by Nicole Karlis
(Content warning: discussion of weight loss)
Cellulite is natural fat that accumulates beneath the skin, so why are we still conditioned to be embarrassed about it? According to body activist Kenzie Brenna, the beauty industry is to blame — but she’s tearing down the negative stigma they’ve created.
I realize this isn't a "desired" body. No magazine is using my body placed in a "sex sells jeans" ad or a "come fuck me I just put on X perfume" or "look at my really effortless life just strolling along in the forest after my yoga class with these 200 dollar leggings u should buy some too." But, someone commented something on my last pic which said: "And she looked like art." (Thank you by the way 😍) Which hit me, yeah. I do. And you do too. Those photoshopped bodies you see in the media, those bodies you want are nothing compared to what you got. You have a body that is like no one else's, HOW COOL IS THAT? There are marks on yours which will never look like mine. I am in love with bodies at the moment, I have been scrolling through different hashtags looking at some of the most dope people. WERE JUST SO FUCKING AWESOME LOOKING. Hope you feel like rocking yours this week, cause you only have this one lifetime to get happy remember? Might as well start now, cause you just never know what might happened tomorrow 💜🙌✨ (Ps – Of course loving yourself comes in waves. At least for me it does. I look at my hips in this picture and my mind jumps to "Yeesh." Then jumps back to: "All good you're human." Waves. It's waves. 🌊) #selflovejourney #mondaymotivation
Today, Kenzie is redefining what it means “to have cellulite” one Instagram post at a time. Her mission is help women love their bodies, not be embarrassed or ashamed of them. Every Saturday she posts a photo of her own cellulite on Instagram with the hashtag #CelluliteSaturday. Since she’s started this movement, hundreds of women have followed.
When she’s not on Instagram, she’s on YouTube talking about her journey to self-love, writing, or pursuing her career as an actress.
I recently spoke to Kenzie about her #CelluliteSaturday movement. Here’s what she had to say:
WYV: Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a body activist?
KB: It started off as a weight-loss journey, I was losing weight and hitting all these goals, but it slowed down and I became unhappy again. I had lost all this weight, but I still had moments of self-hate. I questioned if I was doing everything right, why do I still feel this way? I looked up the hashtag #selfacceptance on Instagram and it changed my life. From there, I slowly but surely became influenced by these women loving themselves and began my own self-love journey!
WYV: What’s the story behind the #CelluliteSaturday hashtag?
KB: I was tagged in a cellulite meme by @nourishandeat. It made me think more than it made me laugh. I ended up sharing my cellulite and found a lot of women flooded me with supportive comments, and stories with the relationships they have with their own. That Saturday I made another post asking if #cellulitesaturday could be a thing and the overwhelming response was “yes, this absolutely could be a thing.” And from there, the movement was born.
Can we all just take a moment and acknowledge that since I've started this I've gotten happier with myself? #cellulitesaturday ✨ I can't really hate this part of myself anymore. Not at least to the extent that I have in the past. Is this part of yourself really worth hating? Like your body has taken cute marshmallows and placed them al over yourself for you to relish in and you're gonna sandpaper them out? Remember the facts: •Cellulite is genetic and hormonal. •It is NOT an indication of health. No doc is ever going to say "okay now drop your pants, let's assess your cellulite and get you into treatment ASAP." 🙅🙅🙅🙅 •Cellulite affects 90% OF WOMEN. Look at the woman beside you today, she statistically will probably have some. Love her. Send her good vibes and know that this is a part of your body that you DONT! HAVE! TO! GET! RID! OF! I promise 💕✨💞 #LoveYourself #effyourbeautystandards #MarshmallowBodyIsWhatIAm #SoOkayWithThat
WYV: What has surprised you the most since starting this movement?
KB: The support! People often ask me “how do you deal with the hate?” But what hate? I am always surprised and so elated with the amount of support and love I get it. It’s overwhelming at times. I ask myself: “How did I get so lucky with this amazing community?”
WYV: Let’s talk about cellulite. How did we get to a point where women are taught to be embarrassed about it? It’s natural!
KB: At some point in our beauty culture and mainstream media both decided that this was ugly and unacceptable for women to have. That it meant you have a bad part of you and you must work to change it. The evidence still shocks the hell out of me because I’m so conditioned to believe that it is a hostile, unappealing, unlovable part of my body that has to look different. But the facts remain the same, no matter where you search. Cellulite is not an indication of health; it is a genetic predisposition for women as much as a birthmark, a freckle or beards for men.
Someday some of us may end up as parents or role models for people. In those positions we get to choose to send a message to people who look up to us, as parents we get to help create a mind, we help nourish a baby's physical system, we shelter and protect them. I want my kids to do what they love and I want the people who admire me to know that you don't have to let fear rob you of celebrating who you are or how you exist. This is your weekly reminder that you can let go and let god in. (God can mean whatever to you 💕 💫🌌) This is your weekly reminder that whatever happened when you were younger doesn't have to continue happening now in your head. This is your weekly reminder TO TREAT YOURSELF the way you WISHED you were treated when you were younger. This is your weekly reminder that you are as good as they come and you deserve to be celebrated. This is your DAILY reminder to always do something nice for yourself and for others. This is your DAILY reminder to take a few minutes to walk without your phone, without your music, without distraction and notice the world around you. This is your all around reminder that you matter, you're awesome and you deserve to be happy in fully in love with yourself. ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ #effyourbeautystandards #celebratemysize #goldenconfidence #goddessvibes #recoverywin #eatcookies #youareloved #cellulitesaturday
WYV: What advice do you have for women on how they can embrace and love their cellulite despite what the beauty industry advertises?
KB: Start looking at women who have it.
Even if you don’t really like it, if you understand the facts and statistics of it (90 percent of women have it) and you want to work on loving it, you have to be surrounded by it. For women who don’t care to love it, don’t want to see it, this message isn’t for them. Be inclusive, maybe post a picture if you’re feeling brave, remain loving to other women who proudly show it!
WYV: Do you feel that you have become more accepting of your body and cellulite by sharing photos of yourself? Why or why not?
KB: Yes, absolutely! Exposure therapy works. It’s scary, you cry because you’re vulnerable, but then you cry because you are supported and still loved. That is the best part of healing; you need to take that one little scary step and you’re in.
WYV: What did it feel like the first time you shared a photo of your cellulite?
KB: Scary. I was angry at my body. I was angry that I had to do this, upset that this is something I have to constantly get over and continually tell myself the facts and stats. The first time I thought “fuck this is so ugly, people will probably unfollow me.” Which obviously wasn’t the case.
WYV: What inspires you on a daily basis?
KB: All of the women in the world who fight for themselves and others to make the world a better, safer place for us all.
WYV: When do you feel like the truest version of yourself?
KB: When I’m doing something that frightens me. It pushes me into a better version of myself, which feels like the true me.
Nicole Karlis is a freelance writer, journalist and yoga teacher. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, 7×7, Avenue magazine and The Bold Italic. Currently she is working on a collection of short non-fiction essays. You can read her work here.