I went to a Plus-Size Pool Party in LA and guess what happened?

Last weekend I attended the second stop of the Golden Confidence Pool Party tour in L.A. Created by blogger and model Essie Golden, the #goldenconfidence hashtag has taken social media by storm. Women around the world are posting pictures in two-piece swimwear, body-hugging dresses, and any fashion piece that was previously deemed off limits for plus-size women. It is certainly empowering women everywhere and here is proof of that.

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I started off low-key, sipping on my drink and eating some delicious tacos away from the large crowd. I had planned my outfit perfectly and couldn’t wait to show it off, but I was in that familiar place. Remember  your first party, the first school dance, or any social function where you have on the perfect beautiful dress, but you just can’t seem to summon up the courage to dance, talk to the boy you like, or be a social butterfly? Well, that familiar feeling crept in as my friend and I shied away on the top deck.

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But soon enough the fear started fading away as we took selfies. And, guess what? No one was looking at the two big girls taking selfies in their swimsuits.

Everyone was eating, laughing, dancing, taking selfies, and checking out each other’s outfits. Let me say this about the fashion at the party, #SLAY ! You can check out some of the amazing looks captured by Cosmopolitan.com here.

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Thanks to City Chic and Essie Golden, I was one of five best dressed at the event along with @bougie_chic , @jazzmynejay , & @cocoscurvycloset . Dare I say ultimate #squadgoals?

And, look who was featured in Cosmopolitan.com? Read the article here.

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Essie Golden’s pool party inspired me to form a community for body positive and plus-size women in Austin, TX. I told Cosmopolitan.com that women should feel like this anywhere they go. More importantly, I felt free. Free to wear what I want, wherever, dance, and just be me.

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Get the look at Artista Active Wear. I am wearing Halter Monokini in Amethyst Mermaid.

I AM SLINK

I’ve just entered into the running with Slink Jeans LOVE YOUR BODY MODEL SEARCH for a one year modeling contract. If you support me and the body positve movement, please go vote for my video submission. Thanks to Tommy Kim for the video he put together! And no matter what, I AM SLINK ( Sexy. Loveable. Intelligent. Noticeable. Kind.) & YOU can be too! 😉 ❤ Visit Slink to cast your vote for me! ONLY ONE DAY LEFT!!

XOXO Chica Rosita

CurvyTrend Highlights of 2015

With the new year here, you’ve heard the clichéd mantra, “New year, new me!” And, while it  is important for some to set goals or plans for the new year, it is also important to reflect on moments of the past that bring you a sense of accomplishment, value, and happiness.

These are some highlights of 2015 for me:

1. I am. Simply put, I am in good spirits. And, while not every aspect of my life is perfect, I am able to work toward solutions and see the light at the end of tunnel. I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my relationship. I live and breathe outside of these four walls. I continue to push myself while working on my goals, and I am thankful. It’s important for me to recognize that I am an individual outside of the social media and blogging world.

2. My first photo shoot- Earlier this year I partook in one of the most transformative experiences that propelled a series of adventurous undertakings in the plus-size fashion and modeling world. The experience of my first professional photo shoot allowed me to see that my beauty was, in fact, beyond any number on the scale or my jeans. I established a profound and long-lasting relationship both professionally and personally with Shellie from Solight Photography.

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3. First Plus-Size Magazine publication-  This moment was a dual sense of accomplishment since my photo and article were published within the same magazine. It’s important for me to maintain both aspects of my modeling and literary voice within the body positive community. You can check it out here.

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4. Second magazine publication– With every photo shoot I get stronger and more determined to represent a fuller beauty that is so underrepresented in our media. Here is a link to my photo published in the Noir edition of Curvy Connect Magazine.

5. When #effyourbeautystandards page threw Curvytrend some shade- It seemed like an honorary induction of some sorts into the body positive hall of fame. I love that this community, spearheaded by model Tess Holliday, is very supportive of body positivity by embracing the very members that follow their pages. Thanks for the all the love! ❤

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There are so many accomplishments and moments of value to me that happened in 2015. It was truly a transformative year for me, and I am only getting better. But, I am aware that while change is to be embraced, it’s important for me to honor my past, present, and future. I will continually keep running toward the woman I want to be. I am never going to be perfect, I am always going to strive to do better and be better regardless of a new year. With that said, I am excited for new upcoming projects and features for your truly. Happy new year! New year, new me? Pfft! More like new year, same fabulous me! B-)

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XOXO Chica Rosita

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show vs #ImNoAngel

In the wake of the positive body image movement, plus-size fashion powerhouse Lane Bryant took note and created the social media movement #ImNoAngel campaign.

There have been many criticisms regarding the campaign from the body image community. In response, blogger The Militant Baker spearheaded the #ImNoModel campaign. Lane Bryant has been called out not only by the blog community, but also its customers for their lack of body diversity. Many of their models are on the lower spectrum of the plus-size range while customers question Lane Bryant’s commitment to its clientele that range from sizes 14-28.

When Lane Bryant hosted a live chat via twitter earlier this month, there was plenty to be said.

One tweet read, “I really want to know when we will see campaigns with models size 22+ if they are going to be called body pos campaigns”.

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They also took some serious heat when people took to twitter after the Lane Bryant lingerie commercial aired right after the Victoria Secret Fashion Show 2015.

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Let’s look at some of these responses.

One of the arguments is that the #ImNoAngel campaign is anti-body positive. Lane Bryant prompted its followers to take to social media and post pictures while the Victoria’s Secret Fashion (VSF) show aired with the hastag #ImNoAngel. The disagreement here is that those opposed find that the tactic was offensive because it somehow shames the VSF show supermodels for their bodies. On the opposite side, the response to VSF show with the #ImNoAngel is simply pointing out that plus-size women, rather models, are continuing to be marginalized by the fashion industry.

In all, I think Lane Bryant really just wanted power in numbers to create an awareness that huge fashion industry brands like Victoria’s Secret continue to exclude women of larger sizes and diverse body types in their ads, runway, and clothing. However, Lane Bryant took a similar hit when its customers called the powerhouse out for its lack of body diversity mentioned above.

Additionally, twitter users called out the #ImNoAngel campaign for shaming a group of women (VS models) for their hard work in maintaining their bodies. “Those girls seriously work hard as hell for the bodies they have so your #ImNoAngel is pretty tacky.”

Okay, so yeah, they probably work really hard to maintain their physique. That’s great for them. They love their bodies and they deserve to feel beautiful and empowered. But, Ashley Graham, Denise Bidot, Rosie Mercado, and so many other plus-size models work their butts off too. You see constant photos of them working out, biking, on the beach, or doing something really physically active on their social media pages. They work just as hard for their bodies too.

As I scrolled through the twitter feed with the #ImNoAngel campaign that caused an uproar during the TV air of the VSF show, I didn’t a single body-shaming picture or phrase toward the VSF show models. All I saw was a bunch of big beautiful women taking selfies with the #ImNoAngel tagged on. Frankly, I had to dig for them  since so many of the above showcased twitter backlash overshadowed them. People were so concerned with how uncomfortable they were with seeing a plus-size model on TV right after seeing a mirage of skinny supermodels. When you think about it, who’s the one with the real problem here? I mean some of these comments were just plain mean, no real substance or argument to debate like this one:

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But, it wasn’t all bad. Here are some positive tweets regarding the #ImNoAngel campaign.

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The Lane Bryant commercial  that aired after the VSF show was purposeful. It pissed off a lot of people. Its intent was to create awareness about a large group of women ignored in the media and fashion industry. Our society has a problem with fat confident people. Heck, people have a problem with an average size woman on TV. When you really look at Ashley Graham and the other Lane Bryant models, they actually fall under the average women’s sizes in America (12-14).

There is much room for Lane Bryant as well as other plus-size brands to improve on their end. There is no doubt about that, but at least they offer a platform for their customers voices to be heard. Victoria’s Secret has continually ignored its larger size clientele even after petitions to add plus-sizes to their brand have failed to gain their attention.

Whether good or bad, you have to admit Lane Bryant provoked an even larger conversation regarding the fashion industry and its continued lack of including women of all sizes.

Day 30

Day 30: Are You Happy With Yourself?

I thought about what I could write to back up my answer, but I believe all my posts leading up to this are evident of my new found happiness.

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I started my morning taking pictures at the graffiti art wall on Baylor St. in Austin. In the wake of the crop-top backlash in response to O magazine’s fashion advice, I decided to end my 30 day self-esteem challenge with a new challenge. What happened when I took to the streets of ATX wearing a crop-top for the first time?

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It’s a beautiful sunny and naturally hot Sunday as I step out of the truck to take some pictures. I can see there is a rather large crowd at the graffiti art wall. I thought about running back to the truck, making an excuse that there were simply too many people to get good shots, but NO! Every step I have taken this year is to raise my confidence, build up my self-esteem, and ultimately live a life loving my body.

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Every inch of this massive outdoor wall speaks loudly with its vibrant colors and imaginative depictions: some political, some about love or music, and others were messages to the next wandering soul. I tried very hard not to look at peoples reactions and focus on myself, but it was difficult not to stare. I think it was part of the process. And, guess what happened?

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Nothing.

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I mean it…nothing. Sure, some people glanced quickly while passing by, but I didn’t draw a crowd out. Everyone was busy doing their thing, taking amazing pictures of their own, a memory of this spectacular place. See, I know there are times when I will face the ugly looks and stare-downs by nasty people, but today was not one of those days, and I am happy for that reason.

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Today, I enjoyed taking my pictures with my fabulous, cute belly out and proud. Today was a good day. Today I am happy. I cannot speak for tomorrow, but I am hopeful, always the eternal optimist, the dreamer.

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Hooded Textured Knit Pullover Shirt by Ashley Stewart

The Chuck Taylor All Star high top by Converse

Blue Jean Shorts by Melrose

Aviator Sunglasses by Betsey Johnson

XOXO Chica Rosita

30 Day Self-Esteem Challenge: Day 28

Day 28: Do You Feel Good About Yourself Today? Why or Why Not?

I woke up this morning feeling tired. Like a scene out of a Darren Aronofsky film, I stumbled into the bathroom, my vision hazy, the light piercing through my eyeballs. All I could I recall from my dream was the feeling of anxiety and fear. I tried desperately to recall a vision, an image. Perhaps I was about to lose something, or maybe I already did.

I felt the water from the showerhead beat on my back, my eyes shut, maybe they were open for awhile. Parting my lips, I let the water in and let it trickle down my chest. Breathing slowly, I stayed there for awhile and let the water wash away everything.

I took a deep breath and stepped out. My feet soaked, creating a puddle, I quickly dried it up with an old t-shirt, my foot twisting and turning like some dance routine.

I ran my comb through my hair, almost robot like, I tied my hair into a ponytail. I must have changed my outfit twice before settling on a salmon floral top, black blazer, black skinny jeans, and my ballet flats. Accentuated with silver bangles and hoop earnings, I quickly lined my lower eyelid black and puckered my lips for a vibrant red lipstick.

Starring back at me was a big beautiful woman…I knew today was going to be a good day.

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XOXO Chica Rosita

30 Day Self-Esteem Challenge: Day 27

Day 27: Do You Often Accept Compliments? If Not, Why?

This is something I am working on. I am not the best person at receiving compliments. I tend to follow up a compliment with a negative about myself. Deviating from my normal habits that stem from of self-criticism, doubt, and fear is not easy. I catch myself, even at this stage of my life where things are going great, with negative thoughts. I am working full-time, going to grad school, modeling on the side, and blogging. You’d think I have it all together, but I have my days, really bad ones. I have to evaluate my thinking, comments, and actions.

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❤ ❤ Paris ❤ ❤

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❤ ❤ Shellie ❤ ❤

I’ve written extensively about my first photo-shoot experience with Solight Photography. I wrote an entire blog about the experience and working with Shellie (photographer) and Paris (MUA), two individuals  who have consistently guided me and embraced me for who I am. But, when I first looked at my photos, I could not believe it was me. I refused to believe that I could be beautiful. Beautiful was always for another girl. In that moment of self-doubt, I began to criticize myself with inner thoughts like, “You have a crooked smile in this one,” or “Your boobs just look way too big here! I mean, you look disproportionate!”

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This self-doubt has been embedded in me since I was a child from the comments I heard growing up by my mom. A little personal disclosure, my mother is a very hard-working woman. At the age of 13, it was just me and my mom. And, I don’t hate her. I love my mother, but we don’t see eye-to-eye sometimes. The best way I can describe it is that she was just ill-equipped to talk to me about body image. That’s why it is imperative for me to continue to challenge society’s beauty standards, even those within my family. I want girls and boys to know their worth is beyond measure. There is no number that will ever be high enough to quantify the resilient being you are.

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XOXO Chica Rosita