In this day and age, everybody and their mamas are ‘models’. Thanks social media! Everyone is a CEO of their own one-man company. Everyone is a fashion blogger. Everyone is a comedian or an actor. Or an influencer. And in no way am I throwing shade, but it’s real. And I tell it like it is. This is what I see, every day, all the time.
I am so grateful for social media, because it gave the thriving artist—who wouldn’t ever be considered by mainstream companies—the channel to build a following and show their value in a completely different way.
Frankly, without social media I’d have never made it this far in my blogging career or met the amazing people I’ve met. So, big-ups to Instagram and Facebook!
So when I started blogging in 2013, I was very, very reluctant to call myself a plus-size model (and sometimes, I still am). Because I wasn’t. I wasn’t signed to an agency nor was I a professional in any way, shape, or form. Then there’s the dreaded stigmas attached to being a model…
At shows, people would be like: Oh, you model?
I’d reply: No, no, no. I’m just a blogger who happens to take decent photos. *Laughs nervously*
Even on my worst days, I’d always get the compliment: You are so photogenic.
I’d grimace and be like, umm, do you see my jacked up teeth and round, fat body! I’d think in my head, what are they talking about and that they were probably just trying to be nice.
Fast forward. I went through eating disorders, self-loathing, negative, nasty thoughts about myself and my worth. The people around me started to flee. I hit rock bottom and had no support. The last straw was pulled and I got some mental therapy. Five years’ worth to be exact! Best five years of my life. Therapy allows you to look within and to stop covering shit with icing. The layers started to unravel. And a new-ish me emerged. I mean, she wasn’t perfect but she was a lot better than the old version.
I began to see the beauty in others and within myself. I know, I know. This sounds corny. But I literally hated everyone. And I hated myself. No one knew. But it’s the truth. I was uncomfortable in my very own skin. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.
I set up two photoshoots for myself. Funding the whole thing from makeup to wardrobe. Planning them was stressful yet exhilarating. Then I had my face on, my ensemble was snatched, my turban was on decent. I was nervous. Very nervous. And the camera started to flash and I just gave in. The photographer was like yassssssss. I was like ayeeeeeee.
Then other photographers and businesses started to approach me and ask me to model their clothes, makeup, and accessories.
Now I claim with proudness that I’m an indie plus-size, African-American, Muslim model. And with that said, modeling is about expression and story-telling. A lot of bloggers and models are about that paycheck and popularity. Not all. Some. In the beginning, I did like the exposure and being ‘known’ was cool, but then I started getting these sincere messages from men and women and I paused.
So every time, I do a shoot or a campaign it’s gotta have something the viewer can take from it. That’s why I’m very heavy on the content that I mix with my photos. If you, as a reader, don’t take anything from my words, then I’ve failed. If you look at my photo and don’t feel some kind of emotion, then I’ve failed.
And failing aint ever an option.