- Jilly Darling, from Philadelphia, has become an advocate for body positivity
- She has been encouraging others to find confidence no matter their size
- But the officer manager revealed that she too previously battled with self-doubt
A plus-size woman who has spent years battling food addiction has inadvertently become an online star while documenting her health journey.
Jilly Darling, from Philadelphia, has turned into a powerful advocate for body positivity, self-love and acceptance on social media.
She has inspired countless individuals to embrace their bodies and find confidence no matter their size – but it has not always been that way.
The office manager revealed: ‘Growing up, I wasn’t always on the heavier side, but things started changing when I hit middle school. I was the curviest among my friends, and that stirred up some self-doubt.’
‘My relationship with food has always been complicated. I turn to it for comfort and to combat boredom. While I’ve come a long way in my journey with food, there’s still room for improvement,’ Jilly explained.
Her path to becoming an influencer began somewhat unexpectedly in January 2020.
‘At that time, my Instagram account was small, mostly filled with friends from school and online buddies.
‘Then, on a whim, I decided to share a series of photos with a heartfelt caption embracing body positivity, which took off like wildfire.
‘The experience was incredibly liberating, and it felt like I had unshackled myself.
‘It was a turning point, inspiring me to revamp my entire account to focus on the empowering themes of body positivity and neutrality.’
Jilly’s main message now radiates empowerment with the belief that being ‘fat and sexy’ is a powerful declaration.
She passionately affirmed: ‘Fat people can exude sexiness, hotness, and attractiveness. It’s crucial to spread this message far and wide.’
Jilly recounted how dieting used to be a something she thought about often during her formative years but that she now finds contentment in embracing her US-size 28 figure.
Reflecting on her past, she noted: ‘During my teenage years, when I was more impressionable and constantly surrounded by peers and family conversations centered on weight loss, I felt the urge to conform.
‘At one point, my struggle took a darker turn, and I even wished for an eating disorder, believing it would miraculously transform me into a thinner version of myself.’
She continued: ‘Today, as a grown adult, I’ve gained invaluable perspective.
‘I’ve come to understand how detrimental that mindset was, and I have no desire to shed pounds, particularly not to conform to unrealistic beauty standards.
‘I’ve found contentment in my body, recognizing that what truly matters is taking good care of my overall well-being.’
With growing self-assurance, Jilly has not only come to terms with her own body but has also discovered a deep and affirming love in her life.
‘I am in a loving queer relationship, going strong with my partner for nearly two wonderful years.
‘Our paths first crossed on the dating app OkCupid in June 2021. From that moment, they have evolved into an irreplaceable pillar of support and understanding in my life.’
Jilly has now built up an impressive following of more than 10,300 fans on Instagram and a further 28,000 on TikTok.
But, despite this feat, her journey as a body-positive influencer has not been without its challenges.
In a digital landscape often marred by negativity and prejudice, she has encountered her fair share of online haters and ‘fatphobes.’
‘In the early days of my TikTok journey, dealing with the relentless barrage of hate was undeniably tough,’ she recalled.
‘I have learned over time that you simply can’t change people’s opinions on certain things, and I was only wasting my own time and energy trying to do so.
‘Now, I usually just delete negative comments and block people to make sure my platforms are a constant safe space for other plus-sized people.
‘It helps me to remember that the people saying these harmful things are most likely deeply insecure individuals who don’t think it’s fair that I love myself as a fat person since they are struggling to do so.’
As a social media influencer, Jilly takes great care to foster a profound connection with her followers through her content.
‘I make it a point to respond to almost every positive comment or question. I love talking with those who support me and even making friends with some of them!
‘I would not be where I am today without the people who support me and stand by me,’ she explained.
In terms of content creation, Jilly employs a savvy strategy, revealing: ‘I always shoot ahead of time and make a bunch of videos at once because it works so well for me.
‘Having a queue of videos, especially those related to plus-size fashion, to post over a few weeks takes a lot of stress off the table,’ she admitted.
Jilly has also offered valuable advice to those seeking to embrace the body positivity movement on social media: ‘Remember, your body is just one part of who you are.
‘Rather than fixating on our physical attributes, like stomach size or clothing size, make authenticity a cornerstone of your online presence.
‘Choose to work with brands that resonate with your beliefs and things you genuinely enjoy.
‘Also, don’t hesitate to open up about those days when you feel bad about your body.
‘By sharing these moments, you’re letting others know it’s okay to have those feelings too, and they’re not alone.’