For all the highs that come with being an influencer, there can be lows too – as curve model and cheerleader Sydney Bell, who has a casual 163,000 Instagram followers, well knows. However, she doesn't let any of the negativity dent her confidence and instead, just issued the *perfect* clapback video to one troll who left a charming comment saying "So [you're] still fat? Why not just go on a diet or exercise tf".
In response, Sydney posted a clip of herself looking gorgeous while walking on a treadmill and enjoying some snacks, along with the caption "Say less, thanks for the advice boo👏🏾😘 #unbothered" – and honestly, her energy is exactly what we all need to be channelling on a daily basis.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK about why she decided to post the video, which has been liked over 18,000 times on IG and watched by thousands on TikTok, Sydney shared that she wanted to instil the same level of confidence in her followers, many of whom have told her before that they're also subject to nasty appearance-based comments.
"I love clapping back to hate comments or messages about my weight or appearance," Sydney says. "Anytime I get a comment, I respond with something along the lines of, 'Hi you sound upset, I hope your day gets brighter', or I’ll personally DM them and say, 'Hey! Just saw your comment and wanted to check in and make sure you are doing okay'." She adds that the "crazy thing is, so many people respond and ask why I'm so nice to them".
In Sydney's experience, those haters then start opening up about their personal lives, "Often, we end up being friends!" She adds that these personal relationships with her followers help to motivate her, "So many people tell me they get hate on social media, or in their everyday lives, because of their appearances. I posted my treadmill video because I wanted to show them – and so many others – that all you have to do is say 'Fuck it!' and continue to strut to your own beat just the way you are."
Sydney also jokes that if she had a penny for every hateful comment or DM she receives that she "would be a rich bish!", but that she also receives a tonne of support and love online too. She credits her parents for building her up to be so confident from day one, but that during secondary school she did face some tough times.
"As a little girl, my parents made sure it was engraved in my mind that I was beautiful, that my body was beautiful, and that my heart and spirit was beautiful as well," she shares. "It wasn’t until I became a cheerleader in junior and high school that my confidence somewhat faded."
Heartbreakingly, Sydney recalls a time where the opinions and words of others did dent her self-esteem. "There was a huge basketball game, the stands were packed, and I felt so excited and confident as the only plus-size African American cheerleader for this big championship game," she says. "During a timeout, a boy from the opposing team pointed at me and yelled in front of everyone, 'Ayo, Precious!' (the character in the eponymous movie)."
Speaking candidly, Sydney says that while she was hurt and embarrassed in the moment, the incident was a wake-up call. "It made me open my eyes and realise there's a huge issue in the way that society views curvy or plus-sized women. From that moment on, I promised myself I would stay confident and show the world that us curvy and plus-size women can - and will - always rock it."
Years down the line, it's pretty clear for all to see that she has well and truly kept up that promise. "I firmly believe that self-love is loving who you are as a person," Sydney explains. "Your body and the gifts that God has given you, but I also believe self-love is really about taking the time to dig down and figure out what genuinely feeds your soul and what truly makes your heart happy. It's a journey and self-love is taught, something we should all remember."
Keep doing you, Sydney!
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