Right now, I'm in the experimenting phase of my life. I'm 28. I'm Black. I'm a covered Muslim who models on the side. I write some stuff. And I'm just trying to figure out how to make my small mark on the world...Oh, and the fashion world. This is where it all started.
I've been heavy set, fat, obese, whatever you want to call it for most of my life. There were 'NO' stylish clothes for people like me, not like now. I grew up in an era where there was no body positivity. If you were fat, then you were lazy, hard to look at, never the apple of anyone's eye. Your goal was always to be skinny. Why? Because skinny equated good.
So, I set out to be skinny. To fit into those size 8's. No problemo. I worked out to Richard Simmons, the 70's fat blast. I'd be skinny in no time, I thought. After the workout, I'd ride my bike to the store to grab a candy bar and a pop. After a few weeks, I was no smaller than when I started. What was I doing wrong?
My mother had previously told us that she used to have an eating disorder. At the time, I thought that was sad, but paid no mind to it until I was in the same predicament. Eating a handful of pretzels, a piece of gum, and sugar-free drinks became my routine. I exercised excessively and weathered the hunger pangs and migraines. I remember one day, after a workout, I just laid across my bed and watched the rail thin models strut down the runway. So fabulous and confident. That's when I had the crazy notion that I'd be a model someday.
My mom put my little brother in modeling. He was cute but didn't take direction very well. I'd watch the well-dressed teens go on stage and pose in front of the judges. A smile here, a twirl there. I looked at them, studied them. Then I looked at me. I had crooked teeth. I was short. I was fat. And I was Black. I was Muslim so I couldn't wear the skimpy clothes that would be required for me to model.
It'd never happen.
I lost weight. The wrong way. People said I looked good. Inside I was still that 'fat girl'. I was sick. I compared myself to others. I belittled myself. I hated my body. I gained the weight back and more. I wanted to model. Be apart of the fashion scene, but I couldn't because I didn't fit in the tiny confinements of what society said was beautiful or acceptable.
I hit rock bottom. I mean I was down and out...Years later, I found inspiration in seeing women who looked like me. Who had round bottoms and large chests. They took bomb photos and said bomb things that made me feel good about my double chin and short legs. So I started a vlog, after a few months it failed. I had no idea what I was doing.
So who am I to the fashion world?
I am that black child who grew up not liking herself because the images on the screen didn't match. Not my nappy hair. Not my wide toes. Not my brown skin or flabby arms.
Who am I? I am the one who now walks into a room a demands attention with the sway of my thick hips and the twinkle in my brown eyes. I am the embodiment of every female (and male) out there who looks at themselves and grimaces because of what someone else told them is beauty. I am a force in itself with my own solar system. I walk to the beat of my own drums. I don't need anyone to validate my existence, my beauty, my ugliness, or my aspirations.
I AM ME. Unapologetic. So watch out world, I'm coming for you.