Olivia Ponton gushed about how proud she is to be an “influential member of the LGBTQ community” and be someone who inspires younger generations.
“It means a lot to me because I am very hyper femme presenting, and I think for the younger girls that are 7 to 15, they’re kind of going through the same thing right now that I was going through, but I didn’t necessarily have anyone to talk to about it,” the 20-year-old explained earlier this year at Miami Swim Week.
When Ponton was younger, she was unable to understand the way she felt about other women. She didn’t have anyone to go to for answers at the time, and she’s proud to now be that role model for so many girls.
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“Looking back at it, I definitely had feelings for them [women], but I didn’t know how to label it,” she added. “It means a lot that now girls going through that can kind of look up to me and be like, ‘O.K., yes, I resonate with her.’”
Ponton made her SI Swimsuit debut in the 2022 issue. She began consistently posting on TikTok in 2020 and has now amassed 7.9 million followers on the platform.
She attributes her success to consistency and authenticity.
“I’m not just posting all the best parts of my life,” Ponton said. “I’m posting kind of everything, whether I’m struggling with eating disorders or I’m struggling with anxiety and depression.”
Becoming famous and inspiring younger members of the LGBTQ community was never something she expected, but it’s a rewarding bonus to her internet fame.
“Girls come up to me like in the streets and [say] I helped them come out and tell their family and like figure out what words to be saying.” she finished with a smile. “The fact that I’m a part of their journey is crazy.”