Anna O’Brien (Glitterandlazers) is an American social media star who founded the uber-popular fashion blog Glitter and Lazers. She made her big break on YouTube, where she has accrued 247K subscribers. She later diversified to other social media channels such as Instagram (531.2K followers) and TikTok (6.9 million followers).
O’Brien is an icon of the plus-size community as she has spearheaded campaigns to promote inclusion of the community in avenues such as modeling. The fashion icon also uses social media to promote stylish and comfortable clothing for the community.
This piece will look at Anna’s career, her weight-loss journey, and her battle with trolls.
Anna is happy and making money as a social media influencer but her ultimate goal in life is to become an inventor and an entrepreneur
Anna started her social media journey while working for a software company. She loved her job, had good relationships with her co-workers, and the job helped quench her travel addiction. At the start, Anna didn’t perceive social media as something she could pursue full-time. However, as her following and influence grew, she realized that she couldn’t work two jobs.
Taking up social media full-time meant giving up the travel privileges that her software job offered. It also meant that she had to move out of New York and go back to Texas because of the high cost of living in the Big Apple. She revealed in a video posted on 18th July 2020:
“I was priced out in New York. I will be very real about that. I moved to Austin because it still has a little bit of that big city culture, great food scene, great bars, good concerts, good music, but it’s a lot cheaper… It may not make sense for me forever. I might find myself back in New York. I miss it a lot.”
Anna admits to missing her old job; she loved it, and she was good at it. But, she also loves waking up every day to create content for her followers. O’Brien especially enjoys creating content on TikTok because the platform offers her more creative freedom. “With TikTok, it’s transformational,” Anna told Interview Magazine. “It’s about taking something that already exists and reimagining it in your unique voice.”
However, Anna’s ultimate career goal lies outside social media. She revealed in her 18th July video that her goal is to become an inventor and an entrepreneur. “I feel like I’m going to have a big idea sometime in the future, and I’m actually going to be – that’s going to be where I end my journey,” she said. “Being here just as an influencer is not my ultimate goal. It isn’t.”
Anna initially ignored her Lipedema diagnosis but the pain in her body inspired her to start her weight-loss journey
O’Brien has always been proud of her body. She has never felt the need to conform to traditional body and beauty standards. Her opinion didn’t change even after a myriad of experts told her that she had Lipedema – a condition that causes symmetric enlargement of legs due to fat deposits beneath the skin.
She felt angry about the diagnosis, and instead of adapting her body and lifestyle to control the condition, she did the opposite and overindulged. At first, it didn’t affect her body, but after a while, Anna’s body started to rebel. She started to experience pain in her joints and back, and didn’t like the sight of varicose veins.
After widespread research, she decided to give Keto diets a try. Unfortunately, the diet didn’t suit her body. “One of the worst experiences in my life was the couple of months I did Keto,” she stated in a video posted on 29th July 2020. The failure affected Anna emotionally because she felt like she’d lost control of her body. “I just remember feeling so defeated.”
Fortunately, she continued researching and one of the diets she tried worked. She coupled the diet with an exercise regimen, and this time, her body complied. Initially, Anna measured her weight to keep track of her progress, but it made her lose focus of what he wanted to achieve. She said:
“It’s so easy with our culture to get caught up with the number on the scale. I didn’t want to think that way in this journey. I wanted to just think like, ‘Is my health and fitness going up? Is my pain going down? And am I having less symptoms than I normally have?’ So I have done away with weighing myself regularly.”
Anna loves being outside more, she feels more energetic, and she has formed stronger bonds with her friends. Aside from one time when she almost died due to dehydration during a hike, everything else has been great. She cheerfully ended her video by saying:
“So more than anything, know that I am happy, I am healthier, because I think obtaining maximum health is an unrealistic standard we place on ourselves, and I am doing this 100% for me.”
Anna claims that it has become more difficult to handle abuse now that she is trying to lose weight
O’Brien is the definition of a confident woman. She has been perpetually trolled throughout her social media career, but she hasn’t let it faze her. Anna’s confidence and self-belief was on full display when she did a bikini shoot in the middle of Times Square. She wrote on Cosmopolitan:
“The world only really sees plus imagery that is perfected and somewhat vanilla – usually that of smaller, perfectly proportioned curvy women. It didn’t need another stock image of an hourglass figure, in an indiscernible space, wearing a one-piece. I wanted to make a statement and I wanted to be seen – I’m more than my body and I deserve respect and human decency.”
The experience in New York was different from what she’d experienced before. For the first time, men fetishized her body, effectively drowning out the few who wanted to troll. It was a response to her body that she had rarely experienced before, but one that she hated nonetheless. She started to question whether the shoot was worth it, but as it drew to a close, a little girl grinned at her and whispered, ‘You’re pretty.’ “I realized at that moment, it had all been worth it,” she wrote. “I had been seen.”
Anna has shown that she is resistant to negativity, but the hate is starting to get to her now that she’s started her weight loss journey. She explained in a video posted on 14th August 2020:
“It’s funny because they have no bearing on my self-esteem, but they are there. Because I am thinking so much about food, because I am thinking so much about activity level, when they come in and they comment on it, it is hard. It is hard for me to remain focused, it is hard for me to push through, and it is hard for me not to question myself.”
However, she won’t back down from her journey because of what people are saying about her. Anna won’t use trolling as an excuse to stop making progress.