On January 24, 28-year-old Denise Mercedes, who is a size 14, shared a TikTok in which she and her friend 26-year-old Maria Castellanos, who is a size two, switched into the same outfits. The clip, which received over 1.5 million views and more than 160,000 likes, has sparked a number positive comments and similar TikToks that have become equally popular.
“We were playing around, we did it mainly for fun,” Mercedes told Today. “We didn’t think it was going to get this much recognition.”
The two friends then followed up on the success of their first video with two more in February, one of which received a whopping 35 million views and would come to mark a movement they have since called “Style, Not Size” —a campaign to promote all body types in fashionable clothing.
“For us, it was trying to get rid of negativity … Everything on social media is, ‘This is how you’re supposed to look,'” Castellanos explained. “We’re giving you a hand and telling you to be yourself.”
The feedback the two have gotten has been overwhelmingly positive, they said. Some have told Mercedes, for instance, they wished they looked like her.
“I have girls telling me I’m helping them feel more confident,” she told Today. “I wish when I was younger that I had someone to look up to. Back when I was 16 in 2008, it was always just a struggle to be skinny. I’m glad things are changing now.”
Mercedes and Castellanos, who plan to start a clothing line together, also said that they hope to inspire retailers and fashion designers to reevaluate their size selections. For many of their TikToks, the two bloggers have had to stick with brands that offer sizes zero to 20.
The ultimate goal, however, is to see “women just be themselves,” Castellanos said.
“I want them to be like, ‘Oh my God, I wore this crop top, and I look good,'” she said. “I want to feel like nobody cares anymore.”
If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about this bodybuilder who uses her Instagram to spread body positivity.
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