Estacada area native recreates Kim Kardashian perfume ad
When reality star Kim Kardashian created a perfume advertisement featuring an image of her naked torso, body-positivity activist Carmen Smith was inspired to strike a similar pose on Instagram.
"There is more than one acceptable body type," said Smith, who lives in Southern California and grew up in the Estacada area. "We have this idea about what's an acceptable body in society."
Smith was diagnosed with lymphedema at age 3, which resulted in her legs and feet being swollen. Lymphedema is caused by impaired flow to the lymphatic system.
"Growing up, I never really felt comfortable in my own skin. My mom tried her best to make me feel normal, but I never saw myself represented in the media," Smith said.
Smith posted photos of her torso and thighs next to Kardashian's original image. Since she made the post in late April, it's garnered more than 5,000 likes on Instagram and has been written about by Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue and Yahoo, among other news outlets.
"One of these bodies, a large part of our society will deem as 'perfect.' My body is empowered by the opportunity to share a different reality," Smith wrote in the post. "There is no body better than the next. There is no one body that is 'perfect.' There is your body, unique, worthy, desirable and perfect. All body's are good bodies."
Smith noted that the post came from a place of positivity.
"It's not about comparing my body to hers, and it's not about body shaming," she said. "It's about self love and body acceptance."
On Twitter, Kardashian acknowledged Smith's post, writing "I love this."
Smith has dedicated herself to promoting body positivity online and creates Instagram posts and YouTube videos to further the cause. She has more than 59,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts under the username eatthecaketoo.
"The breaking point was when I was doing pro bono modeling, and the designer didn't want to show my legs," she said, discussing her inspiration to create online content. "It was very hurtful, but I knew I had to put myself out there. My vulnerabilities can be relatable, and my journey to self love can be helpful to other people."
Smith appreciates connecting with those who relate to her posts.
"I love getting messages from women (that say) 'My body looks like yours. Thank you for showing it in this light,'" she said. "One said she wore lingerie for the first time, and another said she went swimming with her kids for the first time ever."
In June, Smith will expand her efforts to radio by co-hosting the show "2 Plus Sized Divas" with musician Deanna DellaCioppa. The show will premiere at 7 p.m. June 5 on LA Talk Radio.
"We want it to be an open and honest space for everybody to talk about body image issues. We want to invite everybody to come and engage with us," she said.
After graduating from Estacada High School, an interest in the fashion industry led Smith to the Los Angeles area for college.
"It's been where I'm supposed to be, but I love coming home. I love having both experiences," she said. "Small towns and LA are two different realities, but I appreciate them both so much."
Find Smith on Instagram at www.instagram.com/eatthecaketoo and on Youtube at "Eat The Cake Too with