During the first national lockdown, Christy Collins decided to pick up a phone and start filming TikToks to make herself feel better after experiencing pandemic blues.
The 24-year-old now has more than 45,000 followers.
“It makes me emotional because when I think back to myself last year I hated the way I looked. My whole childhood and teenage years I never felt confident in myself. It was really sad”, she said.
“I wanted to put myself out there and I thought other people are doing it why can’t I do it as well.
“I feel so much better now and more confident.
“Before I started TikTok I felt so low.”
Signing up to the BerkshireLive newsletter means you’ll receive our daily news email.
It couldn’t be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
You can also enter your address at the top of this page in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.
Changed your mind? There’s an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out.
You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.
In spite of this, there are still people who have either de-platformed her or left hate messages.
“If someone doesn’t like you they just report you and TikTok can delete your account,” she said.
“Some people I know haven’t had their account back which is why I want to move over to YouTube.
“I believe me and my friend were de-platformed because these people didn’t like seeing plus-size girls on their ‘for you page’.
“TikTok hasn’t nailed the online bullying thing yet.”
After being de-platformed, Christy couldn’t access her account and make videos, which meant that she had to appeal to TikTok to get her account back.
Eventually, her account was restored, but her friend wasn’t as lucky and had to rebuild her entire audience back.
Christy believes that the cause of the hate she receives is partly due to the way bigger women are portrayed in the media.
‘Most popular videos are ‘what a fat girl eats”
She said: “You always feel it in yourself. The way society portrays bigger women in the media affects you. I used to watch Lizzie Maguire and her friend was meant to be the bigger, goofy sidekick and she wasn’t plus size.”
Christy and other young women her age are now creating representation online instead of waiting for television shows to catch up.
Christy celebrated her body on TikTok and YouTube and would love for girls her size “to feel confident in their bodies” which is why she is telling everyone to love themselves.
“Loads of people are really lovely and I love to hear that I help other people,” she said.
The media landscape seems to be changing as Christy says there are now more influencers who look like her, which has given her the confidence to try and become a full-time TikToker/YouTuber.
Christy’s most popular TikToks at the moment are videos entitled ‘what a fat girl eats in a day’.
“I want to show people that bigger girls don’t eat loads every single day. Some days I just have a smoothie and other days I have McDonald’s breakfast and go out for lunch,” she said.
“Sometimes I eat healthily and sometimes I don’t. I’ve got comments from people saying they’re shocked that I don’t eat that much.
“I get comments from other plus-size girls as well saying that I’ve given them the courage to wear crop tops and others are grateful that I’m showing people we don’t just eat rubbish all the time.”
However, people also leave her hateful comments accusing her of lying and eating more when she turns the camera off.
In the future, Christy would love to pursue TikTok and YouTube as a full-time career, but she has worries about receiving revenue as she could be de-platformed again.
This is why Christy is focusing more on YouTube now, with the relaunch of her channel on October 10, she says she loves the fact that she’s “got a little community now”.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the top stories from BerkshireLive delivered straight to your inbox