—story by Avante Edmonds
Social media superstar. In 2016, this term is thrown around carelessly, but what does it really mean? It will take a petite girl equipped with dreams bigger than her ringlets, to refine the social media age.
Alivia Bolden, born just before the new millennium, uses the age of technology to jumpstart her career. Her 14k followers on Instagram alone, are making sure this El Paso, Texas native doesn't remain another pretty face in the crowd.
Her small stature makes her an unlikely candidate for traditional modeling and runways. A highly specific, razor thin portion of the population fit the criteria for an ideal model. But representation is important and this vintage lover has made it her mission to pave the way.
Known by her handle @IttyBittyForeign and standing at just 5”1 and suffering through the unfortunate normalcy of body shaming and bullying, Bolden took to social media in order to build a supportive community from the ground up.
Hashtags underneath a bathroom selfie donning oversized streetwear give petite teens support. "#teamittybitty" , a term she coined, has coated social media like a western wildfire. Bolden has become somewhat of a virtual media mentor to young women receiving notes of gratitude for her dedication to promoting body positivity and self confidence.
One young woman poured her heart out to Bolden in a heartwarming story about finally reaching a point of self-love after finding her Instagram page. Originally considering plastic surgery and other forms of augmentation to “fit in” Bolden’s captions like “Can you look into the mirror and say you genuinely love the person in the reflection?” changed her self-perception. Now Bolden wants to alter the world’s idea of beauty.
Her piercing good looks are being put to use. Instead of being scouted, she posts selfies and professional shots alike and sits back and waits for the Instagram judges to scout her. She has always had what others associate as an “exotic” appearance, meaning her race is not identifiable at face value.
“It was usually a positive thing. They would beg to just touch my hair because they thought it was so beautiful.”
Those ringlets previously mention are a result of her African-American and Mexican heritage. A bronzed girl accented by deep set coal eyes. Her self-made nickname “Foreign” is a result of living in a eurocentric community right outside of Colorado’s capital.
“There weren’t many people who looked like me.” The social media maven tells stories of walking through the mall only to be greeted by stares from inquiring residents. Like every other “flaw’ society has tried to impose upon her, she transformed it into something favorable.
Focusing on inner beauty. Diminishing the self-loathing culture we live in. Promoting LGBTQ rights and freedom. These are the causes near to her heart. These are all experiences she has expertise in because she has lived it.
Though a quick glance at the comments on her page will bring an impression of pure positivity, it isn't that way all the time.
Bi-sexual is the term Bolden best identifies with at this point in her life but she is in a full-fledged relationship with a lesbian. LGBTQ themes are oddly subtle yet bold on her insta. A post of Disney Princesses Mulan and Pocahontas being intimate and shots with her partner illustrate the truth she stands in. Whether that makes you uncomfortable or not. Bolden did not ask to be a spokesperson for gay rights, but she certainly wears its well- just like everything else in her life.
“In regards to my sexuality, some people will comment that my relationship is an abomination and I should be damned to hell,” the teen idol revealed. Numbers don't lie and Bolden has noticed every time she posts an LGBTQ theme, her likes drop by 200-300 likes in comparison to other posts that can usually have upwards of 1,200 likes.
On the same accord as most things when you are just starting high school, being Instagram famous wasn't a planned goal, however she is capitalizing on it. Death By Society is one of the brands aiding her transition into brand collaboration. It's no secret that thousands of followers equal influence and power. That influence translates into dollars for companies looking to reach a large audience quickly. Though it would be a lie to say she isn’t looking for capital gain, even it isn’t her main motivation.
“People just think I am so into myself,” Bolden said. Social media is not a narcissist oasis—but it can be. “I am a model,” she added. But she is not signed, yet at least. Lastly, she has never used social media to “score”, no matter how many DMs she encounters. “I don’t get those comments too much, but it's still there,” Bolden said. “You can make something from nothing as long as you do not get comfortable with where you are in life,” Bolden smiled.
Insta-famous means a quick rise to notoriety and an equally as fast fall from it, but Bolden's mastery of social media might just mean her dance with social media fame will last a bit longer.
Keep up with Alivia and the #TeamIttyBitty movement by following her Instagram, here.