Earlier this week, 22-year-old artist Jody Steel, a viral sensation known for her incredible body artwork, published her latest timelapse drawing video of a work she calls “Body Image” on her Facebook page. Using her own stomach as her canvas, the haunting illusion she creates is a personal statement about societal pressures to have the “perfect figure.” In just four days, the video has been viewed nearly 82,000,000 times.
In the comments section of her Facebook post Jody wrote, “There have been times I’ve looked in a mirror and wished for a perfect figure. No matter how much I went to the gym or how little I ate carbs and sugar, I still didn’t see what I imagined was perfect. Once I realized that naturally, I don’t have a coke bottle figure, or long and thin legs, I began to let go of the pressures I’ve felt to fulfill an image that our society has deemed the pinnacle of beauty.” She added, “I like to adventure and I love to try new foods—especially if they’re spicy. So let go of your demons and learn to enjoy the things you love in life. You can be healthy and happy.”
Among the more than 57,000 comments her post has received to date, Jody responded to those who’ve implied that she’s saying you shouldn’t still strive for being healthy. “That’s not true at all. I do still work towards goals, but not towards body image goals that are unrealistic for my body type. I’ll never be able to have model long legs or large breasts genetically. But I’ve set realistic goals for myself and that’s the point. I eat food that makes me happy and go to the gym a healthy amount. There’s a balance.”
What Else You Should Know About Jody
Jody Steel became a viral sensation overnight and it all started with a pen and a leg. Practically speaking, creating hyper realistic drawings on her legs during college courses may seem counterproductive—but when those thigh drawings ended up on the front page of The Boston Globe and on the Steve Harvey Talk Show, people began to take notice. Soon enough, Steel’s legs were on CNN, The Huffington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, among various other publications all around the world. A year later, the body artwork is still trending, receiving a full-page spread in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Steel’s work overall has received millions of views on her personal website and social media pages. And to think it started with a paper shortage. Steel studied Visual Media Arts Film Production at Emerson College, where creating meaningful and marketable media became her focus. Only just beginning her freshman year in Boston, Steel was commissioned by one of her professors to illustrate their novel Steaming Into A Victorian Future: A Steampunk Anthology.
During her final semester in Los Angeles, she wrote and directed a short film called “Daddy” that was officially selected to be a part of the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood. After the attacks in Paris and Beirut, Steel created a timelapse drawing called “Peace”, featuring a picture of a dove on flying on top of a collage of flags from various countries around the world. Within 48 hours, the video received 70 million views. Steel continues to make drawing videos and hopes to create more meaningful content along the way.