Rachel Hollis may have just become the world’s most famous – and inspirational – swimsuit model.
The mother of three posted a bikini beach photo of herself on vacation Saturday with her family in Cancén, alongside the powerful message, “I have stretch marks, and I wear a bikini.”
Wrote a happy Hollis, who was enjoying a rare getaway with her husband and kids, ages 8, 6 and 2: “I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies, and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy … (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini.”
She continued in her post: “I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. Flaunt that body with pride!”
Her impromptu swimsuit snap has resonated with women – and men – across the world, garnering more than 10 million views and 350,000 Facebook likes.
“It touches my heart that people are having this reaction to it,” Hollis told Today.com, adding that other women have also posted their own bikini photos in support.
Hollis, 32, who runs her own business, The Chic Site – whose mission states that “chic isn t a state of being or even a destination, chic is the journey you take on the way to something greater” – told Today.com that she told her husband to “take a hundred photos” so they could pick one she liked.
But after trying to take a “posey, pretty shot” that looked “awkward,” Hollis started laughing, “and that’s when he happened to get that picture.”
The photo was taken a week after Hollis had completed her first marathon.
“I thought, it’s not going to get better than this,” she told Today.com. “My body is never going to be smaller than it is right now, so if there’s ever time to show off your belly, this is probably it.”
Hollis said she grew up “chubby” but never tried to lose weight until after she had children, when she gained 45 lbs. on her 5-ft.-2-in. frame with her first baby.
“[My body is] never ever going to be like a Victoria’s Secret model,” Hollis said, “but I think I look good, and my husband wants to make out with me, so I’m doing something right.”