What’s your favorite cosmetic’s brand that I should try out next?
Black Girl Makeup
What’s your favorite cosmetic’s brand that I should try out next?
There’s been many, many fat activists and body-positive folks responding to the topics of dating, finding love, and intimacy while being fat. And, let me tell you, the responses have been ridiculous and the backlash agonizing. Anytime, I post commentary about plus-size dating, the conversation grows long and weary. I mean, dating in general has become trash since the boom of internet faux-ness, where you can get anything and everything in the matter of a few clicks, but dating for straight-size versus plus-size is very different.
When I got divorced, I went on a dating frenzy. Like, I had something to prove. I had never been boy-crazy prior to my marriage, but something about asserting my sexuality after years of being repressed was attractive to me. It became a sick obsession.
I had four dating apps in rotation. I’d spend hours swiping to the left or swiping to the right. I was on them so much, that I started to see some of the same guys on different apps. At a few points, I came upon the profiles of a friend’s ex and dudes I worked with in real life. So, if I saw them then they had to have seen me. And although embarrassing, it hadn’t deterred me from having seventeen separate conversations with different dudes in the city.
I was born in an era with one foot in the age of online dating and one foot out. Basically, I was still a bit clueless on how to navigate them. I thought the guys on the other end were like me. Just wanting to test the waters and perhaps find real companionship. Boy was I wrong.
On my dating profile, I was covered. Like if you were to go on my Instagram account, you’d see the same photos. I mixed in face shots with full body photos. I wasn’t trying to catfish anyone because I wouldn’t want anyone to catfish my ass. I wanted the possible suitor to know that I was, indeed, a fat woman.
The first message I got was a couple trying to have me as their third, as in third wheel, as in a threesome. I politely declined. The following messages would start off with men requesting that I ‘sit on their face’. No hi, hello, or how are you? They’d make disgusting comments about my hips and butt. Some of the white dudes, especially, would objectify my Black body, highlighting the size of my lips and what they’d do to them. I was sent unsolicited dick pics by the dozens. Being asking to send nudes was a common request. I was also fat-shamed by angry users who I wasn’t interested in.
I would tell my smaller friends who were using the same dating apps my stories. They’d shake their heads and tell me that they weren’t getting the same messages. They weren’t having men ask them to sit on their faces or make comments about how big their butt was or any body shaming comments.
I decided to delete every dating app because I was tired of being reduced to the curves on my body or the thickness of my lips. I decided to do some research on dating while fat and found so much stuff. I was not alone in my struggle. Women shared stories about being hidden away by their boyfriends because of their weight, being oversexualized and objectified based on the shape of their body, being fat-shamed, called names like pig and fat bitch when they declined sex or dates.
For women online who were plus-sized bloggers who dated or married a muscular or a socially ‘attractive’ man, trolls would leave nasty comments about how could someone so fat be with a fit guy, or he’s only using you for sex, or that’s impossible for him to actually love her.
So, according to the census, fat women don’t deserve love, their bodies are only reduced to an object only used for pleasing sexually, and no one who is socially attractive should ever want a fattie.
Before, I go any further I want to give folks who indulge in fatphobia a few facts:
Fat people are human beings. Stop asking fat people to hide themselves. We are allowed to take up as much space as we want. Don’t worry about why fat people are fat. Do you worry about why skinny people are skinny? You are not a physician. Clearly, you aren’t smart enough. Fat people deserve love. Fat people deserve intimacy. If you like fat women, that’s okay. Stop allowing your friends to dictate who you love. Stop being a coward and enjoining in fatphobic rhetoric when you truly don’t feel that way. And, lastly fat people aren’t fetishes.
By no means am I saying that smaller women and men don’t get picked on or objectified, but we don’t experience mass skinny-phobia were a model has loads of trolls under her photos saying things like omg, she’s just so small, is she even healthy? Is she anorexic? Why doesn’t she just eat a sandwich? She’s so ugly, who’d want to be that thin?
Instead we see comments praising her, we say that her body is bodygoals, we demean our own bodies, and skip a meal, we show our little girls that skinny is good and fat is bad. That if she is thin, she will be deserving of intimacy and love and money and beauty, but if she is big that she should go hide behind ill-fitting clothes and shrink herself. That she should just be happy with any man who deals her any ole kind of attention. That she shouldn’t strive for better because of the shape of her natural hips or the hugeness of her breasts and stomach.
Stop allowing men to body-shame you. Nip it in the bud every time, so that the next time he approaches a big girl he’ll know what’s up. Stop allowing thin privilege to shrink you. You do not have to be skinny to live your best life. Stop teaching your little boys and girls that they don’t deserve to take up space. Teach them to be healthy and confident at any size.
It’s time we nipped fatphobia in the bud.
In the summer, i had the opportunity to shoot with host, Sheila Grant from the City of Detroit's new segment called 'Art Detroit'.
I was really nervous, but it turned out really, really good. This 9-min video will also air on Detroit Comcast Cable Network on channel 21 (if you live in the city and want the exact times just comment below).
I encourage you to watch and comment on the video. Let the City of Detroit know that they took a step in the right direction by highlighting a Muslim artist in the city!
Let me know what you think *Squeals*
I’m 283 pounds.
There. I said it!
In my entire life, I’ve never, ever, ever told my actual weight. Like ever.
I hadn’t even felt comfortable telling people the size clothes I wore. They’d hassle me about it, wanting to buy me jeans or swap shirts, and I’d become enraged that they kept pestering me about my weight and size that I just shut down. “I’m not telling you, ok?” I’d scream.
Funny how life works. How we just up and change, if we want to and if we work really, really hard at it. Never in a million years would I have done this because growing up (and, still today) women and men are so obsessed with calories, portion sizes, and of course, the dreaded bathroom scale.
At my largest, I pushed 340lbs. At those heavier times, since my weight was up and down, but mostly up, I was still modeling and living life. Ayeeeee! But, I avoided scales. Like the plague. I’d go to my thinner friend’s bathroom, shut the door, and when I’d turn around to see a scale, I’d literally jump back into the wall like an alarmed cat. Once I calmed myself, I’d tiptoe around the flat creature and plop down on the toilet. While I peed, I kept my eye on it.
If I hadn’t known what my weight was then I’d be fiiiiiiine.
The lowest weight that I’d ever been as an adult was 143lbs. That was like almost ten years ago, but I can vividly recall everything that it took from me to become a ‘normal’ weight. To become acceptable to society. To get praised by the girls and hit on by the boys. Would you believe that at my lowest weight I still had a ‘fat girl’ mentality? That at my smallest, I felt that I was the hugest human being ever to walk the planet? The fact that I had weighed myself twice a day, had migraines from improper eating to no eating at all, and suffered from body dysmorphia just wasn’t enough to raise a red flag. As long as you looked good on the outside, who cares about the inside. Right?
I chose to be fat and happy, but even that came with its downsides. Unfortunately, as a grown woman, you have to get yearly checkups. That’s when I’d receive my daily dose of reality.
“Hop on the scale,” the nurse said.
I stepped on. The numbers started going up, up, up.
I closed my eyes. I hadn’t wanted to know.
“337,” the nurse announced with what seemed like an intercom for all the staff and patients to hear.
Damn, I had packed on hundreds of thousands of pounds, I thought as she led me to the exam room.
The doctor knocked then came in.
Time for the weight-loss talk.
“You see, you’re at risk for diabetes and high-cholesterol and joint problems.” He brought out a chart and pointed. “See, you’re 5”4 and you are in the morbidly obese realm right now. You should be around 140lbs.”
I sat there and thought about what he said. I was already around 140lbs and I almost killed myself mentally and physically trying to stay at that weight. I wasn’t going back there.
Years passed and I’d lose 50 here, gain 100 there, lose 40 and then gain back 70. I wasn’t very nice to my body. I’m surprised it still takes care of me today.
Although, I weigh myself now, I don’t make it a habit. My worth isn’t attached to the numbers that calculate then pop up. I’m not a chart and I won’t be confined to a category of what’s healthy and not. I don’t complain about my weight. I do not obsess over it and I don’t expect others to. My weight. My body is my business. I decide whether it goes up and up, or down and down.
I’m not focusing on the scale anymore. I’m focusing on being a healthier and stronger me—mentally and physically.
I hurt my knee at work back in 2013. I could barely walk. Then I got surgery. Oh, man, I was in a ton of pain and wasn’t able to be physical for almost two years. After physical therapy was done, I decided to start swimming. My therapist thought it’d be a good idea to get active because I had anxiety and depression over the accident, my marriage, and just my life in general. Winter hit and I didn’t want to catch a cold, so I enrolled at a small gym. I couldn’t even do ten minutes on the elliptical machine. It was a sad day. After, I had done 30 minutes of exercise, my muscles and bones hurt super bad. I was sore for a week, but I went back. I noticed that I had more energy, I was less angry, and more productive.
The following year, I was going through a divorce. That’s when I started going to the gym twice a day to keep from hurting him and myself. To sweat out all the frustration and embarrassment I felt. The gym and lifting weights became a habit, a healthy habit. I’ve been going five to six days a week for over a year and a half now. And, although, I’m still morbidly obese (as the chart states), I am stronger than I’ve ever been. I can lift 80lbs, I can hold my own body weight up, and I can do an hour of cardio without breaks. I’m flexible, I have energy, and the doctor just gave me a clean bill of health (minus the IBS, ugh!).
I have lost weight, but I will not glamourize it. We have enough before and after photos to make us feel bad about how we don’t look. What I wanted to share are the accomplishments I’ve made once I gave up trying to fit into an acceptable weight category. Once, the power of the scale held not an ounce of power any longer.
If you're no longer held back by what's on the scale, I challenge you to share how much you weigh! It'll be like one of those cool 'burning ceremonies' where we collectively release the (figuritive) weight we put on ourselves.
My birthday is in t-minus 2 days. 48 hours. Leo season. I’m freaking out. I have no plans. I’m more tired than ever before. I think I may have witnessed a bag forming under my eye. Not sure.
I’m eating healthier than ever before. I go to the gym. I even have one of those old lady pill separators for the hundreds of vitamins and doctor prescribed supplements that I take daily. The one that says Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday…
The big 3-0.
I never thought about 30 before. 30 years on earth. I’m surprised I made it this far, though. I even had the pleasure of witnessing the invention of fidget spinners and an orange Cheshire cat become number 45.
Ahh, what a time to be alive.
So, I posted a photo on Instagram (per usual) and someone hashtagged ‘body goals’. I repeat. #BodyGoals under my picture. I chuckled internally. My little shoulders bobbing up and down as I sat in front of an old ASUS laptop (I hate it, but it’s easier to type on than the MAC).
My body was a goal? Interesting, I pondered.
The next day, I posted another pic. A different person (totes unrelated to the first person) also used #BodyGoals. I must’ve been wrapped up in some CIA conspiracy because as I drank my tea and ate a bowl of oatmeal, my boobs literally rested on my knees. Who’d want a body like that? Like mine? Preposterous. From the positive comments, I found myself going down the list of why, how my body wasn’t goals.
My teeth had irregular spaces as to where I could fit the tip of my tongue through. I had a huge forehead. I mean, huge. The hairline was as far back as Lebron’s. I never liked the shape of my face. My little brother used to tell me that my profile resembled the shape of a fat moon crescent and that I had a pug nose. Barely had a neck. I wanted one of those statuesque ballerina necks. The ones that just went on for days and they still had more neck to spare even after that. My waistline was okay, but it was riddled with brownish stretch marks that meandered to the top of my butt. Let’s not forget the two fat donut rolls on each side. My thighs. Lordt. They constantly got stuck in chairs with arms. I could never just safely ‘squeeze past’ anyone, either. There’s not a smooth surface on my thigh. Both are like large columns filled with cottage cheese. My toes, Monkey Toes, they used to call em. They are very long and spread far apart, but I can pick up a penny from a wood floor like nobody’s business…
How was any of that #BodyGoals? Especially in today’s time. Our beauty standards consist of high cheekbones lined with fancy highlighter, remove-my-ribs-to-get-the-perfect waist, and pump my lips with asphalt and concrete so that I can resemble Daffy Duck and become a high-ranking Instagram makeup artist.
I thought those were goals.
Who’d in their right mind would want to look like me?
Yes. I wear the makeup. The pretty clothes. And, I know my angles, for the most part. I work with amazing photographers who know how to use lighting and create moods. But, I’m still fat. I’m a fat model. A fat person.
I scrolled through my Instagram and was like, oh, okay I can see why they placed my body on a pedestal. I was tricking them! If only they saw me naked, then they wouldn’t ever, ever say that.
Why had I been so bent on discrediting myself? My body? Was I doing it to be more ‘real’ to my followers or was I partaking in momentary self-hatred of my own body?
I express myself through photos. And words, of course. I wanted to do a shoot where it was less about angles to make myself appear one way, but to let the parts that I’m sometimes self-conscious about peek through. Like my under-belly flap (Iegit not wearing a Spanx) and my back (which didn’t look as bad as I imagined) and my funny toes (not gonna lie, I cringed). Because when I face something that I’m afraid to show or share or makes me self-conscious, it’s best to dive in completely and show the insecurity to the world. Then go from there.
“I don’t take photos sitting down,” I said to my thinner friend. “I literally turn into a bowling ball. I have about 3 inches of torso and hundreds of pounds that surround it. It’s not flattering.”
She looked at me like I was crazy.
We are our own worst enemy. I am my own worst critic. I am the downfall of myself. On the flipside, I can also be my own best ally. I made a conscious decision to focus on the negatives when clearly that’s not how other people viewed me.
The question I asked myself: As a fat girl, why can’t I be #BodyGoals?
I can be #BodyGoals.
As a matter of fact, I am #BodyGoals just like those whole two people said.
Leah V is #BodyGoals in all her saggy boob and cellulite glory.
This is my first Valentine’s Day without a Valentine in about ten years. Which may seemed fucked up to the naked eye, but because I’m trying to live my ‘new and improved’ life as an Optimistic Sally, I’ve come to terms with my current situation.
I’m divorced. Single. I ain’t got no man. Or woman. Except for my friends, but that doesn’t count. I had a few suitors, but they got swerved and didn’t make the cut. Which again, makes me very single. I’m not bitter, though, I solemenly swear it.
I won’t be getting any flowers.
I won’t be getting one of those cheap little bears with the heart in the middle that says ‘I LOVE You” that was made in China.
No romantic dinners at the local Coney Island.
Jewelry. Nope. Hotel. Nope. Sweet nothings. NOPE. How bout dah?
All this in theory sounds great, until my timeline starts getting flooded with ‘happy couple’ selfies and photos of bouquets of roses. What is a single girl to do? Well, if you’re like me you can totally stay off the internet for that entire day. But because we are lurkers, we won’t. Which is fine. At least you’ve admitted it.
Valentine’s Day isn’t really the issue here. It’s the stereotypes of being single that irks me. If you aint got a man then what are you doing with your life? If you don’t have a bae to cuddle up with at the end of a long day then you must be unhappy, desperate, undesirable. The only goal in life is to marry, have kids, get cheated on, then ultimately be single anyway! So, why not just start now? LOL. And, I’m not saying that being single is the way to go for every person, because we all have that friend who just has to have a man or she feels incomplete.
But isn’t that a sad existence? If you need another person to make you feel whole. Shouldn’t that be something that you should be working on within yourself? With these types of situations of heavy co-dependency, I notice that the co-dependent person always get the short end of the stick in the relationship. They usually do anything to keep that other person around. They ended getting mistreated by their significant other because they know that they need them in order to thrive.
I, for one, neeeeever want another person to feel like I need them or I’d just crumble into nothingness. No, sir. You aren’t about to have that much power over me. I hold my own power. Boom!
Whether you’re married or not, you need to be OK with being by yourself. And I’m not saying shut everyone out and become a recluse, I’m saying that there is usually too much noise going on and you need to have quiet, self-reflective time for you and only you. Whether it’s five minutes a day or for a month trip overseas. You-time is good for the soul. It regenerates your ummph. Puts a pep in your step. And allows you to think more openly and freely.
Do you know how much I learned about myself by doing things alone? I’ve traveled alone and learned that I’m able to hold my own in hectic situations. I’ve gone to the movies alone and figured out that I didn’t look weird by doing it, and I really enjoyed not talking throughout the film. I’ve gone to an opera alone, I’ve had coffee and alone and read a book, I’ve been to networking events alone and was made to feel like an outsider because I hadn’t come with anyone. You win some. You lose some, but it’s a very cool experience to be ok with yourself. You don’t always have to depend on another person to dictate whether you have fun or not or are able to experience the fullness of that activity.
So, Leah V. what are you doing for V-Day? Well, if you must know. I’ll be on my first “Eat. Pray. Love.” trip to London. This is my first time overseas without my ex. It’s very bittersweet. I want to prove to myself that I can and I will. And, I’m so hardcore that I’m not even going with a friend. Yeah, they’re still hurt by it, but this is my journey that I have to take alone. I want to explore the culture without bounds, I want to get lost on the ‘tube’, and party with the locals. I want to take a train to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower and take one of those very touristy photos in front of it. I want to eat good food and take cabs to nowhere. I want to take weird selfies and visit the Royal Palace.
And, that’s what I plan to do.
But, if you’re not planning on taking a trip or don’t have a bae, it’s all good. I want you to get dressed anyway, put on some falsies, go buy an expensive yet not-expensive matte lippie, and be your own bae. Make a fancy reservation at a posh restaurant with some girlfriends and have a photoshoot in the bathroom. Post it on social media so everyone with a man can be jealous that you’re having soooo much fun basking in the glow of your single-dom!
As always, you know I have to give you the word with a dose of V-Day outfit inspirations.
So, this week were going to get a little light-hearted. Last week, I bogged you guys down as well as educated you about mental illness and this time were talking about makeup???
On my blog, you never know what you’re going to get.
Zahara Cosmetics (located in Malaysia) sent me a nice little package filled with eyeliner, nail polish, matte lippies (oh, yes!), and eyeshadow pallets. It took about two weeks to get all the way over the sea and to my doorstep, but I was excited to try out the products.
As consumers, we are bombarded with tons of cosmetic companies telling us that we ‘need’ ABC product. When I link up with someone or tell them that I’ll write a review for their product there’s gotta be something that makes them standout. What makes Zahara Cosmetics any different? Well, I’m not a spokesperson for this brand, but let’s start with the nail polish. The polish is water-permeable and the formula allows oxygen to pass through to the bed of your nail. So, if you happen to be Muslim it is ‘wudu’ friendly. Also, Zahara’s polish doesn’t contain the five main harsh chemicals that other popular nail polishes have. They also have a ‘small business’ feel, which is cool.
Polish: I used the polish (Lovender) for my Tribal-Inspired shoot. And it glided on easy, dried fast, and I actually didn’t need the 2nd coat. It lasts about as long as other polishes on the market.
EyeLiner: I have very sensitive eyes. So the liner didn’t bother my waterline and it glided on smoothly.
Matte Lippe: I’ve tried all kinds of lipsticks, especially the cream mattes, so I know a thing or two. I’m wearing ‘Mystery’. So, the lippie glides on great. And the coverage is very good. No thinning like Colourpop or some of Kat Von D’s lip line. When it dries, it does gets a little gritty. I suggest exfoliating your lips before application. I’d say the lippie is far from Colourpop but slightly underneath Anastasia Beverley Hills in quality. There is minimal transfer as well.
Eyeshadow Pallets: I used the ‘Fifth Avenue Pallet’. Overall, the coverage was pretty good. The only complaint that my MUA had was that all the colors were very ‘shimmery’ and she wished that they had a few mattes available in the set of four.
Overall, I enjoyed the products, especially the lip colors.
You guys check out Zahara Cosmetics and let me know what you think.
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.
Oh, how I love makeup. I just went to Sephora yesterday and almost had a heart attack because all of the pretty colors and lippie samples. I touched and sampled...everything. It's been a tough ass week. And I deserved it. Spending money that I don't really have. But guess what?! Don't judge me.
So I want to chat about skin and makeup application and my regimen for my caramel complexion. In these sets of photos my MUA, Madinah M., gave me a natural, everyday look. And everything that I know about cosmetics comes from her. So pay attention:
If you don't have eyebrows like me, lol, then you'll have to fill those bad boys in with a pencil. I suggest using shades of brown depending on your complexion. I use Wet'n'Wild in dark brown. Black pencils are waaaaaay too harsh. Don't do it! After you fill them in, use a spoolie (basically, a clean mascara wand) to blend.
After the brows you can do a simple wing line. And there's really no simple way to do a wing line. I'm still struggling. But there are many, many makeup tutorials on YouTube that will help ya out. I like to use the eyeliner pen with the felt tip by Stila. Better precision. Plus perfection takes practice, people! So if you end up looking like a raccoon, at least you can say you tried. Tip: less is always more. Haha
Next, you can do some false lashes if your feeling pizzazz-y.
Get some foundation. I like Estee Lauder Double-Wear Liquid Foundation. It's nice and sheer. Not too much for a natural makeup look. I dab it all over my face in dots then use this soft synthetic foundation brush to blend the shit out of it.
Please. Please. Get the right color foundation. Don't be out here with an ashy lookin' face. Don't know your correct color? Try at least three different shades. The one that blends into your skin seamlessly is the right color. The ones that look ashy is too light and the ones that make you look several shades darker than your real skin tone is too dark.
Apply a little blush. You'll need two soft, angled brushes. One for the light one and one for the dark one (M.A.C.). The peach toned blush (Klean Colour), I placed on top and then the darker one, I placed on the bottom (for a little contour action). Stroke at an angle, blending towards your side burn.
Apply some gloss or a matte cream lippie. The nude gloss I'm wearing is Milani Bare Secret.