Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: ModernDayRomeo92

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!

Tevin, aka @moderndayromeo92 is an American Eagle Outfitters in store stylist and freelancer with a Stylist where they work on anything from celebrities to editorial shoots. He only recently found the body positive community. Someone suggested that he tag his Easter Sunday outfit with #bopo and within a matter of minutes he received more traffic on his page than ever before. “People responded so well and it made me happy that the comments being made were about confidence - that's a big thing for me. I always want to inspire others to be confident to be the best person they can be for themselves and those around them.”

 He may not have been following the bopo community online, but Tevin has always been an advocate for self love. “I definitely would say I was all about self love and body positivity (before social media). In high school I was a part of the dance program and so much of my life centered around that and although I was big then too I always strived to not let my weight hold me back. I remember the first day being nervous about changing my front of the other guys and my dance instructor giving me tough love and saying get over it.”

Dancing has a central theme in his self love journey. “(In real life) there's no hiding behind angles to contort your body to look a certain way like they do in photos and the words you write with every post don't quite sound the same. But the truth is it 100% better. I use my body (to promote the bopo lifestyle)! I love to dance, in the classroom or on the dance floor and I don't care who watches me! I tell everyone that one of the most liberating things I ever did was take off my shirt at a club and just dance.”

He has quickly fallen into the bopo way of online life. Someone he looks up to in the community is Kelvin Davis of @notoriouslydapper. “I may have fanboyed just a little meeting him in between shows at men's fashion week.”

And like all our bopo babes, he doesn’t let the negative comments he may receive phase him. He said beyond blocking them, they don’t really make a dent in his day. His motto is to “be a pillar of positivity in all aspects; don't feed into negativity, shine your light upon those situations. People will always take notice of a perspective that is of good will! Your body is your body don't let someone else's perception of beauty dictate yours!”

If he’s having a bad body day, something we can all relate to, he turns to family and music. “I do have them a lot more frequently than you'd think. I share those thoughts with my sisters and my boyfriend. Usually a quick dance break helps too and it's great cardio!”

Working in fashion gives him a perfect platform to speak about inclusivity. “I realized that in popularity comes responsibility. From the time I started working at American Eagle Outfitters I made it my responsibility to be an advocate for the guy who isn't the average size sold in store no matter his body type. I wanted to be the guy who makes these guys comfortable with coming in to shop to start building that connection with the brand and them. To look a guy in the eye that I know is feeling discouraged about not finding his size I can share my story my struggles with him. I can be that person they feel they can trust to explain their insecurities and desires for how they want to be perceived.”

Lightning Round

Favorite Happy Song?
  • TAYLOR SWIFT SHAKE IT OFF! I'm a huge Swiftie
What’s a movie that never gets old?
  • Mean Girls! I can recite entire monologues from that movie!
What’s a book you could read repeatedly?
  • The entire Gossip Girl series
Favorite ice cream?
  • Party cake!! (Fun fact I don't really like cake other than in ice cream,ironically my mother and my boyfriend are both bakers!)it.
Favorite brick and mortar store?
  • Macy's Herald Square specifically they have a little more of a selection of brands that feature items in my size!
Favorite online store?
  • American Eagle sadly I have to purchase my size in most items online despite working in the store
Favorite drink?
  • Bulldog it's a frozen margarita with a beer bottle in it!
Do you have any hobbies?
  • I enjoy anything art related. So I paint, draw, sculpt, work on the pottery wheel, act, sing, dance and sometimes write poetry. It keeps me grounded and gives me a peace of mind like no other!

Check out the rest of the series HERE.

Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: Josie_Landry

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!

Josie, aka @josie_landry is a self-described “unapologetic activist and ally for body positivity, intersectional feminism, LGBTQ rights, & black lives matter.” She has gained a following of over 2,000 in her short time online.

Just last week, marked Josie’s one year anniversary since starting her transition. It’s been a year since she began living her authentic life. “Transitioning was literally a matter of life or death.  I have always known since I was very little that something wasn’t correct.  As this was quite a long time ago and transgender wasn’t really a well-known topic at the time I struggled a lot to figure myself out.  After years of depression, to the point that I was starting to go on disability from work for months at a time, I was at a rapid decline in mental health.  After many long hours of discussion with my wife, we decided that it was time to go forward with it.

When I was trying to identify myself, the majority of information that I was able to find was from other Trans folks who shared their stories; so I wanted to share mine to both help others and also as kind of a visual diary. Starting my transition last year was a momentous step in my life and it was something that I wanted to document. Somehow along the way it became about body positivity, which is interesting seeing as how the whole idea behind transitioning is to completely transform my body. Somehow along the way I learned to love my body and as it is transforming into the correct body I am learning to love it even more.”
As Josie said, Transgender was not a word I had heard often before Laverne Cox or Caitlyn Jenner became "mainstream". I will admit, I was woefully uneducated. So before we go any further I’d like to provide some education for y’all. 
Transgender people are people who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer, e.g. bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). 
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. Treatment for a person diagnosed with GID may include psychotherapy or to support the individual's preferred gender through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery. Though, not all individuals chose to undergo any type of “treatment” or physical change at all.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation: transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc., or may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable. The term transgender can also be distinguished from intersex, a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics "that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies." 
Now, back to our bopo babe.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: curvycottoncandymane

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!

Melissa, aka @curvycottoncandymane, started her Instagram page just over a year ago. She quickly got to the heart of the bopo community and has amassed over 24K followers! She grabbed my attention in the sea of bopo babes with her cotton candy colored locks and got me hooked with her positive energy! In the real world, she uses her perky disposition as a school teacher – inspiring young minds every day. She expands her love of teaching to the bopo community, sharing personal stories and her unique style with the world.

“Finding the body positive community on Instagram changed my entire life, and that's no exaggeration. Never before had I ever seen or heard of other women who not only accepted their bodies, but LOVED them! I was awestruck. All I'd been taught previously was that I was supposed to hate my body until it finally conformed to the societal ideal of perfection. And boy did I! My body was enemy #1! The internet connects you with people from all over the globe who are finding ways, despite the garbage being hurled at us from every angle, to celebrate life and beauty in every way. Find and follow those who inspire you personally. Look at as many different bodies as you can. After doing this your stretch marks don't feel as abnormal anymore, your cellulite and rolls become a normal part of being a human, and your purpose in life will become greater than trying to shrink.

My main source of inspiration was Anna @glitterandlazers. I actually knew her from our university days where we lived in the same apartment complex. I'd been following her on instagram for quite some time and she inspired me daily. I began to think, "If she can love herself this much than dammit, so can I!" I had just moved from Utah to Washington and had made some pretty major life changes, the main one being leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I felt personally empowered and wanted to continue nurturing that new feeling. I was discussing the idea of starting a plus size fashion/bopo instagram account with a cute boy (who is now my amazing boyfriend) and he encouraged me from the moment I brought up the idea. He also happened to be my first follower. :) So buoyed by my new found confidence and some loving encouragement I set my phone on a windowsill and snapped my first picture.”

Over a year after posting that first shot, her body positive journey is going strong.
“It's easy to put on a glossy veneer online and seem like you're body positive 100% of the time. That simply isn't true for most of us. I still have dark days and nights like anyone else. I think it's important to try and be transparent online so that there is no huge disparity between your online content and your real life. I still struggle removing my wrap at the pool, I still struggle wearing short shorts on a hot day in front of a group of people. But the important thing is that I continue to do it and that feeling of inner turmoil decreases every time I do. (My Instagram) keeps me motivated to keep loving myself and (hopefully) it motivates others as well. Body positivity has no end date for me. I won't wake up one day and just be done because I've reached the end. There is no end. It's a continuous path that I must mindfully walk everyday.

I've made it a habit to experience my body at least once a week. I lie in bed naked and run my hands over my bumps and lumps and feel the grooves and wrinkles. Or I stand in front of the mirror and trace my stretch marks. I take photos that are only for me. And it's amazing what a change in attitude can do. I did these same things before out of self-loathing and pity. I do them now as a form of worship and celebration. Positive affirmation is real and powerful. I choose every day to love myself, to love the body I've been blessed with, and to spread that love around in the hopes of inspiring others to love themselves too.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: uominidipeso

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!

In the body positive world the main focus is on bodies with breasts; however, male presenting bodies face heavy criticism as well especially if they are larger. Alessandro aka @uominidipeso is on a mission to bring self love into the every day conversation of not only men, but everyone in Italy - nay, the world!

Plus size clothing options are limited enough as an American female, but if you look around for plus size men’s wear - you’ll see the struggle is real. Allesandro says in Italy, it’s hard to find any options at all.

 “Since September I and other 6 Blogger Italian we will be the team with its hashtag #BodyPosiTeamIT with which we will try to expand their circle and help people as possible. Italy is by no means a Body Positive territory as they pretend. Here it is even difficult to get dressed. A woman wearing a size 34 (European 48/American 14) is considered fat and when exposed is covered with criticism and insults. We Bloggers and activists, like you, Italians, every day we try to change something but it's not easy because any event and any proposal always behind the profit.”

When he started his blog and Facebook page in 2014 he said he “immediately realized that with photos and testimony (he) could help a lot of people and it was so.” With the addition of social media into our everyday lives, connecting with like-minded individuals is easier than ever. If you’re looking for self love inspiration, it’s literally just a search away.

“Online you can direct your pictures and messages, and the success is greater because it more precisely strikes a part of the audience who likes the theme. In contrast in real life, for example, when I happened to speak on TV and theater, well not everyone agreed with my words, and it still makes little effort conquer the audience with our ideas.”

“(Body positivity) enters my life every day through the people I meet through conversations with friends and colleagues through Facebook chat between the boys of #BrawnSquad: ZachMiko, Kelvin, Troy Solomon etc .. and undoubtedly Kelvin - NotoriusDapper because we have the same thoughts, we addressed both on the same street and I love his way to show and encourage people towards #bodypositive. Other people can improve their body positivity by using the internet to look for men and women for inspiration, looking for images and phrases that can help and especially by getting in touch with other people across the world living the same situation.

To be part of the community is a great pleasure because it means that something beautiful and positive I'm doing it and it is also a symptom of pride because without knowing I'm helping other people. The goal is to bring more people to this concept to try to change something in our society.”