A woman who created a AUD $5 million fashion company from a second-hand clothing blog is now using her internet fame to educate her fans on body image.
Sherlyn Tan, 30, owns her own brand called Twenty3AU and often poses in her own clothes – but not in the way many media influencers do.
Since starting her business, the Malaysian-born Melbourne model has won a legion of fans for her honest photographs and for giving her followers an unfiltered glimpse into her everyday life.
The Malaysia-born business owner poses often in her own clothing items to show how ‘real’ women wear her fashion
Sherlyn Tan, 30, runs her own successful fashion brand and uses social media to show the distorted reality behind Instagram
‘Being the founder of a fashion company, I felt immense pressure to look a certain way. I was very harsh on myself if I thought I was getting fat or didn’t feel like I looked pretty enough, that it really took a toll on my mental health,’ Sherlyn told FEMAIL.
‘I model for my own store. People called me a s**t on Instagram on Facebook… almost everywhere they could.
‘They say so many mean things like ‘she has a fat armpit, she has fat thighs that ruin the outfit. Her expression is silly and ugly.
The young entrepreneur suffered from poor body image and mental health before sharing her imperfections on social media
‘I totally understand how these young girls feel, and that’s what makes my posts relatable. But I also receive private messages every day, thanking me for reminding them that it’s okay to not look like what Instagram tells you to look like.’
The entrepreneur chooses to model her brand’s clothes, including her popular adhesive bra, in the most realistic way possible.
Snapping photos in what would usually be considered ‘unflattering’ poses, Sherlyn shows her followers the raw truth behind Instagram filters, poses, makeup and lighting.
Sherlyn has attracted 60,000 followers on Instagram for her real portrayal of how women look behind the veil of Instagram
‘I do still need to remind myself from time to time that it’s okay to release control. I’ve learned that a healthy mind takes precedence above all. I don’t need to look as strong as Wonder Woman. Strength comes from within,’ she said.
‘You can even look heavier at the end of the day, or when you’re on your period, or even just from bad posture and bad lighting. The most beautiful girl on Instagram has her bad days too, she’s just not posting those photos.’
Sherlyn posts to her 60,000 Instagram followers to show how contrived social media images can be – and has stripped down her own ‘false’ image to prove how flaws are part of being human.
After struggling with her own mental health, Sherlyn says being real on social media also helps to remind herself that imperfections are okay.
After admitting to struggled with her own mental health, Sherlyn says being real on social media also helps to remind herself that imperfections are okay
She said ‘I don’t need to look as strong as Wonder Woman. Strength comes from within’
‘I initially started writing openly about it as a means to cope and to come to terms with it. It was cathartic for me. But I began receiving private messages from a lot of my followers who were suffering from depression too, but in silence,’ she added.
‘I don’t want to hide behind the beautiful hair colour, the Instagram perfect life. I wanna be me. The happy me. The me who lives in the moment and cherishes everything.’
‘I didn’t start with a fashion background nor a passion for fashion. I graduated with a degree in finance and worked in Groupon, where I built up 4 new departments and enjoyed every minute of it,’ Sherlyn explains
The entrepreneur has been running her brand Twenty3 for four years, a business venture she started from an online clothing blog and only $5000 in the bank.
It now has over 50,000 customers in over 20 countries and has yearly profits reaching $5million.
‘I didn’t start with a fashion background nor a passion for fashion. I graduated with a degree in finance and worked in Groupon, where I built up 4 new departments and enjoyed every minute of it,’ Sherlyn explains.
‘It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride since, and we’ve expanded beyond our online store to open four retail stores in Malaysia and now one pop-up in Melbourne.’