Posted: Mon 2nd Mar 2020
Victoria Spence almost died after suffering from an eating disorder. But after turning to social media to tell her story, she co-founded #GirlGains which describes itself as "a movement which aims to unite women, create a community and educate, empower and inspire them to become the best versions of themselves".
Tell us about us your battle with an eating disorder.
My eating disorder came as a shock to myself and everybody who knew me. I was always quite confident in my body and had a really healthy relationship with food.
Being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to go into my third year of dance college with the best body- and that's where it all began. I would follow 'fitness models' and latch on to every word they said. If they didn't eat carbs, I didn't eat carbs. If they didn't eat red meat, I wouldn't eat red meat.
In six months I had lost six stone, and almost lost my life.
Through therapy, and opening up about my past and understanding myself, I made a slow and steady recovery and use social media in a positive way to inspire women to accept their bodies.
Why did you decide to use Instagram to tell your story?
When I was at my lowest I had isolated myself from everybody, and felt I had nobody to speak to. I started my Instagram account as a 'recovery diary' to help me stay on track and hopefully meet people who could help me out of a terrible time. There were many women who would check in with me online and gave me the pep talks I needed.
I honestly don't know what place I would be in right now if I hadn't have started my Instagram account.
![Victoria Spencer, #GirlGains](https://enterprisenation.blob.core.windows.net/enterprisenation/9f1077c658f9e811a971002248072cc3/Victoria Spence.jpg)
Why did you decide to create the #GirlGains movement and what do you hope it will achieve?
During my first year of Instagram, when it was very much my 'recovery diary', I plucked up the courage to meet some of the lovely people I had met online in the flesh!
Tally and Zanna were two of those people. We hit it off, and for the first time in a long time I felt like I'd found 'my people'.
They understood me, they cheered me on, they supported me every day; and I did the same for them.
The #Girlgains was born one day in a car ride home from the gym when we acknowledged what we had found in each other, and wanted to create that for other women.
The #GirlGains grew through our passion, and we soon had ambassadors all over the world. We now focus on Fit and Fearless, the podcast with have with BBC 5 Live, to help educate, empower and inspire women all over.
How do you use Instagram to communicate your key messages?
I use Instagram in the most real and authentic way possible. I'm the kinda girl who loves the sass but at the same times I'm very vulnerable; so I love to show both sides.
I share my highs, lows and my insecurities, with the main goal of helping other women not feel alone.
Why do you think you have gained so many followers and what's your advice for how other entrepreneurs can build a big following?
My willingness to show vulnerability, and genuinely caring about the people on the other side of the screen are the reason I have gained so many followers (I think). I share stories, lessons learnt and give people something to think about with each of my posts.
I would advise other entrepreneurs to find their purpose and feel genuinely passionate about sharing it with other people.
The following and the likes, shouldn't be the biggest goal; Instead it should how many people they can inspire, focusing on one person at a time.
You have worked with several major brands through social media. What's your advice for how others can do the same?
I put a lot of time and effort into my platform before I received a single partnership. Brands want to be able to see what your about within seconds of being on your page.
Focus on creating good content, and actually caring about the message you are putting out to people.
When you receive your first partnerships, do a VERY good job, and they will want to continue to work with you. Having a manager has been a game changer for me.
Which other entrepreneurs and influencers inspire you and why?
I am massively inspired by public speakers and people who don't just hide behind their platform, but actually go out infront of their followers. I love Mel Wells and Anthony Robbins!
This article was originally published on the 6th of December 2018.