The most popular bikini model of the moment isn't actually a model at all. Her name is Rachel Hollis, and she's a 32-year-old mother of three.
While vacationing with her husband in Cancun this weekend, she asked him to take a photo of her in her bikini. And while she noticed her stretch marks in the photo, Hollis — who runs the lifestyle blog The Chic Site — still had the courage to share it with her readers on Facebook and Instagram.
While casually holding her beach hair out of her face and grinning widely, she looks confident and sexy.
And she accompanied the photo with a pretty powerful caption, too:
I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy... (which is something I didn't even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who's opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he's never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren't scars ladies, they're stripes and you've earned them. Flaunt that body with pride! #HollisHoliday
The impromptu snapshot has really resonated with both women and men across the world, attracting more than 10 million views and 380,000 Facebook likes. Other women even attached their own bikini pictures to her thread in solidarity.
"It touches my heart that people are having this reaction to it," Hollis told TODAY.
The photo was taken a week after the mother had completed her first marathon.
"[My body is] never ever going to be like a Victoria's Secret model," she said, "but I think I look good, and my husband wants to make out with me, so I'm doing something right."
While it's usually all in good fun to post photos of ourselves to social media when we look our best — makeup and hair all done — it's also important to be honest with ourselves. As this brave woman demonstrated, it can be empowering to be open about our insecurities. That way, we'll find that we're not alone.
Photo Credit: The Chic Site/Facebook