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Canadian TikTok star Spencer Barbosa opens up about self love — body hair and all

The self-love advocate shares body positive content with her near-nine million TikTok followers.

Canadian TikTok star Spencer Barbosa has opened up to Yahoo Canada about her career and self-love journey. (Instagram/@spencer.barbosa)
Canadian TikTok star Spencer Barbosa has opened up to Yahoo Canada about her career and self-love journey. (Instagram/@spencer.barbosa)

When Spencer Barbosa began posting on social media as a teenager, she had the goal of helping other young women feel less alone.

Nearly nine million TikTok followers later, the influencer has created just that.

Barbosa's online journey started on YouTube when she was in grade seven, before eventually expanding to Instagram and TikTok. Her content featured body acceptance and self-love, as well as her "authentic" personality.

"My content began with me wanting to be people's role model. I wanted to be what I wish I saw when I was younger," Barbosa told Yahoo Canada.

Viral vulnerability

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, her content went viral over and over again.

She noticed when she was vulnerable online, it positively impacted other people. It made them feel less alone with their struggles or with their body, Barbosa recalled.

One stream of content that resonates with her followers is her posts about body hair.

Barbosa, who's a self-proclaimed "European hairy girl," remembered first shaving her legs at age 11 because she thought she was "too hairy" compared to others girls.

"I used to think my arm hair was gross. It was my biggest insecurity," she admitted.

"But the more I started to love myself, the more I realized that it's normal and beautiful, and that's what I want others to feel too."

I used to think my arm hair was gross. It was my biggest insecurity.Spencer Barbosa

One of the influencer's most popular videos features her smiling, dancing and showing off her body hair, all while saying "I'm feminine." The clip has racked up 6.8 million likes and nearly 54 million views.

"I will never stop posting my body hair," Barbosa captioned the viral post.

In the comments, fans expressed their love for the video and thanked her for normalizing body hair — something Barbosa was grateful for.

"It's an honour to know I've made an impact on people and have helped them love their body. You don't need to apologize for your body ever," explained the content creator.

Choosing self-love, acceptance

Body neutrality, the idea of being at peace with your body, is another concept Barbosa champions.

To her, the idea goes hand-in-hand with self-love. She believes more people need to realize the power of their bodies rather than constantly beating them down.

"You may hate the cellulite on your legs, but just think of how your legs make you walk. You may hate your arm hair, but your arms can lift things up and hug your family and friends," she explained.

"When you re-frame these concepts, it can help you accept your body and hopefully be more grateful."

Barbosa added a lot of the self-degradation comes from comparison among women.

With celebrity images more accessible than ever and filters more realistic, the influencer wants to reverse the idea of comparing ourselves to celebrities, models and influencers.

"Especially as girls, we think that other women are a competition when they're not," Barbosa claimed.

"Don't compare. We are completely different people with different journeys and we should celebrate everyone's different path."

Amidst this "competitive" world is where Barbosa feels self-love can make a real difference.

I think self-love is choosing to love yourself and showing up on days when it's really hard.Spencer Barbosa

It's also why she posts about self-love online, to help show people the key to a happy life.

"I think self-love is choosing to love yourself and showing up on days when it's really hard. It's saying nice things to yourself and celebrating your successes, no matter how small they might feel," Barbosa explained.

"It's accepting who you are and the things you bring to the world."

On her mission to help people love themselves, Barbosa founded Something Bigger, a size-inclusive clothing line that aims to empower others through what they wear.

The items, which feature slogans like "treat yourself like someone you love," explain that people are "something bigger" than their insecurities.

"The line is really like a self-love revolution. It's about knowing your worth and believing in yourself and I'm so proud of it," Barbosa explained.

How to live your best life

When it comes to advice for women on living their best and most liberating life, the content creator turned to her business.

My greatest advice is to treat yourself like someone you love, say nice things to yourself, and go into everyday with a 'slay' mindset.Spencer Barbosa

In addition to "treat yourself like someone you love," Barbosa's mantra of "slay no matter what they say," is featured on her items.

To her, it's what people should be saying to themselves every day, to remember their worth.

"My greatest advice is to treat yourself like someone you love, say nice things to yourself and go into everyday with a "slay" mindset," she revealed.

"You would never say mean things to your best friend, so don't ever say it to yourself."

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