I am not perfect, and you’ll never see me pretending to be. (I’m also not Issa Rae, but the show title was too perfect, and the show is great!)
I’m confident, sure, but I believe that growth should be a constant, it should be embraced, and even sought after. That being said, I am fully aware that I – a plus size model and advocate for body positivity – have a long way to go before I can even say I truly love the skin I’m in. For me, it’s all about performing thru my insecurities, instead of letting them stop me from prospering in my passions.
So, let’s lay them out on the table. There’s the obvious; cellulite, flabby arms, tummy rolls, the same qualms as the majority of women (and a lot of men!) around the world. For me, I also have to add my skin. I’ve battled severe eczema most of my life, and if you’ve read some of my other personal blogs you’ll know that. Because of this disease, I have been left with scars, often have mysterious outbreaks that take days to heal, and even have left over stretch marks as the result of a medicine permanently thinning my skin. As a model who has to pose for pictures near everyday, sometimes in bathing suits and lingerie, it’s a struggle for me to not keep these things on my mind… but they’re not just on my mind.
As much as plus size bodies/clothes/etc. are on the rise, there’s still often a stigma on set about looking plus size. Companies still want to use the smallest plus size model as possible, which I often qualify as (great for me, but I want to see my larger sisters prosper too!). Keeping that in mind, I’ve had to master poses that create smooth lines on my body, while at the same time accentuate my curves… an oxymoron action, if that’s a thing¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I still find myself having to suck my belly in when posing, and perhaps the most shocking for me is that I had to get used to seeing my body photoshopped. Sure I want to have smooth skin, but when they start making parts of you smaller – WOH! So here I am, worried about my insecurities, which society has programmed in me, and then I have to work through them x2, because someone else is also telling me to be “mindful” of them. As someone searching to reach optimum self love, it’s an intense battle everyday.
My strategy: 1) Understand that nothing is personal, and as previously mentioned, society has programmed the standards of beauty within us. It’s certainly going to take more than a couple of years and viral hash tags to change that within the Modeling/Fashion and TV & Film industries, let alone all of the other minds effected [read: all of us]. 2) Don’t get down on myself, if they wanted someone more toned with less jelly and more jam, they would’ve picked a different person. Nobody want’s more work, so if I really am creating more work for them, like I think I am, then they must find it worth it enough to hire me. And 3) I’ve come to terms, not with my skin, but with the aspect of it being out of my control. I can only take care of myself as well as I know how, and be prepared for all of the surprises I’ve become accustomed to. No one expects more of me, and I shouldn’t either. Not only that, but models and actresses with scars, freckles, and more get work EVERYDAY. I’m in good company, if anything.
With these three things, I’m able to go to set, work through my insecurities instead of allowing them get in the way of me doing my job, but more importantly, I’m able to stay passionate about what I’m doing. My focus becomes my craft, bringing my creative flare to the project at hand, and impressing my client so they’ll have me back *cough, cough, pay me all your money, cough, cough*. This refocusing alone, allows me to work towards loving the skin I’m in in more productive and healthy ways. When all is said and done, I’m truly becoming My Own Leading Lady and I’m pretty damn proud of that.