Comedian Celeste Barber Says Her Hilarious Body Positivity Videos Stemmed from Her Insecurities

The Australian star is featured in PEOPLE's The Beautiful Issue, on newsstands Friday

Celeste Barber is used to taking on a challenge.

The Australian comedian has gained worldwide fame — and 8.9 million followers on Instagram —thanks to her hilarious body-positive posts comparing herself to other women in the entertainment industry. But showing off her skills as a one-woman band for PEOPLE's Beautiful Issue? That was a different story.

"I used to play the flute and the pianica," says Barber, 40, whose U.S. leg of her stand-up tour starts in July. "But to clang my knees and blow the thing was very hard."

Celeste Barber shot in Sydney, Australia on April 2, 2022.
Hugh Stewart

When it comes to beauty, Barber "always had an idea that it's who you are, not what you are or how you look," she says. "It's such a cliche as well that beauty comes from within, but I'm a big believer of that, and that's quite clear, I think, in the work that I do."

A sense of humor, she adds, "is the most beautiful thing in the world, especially as I get older, because I feel we're losing that a little bit. The way the world is at the moment and how if something isn't funny for someone, then it's not allowed to be funny for anyone, I find that kind of a bit scary at times."

Despite her obvious body-confidence in her videos, Barber insists "it's not as though I just have this unwavering confidence that I go through the world with. A lot of it stemmed from insecurities. Absolutely," she says. "Especially because I voluntarily, blatantly compare myself with the industry."

But the overwhelmingly positive response from fans keeps her going. "You just kind of fake it 'til you find it," she adds. "The feedback that I get really helps with my confidence, for sure. Because I only read positive remarks. Any negative ones, it's like that didn't happen. Just drink your Kool-Aid, Celeste. It's amazing."

For more of Barber's exclusive interview and photos, pick up this week's issue of People on newsstands Friday.

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