I was taught to hate my cellulite and stretch marks – now I flaunt bikini body

At times, it can be difficult to recognise your own beauty.

Many face pressure to look or act a certain way – but this body positive influencer is on a mission to help women embrace their bodies, bumps and all. Danae Mercer Ricci, from the US, often posts uplifting content to her 2.1million Instagram followers.

And the 36-year-old's latest post to her feed is no different. The mum-of-one decided to share a side by side snap to show what her gorgeous body looks like when relaxed.

READ MORE: 'My bum has cellulite, scars, bumps and in-growns – but I'm proud to flaunt it'

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In the self-love post, the influencer and journalist rocked a bright pink bikini set from Always On Holiday Swim. For the left picture, the body positive advocate expertly posed on the beach with her toned midriff on show. Danae hiked her bikini bottoms up to her waist as she smiled at the camera.

Danae then revealed what her body looked like unposed as she sat on the floor in the same bikini and flaunted her stretch marks, cellulite and belly rolls. The influencer also shared a side by side snap of an edited and non-edited version of herself and urged: "When I'm 60, I don't want to look back and see only fake photos of myself."

She then penned an empowering caption.

"You haven’t met all the people who will love you yet," Danae wrote in the lengthy caption. "But maybe you could start with the girl in the mirror. With her lines. Her scars. Her skin that tells of stories and years and struggles and triumphs.

"With her soul. Her wonderful, inexplicable soul. Maybe you could start there. I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. How the relationship we have with ourselves, is the most important one of all.

"And how we love ourselves, is the way we teach others to love us too. So today, I want to challenge you. You brave, wonderful, complex creature. To look in the mirror, and open the door to the idea of love.

"Not for a stranger. Not for Prince Charming. But for you. You. I know it is hard. We have been taught to hate so much about our bodies, from our cellulite to our stretchmarks, and standards are always shifting.

"Being a woman is complex. But you are smart. And you are strong. And you have all the power of a universe caught inside your chest, wrapped in your frame."

Danae concluded: "You’re a love story waiting to happen. With the greatest fairy tale ending of all. Here’s to self love. Here’s to being human. Here’s to you. Love, Nae."

Many fans fled to the comments to praise Danae for her inspirational post.

One commented: "I really needed this today, thank you!! Most of the days I feel ugly and I would like to change almost every part of me. I need to learn to love myself.

"It's so difficult when you fear that if you're not attractive, no one will love you. Your posts are really helpful."

Another user added: "I love your account and the beautiful truth you put into the world. Thank you."

While a third wrote: "Your bravery makes you even more beautiful!"

Someone else expressed: "Beautiful inside & out."

Meanwhile, a fifth fan declared: "Every photo. Every word. That caption. Totally felt it and totally needed to hear that today. Thank you."

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