Ella Halikas has gone viral for recreating some of Julia Fox’s most daring looks – but for the SI Swimsuit model, it was a no-brainer.
"I remember she was wearing the low-rise look, and I was like, ‘Ooh, the low-rise is coming back,’" the 24-year-old chuckled to Fox News Digital. "And I remember people who were a lot curvier were scared of that. I would come across videos on TikTok of girls saying, ‘There’s no way I’m participating in this trend. I don’t have the right body.’ My first thought was, ‘Why not?’ Obviously, we have different body types, but I also love to showcase my body. And I thought if I could wear this, someone else might feel they can too. We can feel just as confident and beautiful together. I wanted to start that conversation."
The curve model took to Instagram where she posted side-by-side photos of herself and Fox, 32, wearing similar looks. Some pieces Halikas wore included black and white Calvin Klein underwear while grocery shopping, as well as a cropped white tank top and a mini skirt paired with black patent gloves and boots – two recognizable styles from the fellow model.
Halikas said she received an overwhelming amount of support after the photos went viral.
"I wanted to show people you can rock whatever you want, you can feel just as confident and beautiful," the California native shared. "I wanted other girls to be seen. I wanted others to feel good in their skin and be encouraged to try wearing something they feel they could never wear. I’ve gotten such a great reaction from people, and they’re loving it. I mean, it takes time, effort and money to organize all these shoots that are unpaid. But it’s a great feeling to know it’s encouraging others to showcase their bodies."
According to Halikas, she actually went to a grocery store in Beverly Hills to mimic Fox’s supermarket look.
"The secret to making Julia Fox’s look – or any look for that matter – your own is confidence," she explained. "It’s not so much about body type. It’s about how you carry yourself. It’s not about how you look physically. It’s about how you feel mentally. You have to walk with your chest up high and feel good. When you see the photos, you have to feel the confidence, the energy. That’s what makes people go, ‘She looks good.’ If I had walked to that store all covered up and my chin down looking nervous, people would say, ‘That’s not flattering, put some clothes on. What are you doing?’ You have to own your body and you have to own your look. If you can have that mental shift and find that confidence, then you can pull off anything."
Halikas said the "Uncut Gems" star has not reached out to her personally after the photos went viral, but she has seen them.
"She would look at my Stories [on Instagram]," Halikas explained. "She liked both of my posts. She’s just never commented or personally reach out… But this isn’t really about mimicking a celebrity or about Julia Fox personally. It’s more about recreating a style and showing it on a different body type. I would love to start doing different celebrities and other thinner women like Bella Hadid. "
The star first made a splash in 2021 when she was photographed by veteran photographer Yu Tsai in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for SI Swimsuit. Halikas, who has been inspired by Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady, said it has always been a dream of hers to appear in the magazine.
"The shoot just felt like a dream," she recalled. "I even connected with Ashley Graham. She sent me a voice message the morning of my shoot. I remember she said, ‘I’m so proud of you, you should be proud of yourself. You’ve come so far.’ I just started crying. I stayed up late the night before my shoot watching videos of her modeling on YouTube to get some inspiration. So I couldn’t believe my role model was cheering me on. I felt empowered. What I love about this brand is that the girls are so uplifting and encouraging. You couldn’t find a more supportive sisterhood."
"I remember when the magazine finally came out, I was searching all around San Francisco where I was for a shoot, going to every Walgreens, CVS, library, Barnes & Noble," Halikas continued. "I couldn’t find it anywhere. After hours of searching, I had to go to the airport and get on a flight to Miami. I went to a newsstand there and saw it on the wall. I immediately grabbed it. I got a full page in the issue… I was so proud that I made it that far."
Today, Halikas hopes that her body will serve as an inspiration to other women who "deserve to be seen" in the fashion industry.
"It’s been super important for me to talk about the difference between body positivity and body neutrality," she explained. "Body positivity is when you accept your body, not really wanting to change it. Body neutrality means you love your body, but you’re OK with change too. I’m more neutral. I love my body, and I’m very positive about it, but there are things that I believe can make me stronger. I’m always looking to be the best version of myself… I enjoy working out and for me, it’s way more than just trying to lose weight. I’m not even thinking about weight or needing to lose. I’m thinking, ‘How can I get more toned? How can I feel healthier? How can I help my anxiety? How can I improve my mental health?’"
The model shared that she relies on consistent Pilates and weight-lifting to challenge herself, all while improving her mental health. She is also an avid fan of soccer, hot yoga and the occasional jog.
"The advice I would give to anyone who is intimidated by the gym is that nobody in there is worried about you," she advised. "They’re more into themselves. In life, we always think people are looking at us and judging, whether it’s when we’re wearing a new outfit or at the gym. Most people, especially nowadays, are just so concerned with themselves. If you’re intimidated, get a workout buddy or meet with a trainer. If the weight room looks scary because it’s just a bunch of guys, hop on a treadmill. You can also go to a room alone and do some cardio. I also go to a Pilates class, and I’m probably the biggest girl there… but in a way, it empowers me. I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m twice your size, but look what I can do.’ Health and fitness look different in every single body. I’m all about feeling strong to be my best self."
"More importantly, don’t compare yourself to others, especially when everyone is out right now wearing a bikini," she said. "There’s so much power in just being you. You are unique. Don’t lose sight of that. It’s easier said than done, but it’s not fun comparing yourself to everyone else. Embrace who you are and what you’re capable of."