TikTok star Spencer Barbosa spills on self-love and owning her authenticity


Two years ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and, tbh, the good vibes weren't exactly flowing. I was feeling super down about my single status, my body and my future plans (unlike all of my friends, I decided to take some time off before college to figure out my path). I felt kind of behind in life, like I wasn't sure of my purpose. Every day these really big questions would be looming in my head: Who am I and what am I doing?

When the pandemic hit and my feelings of loneliness grew, I knew there was only one solution for a performer like me: to share my story. And, thankfully, TikTok was just starting to blow up.
I started posting, just being myself, reflecting on everything from boy to body woes. And a crazy thing happened. People really started relating to what I was going through.

I started to gain followers: First just a few thousand, then millions. I got comments and messages about how I had inspired other girls to feel more body positive and to focus on their future instead of failed friendships or old relationships. And honestly? It felt amazing.

For those first few months, it was like TikTok had solved all my problems. But then, suddenly, it didn't anymore. Well, not completely, anyway.


Regardless of how many people commented on my videos, telling me that I was beautiful or that my body type was their ideal, it didn't quiet the voices in my head that made me doubt my self-worth. No matter how many followers I gained, it didn't put a full stop to my feelings of loneliness. And inspiring others to be positive isn't the same as inspiring yourself. I needed to make a change.

So a year ago, even as I continued to post all my self-love content on TikTok, I started doing the work to decide exactly what the term self-love meant for me: I began journaling, setting intentions and opening up to the people around me about my struggles. Now, every morning, I look in the mirror and hype myself up out loud—even when it feels cringey or like I don't have anything to say. I also spend time manifesting my future (current dream: modeling for American Eagle and starring in my own TV show), hanging out with my family (my OG friends) and continuing to post authentic content while balancing it with real-life experiences that get me out of my comfort zone (a nature walk never hurts).

On TikTok, I'm still the endlessly confident girl. But IRL, I continue to be on a self-love journey. I'm very proud of the platform I've built, but as I try to uncover (and adore!) my most authentic self, I now know that the *real* work happens off-screen—sometimes when there's no phone in sight. And I'm OK with that.


Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our April/May 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Slider image: @spencer.barbosa


by Spencer Barbosa, as told to Katherine Hammer | 4/9/2022