EXCLUSIVE! TikToker Bella Horiszny is redefining what it means to be a fitness influencer
If you were into fitness in 2020, TikToker Bella Horiszny probably popped up on your FYP. Her smiling face, affinity for Celsius energy drinks and amaze morning routine made her an unmistakable presence on wellness TikTok during the lockdown era.
Everything about her life seemed like #goals, from her workout seshes to her cute relationship to her healthy recipes and adorbs Gymshark fits. We wanted to be just like Bella—but the Bella we knew online wasn't quite like Bella IRL.
Three years later, Bella still hearts a healthy lifestyle. It just looks a little different now. Bella spoke with us about what she's learned from her whirlwind rise to TikTok stardom, and what she's been doing now to create content that's based in love and positivity first. Talk about mental health #goals.
with a smaller audience i feel like i can help yall in a more intimate way 🤝 dying to stay on the uplifting and safe side of tiktok😘♬ Im me again feels like its been years - strawberry_sockss
A sudden TikTok sensation
As a busy student-athlete, Bella never made content with the idea of becoming TikTok-famous. But people (like us!) loved Bella. Under the quippy username @bellasbalancee, Bella amassed over 450,000 followers—a feat she still finds unbelievable.
"I definitely remember my first video that went viral—it was an 'Around the World Ab Routine' that got, like, 300,000 views in the first 24 hours," Bella shares.
And almost as quickly as the views came, so did the comments. Questions about Bella's eating habits and workout routine filled her comment section. People constantly requested "What I Eat in a Day" and "Day in the Life" videos.
"People were telling me exactly what to make, and I did it. They asked, and they received," Bella recalls.
The pressure to be perfect
Bella remembers her perfectionism kicking in as she made content curated to her followers' desires. Even though Bella was simply documenting her day-to-day life, she felt an increasing pressure to appear perfect online. Bella refers to this phenomenon as wearing "social media glasses"—skewing her vision of what her personal lifestyle should look like.
Let's be real: Our exercise fits aren't usually Insta-ready every morning. But to Bella, cute workout sets and healthy meals meant everything. "It mattered how I looked in each clip because my content was famous for being aesthetically pleasing," Bella says.
When she gave her followers the content they wanted, she was praised. When she didn't, haters flew to the comments. "It blew my mind that I couldn't make every single one of my followers happy," Bella admits.
So those negative thoughts we all feel sometimes during a social media scroll (like how we aren't quite pretty enough for Insta)? Turns out influencers feel it, too. Bella's desire to please everyone online reinforced negative eating habits and a fragile self-image. With the algorithm in charge, Bella wasn't capable of being truly herself.
A much-needed social media cleanse
Bella loved her active lifestyle, but she realized that the pressure of filming each second of her day made some of her so-called "healthy habits" not so healthy. To reflect, Bella took a step back from social media.
"I have always been really big on working on myself—listening to audiobooks, going on walks, saying positive affirmations—and I turned my energy to that. I tried to learn to love myself in a way that isn't validated through a phone screen," she shares.
The transition back from fitness influencer to typical teenager was rewarding. Bella found a new love for her body, treating it with care and consideration. She ate how she pleased, exercised how she wanted to and built back the balanced lifestyle she's embraced since the beginning. Bella took off the social media glasses, and now, she has no intention of putting them back on.
"I don't think I can record everything [about my day] without me making it something rigid," Bella explains. "Because if I do something, I like to do it right—and 'right' is whatever content that TikTok decides to pump out. I learned that pretty well during my time as an influencer."
The future is positive
But social media can do good, too.
"I tend to be a black-and-white thinker, but there's this middle path that exists," Bella says. "It's where I start posting exactly who I am and what feels right. The clips don't look perfect, and it's not as curated, and it's not all of these things that made my old content popular, but it's this new thing that could make my new content more popular."
The Tampa-based influencer is currently a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. Nowadays, you can find her hitting the gym, reading daily intention cards or scouring the supermarket for the best protein-packed snacks. Right now, she is unsure of whether she plans to return to influencing full-time, but she knows where her social media priorities are.
"My [new] content would be the same, I hope, in the sense of inspiring and bringing people up, but different in the sense that I need to put myself first—and I'm not there to please other people with how I look or the things I say."
@bellahoriszny2 set intention with me! it’s so crazy that I pull this card when I’ve been talking about taking action on creating content 🤯 whats ur action gonna be! #intention #motivation #positivity #bellahoriszny ♬ original sound - bella!
She also enjoys the intimacy of a smaller fanbase. After years of being bombarded with random questions about her daily routine, Bella has cultivated a community of self-love amongst her dedicated batch of 30,000 followers on her new account.
"Now, I can give 100% of my effort to responding to DMs. I will usually hit my followers with a paragraph or something that ties into my past experience or the best advice I can give them as just another teenage girl. It's given me an opportunity to connect with the people from my audience who saw me as a light even when I was stuck in the darkness."
Back on @bellasbalancee, Bella will hop on every now and then to share a workout or a quick go-to meal. Her content is wholesome, healthy and mindful—it's Bella's #real version of balance.