Aerie Model Proves How Liberating It Is To Finally Celebrate Your ‘Flaws’

by Jerriann Sullivan
Originally Published: 
Images via Instagram.

Aerie model Nià Pettitt opens up about her insecurities

Aerie model Nià Pettitt shared an inspiring post on Instagram about overcoming her own body insecurities to shoot a swimsuit campaign that could be featured all over the world. Even though Pettitt blogs and shares a lot of her life with the internet, she’s just like the rest of us: a bit hesitant when someone’s snapping photos of her in a swimsuit. Thankfully, she pushed past her fears and is inspiring others to do the same.

It was November of last year when Pettitt found herself in Laguna Beach, California, getting ready to model Aerie bathing suits for a new marketing campaign. But the model told Cosmopolitan that the brand’s focus on celebrating the natural beauty of women helped her feel at ease. “I’ve never done a shoot where they let you be 100 percent yourself,” she explained. “There’s usually such a focus on makeup or a glam squad, but Aerie is all about being natural, and I hadn’t experienced that.” Pettitt felt even better after she saw the photos from the shoot. “I just really pat myself on the back because I could have easily said no … because of my insecurities, but I didn’t let them control me on that day,” she shared.

Pettitt took the time to share a few of the images and opened up about her battles with body insecurities. It quickly went viral with nearly 18,000 likes and more than 250 comments because we all have things about our bodies that make us a little nervous or uncomfortable. Despite living with 90% humidity in Florida, I refused to wear sleeveless shirts or dresses until I was 23-years-old. I thought my arms were huge and couldn’t stand the thought of someone seeing them. Eventually, I overcame my insecurity. Pettitt – like all of us – has a similar story.

“I remember when I was 7, acne started to show on my face and I used to get bullied in school all the time about it. It didn’t go till I was 17 but by that time it had spread onto my back,” she wrote. “I used to be so self-conscious. I remember going to a party and wearing this cute dress but I had to find a sweater to put on over it because it showed my back.”

And, of course, what woman hasn’t stressed themselves out worrying about their stretch marks. “Then when my lil cakes decided to show, wearing bikinis was never a thing. I would always cover up and feel ashamed of my skin,” Pettitt wrote about her stripes. “In changing rooms, I’d always deter from looking too intensely at myself or I’d end up pointing out every single flaw on my skin. I’ve had family members emphasize it to me at occasions and it took me so long to finally embrace and accept it.”

But thank goodness she did because her acceptance has helped her share more and more of herself with the world, which in turn inspiring girls and women to embrace themselves as they are.

She also took time to remind ladies that their “lines of love” shouldn’t be hidden away. “If you have them, ROCK them. Look in the mirror the next time you get dressed and tell every stretch mark and every acne scar that it is a part of the magic that makes you, you,” she wrote.

“Wear that dress without worrying about what people will think. Wear that bikini without hesitation. You got this baby girl. You got this Queen.”

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