From the looks of it, influencers have it pretty easy. They post pictures, make a little money, and get paid to do it all over again.
But, for Raven Tracy that wasn’t enough.
Tracy, who currently has 2.1 million followers on Instagram, decided to use her large impact to push body positivity across her social media platforms. Within the last year, she has launched her apparel line, “Body,” which provides form-fitting attire for women of all sizes and a message encouraging customers to let their confidence emerge while wearing her pieces.
“I believe that self-love starts within. The mind, the body, and the spirit are all aligned.”
The influencer herself has fallen victim to the harsh realities of being a curvy Black woman in the industry as a model for several major brands like adidas, Pretty Little Thing and Naked Wardrobe. Though she understands what a privilege it is to work with larger companies, her experiences have also inspired her to create something for all women.
Now, her collection “Body” is a favorite amongst millennials as well as brands like True Religion. The popular jean company has partnered with the designer to create a jean that fits curvy women (and that’s WITHOUT the gap in the back, ladies!)
ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Tracy about transitioning to a more business-focused approach, her take on body positivity, and what’s next for her brand. Read below.
ESSENCE: You started out as an influencer, but you’ve since made the switch to become more of a businesswoman. When did you decide to make that transition?
TRACY: Before I even started social media, I was in school for business and marketing. I always knew that I wanted to start a business. I was always raised on morals and values and whatever I do, I have to create a conversation. I was doing the basic posting for brands and I noticed that in modeling, they’re looking for specific types of girls, a specific size, and a specific waist. I just really wanted to create something that was for everybody.
ESSENCE: How did you come up with the concept of your swimwear line ‘Body?‘
TRACY: For me, I wanted to create a platform that can be used to open dialogue through representation and it starts with sisterhood. My intentions are for women to see Body by Raven Tracy and to feel like they “fit-in.” I named it Body because to me, it’s more than the external. It’s mind, body, and spirit. I feel like social media has really helped me see women as delicate, intricate pieces of art. It’s so many beautiful shapes and sizes. You can see two completely different women that can both be so beautiful in different ways. I just wanted to create something that really expresses that.
ESSENCE: Why did you decide to start with swimsuits and how does it feel to see your business grow?
TRACY: I chose swimsuits to start—specifically two-piece swimsuits— to encourage women to be bold and brave. It’s possible to be modest and to still feel sexy. I didn’t want women to try and hide behind clothes, one-pieces, or even high-waisted pieces. I wanted girls to feel more confident in their skin, their flaws and all. It’s a super humbling experience. When I first started getting orders, I cried. I couldn’t believe it. And to see the swimsuit look so great, on so many different people, literally all different races, ethnicities, size, and shapes… I’m just like always wowed by that.
ESSENCE: What’s next for your brand?
TRACY: I’m working on a new collection of everyday pieces. My style is a little bit more comfortable and chic, so, [I want to focus] on silhouettes and shapes. I’m just trying to share that with the world. I’m going to be doing a tour to different states, continuing with the message and the mission of love, confidence, and representation. I really just want women to feel strong and understand how powerful and multifaceted we are.
I am also working on a collaboration right now. I’m fusing my platform, Raven Tracy, and also what I’m doing with Body by Raven Tracy, to even do it with other brands. I’m working on a collaboration with True Religion. We’re doing a Jenny Jean, which is made for curvy girls, because we all know that good jeans are the hardest [to find] for thick girls. You can’t get them over your hips. So, I created a jean that’s for us and a line that complements all silhouettes.
“We begin to look at ourselves as a whole from the inside out, and first changing our thoughts.”
ESSENCE: What’s your take on body positivity?
TRACY: I believe that self-love starts within. The mind, the body, and the spirit are all aligned. My approach to body positivity is first altering the mind and the spirit, so what we must first work on what we feel inside. We begin to look at ourselves as a whole from the inside out, and first changing our thoughts. We’re in control of our minds. We have to stop being so mean to ourselves. We have to understand that it’s natural and it’s okay to feel these ways. You know, we’re not alone in these thoughts and we have to remember that we hold the power to change the way we see ourselves and what we deem as beautiful.
You can shop Body here.