The Photo That Comes With A ‘WARNING’: Blogger’s ‘Big Belly, Fat Arms & Stretch Marks’ Spark Huge Debate

Meet the NYU student that posted a now famous black and white photograph of herself, along with a cautionary line that read “WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin.”

Stella Boonshoft's now-infamous portrait
Stella Boonshoft’s now-infamous portrait – sourced via

Just last week, the team here at the model agency decided to get ourselves onto Tumblr – you can check out the new Models Direct blog here – and since then, we’ve loved reading a whole range of interesting blogs.

But, out of everything we read, one particular blog stuck in our minds, and that was Stella Boonshoft’s The Body Love Blog.

On it, the New York University student posted this now famous black and white photograph of herself (see above), along with a cautionary line that read “WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin.”

Proudly posing in nothing more than a strapless bra and knickers, the body-confident brunette had no qualms with showing off what she called her “big belly, fat arms, stretch marks and thick thighs”.

The image came to be posted after Stella bumped into photographer Brandon Stanton in Manhattan and asked if she could photograph him. He obliged and asked to take a picture of her in return.

Since the shot went up on Tumblr, Stanton re-published it on his photography site Humans of New York and shared it on Facebook, leading to a staggering 21,737 shares and 487,469 likes – one of which is ours!

However, despite receiving comments that were, by majority, positive, sadly not everyone is a fan.

The picture has sparked huge debate around people’s sometimes distorted perceptions of beauty and size, but the team at Models Direct are absolutely loving the bravery of this young girl and the positive message she’s promoting.

Following her mock-warning, she explained the reasoning behind the bold move: “This is my body. Not yours. MINE. Meaning the choices I make about it, are none of your f****** business. Meaning my size, IS NONE OF YOUR F****** BUSINESS.

“If my big belly and fat arms and stretch marks and thick thighs offend you, then that’s okay. I’m not going to hide my body and my being to benefit your delicate sensitivities.”

She went on to reveal all the bad encounters she’s had with people making digs about her weight while growing up: “This picture is for the strange man at my nanny’s church who told me my belly was too big when I was five.

“This picture is for my horseback riding trainer telling me I was too fat when I was nine.

“This picture is for the girl from summer camp who told me I’d be really pretty if I just lost a few pounds.

“This picture is for all the f****** stupid advertising agents who are selling us cream to get rid of our stretch marks, a perfectly normal thing most people have (I got mine during puberty)

“This picture is for the boy at the party who told me I looked like a beached whale.

“This picture is for Emily from middle school, who bullied me incessantly, made mocking videos about me, sent me nasty emails, and called me ‘lard’. She made me feel like I didn’t deserve to exist. Just because I happened to be bigger than her. I was 12. And she continued to bully me via social media into high school.”

After releasing some painful memories, Stella finished by saying: “MOST OF ALL, this picture is for me. For the girl who hated her body so much she took extreme measures to try to change it. Who cried for hours over the fact she would never be thin. Who was teased and tormented and hurt just for being who she was.

I’m so over that. THIS IS MY BODY, DEAL WITH IT.”

Later admitting that she first ‘burst into tears’ when realising thousands of people were looking at her self-portrait, we’re glad she had the strength to keep it up.

The models here at the agency struggling with body confidence, and we’re sure masses of other young women, have found great comfort in an image and blog that expose the cruelty of size discrimination and body shaming.