If there's any Toronto-based influencer you need to follow right now, it's Mina Gerges.
Egyptian-Canadian Mina Gerges is making waves on Instagram where he promotes body positivity, self-love, and LGBTQ2S+ rights.
Gerges has been featured in Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, and Paper Magazine, to name a few. He was also among the faces of Sephora's We Belong to Something Beautiful campaign.
And he has come a long way in his social media journey.
He started his Instagram account in 2015, parodying famous celebrity photoshoots.
Since then, he's transformed his platform into a source of inspiration and creativity for young people across the world.
Who is Mina Gerges?
Five years later, Gerges has built a following of 100,000 on Instagram.
Gerges describes himself as "an Egyptian plus-size model and actor based in Toronto and New York City," according to his website.
"[I am] redefining traditional male beauty standards through bold self-expression, gender fluidity, and body positivity," he writes.
When did Mina Gerges go viral?
Mina Gerges' videos went viral in 2015 while he was attending the University of Western Ontario.
Gerges told Flare that he began the Instagram account to express himself without judgment from his conservative family.
"I was at home and I felt very uncomfortable doing that with my family around. My parents are very traditional. I grew up in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates so that kind of thing is a huge taboo," he said.
Those original recreations garnered him tens of thousands of views and kickstarted his Instagram career.
What does Mina Gerges advocate for?
Gerges now works as a model and actor, advocating for self-love and body positivity.
Gerges often opens up about his own body image challenges and his journey to loving his body, which he says didn't always come easily to him.
He also supports LGBTQ2S+ youth and encourages all young people to be comfortable with who they are.
"I’ve struggled with my weight and body image my whole life. I grew up surrounded by unrealistic pictures of men and women that convinced me that I have to look like that to be considered attractive and desirable," he writes.
"Especially as gay men, where unfortunately so many of us struggle with achieving that unrealistic standard to feel beautiful."
At the end of the day, Mina Gerges just wants to "spread some unapologetic queer joy."