I want to start off by saying that this is a personal journey and that every woman’s experience in embracing her body is unique and valid. I started the road to embracing my body, curves and all, last fall.
I kept reading many plus-size fashion and lifestyle blogs by well-known fashionistas as GabiFresh, Garner Style, Nadia Aboulhosn, The Curvy Fashionista, Beauticurve, Flight of the Fat Girl, and Curves and Chaos to name some. These women are so confident and stylish, and their beauty is radiating. The common thread I kept reading is how sure they were of themselves, no matter what outfit they were rockin’ or whatever internet troll hate spewed out, they carried on.
I also started practicing more self-care. I reflected so much on the advice of these women, and said, “Let’s do this! I’m going wear what I want, love my body, and I’m going to look damn good doing it!” That is way easier said than done. I still have my highs and lows; I’m human. Lately these days, though, I let that curvy diva shine more brightly without apologies.
This past December, I saw a post about a plus-size modeling competition for the annual Curvy Idol. It was like magic how everything fell together perfectly. I read about the competition and soon enough I received a message from a good friend. She recommended I set up a photo shoot with a photographer who was her friend. And, that’s the beginning of how I met Shellie and Paris, two beautiful people who helped me on the way to a road full of possibilities.
Shellie is more than just my photographer, she’s my kindred spirit. I showed up the morning of the photo shoot with butterflies in my stomach. This was the first time I allowed myself to be beautiful. Shellie and Paris made me feel right at home, literally. Shellie greeted me warmly into her studio, and Paris followed thereafter, assuring me of one simple thing, we’re going to take care of you just like family. There was breakfast, coffee, juice, fresh juicy strawberries, and all sorts of treats and goodies. I was truly a queen that day.
They were both so impressed with my outfits of choice, and it was actually difficult to narrow it down. It was a melding of sparkly jewelry and vibrant pieces. Shellie was quick to pull pieces from her own collection to create a symbiosis of something truly unique and fashionable.
Paris started her magic with my hair and make-up. It was voluminous hair and dark drastic winged-eyeliner melded with shimmering shades of eye-shadow. As she was prepping me to be a glamazon, she assured me that I was going to look radiant. We talked about my interest in plus-size modeling, career goals, and traded stories. It felt like I was right at home.
When I stepped into the loo to change into my first outfit, I gasped. It became a thing for the day, everyone expecting how I would react to the next make-up and hair style change. I could not believe this was me. This person in the mirror is me.
As I walked to the first set, Shellie grabbed me warmly with her hands, taking my hands into hers. She spoke softly and made me aware that we were going to work together to get the best shot no matter how long it took. Both knowing I was a novice, they guided me with posing and took breaks so I could relax.
Then, there was this moment, just perfect, when I felt so sure of myself. It was around the second wardrobe set, when I just let this fiery person inside come out.
Shellie always reassured me every step of the way, and Paris was my guide, standing behind Shellie, showing me how to work it. Chin up and out, lean in, think triangles, look down, look at the camera, hold it right there, this modeling stuff is not easy.
I think there are preconceived notions that modeling is easy, and that vanity coincides with it. It is not vain for a woman to find empowerment in a photo shoot, to embrace her body the way it is, and think “yes, I’m beautiful, I got this!”
As the day was winding down, and the evening set, I learned some important things from Shellie and Paris: think soft hands, smile with your eyes, and above all, own it.
This was truly a transformative experience, to reaffirm what my family, friends, and partner have been telling me for so long, I am beautiful and how I carry myself in the world is vital. I decided the way I wanted to lead my life needed to be based on what I valued the most and that includes being a risk-taker, an advocate for positive body image, and loving well. I think the photos represent that woman, taking the road of resiliency on her own terms.
I am now in the running for Curvy Idol. You can check out my page here.
Also, I recommend visiting Solight Photography. Shellie and Paris will surely bring out the inner beauty in you.
xoxo Chica Rosita