What’s your favorite cosmetic’s brand that I should try out next?
Plus size model
What’s your favorite cosmetic’s brand that I should try out next?
You've probably been wondering where I've been. Well, I've been grinding, day in and day out. Trying to pave a way--on foot--for the fat, black Muslim girl and every other underrepresented individual that's been deemed unworthy by society's standards.
Posted by Lvernon2000 (June 22, 2017): I'm emotional (tears + snot nose). So, I'm the winner of the 2017 Gilda Award for my work in creative nonfiction by @kresgeartsdet 🎉🎉🎉
I started writing when I was 6. Reading Rainbow was my shit. I entered my first contest then lost, but Levar Burton sent a cool rejection letter so I wasn't going to stop. In my teen years, my father was never there. Mom was juggling 5 kids from different fathers and no help from family. I sought refuge in stories and other worlds. I was homeschooled, weird and thoughtful, more advanced than the kids my age. My friends were librarians. I'd sit in the library nook for hours and just read and dream of a life different from my own broken home.
I started entering contests. Won a few. I loved Sci-Fi but noticed the lack of black heroines and writers. I set out to be the first and wrote my first novel in college at 17. It was rejected. I wrote 2 more novels and they were also rejected. I blamed it on my color and socioeconomic status. All the successful writers were white and female. There was no room for my fat, black ass. So I stopped and never wrote again...
It was the toughest five years. Can you imagine not fulfilling your purpose? Then one day, when I almost admitted myself to a psych ward, I thought about my life. Like really dug into my core. My passions and talents. I asked myself, "who the fuck are you? Without your ex-husband? Your family? Your friends? Who are YOU?" The response: YOU are words. Stories. After that day, I've never tried to get rich or popular from writing. I was going to write for me. To uplift and to make change. If I had to write for free for ever and ever then that was what I was prepared to do.
Now, here we are. Making waves 🙏🏾This white photo represents purity, an awakening, a new beginning for me in my career to change the narrative.
Last week, it was announced that I was the recipient of the 2017 Gilda Award for my works of creative nonfiction.
I beat out 750 artists who applied in Michigan.
With my stories. Stories about my life. That's nuts!!!
If that doesn't blow your mind, then I'm not sure what can.
There's so much I'd like to say about this. This huge honor. I'll probably end up writing an essay about it at a later date. I just wanted to be a good friend, pop in, and tell you that I'm not dead. LOL. That I'm okay. And, that I'll be back to regular blog posts in August when my schedule is less hectic.
Thank you for rocking with meeeeeeeee.
Fan Questions Answered with Leah V.
I like to do random shit. If I feel it, I’m most likely gonna say it (or type it). LOL. I had this cool idea to ask some of my followers to give me some questions to answer. Like LIVE, but not really because it’s like weeks later. I was shocked at the high quality of questions I got. I thought people were gonna ask completely ridiculous stuff. See? That’s what I get for assuming. But, yeah. They really gave me thought-provoking questions.
So, here are my answers:
@Candeecurry What do you feel is your unique purpose in the world? Do you feel as though you are on track?
LV: This is such a good question! And, honestly, it took me a long time to figure out how to answer it. At this point in life, I know that my purpose is to create content and share it with the world. My work is very niche, so everyone isn’t going to get it or like it. My purpose is to defy the odds, show girls, woman (and men) that you can look totally different and not fit the mold of societal beauty or power and still be whatever it is that you want to be. Which, in this world, is hard to swallow.
Am I on the right track? If you would’ve asked me last month, I would’ve said, hell yeah! Today, I’m not so sure. My ideologies of ‘on track’ differ from day to day. I always hope I am though.
@JasmineN What’s your fave piece of clothing and why?
LV: Surprisingly, I don’t have one. I have a fave food though. HAHA. I’m sorry, I lied. My fave item of clothing are leggings because you can lounge in them and stretch whenever or wherever you are in the world, comfortably.
@becoming_becca.again_ Whose your biggest influencer, the person you look up to?
LV: I have many. A lot of them aren’t even in the “fashion” arena. I really look up to people who are real, raw, and have a backstory that doesn’t involve a silver spoon in the mouth. I love individuals that are a little rough around the edges, ones who went through hell to get to where they are now. People like Oprah, Maya Angelou, and J.K. Rowling. I struggle all the time doing what I do. I’m struggling today. But reading stories of their struggles and how they just believed and kept going really changes my life and outlook.
@Thisis_esi Dating as a young fat, black, Muslim woman, challenges? Best and worst experiences?
LV: Oh lordy! Lol. Girl, now you know there is a lot of those challenges when dating. And this is such a touchy topic because I’m Muslim and Muslims aren’t supposed to date, but you know I keep it real. Most guys don’t even approach me because I wear hijab so that knocks out about ninety percent. For the ten percent that have the guts to come up to me or message, they span from fat-shamers, BBW fetishizers, and wierdos. I’ve had okay dates, but no one has stuck yet because I’m finnicky like a cat.
@Prettyinpigment What do you love most about Detroit
LV: Detroit is OK. LOL. The job market sucks. The food here is pretty tasty. Detroit isn’t a fast-paced city but it isn’t slow either. It’s a good balance. It’s laid back and still growing which is cool. I don’t think I’d stay here though; it’s not growing fast enough in the fields of fashion or publishing.
@Lateeforigninals What’s your favorite color?
LV: Black. Darkness! And I like colors, too. Don’t have a favorite. Back in the day it used to be yellow.
@lionwinemountain What books inspire you?
LV: The Harry Potter Series. I really love YA fiction and dystopian novels. I love being immersed in other worlds. And I’m really inspired by the author’s story of how she created the characters while being broke.
@notmycupofchai What advice would you give to your young Muslim sisters who are trying to find themselves?
LV: I’d tell them to stick to their guns. Family, friends, and the media will try to persuade you from being who you are truly meant to be. Who you’re comfortable being. Don’t allow them to. You have to be true to yourself and listen to your gut.
@Saneelatameez What is your greatest fear in life?
LV: Wow. Y’all didn’t come to play games today! Right now, my biggest fear is failure. I’ve always been an overachiever and I thought that perfection was attainable. I still have to remind myself to chill, but it’s hard. I just don’t want to let anyone down.
@itsbenstange What do you want to be your legacy?
LV: I want my legacy to be that girl who didn’t take no for an answer. Who pushed through the glass ceiling even though she had negative two bucks in her account. I want to be that beacon of change of the mass ideology that beauty is only thin or only white. That as a Muslim woman you can. That as a black woman you can. That as a fat person you can. And you will. And you deserve. All of it. I want my legacy to be words. With meaning. With direction. Substance. To change the world from hate and ignorance to understanding and respect for all humankind.
OMG! We’ve made it into the new year. Bless up *DJ Khaled voice*. Ready for new beginnings? I know I am. We’ve shed some negative people: ex’s, frenemies, and maybe an annoying co-worker or two. Get your bucket list ready because I’ve asked my fashionable followers to vote for their top seven outfits of 2016. This list isn’t about my own self-gratification, or maybe it is… It’s about self-love. Confidence. And acceptance.
Anyone can put on makeup and slap on a bomb ensemble. But how many of us are sitting at home with stretch marks on their boobs, cellulite on them thighs, and a belly pooch that hangs over their pants? *Raises hands* I am as I’m compiling this list. Real life, bro!
So, for 2017, I want you to harness your inner Leah V. divaliciousness and as I always say, fuck it up! And by “it” I mean the world. Wear a color you’ve never thought to wear. Red lipstick? Smear that shit on. Dance when everyone is watching. Travel the world. Alone! Don’t let society’s standards stop you from living. FUCK IT UP! And when they ask why, tell em cuz Leah V. said so…
Check out these amazing ensembles from the last year of my blog, and see which styles made the list:
#7 That pop of color though!
#6 So Parisian. Oui?
#5 Turbanista in red.
#4 Couldn’t nobody tell me nothin that day.
#3 *Finger snaps in Z formation.
#2 I’ve always wanted to be a fairy.
#1 On my Riri shit!
Wildcard! Gold Dress. Birthday extravaganza. This dress was designed by me! But I aint sew it though.
Which one is your favorite?
I’ve had a few interviews for different feminist and style blogs recently, and the question that I’m most asked is what it was like for me growing up, before Leah V. was Leah V.
I grew up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, where nothing on my body was considered beautiful or desired. To add to that, I was Muslim and Black. And very much so fat. Triple whammy? So confidence was at an all-time low for the most part.
In my family, my mother was a pretty snazzy dresser and so was my grandmother. Even though they were large women, they still pulled out their sequins blazers, costume jewelry, and furs. My grandmother was into makeup as well. Bright red lips and blue eyeshadow was a must for any special occasion.
That’s when I fell in love, playing in her expensive lippies and shadows. I secretly painted my face, knowing my mother wouldn’t approve, and would make me wipe it off immediately.
Makeup wasn’t in like that for young girls when I was growing up. No overly-contoured Kim K. looks. The most we did was a heavy coating of cheap lip gloss from the beauty supply store and some mascara. Anything else was considered ‘clown face’.
I was a weird, thoughtful, and creative child. I watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, and immersed myself into rock/pop music. Through these outlets, I began to internalize all the characters that I admired. They were sassy. They were strong. They didn’t take no shit! They were modern and stylish and outrageous. They were different just like me. And I imagined being anything I wanted.
And then it clicked… I was going to wear glitter on my eyelids, smear black lipstick on my lips, and place tiaras on top of my hijab.
Why? Because I was expressing myself and it made me happy.
Others didn’t feel the same way.
“Take that dark lipstick off your face,” Mom told me.
“Why black polish? Why not red?” Another asked.
“Why wear makeup, you already have such pretty skin,” someone commented.
“You look like a clown,” a family member said.
I was obsessed with the Spice Girls, so I bought several pairs of those chunky flip flops. I was into Gwen Stefani from No Doubt and started wearing black nail polish and fingerless lace gloves. Then I went through the goth phase. Everything was pitch black.
I got made fun of for dressing crazy, wearing makeup, being outspoken, being fat, having big feet, pointy teeth, wearing colorful hijabs, covering my body… Blah, blah.
The funny thing about it, I never allowed other people’s criticisms to stop me from dressing the way I wanted or affected how I carried myself. Because it was my body and I loved the expression that makeup and clothes could prompt. I wasn’t the same as the other girls, and that was fine with me.
It’s ironic, because now, I’m the trendsetter and style blogger. People ask my fat, Black Muslim self where do I get my clothes from. They ask me for fashion advice.
Although, it’s a sad thought to think what would’ve happened if I listened to those friends who made fun of my appearance and ensembles.
I wouldn’t be Leah V. I’d be some cardboard cutout. Exactly the same as the rest. Just falling in that straight and narrow line of lameness…
Beyonce said it best: “Tell him boy, bye!”
Keep being your crazy, odd dressing, thin or plump self. Don’t let others dictate how you should or shouldn’t dress. Or that you need or don’t need makeup. Tell them it’s YOUR BODY and you can do with it as you please!
It's cold in the D! Well, it was chilly in Traverse City, Michigan. My friends and I piled up in a small, white rental car and drove four hours to a rented lake house for a much needed girl's escape.
I feel bad for saying this, but I was looking for some black slacks and somehow, stumbled into Kmart. And as yall know, I have short, wide legs, and no one had anything that fit right. So, I'm in my local Kmart and stumble upon some gems. We've all heard about the Nicki Minaj Collection at Kmart. We might have had some preconceived notions about how her line would be, but I found this sweater in the clearance section that I was delighted to buy.
When I tell you this sweater is everything. It Is EVERYTHANG! Here's why I love it: a nice silhouette, doesn't ride up the back, long sleeves, and the zipper detailing on the sides. It went from the basic sweater look to that Va Va Voom ensemble.
I'm not sure what the Nicki Minaj collection for Kmart will bring for the Spring/Summer 16' but I'll definitely be looking out for any new pieces that I can add to my wardrobe.
Love the zipper detailing. You can actually zip and unzip them.
So now let's go to the second part of my outfit. The jeans! I only own one pair of jeans and they stretch and fit good. Nice length, too. I got those from Burlington. I wanted a darker pair, so I visited my local Torrid. I am obsessed with Torrid. A little pricey, but just hit them with those coupons and you should be good to go.
I bought a skinny jean in regular and it's a size 4. The stretch is nice and I like the length. I've only worn them once, so I'm still trying to 'break them in'. But so far so good. Hooray for Torrid. Hooking up the big booty gals :)
Shades and Hat: Forever 21
Alysse Dalessandro, activist, fat fashion guru, and owner of Ready To Stare, was gracious enough to grant me my very first interview on my new website platform this year. So exciting. I first came across her Instagram account about two years ago and fell in love with her boisterous style and outspoken posts on the body. I even had the pleasure of meeting her in person last year and hope to work with her in the future. She’s a pillar in the plus-community and her voice transcends our time. If you don’t know her, then get to know her:
LV: Let’s talk about your self-perception as a teen. How did you see yourself as an adolescent as far as beauty and self-esteem?
AD: In school, I was painfully shy, and I knew that I was different. One of the few fat kids, I matured much earlier than the other girls so fashion became my armor. And it still is. It was the one thing in my life that made me feel good, so when I would be bullied or rejected by my classmates, I stayed confident in my ability to put together looks. It didn’t matter if my classmates didn’t get them. In fact, I relished in being different. Fashion was empowering, and it started my pathway to self-love and acceptance. There’s something powerful about being able to express yourself.
LV: How did you stumble upon blogging?
AD: I actually wanted to be a blogger for a long time but was too scared to put myself out there. It had to do with the fear of not being good enough.
In 2012, I came up with the name Ready To Stare, my jewelry and accessory business. It was actually the name of the personal style blog that I was too scared to start. For the first two years, I was able to get my voice out there in the fashion world while remaining behind the scenes.
By the end of 2013, I felt stuck. My friend told me that I needed to put more of myself in my business by taking selfies and modeling for a Ready To Stare campaign. The reaction was huge. It gave me the confidence I needed to start my personal style blog, #StareStyle in May of 2014. And that entire year was a really big for my personal and business growth.
LV: Explain what the Body Positive Movement means to you?
AD: To me it’s really about loving yourself and helping others to do the same. My definition of body positivity continues to evolve, because mainstream media has started to cover it without a full understanding of what it actual means. I’m increasingly frustrated by the loud voices of small plus-size or non plus-size women being lauded as the face of the body positive movement who do not represent my interests as a size 22/24. At this point, I really identify more with the fat acceptance movement than body positive.
LV: Describe your style.
AD: I feel like my style is constantly evolving. My attitude to fashion is very much IDGAF about what people think I should wear. I strive to break fashion rules and help encourage people to dress the way that feels right for THEM, and not how anyone else thinks they should dress.
The way that I dress my fat body is a political statement, and I’m aware of that when I dress. My style is pretty bold, unapologetic and of course gaudy. I want you to stare. I want what I wear to make you think. Does it make you uncomfortable to see my fat body in this outfit? If so, why? I really think of fashion as tool to dismantle societal norms.
LV: Share a part of yourself that you may not be so confident in but are working on.
AD: Great question. I get asked so often about a part of my body that I am struggling to love and honestly, I have had much greater struggles learning to love myself on the inside than I ever had about my body. I still struggle with feeling worthy of things. I still doubt myself. But the one thing that someone could call me that will really hurt me is definitely not fat, it’s crazy.
LV: What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
AD: I feel more free. I don’t feel as afraid as I used to. I was always able to advocate for others and tell others they were worthy and good enough, but I couldn’t say the same thing to myself. Blogging really represents that personal shift for me. It’s funny with the increased amount of visibility, I face so much more criticism than I did before but because blogging was about finding my own inner strength, I am not fazed by that criticism.
LV: What are some of your top fashion influencers and why?
AD: I take a lot of inspiration from 90s fashion. I love everything RuPaul has even worn. I love the women from the blog, Advanced Style. I think older women who take risks with fashion are so important for fashion rule-breaking. I love Marie from The Curvy Fashionista not only because she’s an OG, but she really cares about making changes in this industry, and I have so much respect for her.
LV: What would you say to someone who said that hated themselves or how they looked?
AD: I would say to be kind to yourself. But there are so many little ways to start to combat those feelings of self-doubt. Take some selfies. Try a bold lipstick. Wear a bikini, even if it’s only in your bedroom mirror. Write a personal essay even if you never publish it. Do it FOR YOU. Challenge yourself to see yourself in a different light.
And don't forget to check out her social media feeds:
I don’t use a lot of mainstream media for inspiration because, at times, it’s frankly chocked full of lies and deceit. And we see the same things, over and over again. People using trends and taking them to the extreme where no individuality or originality is even shown. These characteristics still exist. You’ve just got to find something that excites you, then place your own spin on it.
Exploring Pinterest, I stumbled upon a few of Tyra Banks’ photos. I adored Tyra when she was on “Fresh Prince” with Will Smith and even more so when she started America’s Next Top Model. I learned soooo much from watching that show as a teen. Not only is she beautiful but she’s also a businesswoman. I like those ‘not just a pretty face’ types. The ones who have strong wing lines but also has a degree in philosophy.
But back to inspiration. I get inspired by many things: cool people, good books, bad ones, fat girl blogs, and movies. Photos and visits to the museum, pondering old art, and just plain silence. Sometimes, I inspire myself by looking back on all the dumb shit I’ve done and all the situations I’ve handled like a normal person which resulted in not going off on someone who probably deserved it.
I think it is very important to be inspired as well as strive to inspire others. People need that. Genuine inspiration. Because that leads to hope. And with hope, you can do anything and go anywhere and be ok. There was a time where I was hopeless, inspiration-less. It was the worst time in my life. To be in a deep, dark hole. Just stuck. You can’t see anything but that dirt wall. The sun is out there somewhere, but you don’t even know it’s there. That was me. Before I hit the deep end, I sought out help. Which was the best decision I ever made. She made me see again, and feel. I was inspired by the small things like the sun, and friends, and a good TV show.
Now that I know how important it is to be inspired, I try to maintain that level of mental stimulation at all times. It keeps me sane. It keeps me happy. It keeps the darkness from seeping inward.
It’s Friday. Go out and do something tiny. Smile at a stranger even though they may not smile back. Paint your toenails. Grab a scoop of ice cream. Or just sit in your car at the park with the windows down and let the fresh air flow through.
Wanna know what I'm wearing for the Tyra Bank's inspired shoot?
Faux Fur Stole: Forever 21 (Cancun)
Dress: Forever 21 Plus
Jewels: Hubby :)
I've known about The Curvy Fashionista's events for the last few years that I've been blogging. But I never got a chance to attend one. I mustered up enough guts to email Marie and ask about a press pass. She sent me one right away :)
The Curvy Fashionista created by style blogger Marie Denee has several events throughout the year and this style brunch located in Atlanta focused on "owning your beauty" with guests @PHAT_Girl_Fresh @JibriOnline @mimijonline and @PatrickTCooper
The style influencers were hilarious, candid, and inspirational. I learned a lot about 'owning' ones self and accepting your flaws and all. The crowd was energetic and confident and fierce. The food was poppin', too. LOL. I enjoyed myself despite having only a few hours of sleep. And for those who know me, I need my beauty rest. Haha.
My Outfit Deets:
Turban: Caniff Gift and Variety
Dress: Avi & Viv (Target)
Jacket: JC Penney's
Headpiece and earrings: Payless
On the streets of Detroit, I walked to my boo's grand opening for her new storefront located on Cass Ave. with my burgundy matte lippie and some dope ass shades from Forever 21. By the way, if you happen to be in Midtown go visit iLovePurple.com (cool accessories business locally owned by an awesome Detroiter named Brittany).
After the event, I wanted to take some outdoor photos of this historic area of Midtown Detroit. Unbeknownst to me, we caught the iconic W. Willis street sign.
So here's why this area is so iconic--to me. Years ago my mother used to take us to this very store on the corner (the yellow building). It was once a health food business (before being organic and natural became a 'thing'). We'd be in this store for hours. She'd talk to all her friends that worked there and shop for soy milk and honey. And to see where it is now, it's soooo different. New businesses are popping up and art venues. It's boomin'.
I lived and roamed Detroit before it became 'cool' to live there. We stayed in the bad parts, where poverty was real and unavoidable. Detroit isn't a fad. We've got history. So respect the city!
Ooooook! So enough of my angry black girl rants. Haha. Yall, came here to see what I'm wearing. So, let me tell you my fatspo (Short for: fat inspiration) first. I wanted to look cute and modern yet rugged like one of those people who read Vogue magazine but could also possibly start a fire without matches. Bingo!
Forever 21: Scarf/Shades
T-shirt: JC Penney
Sleeveless Vest: Target
Boots: Lane Bryant
How much do we love that velvet blazer? A lot.
I want to see some of you guys' 'street style' looks. Make sure to hashtag #LeahVDaily on the gram (Instagram) so I can take a look at all of your street beauty :)
1. Veroiam_ (US)
Style: This girl knows how to have fun. Her style is edgy yet sophistacted.
Before we go any further with our other 14 gorgeous blogger babes (and bae), I'd like to let you guys know why I searched Instagram--high and low--compiling this list of curvy fashion influencers. Diversity, for me, is key to any and everything that I do. My motto is that 'fashion isn't exclusive' and from this list of very different and stylish individuals you can see that style comes in all forms.
Although, I am not a 'top blogger' in any way, I thought it'd be fun to mix this list with underdog bloggers as well as ones who are more established. A lot of plus-size blogs and websites mostly feature the 'in crowd' bloggers (no shade!). But there are soooo many talented bloggers out there just waiting to be discovered.
Here's the thing, we have to be the change that we wish to see. So with that said, I want you guys to give these bloggers mad love. Support them, follow them on the 'Gram', tell them how lovely they look, or just say heeeeeeeey! Lol. I'm quite sure they'd appreciate it :)
2. Jewelz Journey (US)
Style: Fearless. Her style is quirky, sexy, and fun.
3. Nazira Hashari (Malaysia)
Style: Clearly fierce. Her style is eclectic and bold.
4. Plus Size Beausion (Haiti)
Style: Her style is clean and bold.
5. Windy City Wardrobe (Chicago)
Style: She plays with prints, colors, and textures.
6. Ashley Tisdick (NY)
Style: His style is modern grunge.
7. Nina Wolves (Munich)
Style: She's giving us casual chic.
8. Curves Become Her (South Asia)
Style: Her style is retro and feminine.
9. Weesha's World (Dubai)
Style: Her style is street glam!
10. Style Trifecta (Detroit)
Style: These sisters bring their own unique styles to the table. I say great style times three :)
11. Suits Heels Curves (NY)
Style: Her style is all business with flair.
12. RolyPolyWardrobe (Berlin)
Style: Her style is playful and bright.
13. _LifeasLauren (Texas)
Style: Her style is a beat face and dope turbans with sass.
14. For the Love of Lolly (Dubai)
Style: Her style is colorful and elegant
15. Trizah_Ngesa (Africa)
Style: Her style is sexy cool.