About a week ago, Tesia Kline was attempting to photograph her new bikini when she accidentally snapped a photo in lighting that accentuated her cellulite. But instead of deleting it, the 27-year-old decided to share it alongside the posed shot she'd intended to Instagram. The pic received nearly 6,000 likes—thousands more than her typical posts:
Her followers loved it: "Both pics are beautiful," one wrote in the comments. "Your honesty is amazing and so needed in social media," added another.
"I wanted to share it because I feel like there are millions of women out there who are so insecure about something that is so normal," Tesia says, referring to cellulite. "They try to 'cure' it like it’s some kind of disorder."
Even Tesia once thought that way: In 2011, after a DJ at a club fat-shamed her off the stage where she was dancing, humiliation led her to take up exercise. She lost 50 pounds, getting leaner and leaner to compete in body-building competitions for several years. It turned into an obsession: "I was never satisfied with my body no matter how lean I got," she says, acknowledging her low-self esteem.
To reboot, she quit competing. "I finally realized that my self-worth is not based on what I looked like," she says. "You don’t have to be lean and shredded to be happy or healthy."
Now, Tesia works out a few days a week and eats a balanced diet. She has more than 95,000 Instagram followers who follow her body-positive posts.
"Life is way too short to worry about something so meaningless as cellulite or the negative opinions of others," she says. "It's up to us to just accept ourselves, enjoy, and live our lives to the fullest."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.