Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: Danielle.Bex

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Joining us today we have Danielle aka @danielle.bex. With over 8,000 followers it’s safe to guess you might have seen her twirling on your discover page. This software developer's journey to Instagram started by her not wearing pants.

“In November of 2014 I decided to stop wearing pants. I did this because I fell in love with a dress at the local plus size boutique. It was retro, beautiful, and $180. I bought it. At the time I had something like 10 dresses or less in my closet. Most of these dresses I had never worn. I decided that I was not going to wear pants any more for some undetermined amount of time. This was the only way I could force myself to wear my dresses and skirts. It was super scary for me, but I did it.” The owner of this local shop, Jenny posted a few pictures of Danielle on her social media. People left comments in admiration of Danielle’s confidence. She says it was huge deal to her that Jenny thought she was cute enough to an ambassador for her store.

“I later signed up for Gwynnie Bee and my friend complained that she never got to see these cute dresses I wear because I send them back after I wear them. I then decided to start posting photos of myself to Instagram everyday and the rest is history.”

Instagram has played a very big role in her spreading postivity and lucky for us, she doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon. “On the internet I get to be a part of a body positive community. I get to know I am not the only fat girl out there celebrating her body and not caring what society thinks about it.”

“It is important to me to maintain my Instagram because I exist. I think it is important for people to see that their are humans different from themselves who are happy. I think the world on the whole needs to learn that there is no one way to live and single road to happiness. I also love bringing positive vibes into a world that has so much negativity. Instagram gives me a space to smile and know that someone will appreciate it. I might brighten someone's day by just being cute and sharing my story. I dig that.”

Her body positivity and self love agenda is not soley restricted to the internet either.

“I introduce conversations all the time. I talk about self love frequently. I try not to invalidate anyone's feelings. Society is a fucked up place. A size six human can feel they are fat and that is not invalid. It is important for that person to realize that my experience of the world is different from theirs. It is important for them to recognze I have a lot of size discrimination they don't have to deal with. However, they deserve self love just as much as I do. They deserve to wear a bikini and do it with the lights on and be comfortable in summer. I love being able to encourage my friends to feel empowered in their bodies.”

While her feed is littered with her pearly whites, Danielle does have her bad days. She finds that posting a picture on Instagram can sometimes do the trick to turn her day around. “It reminds me on the daily that my struggles are real. There are other wonderful humans who ‘get it’: They have had the mother who put them on diets or had friends who tried to instruct them on eating habits or recognizing that "fat Monica" on Friends was problematic. I am not the only one who sees the problems. I am also not the only one who experiences our wins like Gabourey Sidibe getting a sex scene on Empire (fuck yeah!).”

If posing in front of the camera doesn’t work, she’ll spend some time looking at her naked body in the mirror or do some dancing/yoga. Being naked by yourself is one of my biggest body positive tips for anyone at any age. Getting comfortable and just existing with yourself is the best thing that we can do that no one does enough.

Like most BoPo Babes she does receive some hate online. She employs the “delete and block” approach when it comes to these trolls. “I don't have the emotional energy to address and fight about the hate I receive. I just delete the comments and block the individuals. I sometimes screenshot it so if anyone doubts that people say these things I have evidence.” In real life, no one has been so bold as the online jerks; however “when I am wearing a tutu or something outrageously beautiful but weird of a different sort, I notice the side eye. Sometimes people laugh a lot in corners of restaurants and I wonder if it's about me.” Any self doubt is short lived though. “I remind myself that no one's body is perfect. I remind myself that my body is bad ass and so is my mind.”

Her tip besides self care and nakedness for maintaining your bopo vibes is to “Try to keep in mind that your physical comfort comes before other people's social discomfort. If they don't like how you look they can look away. Also, finding voices on the internet you connect with be it through blogs or Instagram or Facebook or Tumblr. It is important to figure out you aren't alone in whatever your struggle is.” She finds connection on IG with @themilitantbaker, @glitterandlazers, @mynameisjessamyn, and @bodyposipanda.

Going forward in the body positive community Danielle would like to see more diversity and acceptance of folks that need or want to change their body but are still body positive. For example, she provided an article written by Sam Dylan Finch about some body positive phrases that are insensitive to trans folks. A perspective that I, a cis female, might not have thought about. Danielle is always trying to think about including other people in the body positive community. “I want to see elevation of a wide variety of experiences so we can all broaden our perspectives. All humans are valuable regardless of the bodies that hold them. That's what it is all about for me.”

Lightning Round

What’s your favorite good mood song?

  • Life's a Happy Song

What’s a movie that never get’s old?

  • Fever Pitch is my favorite cheesy feel good movie

What’s a book you could read repeatedly?

  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Favorite ice cream?

  • Ben and Jerry's Triple Caramel Chunk

Favorite online store?

  • I like Modcloth for variety. I like Pinup Girl Clothing for high quality and I want to buy everything. I love SWAK because they are a bargain and feel really authentic. I love Rue 107 because it is really innovative plus clothing in my opinion.

Favorite brick and mortar store?

  • They are closed now but I really loved Buxom Modern Plus Size Boutique.

Favorite drink?

  • Espol√≥n Tequila or Diet Coke

Do you have any hobbies?

  • TV Watching and analyzing... I love TV and how I can see social change is happening with the stories being told.

Until Next Time,

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