I dressed like Selena for a week and this is what happened

I’ve been gordita all my life and I was bullied growing up. I found myself playing make believe at an early age that I was like Selena Quintanilla Perez. I remember dancing to Selena y Los Dinos songs in my room as a little Tejanita with hair brush in hand, boom box blasting Como La Flor.  I would tell myself that one day I was going be like her and that my life would be very different. I just had to wait until I was older and skinnier. Well, I got older and fatter. And, for a long time I hated my body. I hated myself.

I was twenty-seven when I started modeling and it helped build up my confidence. But, I found that after three years of modeling, I still had a lot of work to do on the inside. Taking pretty pictures doesn’t fix everything, it doesn’t make you hurt less. You can only see yourself differently when you change your perspective. Now let’s make something clear, body positivity and self-love are two different things. Being body positive is political and self-love is the individual journey. Here is a brilliant article that eloquently describes it better than I can.

While my belief surrounding fat people and our rights to live freely and happily, including myself, changed, I was still working on my personal journey to self-love. Something that I learned through body positivity was the right to wear what I want despite my weight, body shape, size, height, etc. When Selena’s birthday month rolled around on April 2018, I told myself I was going to pay homage to the Queen of Tejano by recreating some of her most iconic looks. For so long, I thought I couldn’t be one of those super fans that could dress like her because I am not Selena’s body type. Then, I remembered that Selena was a curvy woman. She would have wanted me and so many of her fans to live authentically and embrace the beauty that we are inside and out.

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And, what happened was magical! The Selena series resonated for many people who follow me on social media, in my opinion, because it felt like the most authentic in a way, a Tejana representing a Tejana. And, that’s powerful.

I thought I could never pull off that purple jumpsuit.  And, I was scared of that low-cut top that showed my bra. It reminded me of that unforgettable scene from Selena, the movie, where her dad, Mr. Quintanilla, played by Edward James Olmos, was like “busti-caca de la menta! Es un bra!” It’s like that in our culture. You get shamed for what you wear as a woman, a plus-size Latina at that because people tell you that you’re too gordita for that, and that’s just caca to be honest.

For a week, leading up to Selena’s birthday on April 16th, I dressed like Selena to challenge this ingrained belief that gorditas can’t wear certain things, but also to show myself that I look damn good doing it too! Sheer tops, bustiers, pleather, midriff showing, you don’t have to cover up because you are a woman or because you’re fat like me. I get to decide what I wear, when, and where.

I strutted my way to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX for a special screening of the movie Selena on her birthday in my purple jumpsuit ready for my finale. We sang along, took pictures with Selena look-alikes, ate pepperoni pizza, shook our maracas, did the washing machine move, and sang happy birthday to Selena while the room was lit with candles in honor of La Reina.

 

Miss.Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photography: Tommy Kim at tommykim.net

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A Little Black Dress For Any Season

The little black dress is a must have for any fashionistas wardrobe, a classic piece for any occasion or season. When you think of summer, black may not be the first color that pops out. But, it should. Black, like white, is a canvas to add color. And, that’s exactly what I did with my Tessa Ruched Dress from Kiyonna.

Kiyonna is a plus-size brand that has curvy women in mind when designing their dresses. This vintage-inspired dress has a romantic feel with ruched sleeves and handkerchief hem skirt that rests beautifully on a curvy body. The ruched waistband creates a beautiful silhouette by cinching at the waist. The ruched sleeves can also be worn off-the shoulder. And, the bonus? This little black dress has pockets!

For a summer night out,  I wanted to keep my look elegant and a little playful with a pop of color. Red has always been my go-to color to add a little splash. I paired the little black dress with a red clutch with rose detail and red tassel earrings.

What’s great about a little black dress is the versatility. You can pair it with black pumps and diamond earrings for an elegant, classic look for a wedding or special event. Slip on some bright, colorful wedges and grab your favorite print clutch for brunch with friends for a chic summer look.

The Tessa Ruched Dress in black is perfect for any season, even summer! And, you can also get it in a gorgeous sangria color or two beautiful floral prints! And, they’re 100% American made. Check it out here.

Be sure to sign up at Kiyonna for exclusive offers and get your perfect little black dress designed with you in mind.

Miss.Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photography: Tommy Kim Photography

This blog and products featured are sponsored. I review them to bring you the best content in plus-size apparel and products.

Sophisticated Curves Box Review

Waiting in anticipation for my subscription box from Sophisticated Curves, I searched the website to get an insight as to what I could potentially get in my box. And, it made me more excited! Brands like Kiyonna, Eloquii, IGIGI, Nordstrom, Lane Bryant, and so many more are available to select.

To get the full experience of the subscription service, I selected the Fashion and Style Box. The box includes: 2 Dresses/Outfits; 3 Fashion Accessories; and Pamper Me Items. Additionally, there are two other boxes available: Fashion Subscription Box and Fashion Accessories Subscription Box. Each respective box comes with options for subscription duration. Check out their amazing options here.

When my box arrived, I was elated. I quickly opened it and found everything perfectly packaged and wrapped in tissue paper. There was even a little “Thank You” note. I went straight to unwrapping the garments and found I’d received two beautiful Kiyonna dresses.

This mauve Whimsy Wrap Dress is perfect for a daytime spring/summer look to grab brunch or enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk. I paired the outfit with some gold hoop earrings included in the box as accessories, and my jeweled strap heels and new white clutch. You can never go wrong with a wrap dress!

The second was a “wow factor” Kiyonna dress. The Valentina Illusion Dress is a bodycon that hugged me perfectly. I was a little scared looking at the dress that I would not be able to fit it over my chest since I am pretty wide in the bust and hip area. However, the material stretches and hugs my curves beautifully. I slipped on some black pumps and paired it with some diamond stud earrings included as an accessory in the box. There was also a beautiful floral print clutch wallet included. This is definitely a classic look perfect for any night out.

What was a pleasant added item was the Cherry Blossom Lotion & Mist Spray from Bath & Body Works included. It’s one of my favorite scents from their signature collection. Who doesn’t love Bath & Body Works?!

With all that’s included in the subscription box, it’s really worth it. And, there is flexibility in duration and price range. I cannot wait for what’s in store in my next box! It’s sure to be a pleasant surprise!

Miss.Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photography: Tommy Kim Photography

http://www.tommykim.net

Crushin’ On Me in Velvet

Turning 30 in 2017 represented a huge milestone in my life in more ways than one. I could see that my fashion style evolved. I started to think more about the quality of my apparel purchases.

For this gorgeous velvet pantsuit from Eleven60, I decided to throwback to the 60’s when the beehive reigned supreme.

I paired the outfit with diamond stud squared shades and silver booties inspired by the disco era. My inspiration from the 60’s and 70’s allowed me to create a fun, ultimate diva look.

And, as a plus-size fashionista, I appreciate a good pair of dress pants. My concern with velvet has always been, “Can I move in it? Will it look flattering on me?” I have an hourglass figure, wide hips, and a muffin top. I am hesitant to purchase any kind of slacks. So, I default to black leggings as an alternative to pants. I am happy to say that the velvet pants for this outfit were not restricting, and I dare say look hella good on me. The fabric is breathable, and the velvet material has some stretch for a curvy figure.

The blazer design is impeccable. There is black tulle under the tail of the blazer, which gives it that gorgeous, dramatic bump in the back. Pair it with a black turtleneck sweater or black sheer bodysuit with bralette for a fierce look.

I had the best time styling this outfit and drawing inspiration from fashion eras such as the 60’s and 70’s. And, I think it’s important to think about the quality of your purchases. Something that is high quality will last and you’ll feel great because it’s an investment. You can style up your quality pieces in different ways to achieve fresh new looks without feeling like you’re wearing the same thing over and over again. Look to your favorite fashion icons or eras of fashion that you particularly love. Mine are JLo, Selena, and Beyoncé.  Create fashion boards, save pictures on your phone of looks you’d like to achieve, start with a color you like, and draw inspiration from those to create a unique style.

Miss SheLo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photographer: Tommy Kim

Dumped On New Year’s Eve For Being Fat, I Clapped Back With A Photo Shoot

Early morning on December 31st, I was shopping at the grocery store picking out some fresh veggies, fruit, and some eggs to make my boyfriend and I breakfast. I get a text to come back to the hotel. That text was the beginning of the end. A couple of hours later, my eyes bloodshot red from crying, the radio cranked up to Selena’s “Como La Flor”, I was driving two and a half hours back home. I had been dumped hours before New Year’s Eve.

I had made the trip to go see my boyfriend out of town. I had packed some cookware to make him breakfast in our hotel. I took days deciding what dress to wear with the right shoes, jewelry, and hairstyle before my trip. I had spent time and money planning this important holiday getaway with the man I loved only to never see it come to fruition.

Now, breaking up on a birthday or holiday isn’t a unique experience. Countless horror stories about Valentine’s Day or anniversary breakups are out there for the world to read about. Just do a google search. But, what is unique about my horrifying experience was everything that led up to that breakup because I was dumped for being fat. I was dumped for my appearance. Here’s the twist. I am a self-proclaimed “Fat Babe”. I am a plus-size model and body positive advocate. So, how in the world did I end up with a fatphobic boyfriend?

In late 2017, I started dating my now ex-boyfriend. We met on a dating app for curvy/plus-size women and the men who love them. Sounds cliché, but I thought what the hell! I had been on other dating apps earlier that year and found that there were many men who were interested in me for…sex. There were many men who wanted to have sex with me because I was fat and confident, but not for dating. And, dating apps can be notorious hook-up hubs, so it was a huge let down when I ran into men with a fat fetish.

When I started my profile on this new app for curvy/plus-size women, it seemed promising. I thought to myself, “the men on here should know what they’re getting right?” I never pretended to be anyone else other than myself. I was honest about my body type, height, hair color, and posted several pictures of myself, some full body and some selfies.

I received a message from this really cute guy. From his description and pictures, I could tell he was tall, athletic, and had great style. His profile was different from the rest. He talked about how he was looking for serious dating to a relationship. He was 33, which was close to my age, 30, and how he was an avid reader and liked to write poetry. We started talking and every day I learned something new about him like he was a soccer coach, a single dad, and that he had interests in screenwriting. We had so many things in common that I thought this is too good to be true. Then, the questions about my body came after an exchange of pictures.

“How big is your tummy?” to “what kind of workouts do you do for your butt?” I immediately called him out. I asked him why that was relevant. I am a beautiful person inside and out, so how could that possibly matter? We went back and forth and he was clearly upset that I had a problem with his question. He felt entitled to this information. The conversation ended with a last message from him that he hated me for making him feel this way and that our demise was my fault. It made me feel terrible, and I didn’t message him. I thought to myself, “this is over and it sucks.” You invest so much time talking to someone and you feel crushed when things do not work out. Not only did they not work out, it was a blow to me as a plus-size woman. I took a chance to put myself out there on an app that felt safe for me because I am a fat. And, to encounter a man who judged me by my body size and shape felt all too familiar.

I stopped interacting on the app with other guys, and I didn’t message my now ex. He waited four days before messaging me. He talked about how much he liked me and how let down he was that I did not reach out to him first. We talked for about an hour and decided to continue talking. The problem with that conversation is that while we reconciled after a heated argument, our talk did not address the biggest issue. He still had a problem with me being fat.

Fast forward two and a half months later, I found myself facing the ugly truth. My boyfriend was dumping me because I could not be what he wanted me to be. Throughout our long-distance relationship, he made comments about my hair style, fashion choices, and even devalued my thoughts and opinions.

I cried. I got angry. I even tried being his friend in hopes that we would get back together. I brought myself down so low that I had no place to go but up. I decided that part of my healing process required something that I could physically do to channel my emotions in a positive way. And, the answer was right there. I am a plus-size model. I take pictures often for many reasons, and I was going to prove to myself that all the “flaws” he pointed out about me were beautiful and part of my identity.

On our first date, I wore one of my favorite Selena tees with some black leggings, cute black booties, and hoop earrings. After spending a weekend together and returning home, he messaged me. He pointed out the fact that he didn’t like what I wore on our first date. He said my Selena tee was not sexy enough and that I looked more like I was going to the store versus a date. He proceeded to tell me that, in the future, he expected me to only wear these shirts at home or to the grocery store.

I love Selena! She is one of the most iconic Latino figures in the world, and I’ve been dancing and singing to her songs since I was a little girl. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez changed the way many Tejanas like myself envisioned themselves in the world. My love for her is part of my identity. Her music, style, and entrepreneurial spirit have influenced the woman I am today. And, I think Selena and her fans would agree that you can rock your Selena tee anywhere you go and look damn good!

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And, my now ex, wasn’t done with his list of criticisms. Next was my shoe choice. Since he had seen pictures of my modeling portfolio, he expected me to look exactly like the woman in those pictures 24/7. No kidding. He had a problem with my boots. They weren’t sexy enough according to him. Well, what do you think now? These boots are made for walking and that’s just what they did when they walked all over you and out of your life. Boy bye!

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Then, there were my glasses. On my second trip, I was expected to leave the glasses at home and wear contacts. And, like a docile girlfriend, I purchased a year’s worth of contact lenses after my eye exam. I hardly go anywhere without my glasses except for casting calls and photo shoots. I’ve been wearing them since I was a teenager and I think they are cute. They are a part of me.

My lovely hair was next on the list. He hated the fact that I wore my hair straight most of the time, which is my natural hair type. But, most of all, he loathed the bangs. He said they covered up my face too much, and he said, “You’re trying to be like Selena with those bangs. I want to see your beautiful face. I love you not Selena.” He made statements like these often, which is common for people who are passive-aggressive. He tried to convince me to change something about myself like my hair style, which I purposely chose because I loved it. He justified this by calling me beautiful and saying “I love you.” The problem with this statement is that he did not love me. When you love someone, you love them for who they are, as they stand, bangs and all. And, if Selena could rock them bangs like a boss babe then so can I.

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And, of course, there was the issue with my weight. I remember a phone conversation where he told me that he wanted me to lose the weight to be “healthy” so that I could live a long life. What he failed to acknowledge was that I was already perfectly healthy at the size and weight I am. This was something I made him aware of because I do get my annual checkups. But, he persisted and I clearly remember him using the words, “you just need to tone up and get rid of the unwanted fat.” And, there it is, that word, “unwanted”. I was unwanted for being fat. I was unwanted for my sense of fashion and hair style. I was unwanted for my shoe selection. I was unwanted for speaking my mind. I was unwanted for just being me.

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It is no wonder he dumped me. All the signs were there from the very beginning. And, I want to give a clear answer as to why a person like me, a body positive warrior, a plus-size model, could allow such blatant disrespect, but I cannot. Perhaps I was lonely. Maybe I was feeling the pressure of finding a partner to finally settle down, get married, and have kids, that I scarified my dignity in the process. Maybe it was because I had such a horrible year in dating that I wanted to cling onto anyone for comfort. What I do know is that I did not feel sexy, beautiful, or worthy when I was with him. I was not respected when I was with him. I did not respect myself when I was with him. And, recognizing these truths now made it very clear to me that I still have much work to do on my journey toward self-love and body acceptance. I allowed a man to wipe away three years of hard work to love myself in two months, and that is unacceptable. I hold him accountable and I hold myself accountable.

And, my hope is that my story helps someone else from continuing to be in an unhealthy relationship. I felt ashamed admitting that I was in this relationship because I am a pretty open book on social media. I post about body positive activism and self-love frequently. And, I consider myself an active member of a movement for fat acceptance. I felt like a hypocrite. And, this is me owning up to my poor choice, my wrong choice, in a partner. And, I want my story to reach men as well. The ridiculous expectations placed on women have consequences. They perpetuate gender roles; they can cause emotional and physical harm through eating disorders, suicide attempts, depression, and this is wrong.

I don’t think a photo shoot will fix everything. And, it will not completely heal me from this breakup. But, it’s a good start to show myself and show the world who I am as I stand.

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Miss Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photographer: Tommy Kim

How to Dress Up Your Statement Pieces

The challenge many face with high fashion statement pieces is incorporating that piece into your everyday wardrobe. Once you have it, what do you do with it? When you purchase a high fashion or couture piece, you are essentially investing in a quality piece. So, how do you dress up these pieces more than once?

My solution has always been to go simple yet chic with pieces you can find in your everyday wardrobe and pair them with a statement piece. Let that expensive signature piece stand out.

I was elated when I got the chance to style up this high fashion floral embroidered duster from Eleven60. The “Pinky Promise” A-Line Bomber is a sheer floral embroidered A-Line duster with pink trim. It is a unique, beautiful piece and perfect addition to any plus-size fashionista’s wardrobe.

For my first look, I went to my closet to find all shades of pink. I was specifically looking for blush pink or lighter shades of pink. I pulled a ribbed knit pink dress from Forever 21. The rose colored dress compliments the floral bomber perfectly. Combined with nude chunky heels, rose gold mirrored sunglasses, and a rose gold bangle set, it makes for an elegant and chic look.

For my second look, I paired the duster with a white sleeveless bodysuit and drawstring pants in blush to create a stylish yet casual look.  I accessorized the look with a pink satin bow choker and floral stud earrings.

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Both looks were achieved by styling the floral duster with items that were already in my wardrobe. Look for items in your closet that compliment your statement piece. I like to have a color scheme, which in this case was soft shades of pink paired with rose gold accents.

Being able to dress in the latest styles shouldn’t mean breaking the bank. Investment in high fashion pieces can be easily styled with everyday affordable, trendy, and basic pieces from items already in your wardrobe.

Miss Shelo

 

 

 

 

Body Positive Artist Susan Ruiter & Two Curvy Ladies

Last winter, I commissioned a painting from artist Susan Ruiter. I found her work on Instagram and fell immediately in love. The way she paints women: curvy, round, happy, sassy. All the words that can describe what it is to be a big beautiful woman in the world and the way we move are what Susan captures so perfectly.

I knew I had to have one of her paintings. I reached out to Susan with full trust in her craft. I asked her to draw inspiration from a series of pin-up photos of myself in a polka dot bathing suit. The result was just magic: two wonderful, beautiful, and curvy ladies.

I wake up every morning to these beautiful ladies. Even if I am in a rush, I always catch them out of the corner of my eye. There are days where I stand in front of this painting and just stare. It is truly a wonderful feeling to know that I could inspire such beautiful art.

The two ladies are a reminder that I exist outside of my routine, outside of these four walls. I exist in a world where I move beautifully.

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I like to see the ‘two ladies’, as Susan calls them, as two parts of me. We always have two sides to ourselves, intriguing, similar in some ways, but inherently different.

 Photo Credit: Solight Photography

As a supporter of body positive artists, I wanted to know more about Susan and her process. Below is an interview conducted with Susan.

 As a child, did you have an interest in art?

Not especially in art. But I was very creative. I loved drawing, painting, making clothes etc.

What draws you to paint women?

I like to draw people and animals and love round shapes (curves), humor and color. The combination of these made me start drawing the colorful, happy ladies. And I was inspired by Botero, a Colombian artist.
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Where do you draw inspiration from?

From daily life. I can get inspired from a walk through town, from magazines, pictures. Anything.
When you have a commission piece, like mine, where do you start? What is the process?

If possible I visit your home or company, so I can see your interior and talk about your wishes. If I do I bring along some paintings, it’s so you can see what size and colors you would like the painting to have. Then, we talk about: What colors you would like, if you would like a personal touch (car, animal, company logo, daughter)? Etc.

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After this, I make a few sketches and mail them to you so you can tell me what you do or do not like, and if you wish to change anything. When you agree with the sketch, I start with the actual painting. It takes about 8 – 16 weeks before it’s done. When the painting is finished, I mail a picture. Again you can tell me if you’d like anything different. When you’re happy with the painting as it is, I varnish the painting and bring/send it to you.

Is the painting I commissioned your first one to make its way to the U.S.?

Yes, your ladies were the first to travel this far. Since then, I had another one commissioned for the U.S. and shipped one to Australia.
What has been a highlight in your experience being an artist?

Opening my own gallery in Vlaardingen (town near Rotterdam), were I have a workspace as well.
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I feel that often an artist’s work reflects part of them. What would you say about your paintings reflects who you are as a person, artist, or woman?

My paintings reflect me as a person. I draw confident women who enjoy life. That’s how I like to see myself as well.
Many body positive advocates and plus-size bloggers are very familiar with your work. How has the response been to your work?

Are they? I did have a lot of positive reactions, one of my favorites is: “Your view on confident, curvy women is inspiring.” And I loved your response to your commissioned work too! You said: “I love it, it is a reminder to me that I’m beautiful every morning.”
A Dutch plus-size magazine placed an article about me once and I’m currently in contact with a plus-size magazine in Canada/U.S. about placing an article.

What are some of your favorite artists?

Botero, Lita Cabelut, Nico Vrielink
What would you say to young artists who are starting out?

Find your own way and stay true to yourself.
Your artwork is certainly making an impact on the body positive community. What message or beliefs do you hope comes across in your work?

Enjoy life and love who you are. Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can wear.

 

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What future projects do you have in mind with your artwork?

I just had the first bronze statue of one of my ladies made and I hope to make more in the future. I keep trying new things in paintings, to keep developing myself.


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Photo Credit: Galerie Sille

What parts of the world would you like your art to be showcased?

All over the world!

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It is not hard to see why Susan’s work is so captivating and even more at how wonderful she is. Celebrating the beauty of the female body, its curves, its movement, its existence, is imperative. We need to see the celebration of plus-size, curvy bodies. We need to be reminded just like I am every morning that big is beautiful.

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Read more about Susan and view her work at her website.

Make sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter