Meet Jen Selter, Queen Of The "Belfie"

Photo: Courtesy of @JenSelter

In the business of bodies, Jen Selter's bottom is top of the game. To date, the 21-year-old fitness model, who is known for her belfies (or butt selfies), has accumulated a behemoth Instagram following of 6.4 million. She’s fielded offers from the likes of Nike and Lululemon, to name just two. (A single sponsored Instagram post can cost brands anywhere from $500 to more than $50,000.) She’s even the source of her own Instagram fitness trend: #seltering.

While fashion bloggers have long been the subject of self-made media stories, the age of the Couture Body has brought fitness-obsessed personalities like Jen Selter into the internet spotlight. Selter has posted fewer than 600 Instagram pics, but she’s already a star. Part of her success is her inexplicable ability to get others as exhilarated about fitness as she is: She convinced 85-year-old Barbara Walters to do squats in pearls and a skirt suit on The View. That kind of magnetism is charming, if not downright enviable. Continuing our larger conversation about body image on R29, we spoke to Selter about what it's like being an Instagram fitness idol — and whether or not she reads the comments.

So many women are inspired by you, yet feel discouraged that they don't look like you. What do you have to say to them?

I always tell people to be the best version of themselves, not someone else. Everyone has a different body, and every shape is beautiful. When I'm posting my photos, I just want to motivate people to be the best they can. Working out is not all about the outside, it's how you feel on the inside. If you're stressed, exercise takes that stress away. You put on your headphones and you're in different world. I find that it's a getaway, and it makes me feel good on the inside and outside.

What’s your workout routine like?
I work out four to five days a week — not every day; you need rest days, too. I try to work out for an hour, but sometimes only get in 45 minutes depending on my schedule. I love trying new things, and there are lots of different techniques to try right now. Lately, I’ve been getting more into yoga and learning kickboxing.

You deal with abundant criticism of your body via internet comments. How do you deal without freaking out?
Growing up, I was always bullied, so it's not new to me. It's a never-ending thing, so I learned to be strong and not to care what other people think. If you let the negativity get to you, it will drain you, and you can't really move on. It’s the positive comments and supportive messages from my followers that keep me going.
Photo: Courtesy of @JenSelter

There are some creeps on your Instagram feed — has that led to real-life drama?
Not really. I think it's awesome when people come up to me and go like, "Oh, you're Jen!" I do love that. But, sometimes people will message me later, saying "Oh, I saw you, but I was too afraid to say hello." I don't think followers should ever be scared — it's really cool to meet them all.

What are your tips for taking the perfect #belfie?
It’s all about the cute gym outfit! Color stands out more, too. Find a good background with the right lighting, and boom.

Everyone has days when they feel like garbage. What do you do to bounce back?
I don't think you should work out every single day, especially on days when you feel bad. I like to be alone and go get a massage or read a book, things that distract me. I'll turn off my phone to escape for a little, because I'm on my phone so much. I should probably do that more often, honestly.

What's next for you?
I'm definitely heading to video, because that's where social media is going. I would love for my followers to get to know me beyond my photos and what I write.

More from Body

In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...
Jill Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
Last week, Kelly Stanley was breast-feeding her 9-month-old baby during dinner when someone else at her table decided to grab a cloth napkin and try to ...
Periods may be annoying, but at least they're predictable — sort of. If yours is a little delayed this cycle, and you're not trying to get pregnant right ...
It sustains life. It boosts immunity. It may or may not taste like the milk left over from a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Full disclosure: I sampled mine just ...
Gina Rodriguez is the master of keeping it real. She's been open about everything from losing her virginity to coping with thyroid disease, so it makes ...
When you see your friend's adorable baby, your first instinct, understandably, is probably to hug and kiss her all over. However, you might want to think ...
Two years ago, Ericka Hart was about to walk into a Sephora in Lower Manhattan when she looked down at her ringing phone, and stopped right there on Wall...