body, I would stand naked in front of the mirror and compliment the parts that were easier to love.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa
That included my shoulders, my smile, my thighs, my cheeks, and my hair — but never my torso. At that time, it helped to focus on the things that were easier to love, not the ones that were hard for myself and society to celebrate.

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

There were very few body parts that I liked, but the trophy for self-hate always went to my belly.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa

Days before this shoot, I was extremely nervous. Knowing that I was about to highlight a body part that I was so ashamed of frightened me to my core. Now that it's said and done, I can honestly say this wasn't a cure.  

I haven't overcome the fear of exposing my least favorite body part to millions. But I'm more comfortable with it today than I was before this shoot, and I hope that in time, I'll look back at these photos and be even more comfortable with the sight of who I am. This wasn't a final step, but it was a big one.

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

In the moment, I was empowered to be showcasing a body part that I had kept hidden all of my life.

body covered in glitter
photo: Revelist/ Marianne Espinosa
It almost felt like a dirty secret of mine was finally out. These photos will be a reminder: I get to choose how I feel about my body, not a person or a magazine or a fashion brand, me.

Photographer: Marianne Espinosa

To anyone out there who's avoiding the mirror or living in hiding:

Loving your biggest insecurities is possible. It may not happen overnight, but it can happen for each and every one of us without exception. Your body and mine deserve to be seen and loved, with or without glitter. 

Watch a behind the scenes video and hear from our models below.