Abigail Ratchford is living her idea of the dream: At 24, she has 4.5 million Instagram followers, has been featured in Sports Illustrated and MAXIM, and is in the process of developing a YouTube channel to showcase what goes on behind the scenes at her sexy photo shoots.
Hailing from small-town Pennsylvania, Ratchford moved to Los Angeles after years of dancing recreationally and attending the University of Scranton to pursue broadcast journalism and communications. It only took a single photo shoot to win her the attention of men’s interest websites, and her career as a bombshell model and social media guru has been on the rise ever since.
Since we find it fascinating to hear what it’s like to make a career out of having a hot bod, and successfully embracing your sexuality on social media—especially considering what a crowded and competitive space it is these days—we grilled Ratchford. She let us in on her top tips for not looking thirsty on Instagram, and why she believes any woman with confidence can pull of what she does.
STYLECASTER: What do you do to look your best before a shoot?
Abigail Ratchford: I cut carbs, drink lots of water, and spray tan the night before. I’ll eat a meal delivery system I’ve been using lately and follow a 1,200 calorie-a-day diet that’s low in fat and carbs.
Any tips to help people get more followers on Instagram?
Find your niche and go all out. If you’re into fitness, go all the way and make your whole page dedicated to fitness. If you’re into glamour, be as glamorous as possible. There’s a reason your fans follow you, so embrace your audience.
How do you pump yourself up and boost your confidence?
I always put on my favorite playlist, KYGO, and some simple lingerie and a silk robe while I get ready. I’ll have a fresh green juice and multivitamins, especially B12, which gives me energy, and makes me feel light, healthy and confident.
Does your fitness routine and diet change during the summer?
Since I live in Los Angeles, it’s summer year round for me, but in the last month, I committed myself to diet and exercise changes and made it a lifestyle instead of a temporary diet and started drinking a gallon of water a day.
What is your favorite summer recipe?
Chicken and veggie kebobs: I’ll put kebob sticks I make with chicken and bell peppers layered on the grill, or a sweeter version using chicken and pineapples.
What’s your go-to workout routine?
I love Pilates and circuit training—I focus a lot on core, butt, and legs. Pilates helps me look longer and leaner while maintaining my curves.
What’s your average workday like?
Some days are more laid back, and I’ll have a shoot and some meetings with my management. Other days I’ll have more shoots packed in. On a day without a shoot, my schedule will be: Wake up at 8am, work out and shower; around 9:30am I’ll have breakfast while checking my emails; at 11am I get ready and head out to meetings or do errands. I have lunch around 12pm, a snack around 3pm, a snack at 5:30pm, and dinner at 7:30pm. I’ll often go in the steam room or sauna at 9pm before going to sleep around 11:30pm.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Instagram?
I love following Izabel Goulart, a Victoria’s Secret model who posts her workouts and shows how to keep active while traveling, which makes me feel inspired and motivated. I also love following Emily Ratajowski, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, and Kylie Jenner. I love seeing how Kylie changes her hair and makeup styles often, and takes style risks at such a young age.
When do you think women posting sexy photos on social media became more mainstream?
I think it happened when Instagram exploded. Say what you will about so-called ‘Instagram models,’ but before Instagram was around, the only way a girl could be a model was if she was 5’10”, a size two, and discovered by an agency. Now, because of social media, females of all shapes and sizes can use Instagram as a portfolio to showcase their beauty, sex appeal, and femininity. I think as long as it’s done tastefully, it’s an amazing thing. Women have used social media to create careers, get endorsements, and receive so much more exposure than they would have 10 years ago.
How have people’s attitudes about these kinds of photos changed?
There are so many internet trolls out there who will always have an opinion and post nasty things, but now I think women posting sexy pics of themselves has become much more accepted because it’s so common now. Some women take it too far, but for the most part, a woman being sexy and showing off her curves is very acceptable.
Do you get more likes for butt or boob shots?
I find I get more likes on butt pics, actually—probably because my pics are mostly boob-focused, so when I show off my booty, it’s a surprising change and my followers love it.
Any advice for women about how to embrace their sexuality on Insta?
I think you need to embrace the nature of the pic. When a girl puts up a thirst trap pic, but captions it with a Robert Frost quote, it looks tacky and super thirsty. You have to own it.
What are your top tips for looking natural—yet sexy—in pics?
Pretend the camera is your boyfriend and be confident. Also, remember to smile with your eyes, not just your mouth.
Any suggestions for looking your best in a selfie?
Natural lighting is best, or if you have soft light in your apartment, that works wonders for selfies.
Any tips for beginners interested in starting to post sexy selfies?
Keep a nice balance of different kinds of photos: Mix sexy selfies with beautiful professional pics that are done tastefully while showing off your body. A woman’s body is the sexiest thing in the world. I think anyone can pull off what I do with the right attitude and confidence!