Michelle Hopewell


Black British, faith filled, curvy actress with a love for food, great music, good movies, life changing literature and awkward moments.

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Underrated Plus Size Babes

It’s really wonderful that so many of the fat/plus body positive/activists we know and love have managed to garner such incredible followers on their platforms. We love them because they have been so vulnerable and open with their own journeys that it has helped us so much with our own. We see them using their influence to help not only themselves but others. We see them pour their heart and soul into the work of ensuring that every harmful standard is dismantled within our society that can often be so limiting. We see them creating spaces for marginalised people. We see them getting to a place in their own lives were they are free from the shackles that once threatened to take their lives. And it’s all so wonderful!

But what about those on the same incredible journeys but with slightly smaller audiences? Perhaps they don’t post as frequently, maybe their content is slightly more modest, maybe they just don’t have the “right” USP and branding or maybe they just haven’t figured out how to beat that pesky Insta algorithm.

In any case everyone’s stories deserve to be told. Everyone’s voice matters and so whether or not your following is 42 or 42k, I think it’s important that we learn from each other, regardless of how big the platform seems to be. With that in mind, I want to share with you some of the plus babes that I follow who challenge and inspire on the daily, but have a slightly smaller following!

1. Nicole Ocran

This wonderful woman is, as she describes on her page, a marketing influencer by day and a blogger by night. I came across her page through Stephanie Yeboah (Nerd About Town) and I have to say I have been hooked ever since. Nicole’s style is slick and cool and she’s constantly positive and very relatable.  I honestly find myself taking real note of where’s she’s getting her threads because it makes me want to up my own game!

2. Zoe Warlow

A fellow Londoner, Zoe is a fashion and lifestyle blogger and I have to say that I always break out into the biggest smile whenever I see one of the Zoe’s posts on Instagram. She is so endearing and whimsical, so all I can say is do yourself a favour and make sure you’re following her.

3. Natalie (awheelbarrowfullofstyle)

I have to say that both Natalie and her blog are so beautifully put together. I usually find myself watching how she does it! That smile will draw you in and so will her sense of style. You need to make sure you’re following her on social media and regularly checking the posts on her blog.

4. Brittany Furr

Now I can’t even properly remember how I stumbled on Brittany but I have to say that I absolutely love her vibe and her plus size hauls. This woman is both hilarious, intelligent and interesting. She’s unapologetic in everyday and I’m here for it.

5. Saabirah Lawrence

This woman is a hidden gem and honestly I wish more people were following her and could hear what she has to say. Saabirah talks about everything from black natural hair to mental health. All I have to say is keep your eyes peeled on this woman because I have a feeling she’s going to absolute explode.

To be honest there are so many amazing bloggers and influencers that I am aware of that don’t have as big a following but who truly pour such goodness into my life, that I think I’ll end up doing a part two, but in the mean time enjoy these fabulous ladies and their amazing content.



I Feel…

Its always mind blowing to me when a movement that began as a way to celebrate, protect, bring awareness and include a marginalised group eventually becomes so exclusive that many people they are fighting for are no longer included. Inclusiveness leads to exclusivity which then rejects and then a black hole vortex is created leading to an alternate universe where I am the Beyonce of that world. Just before I turned 28 (Happy birthday month to me) my entire immediate family and my partner and I went to see Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty in the cinema. My age is important because even within my 20s there was a time where films talking about body image and self esteem were not being made. I did not have any kind of body acceptance of my own self and I would have had genuine anxiety seeing something that highlighted how I might feel about myself within my family and within a romantic relationship.

We forget that just because we are now reaching a turning point in the conversation about self acceptance/body acceptance/self love, doesn’t mean that a short while ago most of us were still stumbling to find our way, let alone see a blockbuster film discussing it successfully or unsuccessfully. Now my expectations for ‘I Feel Pretty’ were nonexistent, because critics have been slating it and a lot of the body positive movement have deemed it problematic because what is so special about a blonde, white, cis, financially secured and abled bodied woman? What has she got to say about the body positive movement that doesn’t involve capitalising on the courage of the people that started the movement.

Good point. Let’s discuss.

You might remember a while ago I wrote a post about no longer identifying as body positive, for many reasons and a lot of them having to do with not wanting to take up space in a community when there might be others who needed it more than me. This was despite the fact that as a marginalised and often culturally colonised black, fat woman I have every right to exist in this sphere. Regardless, I know it’s important that body positivity remains a safe space for those people it was created for and continuous to be a rebellious act of self love despite the narrative we are conditioned to have. The thing is what about self acceptance though, what about body love? Do many of us have sometimes debilitating insecurities? Yes. Do many of us struggle to accept ourselves completely? Yes. Traditionally, is it easier for people with particular body types to learn self acceptance because we live in a world that is catered to admiring them and normalising them. Do some of us struggle and have violent and visceral experiences learning to take up space? Yes.

So then who does self love belong to? Who does body and self acceptance belong to?

As per my last post I might just be posing several questions and have no actual answers to give but I think the asking is often as vital as the finding out. This is by no means a review of the film, this is a reflection on my experience of watching the film and how that relates to my own journey of self and body acceptance. I have reached a place where I believe that while body acceptance is a paramount it is not the end of the journey. Getting to the place where you love your body is important but knowing you are more than just your body is closer to the mountain top. When we discover the moment that we are not defined by our bodies or our insecurities or struggles or circumstances or fears or failures and sometimes even our successes, we get to a place where we are more willing to continue to move forward in our healing. We are more inclined to make it a place that is not just for us. We are compassionate enough to know it is as important to see as many others healed around us.

In the film there are some cliches but then isn’t life often one giant cliche (insert laughing emoji)?! The resounding message is: what if you let yourself love exactly who you are? What if you didn’t wait for a magic moment? What if you didn’t wait for diets and exercise and clothes and makeup and people to validate who you are right now in this very moment? What if you let the transformation be one that happens in the soul, mind, heart and spirit? You see people are naturally problematic because we are people and even with good intentions we can mess things up. I’m problematic. You are. Your fav celeb or singer is. Your favourite body positive inspiration is. And that’s just fine because perfection doesn’t exist in the way we think it does. What helps one can trigger another and what triggers another might be the saving grace for one. What matters is we are sensitive to one another. That we do not bulldoze or capitalise off of the pain of others. We can’t use scales to measure one another’s grief and decide whose is more important. We need to be fighting for each other. We need to be informed. We need to be educated. We need to uplift. Encourage. Raise up. Make changes.

Ultimately being in factions will lead us nowhere. Instead we need to start championing one another. We need to speak up for one another and not try and speak for each other because we can’t always do that. We need to know when to fight and who to fight or we might just end up fighting our own reflections. So just before my birthday I watched a movie about a perfectly normal and acceptable girl’s journey to love herself. She didn’t look or act like me, there were thing1s I couldn’t relate to, but the one thing I could relate to is that learning to love yourself is something we all need to do. It doesn’t matter your race or gender or sexuality or religion, social or economic background. What matters is the ‘love’ bit.


WoC Spotlight – Lyza Lawal

Lyza Lawal, writer, blogger, vlogger and student, this woman from what I can see and what I believe is absolutely unstoppable! Honestly I don’t know how we’ve been sleeping on Lyza and her content because what she brings to the table is very much the direction the plus size community should be heading! Inclusive and intersectional, I have to say that this young woman is a powerful voice here in the UK for women of colour and especially plus size women of colour. We can’t forget the impeccable sense of style as well! I’ve been frantically scribbling down notes from her insta and youtube channel for later use in my own fashion sense. Basically keep your eyes peeled for this incredible woman and her incredible work! Women like her are part of the reason I get excited about the future of blogging and the future of the plus size community.

Tell me a little bit about yourself! What’s your background and when did you start blogging? 

Hello, My full name is Elizabeth Simisola Lawal (its longer but I have to keep it short) originally from Nigeria but I live in the UK.
I study Law at the University of Birmingham and currently in my final year about to graduate.  I started blogging in October 2017 because I wanted my body and my race to be represented in the Plus Size community, I got tired of the colourism and the exclusion of black female bodies!

What is it like for you as a British plus woman of colour and blogger?

So far I haven’t had any serious experiences yet. But what I have noticed when I went to a blogger event was that there were very few Women of Colour. For Black women, I noticed that it was mostly light skinned women that were present. I did feel a bit out of place and weird but I try not let things like that affect me or stop me from achieving my dreams. As a blogger, it’s a bit daunting knowing that a brand will probably pay you less than your white colleagues. However, I want to be able to connect with those brands and inform them the value that comes with women of colour so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
Lyza Lawal
Lyza Lawal
Who are your favourite British plus WOC?

Ohhhhh this is a hard one because I love them all. But my favourite is Dennetta Mckain!

What can the plus community do to ally with you?

White women should recognise their privilege and size 14-16 women should do the same. 

What are the important topics we should know that British plus WOC are dealing with? 

Colourism and Racism, lack of diversity.

What are your hopes for the plus community and for WOC in the plus community?

For there to be communication and acknowledgement of everyone’s difference.

How do you deal with insensitivity within the community? 

Education. It’s never a fight, its a process of educating others.

Lyza Lawal Lyza Lawal

How do you deal with targeted discrimination and racism, hate speech and prejudice within and outside of the community? 

The same thing just having that discussion.

I’m your dream world what opportunities would you like to see plus WOC bloggers having?

Campaigns, Modelling opportunities and more engagement with brands.

What tips can you give other plus WOC? What helps and encourages you?
Try not to let the glass ceiling stop you from breaking barriers. Being Christian, religion and prayer is a big help for me, from body positivity to content creation. But for people who are not religious have a goal in mind, and understand there is nothing wrong with being Black! your Black is Beautiful no matter what remember that.  Also, as Black women, we shouldn’t let stereotypes of what our bodies should look like affect us. Not every black girl has a big bum or thighs and sometimes one can feel inadequate because they don’t have these physical attributes. You deserve love and affection no matter the shape of your body or the colour and hue of your skin. Don’t let peoples expectations of your body perpetuate your mind because its all poison. Define your own rules for your body and live your best life!

WoC Spotlight – Tia Vanriel

It’s been a moment since our last Woman of Colour Spotlight here at SMB and I thought what better way to kick things back off then with our own Black British beauty Tia Vanriel aka Splodge of Beauty!

This fashion, beauty and art lover is someone that should be on your radar! Both her blog and her platforms are as captivating as her. I love how honest she is with her journey and how interesting her content is!

We don’t have nearly enough plus size women of colour getting the opportunity to talk about themselves and their journey.

So without further ado, Tia:

Tell me a little bit about yourself! What’s your background and when did you start blogging? 
I am a 20 year old student from London, currently studying Criminal Psychology.
Both my parents are Jamaican, so i’ve got a decent balance between my Caribbean culture and the life I live as a brit.
I started blogging in June 2016 simply for the love of fashion and makeup and I wanted to share my finds with people. Specifically plus size black girls. Even though there were a few plus size black influencers, they were all significantly older than me or from the US which meant that most of the things they were showing, I couldn’t even get my hands on.

Blogging wasn’t my original plan; I wanted to be a Youtuber, but I lacked the confidence and was scared of what others would say, so I decided to stay hidden in a sense. Its not a regret of mine, as there is still time to be a Youtuber but I just feel like with so many plus size influencers, it can seem a bit repetitive and I want to be able to portray something different.

What is it like for you as a British plus woman of colour and blogger?

I love being a British woman of colour, however being a British woman of colour in the blogging industry can be very challenging and upsetting at times. Yes there are challenges that we face such as not getting the recognition or exposure as our peers, or not being offered the same partnerships and experiences, but I must say I am grateful for what I have achieved so far. I’m slowly but surely pushing boundaries not only for me but the hundreds of other women of colour who face these issues as bloggers.

Who are your favourite British plus WOC?

I absolutely love Grace Victory! She has been a heavy influence in my life in regards to fashion, mental health and my growing confidence. She is also one of the many reasons why I wanted to start a blog.

There are also the likes of Stephanie Yeboah, Chanel Boateng, Kayela Damaze, Enam Asiama and thats just a few off the top of my head. These women have such a presence in my life and honestly inspire me everyday.

Tia Vanriel Tia Vanriel

What can the plus community do to ally with you?

The plus community is very welcoming and family like with WOC, however it needs to extend past us. Some females can be very “fake” in regards to showing support or sharing your work. It will be that they like a few of your pictures, but never promote your latest blog or video . This doesn’t apply to all but there is so many straight size influencers who have kind of cliqued together and help boost one another and I think we need something similar, not necessarily cliques but ensuring were sharing and supporting wherever we can. Maybe its just that I haven’t found many women of my age group, but its definitely something i’m working on to boost the plus community.

What are the important topics we should know that British plus WOC are dealing with? 

-We deal with being fetishised a lot. There are males specifically that go out of their way to talk to bigger black girls, this isn’t a bad thing, the problem is they want us for amusement/ sexual fantasies and not for who we are- which are regular people!
-We also have to deal with name calling and harassment, whether that be online or in the streets . I’ve been lucky enough to have never received any negative comments or harassment of the sort but people feel like they have all right to criticise or comment just because we’re bigger/ viewed as not the “norm”.
– The topic of the word ‘flattering’ is always a problem we have to deal with. The fact that if we wear clothes that show our lumps and bumps or our stretch marks, that it doesn’t flatter us, or even when clothing can make us appear larger, all of a sudden its “that doesn’t flatter your body”. I feel like the term is just another way to say you don’t look slender or smooth in the outfit.
– Online shopping is always a challenge for us. WOC are rarely represented in Plus Model Industries in comparison to peers, so we never know what clothing truly looks like until you receive it. Colours and shades can look different depending on skin tone and as most of the items are modelled on non WOC we never actually know whether some items will suit us.

– Plus Models or Padded Models..  small breasts, flat stomached and wide hipped but as they’re over a size 16 they’re technically plus size. This is a common mistake brands make when advertising to bigger girls as not everyone is shaped as such. Models need to be more diverse in terms of shape and size so that we can try to get a better picture of what items actually look like on a bigger woman, not a photoshopped or “curvy” woman.

– Brand inclusiveness! There are so many brands that have that token black girls in their campaign and think that they are diverse all of a sudden.
– Being judged for wearing revealing clothing. Its seen as a fashion statement when a straight sized girl wear a thong to the beach but when a big girl does its classed as “too much” or “sexual”.
– People are using movements such as “body posi” as ways to grow their audience without actually knowing the true meaning behind this term. Yes body positivity is about embracing all bodies but it stemmed from the marginalised plus size community who are tired of being fat shamed and unaccepted by society.
What are your hopes for the plus community and for WOC in the plus community?
I hope that one day we’ll have more than just a handful of brands offering plus size clothing, and that they’re not just doing it to jump on the wagon, but actually have plus women in mind when designing/making the clothes.
There needs to be a boost in the amount of plus size WOC represented in the media and not just the token girls or the after thoughts. With that being said, the media needs to stop speaking on plus women as if we are breaking news. Bigger women have been around for ages yet they still mock us when discussing topics on health or food.
I also hope that there are more events and partnerships offered to us, not only for the revenue side but for people being able to meet like minded individuals who could possibly come together and start something great. There are so many people who want to make something of themselves and their brands but have all these blocks in their pathway mainly due to size and colour.

I also want more people to speak out on what it means to be plus size and topics we have to deal with. This doesn’t just help provide confidence, but educates and tells others what we have to go through on a daily basis.

How do you deal with insensitivity within the community?

Personally I don’t deal with insensitivity or have had to deal with it, I was quite lucky growing up and on social media- if anything insensitivity came from home and family in which our culture discusses weight and size quite often. They don’t tend to say things to offend you but don’t quite understand the impact it can have. To deal I remind myself that I am alive, I am happy and as long as I accept and love myself then that is all that matters. Insensitivity has taught me to be stronger and to stand up for myself.
How do you deal with targeted discrimination and racism, hate speech and prejudice within and outside of the community? 

As I said previously, I have been lucky to not have to deal with racism or discrimination aside from in my home LOL. Not to say lucky as if its a win but I haven’t had to deal with being treated differently really.

I’m your dream world what opportunities would you like to see plus WOC bloggers having?

In my dream world we’d have so many more companies owned by WOC that are both size and gender inclusive. I’d ensure plus WOC bloggers get to be taken on the same trips and excursions as our peers in the industry, with that being said i’d see that more opportunities are provided to the women with smaller audiences. I myself don’t have a huge following but the engagement and support I have is amazing! 

What tips can you give other plus WOC? What helps and encourages you?
-My favourite rule to live by is to do whatever makes you happy. 
-We have one life to live and shouldn’t have to live it in the shadows or in hiding. 
-Do not limit yourself or conform to what society wants you to feel and look like.
-Every morning, look in your mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful.
-When you’re having a bad day, remind yourself that the current feeling is only temporary and there are so many better days to come. 

I’m Problematic, But So Are You

Here we go with the controversial titles again! I genuinely think y’all are going to start boycotting me purely based off of my titles but give me a hot minute to explain myself…

A while ago I wrote about why I wasn’t body positive, and attached to that same sentiment is the culture breeding within our body acceptance community that includes sometimes calling out, or the policing of, things that are hindering what it means to be ‘body positive’ or to have self acceptance and true inclusiveness.

Whether it be brands or people, we are becoming more and more aware of when something – or someone – is problematic, outright damaging, and harmful to the community as well as to people’s journeys as individuals.

Now in a way this is awesome: we are taking responsibility for not just ourselves but for each other. We are standing up for and protecting one another, and speaking out against negative content manipulating us into harmful practices, mindsets and attitudes… but here’s my question.

Aren’t we all problematic? And how helpful is this calling out culture?

Hear me out.

I am not exempt from it, which is why in the title I say I am problematic. I absolutely am. I know that not every thing I think or do fits into someone’s definition of what it means to be a good and ‘healthy’ example of self acceptance. I strive to educate myself, correct myself, and be as sensitive as possible to others while still maintaining balance in my own life; but that doesn’t mean I am perfect.

Nor is any other blogger, vlogger or influencer you look up to.

We are disappointed when we discover our favourite artist or actor does something that is bad. We look up to them, they inspire us, and in a way because of that we expect to see something close to perfection. We even do the same to our parents. So when someone fails us or themselves we feel instant betrayal.

Though, how can we expect this example of perfection from others that we are unable to give?

Now don’t get me wrong, this does not excuse bad or manipulative behaviour in any way. It doesn’t excuse bad practice. It doesn’t excuse harmful language either, especially when people stand to profit financially from others.

A few weeks ago in my own Insta stories I tagged a plus brand about a campaign they were running – during an event happening in London – and asked why the influencers / models included weren’t more diverse and representative of race, gender and why every person was able bodied. I also tagged some of my absolute favourite bloggers and influencers who would have been great in the campaign.

I did that, not to be super petty or inappropriate, but simply because as a woman of colour I get so frustrated seeing the big plus brands making the same mistakes and not being as inclusive as possible.

You see, even body acceptance and positivity is a marketable business now and sometimes it feels the only people included are those who are seen as marketable. This means a lot of the time the people involved and the content presented is incredibly excluding.

Now, one of the amazing influencers I tagged got back to me to say that she actually was part of the campaign but in a different way, and I was so happy to hear that her important and relevant voice was being added to the campaign because we need more strong and powerful women ready to speak up for what is true and right.

Talking to her made me think though. I had, in my frustration, taken it to my social media platform and, unafraid, tagged this brand in hopes they would see it and there would be an instant reaction to do something: but how helpful is it for me to actually do something like that?

How helpful is it for me to approach seeing something problematic with more problematic behaviour wrapped up in what I feel is actually helpful.

What is the balance?

Can we be social justice warriors, stand up for each other, representation, and equality without sliding into a negative place?

I know that I am thinking twice now about whether I need to speak out and more importantly HOW I speak out.

We receive what we put out.

So if I am putting out something as negative and vicious as what is being put out elsewhere, am I not also the problem?

If the way I highlight or challenge a problem is actually steeped in my past wounds and experiences and / or an extension of my ego, am I not the problem?

How do we educate and inform one another without tearing each other down or attacking the essence of who someone is?

Honestly I don’t have all the answers. I don’t.

All I can hope is that asking these questions of myself, and others, will help us move in a direction where we find solutions together without using tools of anger, shaming, or digital abuse to get to the desired outcome.

Perhaps it’s naive of me to think we can achieve this. Perhaps it’s too idealistic, but we don’t all have to agree and get along or have the exact same definitions of self acceptance in order to help ourselves or each other on this journey.

We don’t need to be perfect.

We need to be mindful.

So that’s that. My name is Michelle, I am perfectly imperfect. I have my own limited wisdoms and I am problematic, but I hope for great things for you. I will be mindful of you and I will be a champion for you, regardless of if we are on a similar or different path.


WoC Spotlight – Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah

It’s been a hot minute since our last woman of colour blogger spotlight and what better way to kickstart 2018’s instalments than with the majestic Gloria Shuri Henry aka glowpinkstah!

Now, I have been following this beauty for many a year now. I’m a total fan and it’s such a pleasure to watch videos and read posts from this intelligent, hilarious, compassionate, open and honest woman!

SO without further ado:

Tell me a little bit about yourself! What’s your background and when did you start blogging?

I’m a San Jose, California native living in Glasgow. I enjoy musicals, playing with my kitten, animated movies that make me ugly cry, fashion, and making people laugh. I’ve been making videos full time since 2010 and have decided to fully dedicate my channel to body positivity and plus size fashion.

I started my YouTube channel, glowpinkstah, when I was in high school just to show a video I made to a friend of mine who lived in LA. After that I posted for fun for a couple of years. I mainly did comedy videos and created characters based on family and friends that I grew up with.

One of my videos went viral and it kind of had a snowball effect on my career. I was partnered with YouTube, took my first ever plane ride to NYC for work, was on George Lopez’s talk show “Lopez Tonight,” was on One Tree Hill & had a part written for me in a movie called Along The Roadside. As my career evolved I started sharing my experiences being a plus sized woman and has since led me to where I am today. Plus size fashion was always something I wanted to dabble in and since high school it has become a huge part of my career.

Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah

Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah in a blue coat

What is it like for you as a plus woman of colour and blogger?

I grew up in a pretty diverse, and at the time, less desirable area of San Jose but I did notice that I was treated differently. When I went to malls as a teen I’d be followed around and remember being asked to leave my backpack behind the front counter of some stores.

Even as an adult, and I specifically remember this because it’s happened twice in the same location. I had an appointment at an Apple store to get my laptop fixed on a busy day and was waiting for over half an hour at the genius bar and I politely asked multiple times when it’d be my turn. After a while an older white man comes up to the genius bar and says passive aggressively “Well i guess it’s like the doctor’s office. You show up and don’t know when you’ll be seen” and a good two minutes after he arrived someone saw him and I waited another 15 minutes before I got any help.

Another time I walked in with my husband so he could get help with his laptop. He’s also white, handsome, easy to talk to, and I’ve noticed that he always gets treated differently to me whenever we’re out. When we were at the same Apple store on a busy day he was helped immediately and I wasn’t acknowledged even if though was sitting right next to him. Same at Abercrombie and Fitch. Not a single hello to me and when my husband used to shop there he’d be treated like a first class citizen whereas I was just this fat person who wouldn’t fit into their clothes anyway so why bother speaking to me?


Who are your favourite British plus WOC?

I absolutely love Stephanie Yeboah, but WHO DOESN’T?! She’s so honest about how she sees things and also has a nerdy side to her. Alison Hammond always makes me cackle, I love the way she interviews people and the jokes she makes never fail to make me laugh. Bodyposipanda aka Megan Jayne Crabbe is also just a ray of sunshine. Not only do I have total hair envy (I wish my hair color was as epic as hers) but I find her story inspiring.


What can the plus community do to ally with you?

I’ve finally started to realize the meaning behind the phrase “women help women.” I just started a little series on my youtube channel, where I talk about other plus size women that people should be following if they aren’t already. I think what we can do for each other is lift each other up and support one another’s accomplishments instead of being jealous and bring each other down. I know that there have been times where I’ve been ALL kinds of petty-jealous of someone else’s success and I’ve learned that being bitter isn’t worth my time.  It’s always easier said than done to not compare yourself to others so let’s just lift each other up MKAY?!


What are your hopes for the plus community and for WOC in the plus community?

The first thing that comes to mind is more opportunities should be available to WOC. I really hope that someday we’re not an afterthought or people don’t involve WOC in campaigns just to meet a quota. I want people to genuinely understand that the world is a pretty diverse place and there’s so much to learn from people who are different.


Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah

Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah in a blue dress


How do you deal with insensitivity within the community?

It always sucks when people have awful things to say. I think it stings even worse when fat girls hate on other fat girls. We have similar, if not the same struggles, yet some people like to make others feel miserable. It’s sad. I deal with it by blocking people. I deal with too much crap to be calling out every single person and it’s just better for my mental health to just let things like that go from time to time. There are times that I feel that it’s necessary to respond, and I applaud people who call people out on a daily basis but for me, at this point in time, it’s about blocking negativity out of my life.


How do you deal with targeted discrimination and racism, hate speech and prejudice within and outside of the community?

I get people commenting on my videos and posts on instagram telling me they think my husband is gonna leave me, that he’s only with me because I’m fat, he won’t love me if I lose weight. I also get comments like “you’re gonna die soon” and “did your parents ever have children that lived?.” As I mentioned above one way for me to deal is with this is to block people.

Another way I deal with targeted discrimination is, I allow myself to feel down but then I pick myself back up and I keep posting my videos, keep showing these people that their opinions don’t matter and that even though I block them, my response is to always be passionate about what I believe in. My channel revolves around (and this is something I try to live by) self acceptance and loving the skin you’re in.


Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah

Gloria Shuri Henry of Glowpinkstah in a lace top


In your dream world what opportunities would you like to see plus WOC bloggers having?

I’d love to see more diversity including body types, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds. I do believe things are improving but WOC are still underrepresented. I actually noticed that there are few Asian women represented within the community so seeing more Asian women on the covers of magazines or in the forefront of campaigns would be amazing.


What tips can you give other plus WOC? What helps and encourages you?

What encourages me is knowing that there are people out there who have gone through similar struggles as me and continue to strive and be the boss ladies they are. I think people should always take time to feel what they’re feeling. I never benefited from bottling in my feelings and pushing them aside – it would always end badly for me so feel what you feel and when you’re ready, get right back up! Also be kind to others, but that’s something for everyone.


Thalgo UK Beauty Review

So if you read my review for the best pantos in the UK you’ll remember that I finished panto myself.

Oh yes I have!

Sorry I couldn’t resist.

One of the things that comes with being the fairy godmother is being covered in heavy make up and glitter which lets face it, is great for a while, but add in sickness, stress, anxiety, tiredness, your period, dehydration, a relentless schedule and baking lights on heavy rotation what you will end up with is, for lack of a better phrase, “mash up” skin.

It’s been bad. Y’all I mean it’s been really bad. My skin has been the worst it has ever been and for someone who usually holds pride in my clear skin, I have been learning to adjust to the phase it’s in right now.

Accepting it, not beating myself up or shaming myself for it and just being open to trying out different things to see what it responded to.

There hasn’t been a moment of rest for it. If any of you have been following me, you’ll know I have been working pretty much nonstop the two years and 2018 and 2019 are going to be the same.

Now this is a blessing but my skin is yet to get the memo.

So its become increasingly obvious I need to rehaul my regime.

After asking for tips and recommendations enter Thalgo stage left!

They were kind enough to send me some products to review and review them I did.

I patiently waited until it was January and the panto madness was over so that I could spend the month testing out the products.

I received the perfect matte moisturiser, gentle purifying gel, a mask and the gentle purifying lotion.

Now a little bit about Thalgo! Since 1964 they have been crafting spa and beauty products all based on marine intelligence. They are committed to offsetting their ecological footprint, while also crafting products naturally extracted and beneficial for skincare.

  • I started off using the mask, I did an Instagram story (make sure you follow me so you don’t miss out on first impressions- @michellehopewell) using the mask. Depending on my mood a thick mask can just be too much. I need something that’s going to do the job without feeling like I have to smear on copious amounts.

The products are all marine so they’re water based which is great because they’re not thick and over baring. The mask went on smoothly and I didn’t need multiple layers. It dried relatively quickly, I washed it off and it felt wonderful. No dryness and no residue.  Lush!

  • The perfect matte moisturiser, can we just talk about it. I’m obsessed. Now ask any black girl and she will tell you that we will not just use any face cream. It has to be right, not too heavy, not too light because then our face can get ashy and the balance is just hard to crack. But for me I think they might have done it. A couple of squeezes is enough to cover my face and keep me going for a long time. I tend to reapply at this time of year because the weather is so cold I dry out quickly, but the consistency isn’t too heavy and doesn’t add any extra oil to my face.
  • Face washes can be equally as tricky for me but I’ve really been enjoying the purifying gel because its not too harsh and it doesn’t leave your skin with that horrible dry feeling. I found it’s been great for leaving me feeling cleansed and actually removing those last particles of dirt and makeup that lingers. So I nick named it, glitter be gone!
  • Last up is the purifying lotion. Now don’t be mad but I’m new to the cleansing after washing your face and before moisturizing and I can honestly say its changed the game, not to mention this particular products mattifying abilities that low key made me feel as if I had already put a primer on! It really helps to cleanse the skin, and I found it’s quite good at tightening my pores and giving that overall tight and almost blurred look that is a wonderful start to a facebeat.

Now I will say that with my sensitive skin I found that sometimes I was worried all the products would be too harsh but actually it was fine, but I will say that if you have hyper sensitive skin, these might not be the right product for you!

Overall the products are great for those who don’t necessarily have sensitive skin and are combination of oily and dry. the water base of the products means you are getting the hydration your skin sorely needs with adding more oil!

If you fancy treating yourself on some of these cold and grey mornings, why not try some of the Thalgo spa products!


Press Night – The Dream Dress

In case you didn’t know (Why not?! You should be following me on insta @michellehopewell) we have officially begun tour life for Matilda the musical and we are teching in Leicester. Tech is when we run all the technical aspects of the show, lights, automation, sound  in line with wigs, make up, costumes, scene transitions and all that dress rehearsal jazz. We tech for a month, open and then have the first of what will be many a press night for the next 18 months.

Now this is hella exciting and not just because I get to be part of one of the most incredible British musicals with an obscenely talented cast of children and adults, but also because with each press night is a chance for a new outfit and honestly a new slay!

So with that in mind I need to get strategizing, y’all! I thought I’d share seven of my favourite dress options out there at the moment.


We all know that I have my inner bougie Queen and so I can’t help thinking this Taller Than Your Average bandeau maxi dress with a slit would have my living my full life! It’s probably not practical for this weather or a children’s musical but would I not be walking the carpet like Yonces cousin!

Yes I am still obsessed with off the shoulder even though it’s winter, and so yes this Chi Chi Black Lace Bardot would easily work for me. I love where the waist falls and sometimes working a little full but shorter skirt can be just as sophisticated as anything else!

I have to say that Evans has some slim pickings when it comes to evening wear but this particular number caught my eye. The City Chic fit and flare would be perfect for a press night in a smaller venue, plus teal is my favourite colour and it’s a reasonable price for an occasion dress.

This Boohoo premium plus embroidered and sequined dress should just come with a “For Adults Only”sign because though it’s not appropriate for a press night, I’m sort of obsessed and to be honest I can see myself rocking this on a date night, but only when bae has been really nice to me.

I also like feeling like a princess as well as a badass diva, and this Maya Bardot dress might just be one of the princess dresses of my dream! Could it be any cuter?!

Anything with pockets means that I am sold and this Coast floral skater dress is everything you’d need to look cute on the red carpet.

Standing out is something that when I feel in the mood for, I can’t help but do and honestly couldn’t do anything but that in this Star is Born one shoulder 3D embellished dress. I mean this dress is ready to be the star of the party and you know what? So am I!

Now we really are just window shopping because I have no way to finance this epic party dress fiesta but I tell you that I will do my best to look cute and feel fabulous and in any case. I’ll feel so blessed to be there that I’m sure the shine will still be apparent!