Abigail Ratchford, the 26-year-old Instagram superstar known for posting some of the raciest and most revealing shots the social media platform will allow, wants to be honest with her 8.6 million followers, especially the young women among them. She is letting them know that the supernaturally flawless body that she regularly displays in her posts is not one that they should aspire to, according to the star influencer’s statements in an interview with Cosmopolitan online.
In her latest Instagram post, she displays almost everything she can, except what’s covered by a skimpy leopard-print bikini. She says it’s all, or at least mostly, an illusion, right down to her taped-in hair extensions, which sets her back about $2,000 every two months, not to mention her deep tan which is achieved not through days on the beach, but by a weekly spray tan. In reality, she told Cosmo, she is meticulous about protecting the health of her skin, wearing 50 SPF sunscreen even in winter.
She does not want young girls looking up to her, she says.
“I’m in no way somebody to look up to for body stuff,” she told Cosmopolitan. “When you see this image, it’s been altered, it’s been perfected. This is not real life.”
Her advice to the women and girls following her? “Embrace what you have, and go with it.”
Ratchford grew up in the small, working-class city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. But since 2014, shortly after her modeling career began taking off, she has lived in Los Angeles. For the fifth of seven children — from a family in which she has, she estimates, 54 cousins — the cross country move was not an easy one.
“It was definitely the bravest thing I’ve ever done, but I was just at a turning point in my career. I had been doing some stuff on Instagram for about 6 months, and I felt like I was just starting to get a big following, but there was only so much I could do from the East Coast,” she told AOL.
“I took a chance and started selling all of these signed pictures of myself and saved up money. I packed my car up and had everything shipped, and flew out there two days after Christmas. It was definitely super scary, but really exciting. It’s paid-off for sure.”
“Paid off” it has, as Ratchford says that she earns well into six figures from her Instagram posts alone. But according to her own Official Abigail Ratchford online biography, she remains ambitious.
“Although Abigail remains grateful for the exposure she’s received through social media, she expresses that she wants a career of substance and longevity that doesn’t rely on Internet success,” her site says.