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Grace Victory: "I just want to get to know myself"

UNFILTERED: Grace Victory (Image: Olivia Richardson/Vauxhall)

GRACE VICTORY is not one to hold back. Whether she’s sharing her personal trauma, getting real about periods or opening up about her love life to her 200,000 plus YouTube subscribers, she’s filter-free.

Her candid nature has helped her amass a huge amount of followers across social media and earned her the title The Internet’s Big Sister.

One of the causes to which Victory has been closely aligned, the body positive movement, an online community of people celebrating the diversity of the human form has been hijacked by those wishing to morph it into a commercial strategy.

“I think like anything that rises up via social media is often hijacked by you know thin or slim middle class white women, you know, they hijack everything. And I think that’s because the media and just the world in general wants to make the movement more palatable, more likeable, less radical, because people are scared, people are fearful of fat women, black women, trans women, non-binary people having a voice because they don’t conform,” Victory told The Voice.

Brands have sought to jump on the body positivity bandwagon but they often fall short in their representation of what it truly means.

“Getting one black girl isn’t going to cover the spectrum of black women,” Victory said.

Being the Internet’s Big Sister comes with great responsibility but Victory doesn’t feel tied down by the term.

“That title was given to me. I guess it was given to me because people look at me like a big sister which is cool but I don’t really take it as a responsibility I just think it’s just who I am.

“I think that maybe people see something in me that maybe they see in themselves.”

Being a successful vlogger isn’t all glamour and after years of helping so many embrace their authentic selves, Victory is keen to work on herself.

“What’s next for me is choosing myself. I think I’ve put myself out there a lot over the past few years and I’ve like spent, like, my whole life working trying to sort of chase happiness and achieve certain things and I think I’m getting to the point now where I just want to be for a bit. I just want to enjoy life and travel and try and buy a house and just, like, grow up. I think that when you grow up on the internet it’s difficult to really, really, really get to know yourself because you’re in the public eye and you’ve got all these eyes on you,” she said.

It’s certainly a modern day phenomena that people with extremely popular online personas can develop an unhealthy attachment to – and in some cases obsess over – the social media engagement their output generates.

“Next year I’m going to take some time out. I want to just learn who I am without my career. I think that we pin our self worth as women on relationships, on our career, on our weight, how we look and I just want to get to know myself without all of those things,” Victory said.

While notoriety has helped put Victory in front of some great brands, she’s currently starring in a new Vauxhall advert, which marks 25 years of the Corsa and is a revamp of the 1993 advert that featured supermodels, she is not afraid to speak on the retailers that don’t get it – Victoria Secret being one. Critics have branded the American lingerie company as outdated and misogynistic for its narrow portrayal of what it means to be a beautiful woman and the company’s chief marketing officer’s comments on transgender models.

While Victory appreciates such attitudes are sad and upsetting, she’s not about to spend her energy on trying to justify to any organisation why she, or women that look like her, should be recognised as beautiful.

“I just think it’s all b***s*** if I’m honest. I just think, why are we still trying to change people’s opinions. I think that trying to explain yourself constantly and your existence to people that don’t actually care is like self harm.”

It’s an outlook that she’s wholly committed to. So much so she’s turned down opportunities because of it.

“You know, I get asked to go on Good Morning Britain all the time to debate with Piers Morgan on certain things – I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to debate my existence to people because that’s gonna harm myself and I think that we just need to let go of trying to change the rich man who owns Victoria Secret or whatever, trying to change people to see us as worthy.”

Her advice for those who really want to make their opinions heard on the issue?

“Spend your money elsewhere. Let them feel the brunt of their decision. Stop buying Victoria Secret, like, it’s that simple.”

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