Ella Halikas is an inspiration to many as she represents what true authenticity and self-love are. A curve model and influencer that has built an online community on both Instagram and TikTok with the goal of spreading body positivity, confidence, and inclusivity, she has recently launched her swimwear, “Pebbles & Palms x Ella.” Here at BELLO, we had the chance to dive deeper into conversation with Ella as she shared more about her line, self, and aspirations. Embracing and promoting change, Ella Halikas is truly fit for our Creative Mind this month and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
Share with us what inspired you to become an advocate for body positivity, confidence, and inclusivity.
I was inspired when I saw just how many people really needed that extra confidence and body positivity boost in their lives. The second I became confident in my skin, I started to realize that there was a huge issue here that so many people face every day, so I wanted to contribute to that positive change. I was tired of feeling bad about myself and my body, and I saw how diet culture and society’s beauty standards were being shoved in our faces every single day – so I wanted to make a difference and change the narrative.
Growing up, what kind of obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
I definitely struggled with my confidence when I was younger. I was constantly comparing myself to my friends at school, and feeling like in order to be seen as beautiful, I had to lose weight. Although I was small growing up, it just showed me that confidence isn’t linked to size – and that no matter how small I got, it was never enough. I overcame that by finding internal confidence when I was in college. Doing the inside work helped me become happier and more confident in my skin today.
In a world where the definition of beauty evolves, how would you define it?
I would define beauty by the eye of the beholder, firstly. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and doesn’t have to fall into a certain category in order to be seen as beautiful. I also believe that beauty comes from within – and when you walk around with a light that shines from within, you’re automatically seen as beautiful. If you feel happy and confident in your skin, that is true beauty. You are enough the way you are.
Do you think there is positive change happening? What are we still lacking?
I believe there’s a positive change happening. We are starting to show society that you can be happy and confident while living in a bigger body. We are showing the modeling industry that curvier women can be models, and deserve to be in that space. Also, we are showcasing all types of bodies, sizes, and shapes in the media which is crucial for people to see. We should be able to turn on the TV, flip through a magazine, and see someone who looks like us. Representation is so important for people to feel seen, heard, and beautiful.
I believe we are still lacking representation on TV shows and some media outlets. I can’t think of one reality TV show that has thicker/bigger women as a part of their cast – it makes me angry that they still aren’t willing to showcase all body shapes and sizes.
Also, we are still lacking confidence within our youth. We need to target our youth more with uplifting words of encouragement and teach them to not compare themselves to others at a younger age.
Congratulations on your swimwear!!! What inspired you to launch it?
Thank you!!! I was inspired to launch it when I noticed that a lot of swim brands don’t offer inclusive sizes. They typically all stop at size XL, so I wanted to offer 2XL and 3XL in my collection, as well. Additionally, a lot of plus-size swimwear isn’t the cutest in my opinion, and always offers an excessive amount of coverage. I feel like bigger women are always told to cover up and their clothes always cover so much of their bodies – so, I wanted to make a change. We offer plus-size swimwear that makes you feel sexy and shows off your curves, rather than hides them.
Can you describe it to us a little more?
I collaborated with a small company based in Toronto, Canada, called Pebbles and Palms. They actually found me on TikTok one year ago, and emailed me asking if I wanted to create a curvy swimwear collection with them! We worked for 12 months on this, and wanted to make sure these pieces were perfect! I wanted to ensure they were locally made here in Los Angeles, rather than using an international supplier. The collection includes 5 pieces total: 3 bikinis and 2 one-pieces. We wanted to offer a variety of styles and colors that fit every body.
What do you hope the swimwear brings to its customers? Explain what it means to you.
I hope the swimwear line brings confidence to our customers. I want people to ‘put the damn bikini on,’ like I always encourage my followers, and feel good while doing it. I hope these pieces help our customers feel sexy and beautiful, and make them want to show off their curves. This collection means so much to me – I can be a part of the change I want to see within this industry.
Share with us your plans on changing the industry of swimwear.
I plan on changing the industry by offering more size-inclusive pieces! I want to show others that you can rock a string bikini even in a bigger body. I want to get rid of the stigma that if you’re bigger, you must automatically want to cover yourself more. I work on changing this stigma through swimwear and other clothing, as well.
Any advice you would like to give to our readers?
I would like to let readers know that they are enough!! If we all stopped seeking validation externally, and instead looked internally, we would all be a lot happier and more confident. I also want to remind readers to remember to wear the damn bikini!!! Life is too short to not love the skin we are in!
What comes next?
Next is hopefully winning Sports Illustrated Rookie of the Year!! If not, I will continue doing what I am doing and spreading self-love and confidence every day to my supporters. I will also work on focusing more on my modeling career, and hopefully get to model for more brands that align with my beliefs. I would also love to start speaking to high school and college students regarding confidence and eventually go on a speaking tour across the US, or give a TED talk!
Creative Mind Ella Halikas @ellahalikas
Interview Alexandra Bonnet @alexandrabonnetwrites