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6 Fun Summer Activities to Stay Fit

The gym is great, but I’ve personally always loved experience-based exercise more. I just feel much more engaged. With summer coming, it’s time to take advantage of the good weather and stay fit while having fun! Here are 6 fun summer activities to stay fit:

  1. Go Swimming! 
    • Race your friends in the pool.
    • Swimming is a full body workout, exercising your arms, legs, and torso
    • “The water keeps you cool, even as your heart gets a great workout. You’ll probably be able to keep yourself going for a longer time than if you were running. That’s because it’s fun and gentle on your joints and muscles” (webmd)
  2. Take a Hike, literally.
    • Hiking is a great way to see beautiful things over the summer. Find the nearest spot near you!
    • It has also been found to:
      • Lower your risk of heart disease.
      • Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
      • Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise.
      • Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs.
      • Strengthen your core. (webmd)
  3. Play ultimate Frisbee
    • Not only is ultimate frisbee a fun way to compete with your friends, it is also a good way to:
      • increase sprinting and endurance
      • burn calories with interval training
      • increase resting metabolic rate
      • increase agility (healthfitnessrevolution)
  4. Jump Rope
    • It’s time to access your inner child! Bring out all your double dutch skills.
    • Jump rope is an awesome way to improve cardiovascular fitness while toning muscle (webmd)
  5. Take a Bike Ride!
    • Riding your bike can lead to
      • increased cardiovascular fitness.
      • increased muscle strength and flexibility.
      • improved joint mobility.
      • decreased stress levels.
      • improved posture and coordination.
      • strengthened bones.
      • decreased body fat levels.
      • prevention or management of disease. (webmd)
  6. Find your zen with outdoor yoga
    • Doing yoga outside is a perfect way to enjoy nature and relax.
    • Did I also mention that yoga can lead to:
      • Increased flexibility.
      • Increased muscle strength and tone.
      • Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
      • Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
      • Weight reduction.
      • Cardio and circulatory health.
      • Improved athletic performance.
      • Protection from injury (webmd)

 

What are you waiting for? Go have some fun!

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Why Dating in Your 30’s is Way Better Than Dating in Your 20’s

I recently got out of a serious relationship and was “not excited,” (strong understatement) to find myself back in the dating world. The thought of getting back out there made me want to climb into my bed and hide under my covers… FOREVER. But, I have been pleasantly surprised with what I have discovered and realized. In fact, I think dating in your 30s is actually pretty rad! Here’s why:

You know the power of focus.
A lot of us who are single now in our 30s spent our 20s focused on building careers, traveling, or figuring out who we are and what’s important to us. Now, perhaps we have decided we’d like to focus on building a life with someone, or on having a family. I find that whatever we put our focus on is what we draw in. So, we’re much more likely to draw in the type of relationship we are looking for because we’re a lot clearer on what we want.

You see the red flags sooner and get out.
Raise your hand if you ended up investing months or years of your life in a completely dead-end relationship because you either rationalized all the red flags away or completely ignored them. (My hand is raised. High. A few times.) These relationships usually do not leave you better than they found you. Personally, I have no time for this anymore. Now, when I see the red flags early on, I don’t move forward with the guy,

You recognize your worth and value.
The reason so many women ignore or rationalize away the red flags is because they feel desperate to be in a relationship. As women, we have been trained by the media, our parents, society, culture, to believe that our worth is based solely on whether or not we’re married (especially by a certain age) or have a boyfriend. So, in our 20s, we may have behaved with a lack of self-respect or self-esteem, and acted needy and desperate in order to validate ourselves through a man. But by our 30s, we have learned to see that our true value has nothing to do with a man or being a relationship.

You know that relationships do not make or break your life.
We know that relationships are a truly amazing addition to our lives, but they do notmake our lives. By our 30s, we have created happy, full lives for ourselves, and know that we don’t need a relationship to make us whole. Plus, we’ve been through breakups and found out that, surprise, our lives didn’t actually end!

You have better sex.
We have experienced what we like in bed by now, and aren’t afraid to ask for it. Also, when we were having sex in our 20s, we were constantly worrying if our stomach fat was hanging out, or how our butt looked. By our 30s, we care less about how we look and more about just straight up enjoying it.

You know what you like and what you believe in.
We believe in past lives, we yell VERY loudly when we get excited about something, we like Star Wars, going to bed by 10:00 p.m., and finding the perfect wine (to the point of sometimes being called a “wine snob”) and I — oops I mean, we — have no need to hide or change those aspects of ourselves. We don’t need to pretend that we are into things like camping, sports, or certain bands or food the way we we may have done in our 20s to try to get a guy to like us (it always come back to bite us in the ass anyways). We know our stance on politics, religion, and spirituality, and we don’t need to hide it or pretend otherwise. In fact, sharing certain beliefs and feelings in an open, non-judgmental way allows for a depth to develop between two people and makes for interesting and enlightening conversations.

By our 30s, we learn that we’d like to base and build a relationship on TRUTH, and if the guy doesn’t like who we are, then he’s not the right guy. As the wrongfully attributed Dr. Suess quote goes, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” (actually, a dude named Bernard M. Baruch said it).

You know that relationships are meant to make both people better… and that, sometimes, you shouldn’t immediately jump ship.
I believe relationships are vehicles to help each person become the highest version of themselves. And sometimes, that means there is tension, disagreement, discomfort, anger, and ego. Nothing can trigger our deep-seated fears of abandonment, rejection, and loss of freedom like love. Too often, people jump ship as soon as they are triggered. But I have learned in my 30s that if both people involved care about each other and want the highest good for themselves and their partner, you don’t jump ship at first sign of it. There may be an amazing breakthrough on the other side of it.

You believe in LOVE.
Many of us have had great relationships, but have known that for one reason or another it wasn’t right. I know both men and women who have gotten married to someone they weren’t sure was right for them or if they were in love with simply because they felt like it was time for them to do it and that they were supposed to. Many of us in our 30s who are single have had the opportunity for that kind of marriage (or perhaps, even were married), but knew in our hearts that there was so much more. There is a part deep inside of us that believes in “real, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t live without each other love,” to quote the famous Carrie Bradshaw. If we didn’t, we would have settled a long time ago.

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Summer Beauty: My 15 Best Tips in One Spot

What to do with your hair, makeup and skincare in hot weather

 

Summer, like winter, requires its own special beauty tricks. After all, it is in summer that your eyeshadow becomes a greasy pool in your eyelid creases, your hair falls flat or frizzes to a crisp and your hair color looks like mud against your tan.

But have no fear, there are fixes to your summer beauty problems. To keep you looking best, here are my 15 favorite beauty tips for the hot season.

It’s All About the Skin

Forget your eye makeup and your lips and making them up perfectly. Any makeup artist will tell you the secret to flawless beauty is not about the “perfect eye” or the “perfect lip,” it’s all about even skin tone. This is especially true in the warm summer months when you naturally want to wear less makeup.

Get your skin in shape and you’ll find you need less makeup. Here are some tips:

  • If your skin is uneven, blotchy or pimply, get thee to the dermatologist and figure it out. Don’t try to solve your skin problems yourself.
  • Lasers are wonderful. They can fix red lines and completely, totally rejuvenate your skin.
  • Keep your face protected from the sun. This means SPF of at least 40, preferably higher. And wear a hat when at the pool or the beach. Reapply often.

Pick the Right Self-Tanner

I once saw the gorgeous model Helena Christensen in the West Village. First I thought, “Oh look, there’s Helena! We’re the same height!” Then I thought, “Oh my. Helena’s a victim of the orange, splotchy, bad self-tanner legs.” I’ve seen quite a few orange women wandering around these days, a shame considering there are so many great self-tanners on the market that look super natural.

Keep Your Makeup From Melting Off Your Skin

For years I watched helplessly as my eyeshadow melted into my eyelid crease by the middle of the day. Then I discovered primers, which will keep eye makeup in place for hours, including through workouts, days at the beach and humid, summer nights.

One other tip: skip the pencil eyeliners for summer and opt instead for a liquid liner, which won’t budge as the day wears on. As for mascara, waterproof mascara is a great bet.

The 4 Makeup Items to Embrace

Summer days means you can get away with less makeup. For the freshest, most natural looking face, embrace these 4 beauty items:

  • Fake eyelashes. There’s nothing quite so alluring as a natural face devoid of makeup, but with long lashes and lip gloss. Skip the mascara which can run and try fake lashes. Either get them done professionally or apply your own with strips or individual lashes. Ardell 301s are the perfect fake lashes.
  • A light, pink lip gloss. Plump up lips with a bit of color and gloss. The best way to do this is to get tinted gloss.
  • Bronzer. Since you’re keeping your face out of the sun, you can add in a bit of color with bronzers. Brush bronzer on where the sun would naturally hit: your forehead, cheeks and nose.
  • BB cream. A good BB cream provides everything you need in one dollop of product: sunscreen, tint and anti-aging properties.

What You Can Skip in Summer

You likely have your beauty routine that you’ve had forever. But there are some changes you can make in summer. Here are a few of them:

  • No need to wash your face in the evening and in the morning. Too much cleansing can strip skin of oils. A quick rinse in the morning should suffice.
  • Don’t over exfoliate as you might in winter. Exfoliating removes the top layers of skin making it extra susceptible to sun burn.
  • Try not to shampoo daily. Instead, use a dry shampoo to soak up any extra oils. Your hair will be healthier.
  • No need for a heavy moisturizer in summer. A light one should do you.
  • Instead of tanning your face, use bronzer. Your 50-year-old self will thank you a few years down the road.

Don’t Be Afraid of Shine

Dewy skin is gorgeous. Don’t overpowder your face because you’re afraid it’s a grease pit. Instead, try blotting papers.

Foundation Is Out, Tinted Moisturizer Is In

If you refuse to go bare in summer and can’t imagine life without your foundation, consider putting away your foundation for the season and trying a tinted moisturizer. I’m warning you, you may never go back to your old foundation.

Lighter than foundation, tinted moisturizer still covers flaws but feels less “cakey.” And while foundations can feel as if they’re melting off your face, tinted moisturizers won’t.

Most women are darker in summer, so if you insist on using your foundation, consider one shade for summer and a lighter one for winter. My favorite tinted moisturizer is Laura Mercier, which contains SPF — a bonus all year round.

Go for a Bold Nail Polish

If you are flaunting your toes all over the place this summer, then consider painting your nails a fun, bright color. Bold colors such as hot pink or bright orange (don’t laugh) are especially popular this summer and look great on most skin types. Bright colors are especially striking against dark skin.

When choosing your summer shade, consider your sandals. I plan to stick with my light pink — anything brighter clashes with my favorite summer shoes. Sigh.

Wax Your Bikini Line

Wax, don’t shave, your bikini line. Shaving can bring on razor bumps and annoying red rashes, whereas waxing gets the hair off and keeps it off for much longer. It’s simply a more cleaner look for summer.

Keep Your Thighs From Chafing With Anti-Perspirant

Try this trick I love to keep your thighs from chafing: apply anti-perspirant to your inner thighs. This will keep your thighs from sweating and causing a red rash. You can also use a sports glide product on your thighs.

Embrace, Don’t Fight, the Elements

Humidity can wreak havoc on curly and straight hair. But instead of fighting the elements this summer, try to embrace them. Curly hair can be gorgeous in summer. Slather on the leave-in conditioner and pull curls back in a loose bun. Keep away the frizz with product such as Phyto Plage Protective Sun Veil after a shower or swim. Your curls will will be protected, but they won’t frizz up.

If you have straight hair, put away your flat iron. Super-straight hair “doesn’t say summer,” says stylist Mark Townsend in Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Instead, let hair dry naturally. Most hair has some wave in it, and beachy waves never go out of style.

If you are near an ocean, get in it. Saltwater has wonderful effects on all hair types. You’ll love the look once your hair has dried.

Colored Hair Needs Protecting

The sun, salt and chlorine will turn colored hair all types of wild colors. Protect your investment by rinsing hair in water before going into chlorinated water or salt water. The dry cuticle will soak up water, but if it’s wet, it won’t, thus protecting hair from the salt and chlorine.

Protect hair from the sun by wearing a hat or coating hair with a protector like Fekkai SunShine Shield Spray.

Blah Hair? Get Thee to the Colorist

Nothing is more gorgeous in summer than lighter hair. I look particularly fantastic with light blonde highlights around my face. Nothing shows off a tan better than highlights. Plus, color can add body to fine, limp hair.

When choosing a summer color, stick to natural colors. The sun will naturally lighten hair, so you don’t want to go to an extreme.

Got black or brown hair? Consider caramel highlights or opt for all-over hair color a shade or two lighter than your current color. I suggest getting hair professionally colored or doing it yourself with a store-bought box. But beware the old lemon juice trick you did in junior high: Lemon juice will naturally lighten hair, but it is also wickedly drying.

Pull Hair Off Your Face

Keep the sweat off your neck with headbands, ballerina bands, ponytails, loose buns or even kerchiefs. All are gorgeous looks for summer.

Don’t Forget to Protect Your Other Parts

Studies show while most women know to put sunscreen on their faces, they skip their chests, hands and necks. Their faces age well, but nothing else does. Who wants to have 80-year-old hands and a 60-year-old face? My advice: When you apply sunscreen, take a couple minutes to slather it on your check and neck. Use whatever’s leftover on your hands.

It’s important to apply sunscreen a couple times throughout the day. One application in the morning won’t necessarily last a full 12 hours.

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Plus-Size Models on What They’re Tired of Hearing and Where the Conversation Should Go

Are we talking about plus-size fashion in a productive way or are we stuck in a rut?

Before you think, “But plus-size fashion and its models have been getting lots of press lately,” consider this: Many of the industry’s top models insist that we have a long way to go to change the perception of what plus-size fashion is really about. Over and over, these models get asked the same tired questions. (Ahem: What do you think of the term plus-size?)

If we want to see the conversation surrounding plus-size fashion evolve and grow beyond a single facet, we have to stop asking its models the narrow questions. Model Felicity Hayward points out, “The more people keep asking those questions, the less we’re going to be able to be equal.”

So, we asked 12 top models about what they’re tired of being asked in interviews and how we can break out of the stunted cycle we’re in with regard to plus-size modeling and fashion. Take a look:

What are the challenges of perception that you face?

Denise Bidot:

[I get asked if] I care if people call me plus-size…I don’t have any problem with you calling me plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, big—I don’t really give a damn. We represent plus-size women, whether or not some of the models are smaller or larger.

Amber Tolliver: The question of should a plus-size or curvy woman be wearing certain things is infuriating. When it comes to straight-size fashion, any and all styles are fair game. Clothing options shouldn’t be different for curvy women. They should be given options and not told they can’t wear something before it’s even designed.

Bree Warren: People will ask if it’s my full-time job. What a lot of people don’t understand is that there are a lot of working models that have done, and will continue to do, very well. They don’t really understand that plus-size models work a lot.

Georgina Burke: [I get asked] how I stay in shape. It’s almost like they’re asking, “Do you actually work out?” There’s a big thing right now with all the plus-size girls showing that they’re working out and I feel like all of the interviews are saying, “Oh you don’t just sit around and eat burgers, you actually exercise?”

Marquita Pring: [I get asked if] I ever considered being “skinny” or if I have wanted to go to the straight-size world. As if the way I am is unattractive or it’s not as good as being a skinny girl, therefore, shouldn’t I want to be just like them? Never once in my career was that an option for me—not even at 15-years-old when I started—and I have never been interested in being smaller.

Felicity Hayward: [People] asking if we’ve had any negativity regarding being plus-size. People assume that because I’m bigger, I have experienced people asking me to lose weight or if I’ve worked with people that are horrible to me because I’m bigger…. The more people keep asking those questions, the less we’re going to be able to be equal.

Now, hear what they say on where the conversation surrounding plus-size fashion and modeling needs to go:

Georgia Pratt: It’s great when we can be included in conversations and questions that go beyond positive body image. The conversation needs to start opening up and approaching people such as designers, editors, photographers and other creative decision makers and influencers of the fashion industry.

Jennie Runk: It’s really important to get a message out to young girls and kids. They need to know that not only do we have Photoshop working in our favor, we have a professional hairstylist, makeup artist, and photographer…. The picture that these kids end up seeing looks—in no way—what we actually look like.

Justine Legault:At this point, I’m trying to have people get to know me as a person— that’s where I’m at in my career. [For instance], what would I recommend or say to women or young girls?

Julie Henderson: We should be focusing on how people feel when they look at us. Not “She’s too skinny or she’s too big or she’s plus-size or she’s black or she’s white.” People should say, “This is a beautiful woman. I recognize myself in her.”

Gia Genevieve: Plus-size models should also be shown in a glamorous way. I don’t see a lot of plus-size models being shown in a very sexy way, and we are very sexy. [What] I’m pushing for is that there needs to be more glamour in plus-size modeling—and less toned-down, commercial [shots].

Emme: For 20 years I’ve been wondering, How do we get the department stores to get [contemporary clothes] to size 18? They could really make much more money if they would buy more fashionable things in the size category of 12’s, 14’s, and 16’s. [I work with] the junior class at Syracuse University’s Fashion Design program to create clothing on size 2, 4, 6 forms and in the same class on 16, 18, 22 forms. We’re teaching student designers to design for all!

What do you think is most important to discuss about plus-size fashion and modeling?

 

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8 plus-size fashion rules you should break this summer

Women often feel their bodies aren’t truly their own, constantly scrutinized with everyone from strangers to friends and family regulating how they should look.

For plus-size women, it’s especially difficult, as mass media tells them they aren’t as beautiful, healthy or vibrant as women with smaller statures. These assertions have very real implications on how this demographic feels about their own self-worth.

When it comes to fashion, plus-size women are often shamed the most.

The industry is intent on telling plus-size women what they should and should not wear. Many retailers subject these women to wear all black, or don’t carry plus-size clothes at all — as if saying the latest trends are not for them.

As a result, there’s an unspoken plus-size fashion rulebook that women have had to adhere to, minimizing their beautiful, full figures.

More than the obvious hate this perpetuates, notions that voluptuous women are anything less than sexy is just plain wrong.

We’ve compiled nine fashion rules plus-size women should completely break this summer. Practice body-positive activism through fashion — you can pull off these trends, too.

 

1. Wear shorts, no matter your thigh size.

Shorts are classic summer attire that fuller women are told to avoid. But you shouldn’t suffocate your legs in denim skinny jeans all summer long.

Bare your legs in a pretty pair of shorts, but do so with caution. “Chub rub,” or the unpleasant chafing caused by rubbing thighs, is a real problem for many women.

2. Exercise your right to bare arms.

Bare arms help make the sweltering summer somewhat bearable, but plus-size women are constantly told to keep their arms hidden to conceal any hint of fat.

Forget that rule and let your arms enjoy a bit of a breeze. In the heat of the summer, you definitely need it.

3. Don’t sweat your summer away in all-black everything.

The absence of color is supposed to have all plus-size girls captivated by its slimming properties. But dressing in all-black everything in the middle of August will have you keeling over with heatstroke if you aren’t careful.

Summer is all about bright colors that mimic the vibrancy of the season. You can give your wardrobe that extra pop, even if you are over a size 12.

4. The latest trends aren’t just for skinny ladies.

A bogus plus-size fashion rule is to always stick to the basics. Some people apparently believe your body is only safe with tried-and-true styles, meaning you should steer clear of any passing trends.

But trends aren’t only for runway models and the women who share their measurements. You can look flawless in sheer styles, gingham and even in all white this season.

5. Crop tops aren’t only made for thin women.

Having a flat stomach like Britney Spears circa her “I’m A Slave 4 U” days isn’t a requirement for wearing a crop top — you can show your belly, too. Ignore the summer fashion rule that says crop tops are off-limits.

6. Get loud with your prints.

Plus-size women are told to avoid patterns in order to appear slimmer, but banning patterns can make your wardrobe terribly bland. What’s summer (or any season) without a good pattern thrown in?

7. Don’t let clingy fabrics scare you.

Apparently, plus-size women should only wear ill-fitting black mumus 365 days a year.

If that sounds unappealing — and it probably should — don’t feel like you need to buy into this rule. If you’re into that form-fitting jersey dress, you should feel no shame in wearing it.

8. Rock that bikini on your ready-made beach bod.

Grab that bikini — or #Fatkini,  if hashtag activism is more your speed.

Bikinis have always been reserved for those with flat stomachs and high confidence. But there’s no reason a confident plus-size woman can’t slay in the sand while wearing a two-piece. Fashion rules were meant to be broken, and beach fashion is no exception.

TL;DR: Wear whatever you want, no matter your size.

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13 Plus-Size Women On Loving Themselves, No Matter What Haters Say

BuzzFeed Life asked 13 top plus-size models and bloggers to share their experience with online bullies and how they stay body positive on the internet today. Here are their stories.

 

1. Jennie Runk, Model

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The hater: “A few years ago, I posted a picture to Facebook of myself in a bikini while I was on vacation. I wanted to share an unedited, unfiltered photo for my fans in order to show that most images in the media are altered and that models have real bodies, too, with our fair share of stretch marks, dimples, and jiggly bits. I can’t remember the exact comment, but it was something along the lines of ‘If it jiggles, it’s fat and should be covered up!’

It was shocking to see something so negative on a post that was intended to help people who may be struggling with their own body image. Many of my fans have similar body types to mine, and I was worried they would take the comment to heart. I didn’t want this kind of negativity visible where my fans could see it and possibly be influenced by it.”

How she overcame: “At first, I was shocked and hurt. I even talked to my mom about it. Through talking to her, I realized that I value her opinion much more than some stranger’s on the internet. Why should I care what this random person thinks when I have a ton of friends, a fiancé who thinks the world of me, and a loving family who all think I’m perfect the way I am?”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “My advice to anyone dealing with online bullying is to think about who that person is to you. If they’re a total stranger, why bother worrying about what they think? Instead, consider your friends and family, the ones who spend the most time with you and know you the best. Also, no one knows you better than you know yourself, so it’s your own opinion of yourself that is the most valuable.”

 

2. Nicolette Mason, Blogger

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The hater: “It was a comment that someone put thought and time into writing, and it stung. The negative comments I receive are, thankfully, few and far between, but when they’re so specific and go beyond ‘you’re fat’ (yeah, I know) or ‘you’re ugly’ (so subjective), it’s hard to just ‘ignore the haters,’ like we’re so frequently told to do. I think it’s easy to forget that the person receiving these comments is a person, and even if it’s among dozens of other positive comments, it’s going to stick out.”

How she overcame: “The thing that has helped me get over it is just knowing that no happy, adjusted person would ever go out of their way to write something mean about a stranger; it’s usually out of a place of deep insecurity, fear, jealousy, or other internalized issue. Once I’ve gotten over the initial sting, I just feel bad for the commenters, because there’s obviously something going on in their lives and this is how they’re dealing with their emotions.”

 

3. Essie Golden, Blogger

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The hater: “A friend of mine had tagged me in picture on one of those ‘curvy’ shout-out pages on Facebook. I knew I shouldn’t have read the comments, but I couldn’t help it. Some of the comments were nice, others were mean, but one in particular really hurt my heart. A man I had never met in my life said someone should kill me because I was fat and didn’t deserve to live on this planet. I couldn’t believe someone I had never done anything bad to — or even met — said I should be killed just for existing in a fat body.”

How she overcame: “It took me a long time to get over people who didn’t know a thing about me being so opinionated about me. Then it hit me — these people don’t know a thing about me. How could I ever take their opinions seriously?”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “As far as dealing with hateful online comments, I don’t. I delete and block anyone who has something horrible to say about me or any of the awesome women I choose to post on my social media pages. I refuse to give them any of my attention or energy. I only focus on the positive comments I receive.”

 

4. Georgina Burke, Model

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The hater: “People have said so many horrible things to me from behind a computer screen or face-to-face. I’m fortunate to say that at this point in my life, I can laugh it off. I was bullied as a teenager, so I know firsthand that words can be extremely hurtful, but as I’ve grown and become comfortable and confident in my skin, words written on the internet no longer have an effect on me. I think people waste too much time worrying about others, when they should be concentrating on themselves.”

How she overcame: “I look past the bullying. Bullies bring others down to make themselves feel good, and if someone wants to leave a hurtful comment about me to boost their own ego, that’s on them. At the end of the day, I’m trying to empower women, and I don’t care what anybody else thinks.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “My best and personal advice is to put yourself in the bully’s shoes and ask why they’re wasting time coming up with all these crazy, mean things to say. I think it’s best to delete the comment so you aren’t tempted to go back and read it a few more times, or if you can, laugh it off. At the end of the day, I refuse to give a bully the satisfaction of a reaction. I focus on the people who support me rather than the small group who want to bring me down.”

 

5. Tanesha Awasthi, Blogger

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The hater: “‘Beautiful but too fat’ was the comment that will always stick with me because it’s something I was made to believe almost my entire life. Growing up, people always told me I had the height, the hair, and the face to model — if I could just lose some weight. Those opinions were always validated by what I saw in magazines and on runways, which led to self-hatred, overexercise, and years of battling eating disorders.

Seeing a comment like that today, though, makes me giggle inside because as a woman who is confident in her own skin, I’m not defined by my physical appearance. I’m so much more than my weight or my size.”

How she overcame: “I took a step back and realized that putting myself out there on the internet is helping others. I’m showing girls and women they can feel confident and amazing, regardless of size.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “Focus on qualities that make you uniquely beautiful, inside and out, and build your confidence by focusing on the positives. Once you appreciate yourself for who you are — not strictly what you look like — the labels others place on you will have no meaning. The only labels that matter are the ones you give yourself.”

 

6. Chanté Burkett, Blogger

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The hater: “Earlier this year I was featured in Target’s swimsuit campaign, and it went viral. I received so many negative comments such as, ‘She’s so fat, she can’t be confident’ and ‘Look at her inner thigh meat.’

It wasn’t so much that I was hurt, but I was surprised by all the negative comments. You guys hate my body that much? I’m over here like, ‘Damn, I look good.’”

How she overcame: “I say this: ‘People who aren’t happy with themselves always have the most to say.’ Don’t let their negativity ruin your day, moment, or how you feel. I learned that not everyone is going to love my body like I do, and that’s OK, but that’s not going to stop me from wearing what I want.”

 

7. Hayley Hasselhoff, Model

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Advice on dealing with bullies: “My advice for anyone dealing with bullying is to know that they are not alone. Whatever someone says about you does not define who you are or what people think of you. Know you are beautiful, know you are loved, know you will get through this. Try not to read the negative comments, and surround yourself with family and friends.”

 

8. Chastity Garner-Valentine, Blogger

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The hater: “My most hurtful comments always come from fellow plus-size girls who I feel know better than anyone else what it’s like to be torn apart. The comment was that legs like mine should never be seen at the beach. It was hurtful because my legs are my biggest insecurity — and the fact that she was a plus-size girl too.”

How she overcame: “You get past these things by facing your fears and insecurities head-on. I go to the beach often with just swimsuit on and don’t worry about what other people will think.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “Once you face something, accept it, and embrace it, then you take the power away from the bully. From the experience, I learned that people only get the power you give them, so remaining unbothered and living well is the best response.”

 

9. Allison Teng, Blogger

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The hater: “I don’t get a ton of hateful comments nowadays — or maybe I’m just not sensitive to it anymore? — but back when I first started blogging, I remember getting an anonymous comment something along the lines of ‘How do you have so much confidence? If I looked like you, I would never leave my house!’ It was, of course, longer and meaner, but the gist is there.

There wasn’t anything specific about the comment that made it hurtful, but it was definitely early enough in my blogging game that I hadn’t already braced myself for the awful comments that come along with putting yourself out on the internet.”

How she overcame: “As much as the words hurt, what helped me get past it was knowing that the comments were from someone hiding behind a screen and an anonymous username, and who knew absolutely nothing about me. That’s the thing — hurtful comments like the ones I received in the past say a lot more about the person saying them than they do about me.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “If you’re dealing with hateful comments online, the best thing you can do is ignore them and not give the bullies the time of day. Ever hear the phrase ‘Don’t feed the trolls’? It’s probably the best piece of advice I’ve gotten!”

 

10. Diana Veras, Model

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The hater: “The meanest thing anyone’s said to me on the internet was that I’ll never compare to my friends. At the time, I was struggling with self-image issues because I was being compared to them constantly, and it was because they’re 5 feet and weigh, like, 100 pounds. I was the oddball out, so at the time it was quite hurtful.”

How she overcame: “I got past it by ignoring it and writing.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “The only way to get over online bullying is by ignoring it, closing your laptop, locking your phone, and enjoying the world around you. The people around you are what matter, not what people say online. Those people don’t matter. I learned to have tougher skin.”

 

11. Sarah Conley, Blogger

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The hater: “After an underwear campaign that I participated in with Dear Kate went viral, there were a lot of comments strewn across the web — things like ‘Sarah Conley in her underwear should remain a secret of the internet’ or, as one online editor added as she retweeted her own publication’s coverage of the story, ‘Ugh, gross.’

The worst was over a month after the campaign broke, I received a Google alert for my name on the first day of fashion week. It linked to an LSU football fan forum where men were discussing all of the women in the campaign photos, including myself. They had assigned us all numbers, and then ranked us in the order they would sleep with us (among other things) and described in detail what they would do to us. People making comments about my body or my size doesn’t faze me nearly as much as it has over the course of my nine-year career as a blogger. But the lewd commentary on this forum has stuck with me, even a year later.”

How she overcame: “Well, initially I’m there was some drinking (ha), but there’s nothing that you can do but continue to create a safe space for yourself and your readers.

We all have the right to be on our own journeys at our own pace, and someone else’s opinion of that journey is invalid, period. You get one body and one life, so you have no choice but to figure out how to love who you are today, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of your life.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “I call all of my social channels and my blog ‘my house,’ and I don’t allow anyone into ‘my house’ if they are going to disrespect me. I’m quick with the delete, block, and report functions on all platforms.”

 

12. Kelly Augustine, Blogger

 

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The hater: “I’ve had people comment on photos of me and ask, ‘Why would she wear that? That’s so not flattering.’ It’s one of those things that just really stings, especially when you think that you’re killing it and felt super confident when you took the photo.”

How she overcame: “At the end of the day, I understand that the internet is not a reflection of real life. I’m able to shake off comments like that because I am happy and healthy, I have a job and a loving husband! I’ve learned that people say things on the internet that they may not necessarily mean or actually would say in real life, so I don’t really take them to heart.”

 

13. Erica Jean Schenk, Model

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The hater: “The comment ‘Imagine how attractive you would be if you were normal’ carries so many hurtful undertones. Not only does this cause women to question, ‘Am I unattractive?’ but it also makes us categorize ourselves as abnormal and unable to fit in. This comment doesn’t use foul language, but it still hurts.

How she overcame: “I had to come to the realization that some people get it and others just don’t. Self-love and acceptance was my first step.”

Advice on dealing with bullies: “Surround yourself with men and women that challenge you to be the best you, but also love you for who you are.

I like Jodi Picoult’s quote, ‘When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.’”

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2016 Spring / Summer Makeup Trends

While winter is typically a great time to go bolder when it comes to the makeup world, spring is ideal for going a tad more natural. Lighter hues when it comes to lipstick and eyeshadow with light weight foundation being most women’s go to items for a flawless complexion. You can however break the mold and opt for trends spotted on the runway which tend to be more bold especially through the use of color. Each season is of course different but the trendy makeup maven always knows what’s hot. Look below to see this years hottest makeup looks for the girl who doesn’t like to shy away from top trends!

 

Extremely Bold Eyebrows

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Red Hued Lips

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Blue Eyeshadow

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Bold Eyeliner

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Matte Lipcolors

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Long Bold Eyelashes

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Dark Lipstick

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Underliner

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Intense Color On The Lid

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Glowing Complexions

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Glossy Lips

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Blush

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Body-Confidence Secrets From Plus-Size Model Crystal Renn

First, what inspired you to write Hungry?

I want women and the fashion industry to hear me and think, You know what—maybe there should be all different body types up on the runway, maybe that’s a really a great idea. I want women to be happy with who they are because I think that once they do that, all opportunities in their lives will get even bigger and better for them. Doors will be opened to them because they will be ready for it. Think about it: If you hate yourself, you don’t like your relationships, you don’t do as well at work, you don’t take all the chances that you want in your life. I would like to see women overcome that and take it to the next level.

I want women to be empowered, to be confident, to love life, and that’s why I chose the title Hungry for my book. Because it’s hungry for everything. And that’s what I want women to take away from it—to love themselves but also to accomplish your dreams.

Loving your body is one of those things that’s easier said than done. What advice do you have for women to put the thought into action?

Instead of focusing on all the bad things like, “Oh my gosh, I hate my thighs,” I say let’s look at the hair and say, “Oh wow, I’m having such a great hair day.” Or “Oh wow, my eyes are so clear today…I really like my lips….” And then eventually your mind will start to change and think of the positive things when you look in the mirror instead of focusing on the negative. It definitely takes time—it’s a habit—but just like anything else, over time, you can change the way your mind works.

So when you’re having a bad day and look in the mirror, what part of your body do you embrace to change your thought process?

There are a few things I look at on those days: I say, “Wow, I have full, great, healthy hair,” because now I eat healthy and I can see my health in my hair. That’s one thing. I also say, “Wow, I have great cheekbones. Let’s play them up, put some bronzer on them.” And then I might say, “Oh wow, I have a great waist; I’m going to show it off by belting my dress today.” Or I’ll put on some red lipstick and see how great I feel. I love wearing lipstick. It’s my feel-good-immediately move.

In your book, you talk a lot about being the size you’re supposed to be. How can women figure out what size they are supposed to be?

I refer to this as your body’s set point. Everyone is born with what they’re supposed to be. I think that you have to listen to your body, be very in tune and take the focus off the food. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, and when you crave something, have it. For instance, if you want red meat, have red meat—there’s a reason for it. If you want a cupcake, have a cupcake—and enjoy it. Start to listen to your body in that way, and I think that your body will even out to what it’s supposed to be, and you’ll be much happier for it. The second the obsession starts and the dieting starts, you’re immediately unhappy because you think you’re being starved. So when you do eat, you eat 10 times more than what you should, and you’re getting further and further away from recognizing what your body’s set point is.

What do you want people to think when they see your pictures—like the ones of you in a swimsuit or in the buff?

I want them to look at them and be like “Well, wow! She can wear a bikini, and she’s a size 12. I’m going to go wear a bikini. I’m OK. I’m OK and I’m an 8. Or I’m a 14, or a 16.” Whatever size they are, I want them to be inspired that a girl who they thought shouldn’t wear a bikini before is wearing one and looks great and healthy. I want them to feel inspired to do the same thing. I want women to be proud of their bodies, to be proud of who they are.

What is your goal for the fashion and media industries in terms of body types?

I don’t want to see only size 14’s, and I don’t want to see only size 2’s. I want to see all different women with all different shapes. I want to see all different races, all different hair colors, all different eye colors. I want to see a variety; I don’t want to be bored. And I think women will be inspired by being able to see themselves in these pictures. I understand that there’s a need for the fantasy, I completely do, but having images of girls who are so unattainable—that represent nobody—is not something that’s very positive. You can still have the fantasy, but I think the consumer wants to be able to touch it, if just a little bit.

Photos: Photo: Patrick Demarchelier

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10 Lessons in Self-Confidence From Plus-Size Models

Being heavier doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy and loving your body doesn’t mean you’re encouraging others to take up bad habits. These models are here to give our body-obsessed media a clue!

Despite all the amazing advancements in our society (the iPhone, Google glasses, stem cell research), our perception of beauty has, annoyingly not evolved with the times! In fact, it’s dwindled down to one ideal – skinny.

The widening gap between the female body seen on the street and the one seen in magazines is alarming. ​According to the National Center of Health Statistics, in 2013 the average American woman weighed 164 pounds. However, the average weight of today’s fashion models is between 108 and 125 pounds.

So there we have it – the proof is in the numbers. Curvy women ARE the norm and deserve to have positive representations in the media! Luckily, as plus-size models achieve more notoriety in fashion, they’ve showcased the many gorgeous shapes and sizes women come in (and psst – they’re healthy women too! Crazy, riiiiight?).

In an industry that privileges a specific idea of what a woman should look like, these ladies have to remain confident. Here are a few life lessons we could all learn from these models.

Lesson #1: Your character is what people fall in love with, not your hip size.

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Kate Dillon is a veteran of the modeling game and has been stomping runways for two decades now. However, behind the glamor of her early career as a 17-year-old model was an eating disorder that got so bad she had to take a break from the overly critical industry. During her hiatus, she learned to accept her healthy body, which was forty pounds heavier than her 120-pound days, and entered a new era of her modeling career.

 

Lesson #2: You have to be your biggest cheerleader

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Tiffany Bank turned heads and stereotypes when she posed with Atlanta Falcons player, Ray Edwards, in a stunning editorial for Plus Model Magazine in October 2013, but she’s got a lot more up her sleeve! Bank’s models, acts, writes, and gives lectures on positive body image. She’s absurdly gorgeous proof that women – no matter what their size – can accomplish their dreams.

 

Lesson #3: Healthy doesn’t exclusively mean skinny

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Toccara Jones didn’t win her cycle of America’s Next Top Model, but in the ten years since the third season ended, Toccara has been steadily working as an in-demand model. She received a FOURTEEN page spread in Vogue Italia in 2008, showed off her acting chops in 2011’s Think Like a Man, and was the face for the “I Will Not Lose” plus-size line campaign under Rocawear.

 

Lesson #4: Don’t surrender to disordered eating just to say you’re a size 2

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Barbara Brickner radiates elegance and confidence – qualities that won her the admiration of numerous plus-size designers and a lengthy career in fashion. She’s modeled for Eddie Bauer, Nordstrom, and Mode magazine. In 2001, the Italian clothing company, Elena Mirò, chose Brickner to model solo for that year’s calendar because the execs considered her a true representation of “twenty-first century womanhood.”

 

Lesson #5: All women deserve recognition and praise

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The upstate New York native, Marquita Pring, has been modeling with Ford Models since her early teens. She’s shot several Levi campaigns, walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier, and was featured in Italian Vogue.

 

Lesson #6: There is beauty in our differences

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Whitney Thompson is a blonde bombshell and the first and only plus-sized winner of America’s Next Top Model. She earned the coveted title back in 2008 at 20-years-old and hit the ground running. Thompson has donned the cover of Plus Model Magazine, was the most recognizable face for Forever 21’s plus-size line, Faith 21, and shot a CoverGirl commercial with superstar Rihanna.

 

Lesson #7: You WILL learn to love your body

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Emme Aronson, real name Melissa, paved the way for plus-size models. She took her athletic rowing body into a groundbreaking career in modeling through the 90s. Since then she’s become an outspoken advocate for positive body image, penning a book True Beauty: Positive Attitudes and Practical Tips From the World’s Leading Plus-Size Model in 1998.

 

Lesson #8: Negative thinking will damage you more than fashion mags

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Christina Mendez has forged an inspirational career in TV and fashion. She’s posed for Glamour, Latina Magazine, and Source Magazine, as well as appearing on BET’s model search, Rip the Runway. In case you still aren’t impressed, Mendez is a mother to a son with autism and is a dedicated advocate for autism awareness. Also, she’s gorg!

 

Lesson #9: Ignore the haterz; don’t let them block your shine

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Tess Munster has endured harmful criticisms from Internet “trolls” since she started modeling professionally in 2010. She started Tweeting her hashtag “effyourbeautystandards” last year because of the “intense pressure I felt from everyone to be something/someone I’m not.” Tess has an enviable amount of talents; besides being beautiful, she’s also a make-up artist and blogger who only launches positivity into the world.

 

Lesson #10: Conformity is to lose all your power!

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Ali Tate is a newbie model; she used to play soccer and was then recently signed with Ford and Muse modeling agencies. We love her unwillingness to change herself. This woman has got a great head on her shoulders, and we can’t wait to see how far she goes!

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Loving Your Body Matters

Lets talk about   National Eating Disorder Association Awareness Week, and how it’s great to see so many people sharing openly about their experiences with their bodies and bringing so much awareness to such an important issue for women and their bodies.

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One question that often arises in the body positivity conversation is: “Why are you so focused on appearance? Isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts?”

I get why people ask this question. It seems superficial to spend so much time talking about our bodies. However, I see inner and outer beauty as inextricably linked. You have to heal one so that you can bring the focus to the other. I think most people who have had a violent relationship with their body would agree.

By “violent relationship,” I mean you’ve got a history of constantly trying to change, mutilate and tear your body apart because it doesn’t meet the standard of perfection you’re ascribing to. That describes me and most of the women that I know, even the “skinny” ones.

When you’re caught up in this violence towards your body, it drains your energy and divides your focus. Instead of waking up every day and living at full amplitude, you spend countless hours fixating on food choices, punishing yourself for failing to meet the impossible standards you’re holding yourself to, staring at your reflection and willing entire parts of yourself to disappear, and otherwise beating yourself up because of what you are or aren’t doing, and the way that you look.

I and many women I know will admit to spending thousands of dollars on diet programs, fitness classes, miracle devices and “snake oil” solutions that promise to give us the body of our dreams. We have declined social invitations, or been unable to be fully present at social events, because we’re caught up in hating our appearance. We’ve turned away jobs, suitors, friendships and opportunities because we’re ashamed of how we look. We’ve made “gym widows” of our partners and families because we HAVE to get that workout in. We’ve tortured ourselves and punished the people around us for the sake of striving to have a “perfect” body.

THAT’S a superficial existence.

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The way to heal your relationship with your body and begin cultivating the beauty of the woman within is to make a choice to embrace your body as it is (side note: if you’re someone with a history of clinical eating disorders, you probably need some outside help with this. And even if that’s not you, working with a physician or a mental health professional on this stuff is always a good idea).

Once you make the choice to transform your relationship with your body, you can begin exploring avenues for self-care such as showing your body love through movement (my self-love driven way of describing “exercise”). You free up energy to start creating goals for yourself that go beyond measuring your worth on the scale, and instead are driven by defining the woman that you want to be in all aspects of your life. You can start designing a life that is fulfilling because you’re able to share your natural talents and abilities with the world in a way that benefits everyone around you! I call this “living at full amplitude.”

Spending time taking care of yourself and affirming love for your body are NOT self-indulgent, vain pursuits. They are critical to ensuring that you don’t allow body issues to divert your efforts away from living at full amplitude. And anyone who tells you different is just being superficial!

If you’re looking for a place to receive support, inspiration and to connect with like-minded women about transforming your relationship with your body, check out the#healthyatanysize community!

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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HOW PLUS-SIZE FASHION IS TRANSFORMING THE INDUSTRY

 

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After countless years of the media showing curvier women like myself that we’ll never be pretty enough to be a model, full-figured women are taking matters into their own hands. The plus-size movement is gaining great momentum, and the gorgeous women behind it are crushing the unrealistic societal standards of beauty.

According to the University of Texas at Austin, the average size for women in the U.S. is between 12 and 14, so how is it that the images of beauty we are shown fall between a size 0-4? We need to call out the fashion industry on this BS, and many models are.

Jennie Runk, who was the first plus-size model to appear in H&M’s summer campaign in 2013, and Tess Holiday, the first model to land a major contract at a size 22, are helping promote body positivity on and off the catwalk.

In 2013, Denise Bidot brought much-needed diversity to a highly recognized fashion event when she strutted her stuff as the first Latina plus-size model to walk during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. Just last year, Ashley Graham made waves on the catwalk when she led a show filled with beautiful curvy women to showcase her lingerie line at the 2015 NYFW. Throughout the show, viewers were encouraged to use the hashtag #IAmSizeSexy, helping spread body positivity into the fashion world.

What many don’t realize, however, is that this movement goes beyond just inclusion; it is teaching women that they are beautiful no matter their size. At last, the fashion world is finally beginning to catch onto this, and more women and girls of all shapes and sizes are able to see themselves reflected in campaigns they always dreamed of.

Just earlier this year, American Eagle, which has long made it their point to run un-retouched photos of women for their Aerie line, finally embraced a curvier woman: Barbie Ferreira. The size 12 model stood at the forefront of AE’s new swimsuit campaign, showcasing un-retouched photos of the unapologetically curvy beauty.

Victories such as this one serve as a great example for young girls and women across the nation, ultimately leading them to slowly embrace their own figures and join in on the change.

Just recently, 10-year-old Egypt Ufele, who was long tormented in her New York school, decided to take matters into her own hands by debuting her own all-inclusive clothing line during New York Fashion Week, putting all the bullies to shame.

This movement is a fight for equality. Models and women across the nation are even joining forces to drop the “plus-size” label. No matter what size you are, they argue, we are all women and shouldn’t be labeled differently. In 2015, Australian model Stefania Ferrairo set out to start a revolution, launching the hashtag #droptheplus. Ferrario posted various images of herself with the hashtag to help stop the alienation of curvier women and to help them embrace and love themselves as they are. The movement quickly went viral, with women all across the globe sharing pictures and stories through social media.

“’Plus’ implies bigger than ‘normal’,” Drop the Plus stated on their website. “Mixed with all the other body image pressures facing women, the implication that most women are ‘plus sized,’ not ‘normal’ is very dangerous to women and society.”

It should be noted, however, that not all full-figured women want to drop the “P” word. Many have also chosen to reclaim the term.

When it comes to body image, the fashion industry still has a long way to go. Whether women embrace “plus-size” or disassociate with it, the fight for self-love and body acceptance only continues to grow. And the catwalk better get ready, because models and women behind this movement are coming in with full force.

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Brittany Howard, Adele, Jazmine Sullivan and More Plus Size Red Carpet Magic at The Grammy Awards

I do dig awards season! My life is nowhere as glam as the ladies on the red carpet last night, so it is refreshing to see more than a few plus size celebrities, singers, and artists represent on the red carpet for the 58th Grammy Awards! Seriously, this years was a fashionably stellar night for plus size fashion!

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From the red carpet on the stage at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, there was all kinds of glam. Normally, the Grammys red carpet the is traditionally no-holds-barred, bold, and out there, but last night, our fellow Curvy Fashionista singers brought the glam and drama last night for the Grammy Awards at the Staples Center and we are here to share it all with you!

Are you ready to see what we are talking about? If you follow us on Facebook, then you already know a few of the looks that wowed us, but we have a bit more that we found!

Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes

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Nominated for Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance (Winner), Rock Song (Winner), and Alternative Music Album (Winner), Brittany Howard fronts the group being all kinds of regal and carefree at the same time!

Tasha Cobbs

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Nominated for best Gospel Album, this Georgia based Curvy Fashionista stunned in this custom dress!

Jazmine Sullivan

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Nominated for Best R&B Singer, Jazmine was snatched for the gawds and killed it, in a custom Michael Costello gown, styled by Timothy Snell! (Hey plus size stylist working it!)

Adele

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Goes sultry and dark in a Givenchy gown and we are digging the sleek and chic appeal!

Lalah Hathaway

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on Best Traditional R&B Performance for ‘Little Ghetto Boy’, got the cape memo and sparkles in her amazing dress!

See? Didn’t they bring it? All kinds of glam and I am here for all of this. I seriously LOOOOOOVED Brittany’s Cape look. It was everything! Who do you think was best dressed Curvy Fashionista for the 58th Grammys?