In her latest YouTube video ‘Body Shaming & Life Online, Do I Deserve It?’ Paige Spiranac spoke candidly about her public life and how she really feels about the way people perceive — and talk about — her body.
The golf influencer is used to the haters, and after almost a decade as a public figure, she’s learned to tune it out. But, recently the trolling has taken a turn towards body shaming.
The golf influencer threw the first pitch at a Brewers game on Sept. 16. It wasn’t the first time she had been asked to throw, she said. But she would always turn down the opportunity out of fear of what people would say. Turns out she was right. The pitch itself was fine for a first-timer, but the comment section that unfolded when Spiranac posted a video really took a toll on her.
“I recently posted a swing video from behind. And you could see a bit of cellulite, which is totally natural and normal,” she said. “But on social media, sometimes it’s not because there’s this expectation to look a certain way. And you feel a pressure to be perfect. I didn’t use a smoothing filter, nothing. I just kind of let my body be as it is.”
Immediately, comments saying she was “chunky,” “letting herself go” and “getting older” began to roll in. Spiranac was quick to defend herself on her Instagram story: “I feel that I am happy and I’m healthy and I look fine. Because I have a little bit of cellulite, it shouldn’t warrant these types of comments.”
Spiranac knows that being criticized is part of the job of being an influencer, but this was more than she had ever received. “It was so extensive,” she said. And naturally, it affected the 29-year-old.
“I have just felt this immense pressure to look perfect all the time. And that is humanly impossible,” she added. “Even the most beautiful women in the world don’t always look a certain way. And I think that it has increased more since being named Maxim’s Sexiest Woman Alive. That is quite a title to live up to.”
Spiranac knows that this is a nuanced situation — so much of her brand is built around the way she looks, and the clothes she wears. She has been a trailblazer in the golf world.
“This is such a complex, difficult situation for me because my body is such a big part of my brand and my business. I have set it up that way, for right or wrong,” she continued. “That is just how this has progressed. And so I know that my body will always be criticized, because I put it out there and I need to be able to accept that.”
The Colorado native noted that it gets especially difficult when people comment on features she is already insecure about. When she started to gain a following, Spiranac was 22, in college, barely eating and noticeably “thinner than now.” She’s working on striking a balance between being happy and healthy. She has approximately 4.3 million followers across Instagram and Twitter now.
“I’m trying to just be normal and have fun with my friends and go out and do all these things,” she said. “(While) still trying to maintain this body image that I have presented for years and years and years.”
Therapy has helped Spiranac a lot over the past few years in dealing with body image and other things. She knows that being in the influencer industry involves seeking “validation from strangers.” Going forward, she wants to be less of a people pleaser and put out more lifestyle and fitness content. She said she’s going to forget about looking perfect all the time.
“As I’m starting this kind of new chapter in my life, I’ll be 30 next year, I want my business to progress,” she said. “I think it’s important to continue to be very vulnerable and open about things I’m struggling with and what I’m going through.”