Model Emily Bador Proudly Shows Stomach Rolls, Eczema Scars and Underarm Hair in Body Positive Photo

Model Emily Bador hopes to "normalize normal things" by showing her imperfections on social media

Emily Bador body positive instagram
Photo: Emily Bador/Instagram

Emily Bador doesn’t feel the need to portray a “perfect” image on social media.

The London-based model, 20, has shared photos on Instagram that proudly show her stomach rolls, eczema scars and underarm hair to make a statement about the societal pressures put on women to look a certain way.

“I just hope we can normalize normal things,” Bador tells PEOPLE. “Social media puts so much pressure on people, and people hide their imperfections which in turn makes these subjects almost taboo. Opening up discussion about illness, mental health, stuff your body does, etc. is key in getting people to be unashamed of themselves. The amount of amazing people who have messaged me saying my posts have helped them open up, get help or even wear that particular item of clothing is astounding.”

While Bador encourages her followers to be confident in themselves, perceived flaws and all, she admits that she doesn’t always feel completely body-confident. In another Instagram post that shows her sitting down for a modeling shot, she admits that she almost didn’t post the photo because she thought her thighs looked too big.

But she works on building her confidence. “The fake-it-til-you-make-it mentality really works,” she says. “If you say tell yourself something so often, you do start to believe it. Telling yourself daily you are worthy, valid, strong and resilient really does make a difference. Also, take risks. If you think a your belly looks chubby in a photo you’ve taken, post it. If you think your legs look fat, post it. You’ll be surprised how no one else will notice.”

Bador says her journey to love her body is made even more challenging because she works in an industry in which her body is constantly under scrutiny.

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“It is super hard,” she admits. “You’re constantly comparing yourself to other girls. It’s hard when you go to a casting, don’t get the job and a month later see the campaign. Like, how come she got the job and I didn’t? Is she prettier? Thinner? You just take it as it comes.”

As a half-English, half-Malaysian model who is not a size 0, Bador hopes she can be a part of the movement to diversify the modeling industry.

“Maybe if I had seen other mixed race women on the TV, advertising or in magazines, I wouldn’t have been so confused about what was different about me, or I wouldn’t have been ashamed of not being the same as everyone else,” she says. “Diversity and representation is so important because it makes you feel normal. It shows you that you’re beautiful too, and you don’t have to strive to be something you’re not.”

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