BodyAvatar is a Kinect-based interactive system that allows users without professional skills to create freeform 3D avatars using body gestures. Unlike existing gesture-based 3D modeling tools, BodyAvatar centers around a first-person “you’re the avatar” metaphor, where the user treats their own body as a physical proxy of the virtual avatar. Based on an intuitive body-centric mapping, the user performs gestures to their own body as if wanting to modify it, which in turn results in corresponding modifications to the avatar. BodyAvatar provides an intuitive, immersive, and playful creation experience for the user. We present a formative study that leads to the design of BodyAvatar, the system’s interactions and underlying algorithms, and results from initial user trials.