Anicia Gillespie ’21 has an Instagram account that looks like a model’s. Her aesthetic?
“People would say it’s provocative, which it kind of is,” she said. “It’s really sexy. My look I’ve tried to aim for is kind of ‘Sex and the City’ vibes.”
The main goal of her Instagram account, she explained, is empowering women, an aim that is not dissimilar to the mission of Wellesley College.
“I’m totally against slut shaming,” she said. “So, I purposely post the photos I post [to prove to] those people that say you can be sexy and smart.”
The people that she referenced are mostly older men and women, who comment on her posts questioning the way she chooses to portray herself to the world.
“A lot of older men shouldn’t be commenting on a 19 year old girl’s Instagram,” she stated. Girls her own age have questioned her artistic decisions, too. But she deliberately chooses the photos that she posts, knowing that she will get a reaction. Many times, that reaction is negative, but she responds with positivity.
“Just because you’re not confident in yourself, don’t put me down,” she said. “You are who you are, and you promote what you want to promote. And I’m proud of who I am and what my body looks like, and I’m really just comfortable with everything I am.”
Gillespie began posting photos of her life on Instagram during her freshman year of high school, but her aesthetic has evolved significantly since then. At first, it was “the typical basic girly photos,” as she described it. The look of her Instagram shifted when she went to boarding school and had to redefine her identity there.
At her new school, she had to figure out who she was as an individual.
“My boarding school really taught me to look at myself and how I viewed myself,” she explained. “So it was really more like, I’m Anicia now, I’m not just Anicia from the field hockey team or Anicia from the track team. I had my own identity, and since I had my own identity, I kind of wanted to create my own image, and that’s what I did.”
As the photos she posted grew more composed, and more overtly sexual, her captions grew, as she put it, “more and more ridiculous.” The captions are also part of the art of Instagram. They have an ironic, ‘I’m too good for you,’ message. They also provide responses to those who question what she’s doing with her Instagram account in the first place.
“Anicia, how much do you want to do?….THE ABSOLUTE MOST,” reads the caption to one photo of her in a swimsuit in a pool. Another caption says, “Anicia M. Gillespie-Pope-Van der Woodson-Waldorf-Fitzgerald,” this time under a photo of Gillespie on a rooftop, gazing at the camera through round sunglasses.
“I literally have a list and a book of captions just waiting to happen,” Gillespie laughed.
Eventually, she hopes to monetize her Instagram account, following in the footsteps of celebrities like Kim Kardashian. However, she doesn’t want to model professionally.
“I don’t think I could be in a field that focuses all on my image,” she said. “I’d rather be in a boardroom, litigating business deals or something like that. That’s where I am. I like the best of both worlds.”
She plans to major in economics, and minor in statistics. Even her choice in major reflects the philosophy behind her Instagram: if you choose to do so, you can have academic success and be sexy at the same time.
“Why can’t I be someone who’s respectable in a boardroom and who likes to have fun?” she asks. “Men can be both; they can wear their shirts off and show off their muscles and be ‘the man’. Why can’t I be ‘the girl?’”
Anicia can be found on Instagram at @aniciagill.