Instagram babe @oceauThe Girl behind the 'Gram
11 January 2018
YEOJA Magazine is sitting down with the flyest girls on the 'gram. Today we chat with Instagram babe @oceau to discuss fashion, #girlpower and beauty standards in the age of social media:
Instagram Babe @oceau: My name is Bella and I’m a proud chicana residing in Los Angeles. My style doesn’t really have a specific category. I love to have a million style influences and I try to always find unique ways to express myself through makeup and clothing. I am an avid thrifter and lover of vintage clothing. My biggest inspiration in life is Betty Boop – she’s what I aspire to look like. I am currently enrolling into art school to become an animator because cartoons and animated films have always been my biggest passions in life. My favorite things in the world are: vine, art, cartoons, music from the 50s-80s, anime and animals.
When did you join instagram and why?
Bella: I’ve been on Instagram since the 6th grade. It was mainly a way to connect with friends out of school.
Did you ever think your instagram account would grow as it has? Does this influence what you post at all?
Bella: Truly no. My account didn’t have a big following until March of 2017 when I posted a video of myself dancing to Selena Quintanillas song “Como La Flor” and I gained almost 7k in one day. That was so crazy. I try not to censor myself especially about issues I’m very passionate about like the black lives matter movement, fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, ending animal cruelty, supporting POC especially WOC, advocating for mental health and many pressing matters that are happening around the world. There are so many injustices and if I can shed a bit of light on it I feel obligated to share, especially because I’ve been blessed with this amazing platform.
Many girls look to their favorite instagrammers as role models over models in magazines. This is a huge development because it means that real women are now being praised. However, with the ability to photoshop body parts and facial features, instagram still can be a platform that reinforces unattainable beauty standards. What is your opinion on this?
Bella: Photoshopping yourself isn’t a bad thing, it’s okay to have insecurities as long as you learn to love those parts of yourself. I used to photoshop myself if a pimple or two showed but I’ve stopped doing that because it’s something everyone experiences and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. But I believe that if you edit yourself heavily and have a following of people who look up to you and try to be like you, you shouldn’t hide or lie that you photoshop yourself because it is harmful to people’s self esteem if they see these unrealistic standards that you don’t even have.
Although Instagram can be a source for perpetuating certain beauty standards that may be hard to attain, it has also been an incredible platform for women (and men) to celebrate their unique beauty and to re-establish what beauty truly means. As a proud chicana with a non-mainstream take on fashion and a large social media following, do you think instagram has the power to help us redefine beauty and prove to the world us WOC are just as stunning and worthy of attention (both on a superficial and deeper level) and respect?
Bella: Over the years I’ve been on social media, I’ve seen a rise of love and appreciation for different beauty that there didn’t use to be. Growing up I never felt beautiful because I would compare myself to girls I saw in magazines and television; they were all tall and skinny with straight hair and had very unobtainable features. I’m 5 ft and I’m not conventionally pretty, I have very curly hair with a gap between my teeth, I’m not very thin and I used to hate these things about myself until I saw beautiful men and women who embraced features that people used to shun.
POC have rebuilt what beauty is and have overpowered European beauty standards, and it’s been such a powerful movement to see diversity in beauty campaigns and magazines. It’s so positive to see people of all sizes, color, race, religion, and gender get to express themselves and allow thousands of other people to feel more confident in their bodies and in who they are.
Who you do post your photos for? (yourself, your friends, your followers?)
Bella: I post mainly for myself, I’m proud of the looks I come up with and the style I’ve created for myself and it’s so fun to get to share it with people online. When people recreate my looks or tell me I inspired them to be more confident in what they wear it makes me feel extremely happy and special to know I’ve influenced someone like that.
What is it about vintage style and Betty Boop’s aesthetic that influences you so much?
Bella: Betty Boop is such an iconic woman. Since her 1930’s debut, Betty has perpetuated what women are proud to be. She embraces her sexuality and beauty, she is independent, bold and isn’t afraid to tell a man off. She’s a fashion icon and has remained popular and relevant through all these years. I often get told by strangers that I have a striking resemblance to Betty Boop and it’s something that I embrace and love.
Do you feel like instagram has influenced your personal style? If yes, which accounts inspire you the most?
Bella: Instagram has allowed me to make amazing friendships with so many kind hearted and talented people. I’ve very inspired by the people who I consider friends and who have been so kind to me like @vivadrag, @stickybab.y, @sendmeyourmoney, @belladonna.queen, @douxfairy, @visiblejune, @zalvid, @bizzarelovetriangle, @rottingelf and @itsbabydash
You mentioned you are enrolling into art school to become an animator. Which animated films or artists have influenced you the most?
Bella: Hayao Miyazaki is probably the biggest reason as to why I want to be an animator. Hayao keeps that childlike wonder alive in all of his films, transporting us into magical worlds that we can only dream of. All of his movies have such strong female characters; his ideology is that any woman is just as capable of being a hero as a man which is such a positive reinforcement for all the young girls who watch these movies. He represents the beauty of animation immersing the audience into these ethereal worlds. Movies that inspire me to create animated films are Perfect Blue, Akira, and Belladonna of Sadness.
What is it about Instagram that can be so empowering?
Bella: Instagram is a great platform for people to share their individuality and uniqueness. We are able to connect with people all around the world that we wouldn’t get the chance of meeting if it weren’t for social media. It’s built a wonderful community of love and acceptance that can really allow people to feel less alone and appreciated for being themselves.
Instagram is such an incredible platform for women to express themselves and is a great source of feminist inspiration and community. Do you think that social media has helped with your own self confidence as a woman?
Bella: Social media helped me to become the empowered and confident person I am today. As silly as it may sound to others who don’t understand the power of social media, it can really change people’s lives and help people to feel better. Before we only had certain media outlets who controlled what was in, what was acceptable, what the standards were. Now we have everyday people changing those things. We have redefined beauty to include all sizes, colors, sexualities,genders and races. I’m so grateful to be a part of this new generation who get to experience these changes in what being a woman is. I really do have hope that we can change the world in a positive light through the community social media has brought together.