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

 

 

Swimsuits Just For Us: Plus-size Fashion from Summer to Fall

Summer never truly ends in southern states like Texas or Florida. So, what is a plus-size girl to do when you want your wardrobe to match the beautiful sunny weather, provide comfort, and be fashionable? The answer is Swimsuits Just For Us.

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Their mission is to create beautiful swimwear pieces for plus-size/full-figured women without sacrificing style or comfort.  And, I am absolutely in love with their swimdresses. They translate so well from summer to fall fashion when places like Austin, Texas still have hot and sunny days.

The Delta Burke Waterfall Halter Swimdress is perfect for its color, pattern, and design. The black and white printed bust area gives just enough pop while the black dress bottom drapes my curvy figure perfectly.

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Pair this beautiful swimdress with white jean shorts and take a stroll in the Zilker Botanical Gardens or slip them off to take a dip in the famous Barton Springs Pool. While there, don’t forget to snap some pictures against the tropical backgrounds located near the waterfall of the garden. You will truly feel like an island princess.

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I will certainly be looking to Swimsuits Just For Us (SJ4US) for other swimwear pieces like their cover-ups, swimsuit rompers, and aqua fitness wear. Pieces like these are versatile and fashionable. Who doesn’t love the idea of getting more for your buck?

And, I was so elated when I found that SJ4US also carries sizes 28W-32W. There aren’t that many plus-size brands that carry sizes beyond 24-26, which is not only limiting but discouraging. SJ4US creates “Plus-size swimwear made to fit your body!” As a plus-size model and body posi advocate, I am all about fashion at any size.

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You can shop at SJ4US here.

Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter & Instagram: @SJ4uS.

Photographer: Tommy Kim

 

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.

An American Girl in Paris Las Vegas

Paris, the city of romance, home of great artworks, birth of the culinary arts, and undoubtedly fashion mecca, you would find it odd to think of Las Vegas. Sin City is a travel destination to exquisite hotels, extravagant shows, world renowned restaurants, bright lights, and an amazing night life. Paris Las Vegas Hotel brings these two great cities together right at home.

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Image Credit: Vegas.com

Paris Las Vegas is located at the heart of the strip near Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. It embodies the Parisian lifestyle through its architecture, fine dining, shopping, and other amenities. And when you travel to a place where two great cities meet, you have to arrive in style.

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Image Credit: Vegas.com

Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I carefully picked out a wardrobe fit for ‘An American Girl in Paris’.


Photographer: Tommy Kim

This adorable two piece blouse and skirt is perfect for brunch at Mon Ami Gabi, a classic French bistro, where you can enjoy a cappuccino and French toast topped with fresh blueberries, whipped cream, and warm blueberry syrup. This sassy black tank top coupled with a black and white stripped skirt is perfect for a stroll to the shopping area. Switch out to some red flats and enjoy the shopping spree!




Image Credit: Vegas.com

After a quick shopping trip, it’s important to relax and take in the sun. Put on this two-piece chevron patterned swimsuit and go for a dip in the Soliel Pool. The Soliel is a two-acre rooftop pool with a one-of-a-kind view of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe replicas. A floppy straw hat and cat-eye sun shades are perfect for lounge area with cocktail service or a quick bite at the Café du Parc.


Photographer: Tommy Kim

Image Credit: Vegas.com

Paris Las Vegas offers many delightful restaurants, but you can’t say you’ve been to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. This vibrant floral white midi dress is perfect for a romantic dinner for two. Enjoy delicious French cuisine from world renowned chef Jean Joho while taking in a lively panoramic view of the Vegas Strip.


Photographer: Tommy Kim


Photographer: Tommy Kim

The night isn’t over! Strut your way over to the Chateau nightclub in this elegant hunter green flowy dress fit for a queen. Cozy up next to the fireplace while sipping your drink or dance the night away to the DJ’s mix in these luxurious gold heels. The Chateau offers elegance and class for night time fun. The chandeliers and leather seats capture the essence of a French castle where you will feel like royalty. Don’t forget to catch the outside club at the rooftop garden of the Chateau and take in the view.

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Image Credit: Vegas.com

End your night with a romantic stroll to the mock Arc de Triomphe with your date or new found beau as Paris is the City of Love. Be sure to take selfies with the brightly lit Eiffel Tower replica before heading back to the hotel for your beauty rest. Your stay at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel is certainly fit for a queen.

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Image Credit: Vegas.com

What are you waiting for? Let Vegas bring Paris to you. Visit Las Vegas package deals to book your stay at Paris Las Vegas.

Get the look at:

Stand Your Fairground Top in Licorice – Modcloth

Dusk and Stunner Skirt – Modcloth

Patent Ankle Strap Heel Black – Lane Bryant

Betsey Johnson Kitch Lady Bug Wristlet – Amazon

Betsey Johnson “Luminous Betsey” Yellow Flower Stud Earrings – Amazon

Floppy Straw Hat – Forever 21

Oversized Cat Eye Sunglasses – Elloquii

Hotline Spring Dress – Modcloth

All-Singing, All-Prancing Heel in Pink – Modcloth

Isaac Mizrahi Leather Janna Clutch Wallet / Evening Bag Flamingo Pink – Amazon

“Pink” Statement Necklace – Melrose

Peachy Queen Dress in Pear – Modcloth

Fine Dining Heel in Gold –Modcloth

Damara Womens Metal Cutout Hardcase Clutch Evening Bag – Amazon

1928 Jewelry Classic Bridal Porcelain Rose Post Button Earrings – Amazon

 

To Photoshop or Not to Photoshop? That is the Question

I was recently on a hiatus from the blogging world since my life has become a bit chaotic juggling work and school. I found this break to be much needed, but I was getting anxious about my involvement in the positive body image movement.

I kept thinking I wasn’t contributing enough or bringing awareness at a level that I should be. This self-criticism allowed me to see that I am a work-in-progress. Everything from my modeling, blogging, school, and work isn’t perfect, and I have to consistently remind myself that it is okay to stand back and focus on other areas.

Before my hiatus, I did another photo-shoot with Solight Photography.With every photo shoot, I get stronger and more determined. It was the first pin-up themed shoot I modeled for, and it was good for me. It allowed me to gain experience, but also believe that I am a person whose beauty is just a radiant, just as cute, just as fun, and exciting as those shown throw classic pin-up photos.

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While Shellie, the photographer, and I have worked together, it never ceases to be a unique experience for us. We experiment, we improvise, we learn. We trade stories and feed off of each other’s positive energy. I think for me what is just as rewarding as the end result, or perhaps even better, is the connection you make with the person you are creating this work with. If you’re not comfortable, if you don’t wholly trust their vision, and allow them to expose you, it will show. I trust Shellie wholeheartedly. I know what her aim is to enhance the already natural beauty of a woman.

When Shellie uses any photo-editing it is always done judiciously. I have no shame in revealing my body without the glitz and glam as is evident in my #rockthecrop photo series from my previous blog. I feel that photo-editing can be used wisely and with clear intent and purpose to enhance lighting, remove a blemish, color correct, etc. However, it can be used for malicious and cruel intents masquerading as “health concerns” such as #projectharpoon or #thinnerbeauty. I decided only to include a link to Thinner Beauty’s page rather than include a photo they manipulated unjustly. I want to continue to bring awareness that their page is still up an running, but I do not want to give their work anymore attention because that’s what they want. They want these warped pictures to be spread. Let’s not give them that. Instead let’s work on other ways to contribute to the body image movement and spread a message of body acceptance.

The argument on what constitutes a just use of photo-editing versus a heinous one is up for debate, but it is clear that #projectharpoon and #thinnerbeauty creators and contributors were in it to spread hate and discrimination against fat people and the positive body image movement.

I want to end this piece with some photos from my pin-up series. My body’s shape has not been manipulated. I am a size 18/20, curvy, busty, and I have rolls and cellulite like many women. The distribution of fat in my body is different than yours, and you will be happy to know that I am healthy.

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XOXO Chica Rosita

Curvytend’s New Plus-Size Model Page

For all you followers out there, fellow bloggers, friends, and family, I have finally created a Facebook page for Plus-Size Model Sheila Lopez.

Please click here to like and don’t miss out on exclusive photo releases. I am very honored to grace plus-size magazines such as Curvy Connect Magazine. I will continue to work hard to break down beauty standards through my modeling, blog, and advocacy.

Join me in the positive body image movement. You don’t have to be a curvy, bbw, or plus-size person to support body image. You just have to be a decent human being. I hope I have your support.

I am currently working on my portfolio for a live casting with Torrid in Dallas this weekend! Wish me luck! ❤ 😉

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Image Credit: Solight Photography

XOXO Chica Rosita

Stop Fat-Shaming! #RocktheCrop

If you support women, positive body image, or me as your friend, you will take a stand with me! If you are anti-bullying, anti-fat shaming, or just a decent human being, you will back me up. I posted this picture on instagram. Now, I am a grown woman; I can hold my own. But, this is not okay! Report this user on instagram. I am not asking you to fight hate with hate, but I am asking you to help me in taking down a useless, senseless, and hurtful account. This person came looking for me. They could have just left my page, but they felt the need to shame me. Well, it didn’t work!! I have faced some traumatic, crazy, and heartbreaking stuff in my life. This is not going to tear me down. I know my worth! I know I am beautiful in this body. Please share, tweet, and get the word out there!

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XOXO Chica Rosita