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.

Michelle Hopewell

Michelle Hopewell

Actor/Writer at Funemployment
Black British, faith filled, curvy actress with a love for food, great music, good movies, life changing literature and awkward moments.
Michelle Hopewell

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