The former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model wants you to focus on feeling strong, rather than worrying about looking a certain way or losing weight. This message resonates so strongly with Upton because there were few people sharing a similar body-positive message at the beginning of her modeling career, about ten years ago.
During that time, she received criticism about her curvy shape and was told she should try to look more like the other models. Upton continued put her health first, despite the comments, focusing on her mental health and strength training. Today, she’s making a point to share this important message with her followers.
For the magazine’s September issue, Upton requested for her photos not to be retouched — to ensure that they were raw and real. In the accompanying interview, Upton says, “For me, doing an unretouched shoot is a step toward embracing real life. The goal should be to be the best you can be — not try to look like someone else.”
In a photo announcing the cover on Instagram, Upton shares more about the decision to go unedited. “Months after giving birth, this wasn’t the easiest choice, but a choice I thought was important for my daughter and for women everywhere.” The comments section of the photo blew up with encouraging responses from celebrities like Stassi Schroeder, Lily Aldridge, Camille Kostek and more. Her husband, Justin Verlander, wrote, “Absolutely gorgeous… So proud of you for being such a strong woman and being a role model for our future generations.”
“When you think about it, we have retouching everywhere now — and we don’t even know it,” the model continues. “People are staging Instagram shots and retouching those pictures. That’s the new norm. And then we believe that’s how people actually look, and think we should look that way too.”
Upton founded the 12-week fitness program Strong4Me Fitness with her personal trainer, Ben Bruno. The program is designed to fit into one’s busy schedule. Think, a quick 30-minute workout sesh at home and in your living room with little equipment necessary.
To supplement the workout program, Upon also recently launched a campaign to call on people to share who or what motivates you to be strong. Aptly named #ShareStrong, the initiative aims to create a social media network of support and to ultimately make social media a more positive place for all.