If you look up Alicia McCarvell on TikTok, you’ll find a verified account with over a million followers. Based on that information alone, you might assume that you’ve stumbled into that part of the online world where every other video is a thinly-veiled promo, and some impossibly perfect 20-year-old is about to wink and smile at the camera for ad dollars.
Thankfully, you’d be wrong. Alicia McCarvell’s not that kind of “influencer.” Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, McCarvell uses her social media to talk about body love in the most relatable of ways, make us laugh, showcase her adorable relationship with her handsome bearded husband, and show us how she hits the gym for all the right reasons.
I first came across Alicia when a “husband glow-up challenge” was trending on TikTok.
She made a video montage of her husband, Scott, transforming from a typical 16-year-old kid into a muscular, bearded grown man. The metamorphosis was really astonishing. High school boy to good-looking man in 60 seconds.
Alicia McCarvell is a plus-size woman. We live in a world where someone once inexplicably thought it was a good idea to coin the term “mixed weight couple,” so as you might imagine, the difference in their body types attracted a lot of attention.
Since that first video showed up on my For You Page, I have continued to be amused and entertained by her channel. But there’s much more to Alicia’s message than a little light humor.
Alicia McCarvell is a real person. She hasn’t been impossibly polished by media training, and her content isn’t sterilized by a PR machine. She’s attracted over a million followers by being a real, regular woman. Sometimes she takes us on fancy date nights dressed to the nines, but more often she shoots videos with towel-dried hair and no makeup. She has a quirky, goofy side that makes her feel like a friend. Like every good wife, she drives her husband nuts once in a while, and like every great husband, he returns the favor.
The McCarvells are adorable. A million people tune in to get 60-second glimpses of their life as best friends and soulmates.
Alicia shares her journey with body acceptance in a candid and vulnerable way. One day she’s posing naked in the ocean with her self-proclaimed “soul mate,” feeling good as hell as Lizzo intended, and the next day she’s sharing about the time she lost a ton of weight for a bikini competition through disordered eating and dangerous exercise practices—and ended up thinner (and more miserable) than ever.
I had the distinct pleasure of catching up with Alicia McCarvell to get some insight into her journey to TikTok fame in her own words. Here’s some of what she had to say:
When you started TikTok did you ever imagine you’d end up becoming such a sensation?
“Absolutely not!” declares McCarvell. “I lost my job in March of 2019, and took some time off to focus on myself. During that time, I downloaded the app, and just watched. One day, I saw the “My boyfriend is 10x hotter than me” trend, and I HAD to do it. I posted it, and it blew up. I woke up two days later with 56k followers.”
Did you intend to create body positive/fat positive content from the start, or was it an organic progression?
“When my first video blew up, I received a lot of demeaning comments which I expected. I knew when I posted the video that people would freak out because I was fat, and my husband was extremely physically fit. Naturally, I used it as an opportunity to make it very clear that I was confident in myself, and my relationship. I think it naturally progressed from there.”
“When my account started to blow up, Scott and I sat down and picked a direction for it,” Alicia explains. “We wanted a space that empowered people to be confident in themselves, regardless of their shape. We wanted it to be a place people could come and laugh, and we wanted to showcase our relationship!”
Let’s talk about your husband. People spend a lot of time focusing on what he looks like, but we all know muscles don’t make a relationship last for a decade and a half. Tell me what you’d like people to know about Scott (or you and Scott) that they can’t see in a 60-second clip.
“Our relationship is deeply rooted in friendship. We were friends first and I truly believe that is our ‘secret.’ I call him One Liner Len because he’s an extreme introvert, but he’s also outrageously funny. So, when he does choose to add to the conversation, it’s always a memorable line. He is so playful. We spend so much of our time laughing, and joke around. Humor is one of the stronger pillars of our relationship. He enjoys making content more than he seems to on camera,” Alicia laughs. “Actually, some of our best creations have been his idea!” she reveals.
“[Scott] has the best laugh. It makes my heart happy. His number one love language is Acts of Service — so you won’t see lots of PDA or long social media posts. What I get from him is never having to put out the garbage, Tylenol and water beside my bed after a night out with the girls, or rubbing my feet before bed.”
Tell us about your relationship to exercise and the gym. How does going to the gym as an act of self-love differ from the days when you went to shrink your body? What are your goals now versus then?
“Exercise used to be punishment. I have always associated exercise with weight-loss, and nothing more, when realistically weight-loss is one little result of the thousands of things exercise can do for you. I don’t weigh myself anymore, and I move my body in ways that make me feel good. Some days that’s walking, some days that’s the gym, some days that’s a hike,” Alicia explains. “My goals right now are to manage my emotions and stress with exercise. I am learning to listen to my body, and choosing what movement works best for me.”
Let’s hear about your journey to self-acceptance and body love. What made you decide that you were going to set out to love your body, no matter the size?
“A few years back, we went on a vacation to Florida, and that was the first time in 12 years I bought a bathing suit and went on the beach with my husband,” Alicia explains. “We spent two hours in the water, it was the most fun we had ever had. I cried in the shower that night thinking how disappointed I was in myself for allowing how I felt about my body hold me back from incredible experiences. After that, I started a “love me journal” where I wrote to myself every night. I wrote something I loved about myself, or how I handled a situation and I started to change how I talked to and about myself.”
Tell us the truth: Do you always love what you see in the mirror now, or do you have days where you still struggle?
“Absolutely not,” Alicia admits. “I think it’s important to understand that EVERYONE has bad body image days. However, I have started to realize that a lot of the time I use my body as a punching bag because of other stressors in my life. When I’m feeling down about my body, I do my best to unravel my feelings and figure out how I can redirect my emotions.”
Who should follow you? What kind of people are “your people?”
“Everyone!” McCarvell jokes. “I think that my content is multifaceted. If you’re looking for a laugh, I’m your girl. If you’re looking to learn how to treat yourself better, I’m also your girl.”
Haters and trolls. You’ve got them. They suck. What do you do when the negative comments start rolling in?
“I think really understanding the root of a comment and where it’s coming from really helps me navigate them,” she says. “Honestly, I feel bad for people that require putting others down to make themselves feel better. I understand that the majority of the world is still stuck in diet culture, and mass media standards for beauty.”
But she doesn’t let them get away with it.
“I also think it’s important to stick up for yourself,” insists McCarvell. “There’s a lot of misinformation circulating the internet about fat women and what we are capable of. Sometimes you need to educate people, and maybe just maybe next time they will think twice about commenting.”
Alicia McCarvell has amassed a million followers with her relatable brand of body love. With so many heavy, difficult things happening in the world this year, it’s no wonder that her uplifting body-image messages, adorable interactions with her husband, and hilarious booty-shaking gym videos have become the escape so many of us needed. In a world full of chaos, the McCarvells have created a place that often feels like FaceTiming with a friend, and that’s something we could all use.