Michelle Hopewell

Michelle

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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Dressing Big Arms

Big arms! Some of us have them and they’re beautiful! However, with plus size clothing, some of the designs and cut of tops  don’t keep this in mind and so it means that some things don’t fit. This is rubbish because if you do have big arms you still want to wear blouses and shirts and fitted long sleeved dresses.

You might have read my post about coming to love and accept my big arms. Instead of trying to change my arms, I changed my perspective on them and it feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

Now that I’m letting myself live in a world where I am not ashamed or afraid to hide my body away, I thought I would share some of my favourite pieces from the AW collections that are all about showing a little arm or shoulder action!

First up… ASOS

These arm bands are so in right now and your arms deserve some bling so:

ASOS Arm Cuff

 

Yours

Cold shoulders are pretty much a staple in plus fashion. A lot of people have hypothesized that this is because it is a way to hide upper arms, but I personally think you could use this off the shoulder number as a way to accentuate!

 LIMITED_COLLECTION_Black_Cold_Shoulder_Wrap_Dress_With_Holographic_Glitter_210276_9396

It’s winter and cold but what if you’re going away to find some winter sun? You’ll need this for some evening wear.

Black_Pink_Floral_One_Shoulder_Top

 

New Look

Just because it’s not spring doesn’t mean you can’t wear a cute floral, plus this is on sale!

curves-black-floral-border-print-dress

 

Don’t shy away from short sleeves. Long or short sleeve you’ll rock this gorgeous floral fitted dress!

blue-vanilla-curves-red-floral-tie-back-tulip-dress

 

George

I’m rather late to the jumpsuit game but now I have been converted and I’ll never go back! You don’t need a LBD to slay!

glitter jumpsuit george asda

 

Pink Clove

This is cold shoulder but with a twist and it’s cute af!

plus-cassandra-tie-up-sleeve-skater-dress-p1212-10485_medium

 

Pink Clove know how to do a unique cold shoulder and it’s a wonderful way to show off your arms!

 pink-clove-plus-perina-cold-shoulder-high-neck-cullotte-jumpsuit-p1186-10464_medium

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Why I’m Not Body Positive

Firstly, Happy New Year you wondrous and glorious spirits. Let’s start this year off with something positive!

Secondly, sorry for the controversial and clickbaity title but it seemed like the perfect way to sum up something I have been pondering for a while. I no longer want to describe myself as body positive.

Before you come running at me with pitchforks and torches and screaming for me to be thrown from the bell tower, let me just step back and explain myself.

It goes without saying but…wait no, you’re right. It does need to be said and clarified on the regular because it’s important to check in, but I accept and love my body. I am on a perfectly imperfect journey with my vessel and I have feel gratitude and adoration for the gift of living.

Now that being said let’s get down to business. Mulan pun fully intended.

You see for the last few months in the plus size and body positive community there seems to have been quite a bit of debate about who the body positive movement belongs to. If you’re not aware, then this is a great opportunity to do some homework. The movement and the subsequent culture stemmed from the need for marganilsed bodies, especially those of colour, to create a safe space for themselves to reclaim their own selves, which for so long has been used as a way of shaming, stereotyping and abusing those who live in fat bodies of colour. Bodies that don’t fit into the standards set up for us by society and my the media. Bodies that are not regularly celebrated but are regularly subjugated for whatever the convenience might be.

Bearing that in mind the movement swept across the globe and of course for so many of us who have felt “other” and experience exclusion frequently, there was suddenly something that meant we would without a doubt be included and accepted.

A community where you could unapologetically exist without the fear of not being good enough or fitting in or the breeding ground for continuous self loathing.

Suddenly there were empowered bodies on mass and the platform was social media. People all over the world were bearing their souls and accepting themselves – not only that but uplifting and encouraging each other to find their own similar freedom.

In a world where conglomerate businesses make their biggest revenue from our insecurities, surely this would have been some of the most terrifying and threatening shows of the human spirit incarnate.

With that in mind, body positivity doesn’t really belong to anyone. The idea of being positive about your body and loving your body is something that should be universal.

It shouldn’t be that some people get to love themselves and others don’t. So please regardless of who you are and even if it’s uncomfortable, love yourself.

Now what is important is to acknowledge that there has not always been an equal ground for all people to love themselves regardless of who they are.

For a long time it’s been okay to love yourself if you slot into the bracket of what is ideal western beauty. This means that the majority of the world is then being told they are not to love themselves. They are being told to do everything they can to change themselves until they can fit because nothing will change to accommodate them.

I don’t have to ask many to imagine a world where they don’t have a space to exist because it’s the reality in which most of us lived a good chunk of their lives.

So enter body positivity for marginalised bodies. “Other” bodies. Bodies that do not necessarily fit into the norm. Enter a world in which those bodies can dismantle every dangerous, unhealthy and damaging lie and self hating tactic they have learned over the years.

It’s a thing of beauty. Self aware, courageous, fierce, strong people coming together to create something that means they can not only survive in their bodies and lives but thrive. I get all tingly thinking about it!

By now we’ve all heard of the idea of privilege and being aware of your individual privileges and not using them to bully or shame your way into gaining even more opportunities than many do not have. That’s what has been happening recently. The capturing and colonizing of a movement that’s purpose was once sacred becoming currency. A money maker. A fad. A trend.

No longer about acceptance but entirely about changes that do not benefit the mind, heart and soul, but are soley are about the body fitting into a different but still purchased version of western beauty disguised as body positivity. This comes around because of the abuse of our privileges; and so consequently I have spent many weeks thinking about whether I am contributing to the destruction of something that helped be the remaking of my mindset.

I spent nights in my bed fretting about whether if any blame lay with me. Sensitive to the end I shed tears wondering if I was part of hindering anyone’s journey as a trigger, comparison counterpart or taking up space that someone else might sorely need. So I started thinking about how to leave room for those who might truly need it to have a safe space to exist within this community.

I decided that I won’t ever say I’m further on in my journey than I am. I won’t speak for anyone other than myself but I will pray for and encourage as many others as possible. I will encourage anyone that finds me hindering in their own journey to feel no guilt in choosing to not follow me. I will be aware of my privileges in the community and I will speak for those of us who are minorities and I will champion others doing the same.

So I am self accepting. I am body loving. But I am not a body positivity leader; and for those who are, I salute you, I thank you and I am with you!

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Woc Spotlights – Tara

Next up on our wonderful Woc Spotlight is Tara! It’s been a pleasure sourcing all these amazing bloggers of colour and having them talk about their stories and perspectives. Long may we continue to celebrate and champion our incredibly diverse plus community!

Tell me a little bit about yourself! What’s your background and when did you start blogging?
I started blogging approximately 1 year ago, I am putting together a bunch of giveaways to celebrate which I am SO excited about! I am a mixed race (South American and Jamaican) English Literature and Linguistics Graduate (BA Hons, MA) from London and I run a tuition company where I teach English, Science, Maths and French to a range of children and adults.

Writing was my first passion, I had started many projects from poetry to novellas before I began blogging. Beauty has always been a deep rooted passion of mine, but it is only when I became inundated with questions on my social media, that I decided to start my blog! I write about beauty products, conduct reviews and I also write about hair care, skin care, lifestyle, travel and plus size fashion too. I really want to get more into the plus size fashion world and am looking forward to putting together some new content.

What is it like for you as a British plus woman of colour and blogger?
It is…interesting. There are so many representations of different women. But mixed race, black, Asian and Plus size? Not really. In addition to this, I find the representations unfairly contrived and unimaginative. Brands and social moguls all seem to be the ‘acceptable’ version of plus size: great skin, not too many stretch marks (or edited out) no rolls, no back fat, no cellulite, no dark patches under arm pits or between legs….to me…that is just not life.

 

Who are your favourite British plus WOC?
Grace Victory is definitely my favourite plus sized WOC from the UK. She has an amazing message and isnt afraid to speak out on sore subjects too. If you are in a position of power, I always have much more respect for people who use it wisely.

What can the plus community do to ally with you?
I wish that the Plus sized community supported other plus sizers in more than just the fashion field, not just showing support for plus size fashion bloggers. If I see a plus sized, WOC, I do my best to support; whether they are in the travel, beauty, fashion, parenting… Regardless of genre. I will give their content a try and support through a like, a view, a share. If it doesn’t end up being ‘my thing’ then it is not the end of the world. I find the plus sized community do not branch out enough and read/explore the internet as much as they could and should!

What are the important topics we should know that British plus WOC are dealing with?
Brands are catching on, but people need to realise that plus sized WOC have NOT been represented for long, it is only in the past 1 – 2 years that we have been seeing ourselves represented in the media, in adverts on TV, in magazines etc. There has been a huge lack of representation for a long long time.

Celebrating plus WOC then, is not an attack on every other type of woman, it is simply a cry of pleasure and rejoicing that finally, people are acknowledging us.

There is also a damaging stereotype which projects a bad attitude or boyish, violent and unstable personalities upon plus sized women of colour, which disables them from being feminine, elegant, pure, simply beautiful like other women in the industry (acting, singing, modelling, blogging, beauty etc) It is almost like big women of colour need to have huge personality to be funny or outrageous, they can never simply be beautiful.

What are your hopes for the plus community and for WOC in the plus community?
I hope that there will be more opportunities for exposure for models, singers, bloggers and others who want to earn recognition for their talents. After all, there are some talented plus size women of colour out here! If our appearance is normalised, perhaps we will be considered for more roles than just the wacky friend or an extra with attitude in films, or an ‘alternative’ blogger.

How do you deal with insensitivity within the community?
Luckily, I have not had to deal with too much. But my only method of ‘dealing’ with insensitivity – people who protest that racism/prejudice or plus size/body bashing doesn’t exist, those few size 12-14 models who have an hour glass shape with no rolls or stretch marks who say that they ‘represent all’ plus size WOC – is to ignore it.

I know what is out there, for plus sized women and for WOC. I read Twitter comments. I see comments on Instagram. I hear when guys say ” You’re actually really pretty in real life” There is so much subtext to people’s compliments. So much hidden thoughts behind protests and choices from brands. I usually name and shame or share, but ignore in a sense, to conserve my sanity and self esteem. I do not want to taint my message of love and positivity with the prejudice of others.

How do you deal with targeted discrimination and racism, hate speech and prejudice within and outside of the community?
Again, similar to the last question, I choose to ignore it. I rise above all instances of discrimination but with social media accessible to many, now I share all instances and experiences to raise awareness on such issues.

In your dream world what opportunities would you like to see plus WOC bloggers having?
I would like to see more bloggers with DIFFERENT shapes and sizes model clothes, raise awareness about feminine points of interest; fitness, leisure, love, sex, relationships, fashion, beauty, hair etc.

 

💙

A post shared by Tara Wilson (@tzonetara) on

What tips can you give other plus WOC? What helps and encourages you?
Follow inspirational women. Women who support women. Read body-positivity blogs, to help broaden horizons and help come to terms with insecurities and worries that ALL women have. Sometimes it is easy to think we are alone in our insecurities. I did. It is only when I saw on social media that other women had folds, other women had stretch marks, MANY women have cellulite that I realised I was not alone.

 

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Learning to Love My Big Arms

arms

I used to – and admittedly sometimes still do – have a massive problem with my arms. You see, I have big arms and excess skin and there’s nothing that I’ve ever done that has made them any smaller. They jiggle and flap and I used to detest them so much that the thought of anyone seeing them made me break into a cold sweat. Heck. Even me seeing them made me break out in a cold sweat. They were one of the many things about myself that I couldn’t accept.

On my journey of self acceptance I’m working hard towards learning how to not only accept my big arms, but love them. It took me so long to wrap my mind around the fact that everyone else around me didn’t have this thing and that I might never be able to or want to change to my arms to be anything else. It’s taken years of layering and cardigans regardless of temperature and weather, to resolve myself to the fact that I can do more than just survive big arms – I can thrive!

It wasn’t an overnight change. The reality was I had lived more than a decade finding new ways to dislike my body and new ways to punish and shame myself because of it. I thought my body was a failure in it’s entirety and then I felt like I was failing just dedicating so much energy to hating myself!

Even though I had a support system of people telling me that they loved me and that I was beautiful – and because of my faith I had a belief that I was loved by God – I still felt like I wasn’t worthy of any of their love, let alone love from myself. From the moment I was old enough to understand that I was bigger than all of my petite friends, I knew that I had to do all I could to hide the fact.

Imagine 10 year old Michelle. She would have full on melt downs at home if her only clean PE kit involved wearing shorts. How sad that even from a young age we’re already afraid of our bodies. Already disappointed that they don’t meet a westernised standard of beauty. While the rest of my friends and peers wore cute tops and dresses showing off their arms, I spent most of time agonising over why they didn’t just put sleeves on summer clothes. I took to borrowing t-shirts off of my older brother purely because men’s t-shirts have longer sleeves!

I wore cardigans on top of nearly everything and in nearly all weather. If the shirt I was wearing sported short arms, I had my trusty long sleeved shirt to wear underneath. Thankfully in the early 2000 layering was the fashion so no one questioned me, but as time went on the people around me started questioning what was obviously an uncomfortable choice.

Sometimes I would say I was just cold, sometimes I would jokingly said I was making a fashion statement and then sometimes if I was feeling really vulnerable I would feel attacked and get on the defensive. What did it matter? It wasn’t anyone’s business! Surely I can just wear it and not have a problem!

Years of this never-ending cycle started to wear thin on me. I had to face facts. I didn’t like my body, I especially didn’t like my arms and something had to change. The journey to that change has been long, hard and tiring, sometimes I take 10 steps forward only to feel like I have taken 8 steps back, but I’m learning that judging myself on that is relative because any progress is still progress.

The first time I wore something that showed my arms I felt my heart palpitate. I had allowed it to be come such a deeply rooted psychological fear that actual symptoms were manifesting, but as with many things: sometimes jumping head-first can be the way to assuage that fear. That’s exactly what I did. I allowed myself to be in positions where I had to show my arms. Whether it was going swimming, changing in front if people or not making excuses as to why I had to keep my t shirt on for a costume fitting, eventually the fear began to dissipate.

There was no quick-fix and it hasn’t been easier by any means but that’s the point of a journey.

It doesn’t matter what our journey looks like, what matters is that we are on it.

The body acceptance movement opened new doors on my journey. Suddenly I was seeing all kinds of people happily and proudly loving their bodies. I saw other women with big arms not living in fear of people seeing them and proudly baring them. It gave me the confidence to begin doing this myself so that eventually I found my own courage and strength. Until eventually it was no longer even an act of bravery to do so, it was just living.

I still have times where I struggle with my arms. When I look at them and worry about why they don’t look like someone else’s but then I remember that that is the beautiful part of it. They don’t look like someone else’s. They look like mine. They belong to me. They are a gift to me. Gifts are worth cherishing and loving and that’s exactly what I aim to do.

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It’s Panto Season (oh yes it is!)

It’s about that time you guys! I know not all of you love Christmas but for those of us who have been hiding in the shadows for the last 11 months, we are finally able to shout loud and proud:

WE LOVE CHRISTMAS!

That being said it’s been Christmas for me since about late October as I entered into panto rehearsals and began performances mid November.

So since it’s December and it’s nearly Christmasssssssss I thought I would give you a run down of the top pantos to see across the countries.

panto

London – Now I’m a pretty bias so I couldn’t possibly tell you that the Greenwich Theatres production of Cinderella is the panto of the season for panto, wink wink, nudge, nudge, but going by the reviews Peter Pan at the Wembley arena looks like the most magical evening out you could have!

Big budget with big stars if you’re looking for a commercial, musical theatre quality panto, this is the one for you!

Down South –
Sleeping Beauty is currently a bit hit. Playing at the Grove Theatre in Bedfordshire there’s some well known tv names and of course one of the most beloved fairy tales out there!

Midlands –
Cinderella is definitely the favourite of this year’s panto season across the country. How can we resist rags to riches tale though? Playing at the Milton Keynes Theatre this is perfect if you fancy a bit of a giggle but also want your heart warmed.

North –
If you’re not really a massive fan of panto and interaction but you’re willing to have some festive family friendly fun (mouthful) why don’t you try a musical instead? Nearly everyone loves the movie Elf right? Did you know there’s a musical version and did you know it’s playing at the Lowry in Manchester right now? Quick get your tickets!

Wales –
There are loads of great shows to choose from in Wales right now but apparently one of the favourites this year is Jack and the Beanstalk at the Princess Royal Theatre!

Scotland –
Now my family has lived in Scotland for years now and having tread the boards at the Tron Theatre myself I can safely say that it is one of the BEST pantos you’re going to find! It’s in Glasgow and is well worth the trip no matter where you are in Scotland. This year’s show is Alice and Weegie Land! Written by the hilarious and wonderful Johnny McKnight this will become your new annual favourite!

NI –
The favourite here is Aladdin without a doubt! Playing at the SSE Arena this is of course one spectacular show! I’m bias of course, I love the story of Aladdin and my boyfriend is a Belfast boy, but you be sure that they’ll deliver a night to remember!

So get yourself to a show and get into the festive spirit!

You won’t regret.

OH NO YOU WON’T!

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Tips To Ditch Festive Shame

We made it you guys! We’re so close to the 2017 finish line. I am constantly in awe of how quickly a year can pass and how much can happen globally, nationally, and socially.

What a gift that we did make it this far because so many didn’t and what a gift that along the way we have learned so many lessons about ourselves and about the world.

As the year draws to a close and we enter into this season of festivity we also have to admit that for some of us this is the hardest time. When we come from a culture that is about consumption and shaming, how do we navigate away from those harmful practices? This time of year can be a difficult period of facing things that we have struggled with all year, but as the tinsel is hung over the tree, we might also be hung up on all the things that pose a potential threat to the progression you might have made in your journey to self acceptance.

We forget that the festive season is about love and instead we spend fretting over the amount food we’ve eaten. The clothes we have to wear. The presents we have to magically be able to afford. The family time we need to invest in, whether we struggle with our families or not. The work nights out that makes us feel isolated. The excessive amount of spending. The expectations we have for ourselves and our loved ones.

There is a way to enjoy this period without harmfully shaming yourself for the very act of living. Here are some of the tips I’m going to put into practice this festive season.

DON’T BE OVERLY AMBITIOUS
Now the problem with the holidays is that we overload ourselves. We tell ourselves we absolutely need to say yes to everything that is being thrown at us, but in reality we can’t and we shouldn’t. You need to prioritise the things that are important. Don’t overload your December diary!

SIMPLE IS STILL LOVE
For a long time my family has made it tradition to make present giving as simple as possible. The season for us isn’t about how much money we can spend on each other, it’s about how much we can love on one another. Why not be more inventive and personal with your gifts. Give something thoughtful to the people you love and don’t fixate on if it’s the most expensive gift being retailed.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF FOOD
One of the biggest fears some people have is others judging the amount of food you’ll eat, but you can’t live your life living to please someone  else. Whatever self care practices you have had throughout the year apply to festive meals. Remember that food is food – it is not morally good or bad – and you will not restrict yourself because of fear.

BE CONFLICT FREE
No family or friendship circle is perfect. We all have things we struggle about with each other. Little things that have hurt our feelings or little things that bothered us.  The holidays can compound and niggle and exaggerate those problems and that’s only natural, but know that gatherings are not organised so that you can turn them into battle grounds. Instead of putting on your armour for war, try taking down your shield all together and practice forgiveness. If you’re finding it hard to hold your tongue, take a step outside and recalibrate. Easier said than done, but try letting it go. Cue song.

TRADITIONS
They’re wonderful and steeped in history and culture but for some of us they might be triggering of some of the things that we’ve gone through. So you know what? This is an opportunity to make your own! What traditions would you like to incorporate and practice into your life now? You can bring really beautiful new things into your life and the lives of those you love. Whether it’s the practice of donating time or money, being thankful or going carolling.

TAKE A BREAK
In the same way it’s okay to say no to some of the things happening over these period because you’ve got an overwhelming amount on, it’s also okay to take a break. Self care doesn’t stop because something global is happening. Self care becomes even more imperative when these things are happening. We are at our best when we look after ourselves, so take the time out that you need. De-stress, practice mindfulness, stay positive, be kind to yourself and others and surround yourself with peace and positivity.

Regardless of what you have gone through this year or what you might be going through in the next one, please be proud of all that you have done and appreciate the gift of making it this far in your journey. Have a wonderful festive season!

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Old Body, New Body, Same Body

It used to be that I would get mad at my slim friends for saying that they felt or looked fat even though they were slim. I couldn’t believe they would insult themselves to such a level that they would compare themselves to my fat body. I wanted desperately to be as small as them.

Now I get mad because being fat isn’t a sliding scale for how worthy or beautiful you are, and it should not be a measure of whether your body is socially acceptable according western standards of beauty.

When I think of the years wasted on wanting to have the body of the woman next to me, I feel great senses of grief, but then even that grief I learn to process and remove because I cannot spend my precious time on earth what if-ing.

Old Body, New Body, Same Body

I have written before about the flaws in transformation tuesdays and glow ups that suggest your old body is something to be dismissed, something to be embarrassed about, and reflect over in loathing.

The root and focus of transformations should come from something within the soul and spirit. The desire to connect to loving yourself at all stages because the truth is you won’t always have all the control over your body you want.

Life has a way of presenting us with circumstances that mean our narrow mindsets are to be challenged. Maybe a person will come into your life, or perhaps you will end up in a situation, that forces you to shine a light on your heart and your mind.

Something that forces you to come to terms with the fact that these bodies are but flesh and bones. They are the structure to encase something that is way more valuable than you realise.

Why place the entirety of your worth in a perception of beauty that does not exist? So much of what we tell ourselves is beautiful and loveable comes from a social construct. A profitable ideal pushed by the media and industries.

You are not solely defined by the weight or shape of your body. You are not incomplete because of your genetic makeup. Whether you build abs in minutes or store fat in seconds, what should it matter?

Do you treat your body with the respect it deserves? Do you cherish the gift of life you have been given? Do you listen to your body and care for it? Do you unconditionally support and accept the bodies you see around you?

That is what matters.

There is nothing wrong with your body of yesterday or your body of tomorrow.

If you’re using the “new you” to dismiss the validity of the old you, you have completely missed the point.

Don’t you get it? You were enough from the get go! You just told yourself otherwise. You bought into the lies that we are told and the lies we tell ourselves.

We let ourselves be blinded by online content and by our friends social media. We look at people who inspire us, or people we aspire to be like, and we are trapped in their narrative instead of being concerned about our own.

You took fiction for fact and wrapped yourself up in a deception so institutionalised you don’t even see the lifelong harm you could cause yourself.

If little 8 year old you was stood in front of you right now, would you tell her that who she is isn’t good enough? Would you dash the hope and faith of a little girls heart?

I certainly hope not.

So the woman before you and the woman you are growing to be deserves that same love. That same affection. That same attention. That same adoration.

How can you be so magnificently and intricately designed and think that you’re worthless? How can you see how uniquely wonderful you are and find ways to pile on hate and loathing?

The journey to dismantling that is gruelling and challenging. It is hard and the road often feels narrow…but don’t give up.

Either way I am standing at your roadside cheering you on! This is a road without time limits, without a list of requirements or abilities necessary.

This is a road that will make winners of us all.

 

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WoC Spotlights – Zeynab

You guys, we need to take a minute and have a really real conversation before we jump into this awesome interview that will be the first of many with plus bloggers who are women of colour.

We need to just sit ourselves down with a steaming cup of tea and come to terms with the fact that there is a genuine diversity problem when it comes to the plus size blogging, fashion and beauty community. When you say the words plus size or use the phrase body positivity, most of the names that will come to your mind will probably be those of white, able bodied women. Now, this isn’t a problem – the problem is when they are the only people you think of.

When the body acceptance movement is so diverse and so vast, we need to make sure that the voices we are hearing and the faces and bodies we are seeing belong to a diverse group of people. We cannot only highlight the people who fit into institutionalised western ideals of beauty and acceptance.

So the WoC Spotlight series is going to be an opportunity for us to really celebrate how wonderfully different we all are. Besides that’s the whole point right? We are meant to be a community of tolerant people who fiercely champion the the acceptance of all!

 

A post shared by Zeynab (@thebeautyloadblog) on

 

Now that being said, lets get to know Zeynab. A London based beauty blogger, this incredible woman is giving us all we need and should know about beauty. The aesthetic is to live for and all of the beauty tips are being put into practice in my life with immediate effect. Let’s get to know her some more and hear about what its REALLY like being a plus WoC in the blogging community!

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

Hi, my name is Zeynab. I currently blog for my own beauty and lifestyle blog. I started blogging to share my love of all things beauty, after falling head over heels for the blogging community. I wanted to share my personal experience and perspective when it came to beauty. When I was starting out, I feel like there wasn’t anyone that was like me. I am a brown girl with hijab and there wasn’t someone that I could identify with, so I chose to create that person.

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

When many people think of bloggers, the names that instantly come to mind are not women of colour or plus sized. Especially within beauty blogging, sometimes I go to events I stick out like a sore thumb because I am so different. That is a good thing but also very uncomfortable for me. I feel so out of place and often question my place in the blogging community.

Who are your favourite British plus WOC?
I don’t have one favourite, I am that type of person that finds it so hard to just choose one. But at the moment, I am really into Grace Victory’s content. I love what she is about and the message is sending out. I love that she is opening a conversation about diversity in the blogging world, because let’s face it: it’s not diverse and it’s upsetting because the blogging community is for many people a different realm from the real world. However, it’s become this big corporation and it’s taken away from the realness and reliability of blogging. That’s why it’s important to start the conversations, and not be apologetic as people of colour that are plus size, and talk about these topics.

 

A post shared by Zeynab (@thebeautyloadblog) on

 

What can the plus community do to ally with you?

I feel like the plus size community is so supportive and inclusive, just to remain like that.

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

It’s difficult because you are dealing with fat shaming and then of top of that, racist prejudices. It’s hard when society makes you feel like you are not good enough because you don’t look a certain way, you are not a certain size, and you don’t have a light enough complexion. What’s even more sad, is that a lot of times me and you are affected by these ideals and we try so hard to change ourselves to fit these unrealistic ideals. You waste so much time and your life trying to get people to accept you, it’s not worth it. I am no means at point where I don’t care but I am working towards it. I will tell you for free it’s a lot less stressful and you just feel so much happier.

 

 

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

I want plus and WOC to be given the same opportunities as any other individual. I want them to continue to make big waves and be unapologetic in everything they do.

How do you deal with insensitivity within the community? 

I don’t have a huge following, so that means that I have a small supportive community following me. The odd remarks I do get, I try the hardest to ignore them. These remarks are a reflection of the person leaving them and nothing to do with you as person and I am not going to let that affect me.

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

It’s hard. But I try to be open and unafraid to bring up these topics on the platforms that I do have. It’s about keeping the conversation going and educating people.

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

I want to do big things. Big campaigns, brand ambassadors everything!

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

Just ignore everyone else and do you.
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For more from the wonderful Zeynab, be sure to head on over to her blog and check out her Instagram and Twitter too!
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