It’s really easy to go on Instagram and see someone appear to be perfect – perfect hair, perfect body, perfect skin… But the reality, according to one Instagram influencer, is anything but!

The reality is a whole lot of posing, filtering, lighting, and knowing what works for your angles. And one Instagram influencer, Danae Mercer, decided to reveal the truth by showing it herself.

An influencer reveals it all

Danae used to work as a magazine editor in Dubai, so she’s well-versed in the posing tricks of Instagram influencers. When she started out as an influencer herself, she applied all those to her own pictures.

As someone who has been very open about her recovery from an eating disorder with her followers, Danae now believes in being honest and putting it all out there for her followers. And that’s why she’s not going to pretend her “casual” but very posed photos are anything casual at all.

She has dedicated her Instagram feed to showing before and after pictures that will reveal the many tricks behind the perfection of Instagram models.

It just got to the point where I was like, ‘This isn’t me.’

Danae Mercer

Instead, she decided that debunking the perfection behind Instagram influencers would be infinitely more useful than posting the same kind of content. “And if this has changed me and motivated me, maybe there is a way that I can express myself that might help other women and, honestly, might help myself,” she explained.

The perfect picture, not the perfect body

It turns out getting that perfect picture is not always about having a perfect body in the first place. There are many other factors that come into play when it comes to that perfect shot.

“For an Instagram pose, I will pose, usually arch my shoulders, squeeze my core, your butt goes back crazy far because in 99% of poses that’s more flattering. It elongates the core and makes the legs look leaner,” Danae Mercer told Good Morning America.

Other than the pose, the light is also a huge factor when it comes to hiding flaws.

If I was shooting in the sun I would shoot sunrise or sunset or in shadow, which is way more flattering for cellulite.

“There are certain positions for my body type that I can do that would make me look like what we see on Instagram in the moment,” said Danae, who also used lighting and angle tricks from her magazine days to enhance her posts.

You could spend an entire hour setting up the shot for that one photo.

Danae Mercer

Watch this Goalcast video for instant inspiration:

She proved all the haters wrong

Less than two years after Danae began breaking down the reality of Instagram and sharing photos that show herself — cellulite and all — she has nearly 2 million followers on Instagram, and nearly 15,000 more on Facebook.

Suddenly there was this community of women saying, ‘This is me too.’

“That was one of the most empowering things, just to realize that I wasn’t alone in some of the stuff that made me feel insecure and made me feel afraid and made me feel nervous,” she revealed.

And with the community she has built, Danae is about to discuss more sensitive topics openly.

“Together we talk about things that are so taboo or hidden, whether it is your body and stretch marks and cellulite or eating disorders or relationships or being single in your 30s,” she added.

It’s all about body positivity

Ultimately, at the end of the day, she just really wants to be part of the body positivity side of social media and not contribute to the dangerous negativity that makes girls doubt themselves and their own bodies.

“I think what we can do instead is really empower women, girls [and] boys to know that so much of what we see on social media is curated, filtered, posed, taken 100 photos and chosen one, professionally shot,” she said.

“If we can empower people with that knowledge, in the way that we look at magazines now and we know that magazines are Photoshopped, maybe we’ll get to a point where we look at social media and think, ‘OK, I see this, but that doesn’t mean it’s the truth.'”

If we fill our feeds with people who inspire us or artists or creatives, photographers who are showing different body types, or activists … if we start to fill our feeds with these things, that becomes what we’re passively soaking in.

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