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Dark Skinned, Plus And Proud

Now I just want to be clear, females of all complexions are beautiful.

But I can only really speak on what I can relate to, and what I have experienced...

My “own truths” as to say!

There is the human race... then there are Races! Races are genetically distinctive groups of people, with the same make up i.e. phenotypical traits- this refers to the physical, and as we know there are diverse physical appearances.

This is why racial representation matters! No need to pull out a race card... There is underrepresentation.

When we Clearly define race, it is a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical characteristics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc.

I find it uncomfortable when females of a darker skinned palette do not value their beauty!

But I also understand that self conscious feeling of having darker skin when I was younger.

As a black, dark skinned plus size model. I didn't really see many that looked like me growing up.

"Most of the women I saw on TV didn't seem like people I actually knew.

They felt like ideas of what women are."

-Shonda Rhimes

You can imagine my amazement when I first laid eyes on Toccara Jones in America's Next Top Model. Here you had a big, beautiful, bold, black woman. She was the first Plus Size model who caught my eye, inspired me, and showed me that plus size can be bold, beautiful and proud. I remember watching her on the cycle of ANTM.. I was in love.. a confident, strong, bubbly, gorgeous black woman, showing bigger girls like myself, that we too can be models and work it. I loved her beauty, size and spirit. As a younger female still understanding my body, I really felt like I could relate to her. I was in awe.

This was someone who I could identify with. Tyra Banks had stirred up something in me and I'm sure many other black plus size girls who wouldn't usually see someone like themselves in the spotlight. Although she experienced some prejudice. She definitely shined through as a wonderful role model for black, darker skinned plus size females.

We need positive role models, representations of ourselves.

I believe we need role models to become role models.

As a black plus model I want to push boundaries and break misconceptions. I believe our futures are partially pioneered by having role models, I think there's something special about women who seek to empower other women. We all obsess over things like our weight and our features. But there's something beautiful about another woman who you can look up to and identify with, who helps you to get to the place where you realise you don't have to hate the features you have and that you should love and embrace yourself as you are, no matter what race you are, no matter your body shape and no matter your size.

It is powerful enough to define what, and how people are perceived, and change that perception.

I am genuinely so proud to be plus. It is a huge part of my identity and I try to embrace my body daily and believe others should also. I need to be a positive role model for other females. To remind them that beauty comes in so many different forms. I encourage body confidence, diverse beauty, self esteem and health.

The issue of race and size even boils down to something as simple as seeing women you can relate to in the magazines and on our screens. Women wearing clothes that you too potentially would want to wear and advertising products that you would be interested in using.

Women need to be able to associate with the model - how can you envisage yourself in an item of clothing if you can't even slightly relate to the model wearing them.

I remember in school being called a Beast for being dark skinned and big. I had to channel that fear of the name calling and that just awakened the beast in me. But it wasn't easy. Oh the negative connotations of being dark skinned.

But why should I have been insulted for being dark skinned and big. I partly think this is because there were not many big beautiful black women in the media for us to see. People didn't associate big and black with beautiful. Society has this generic cookie cutter/template of what is deemed as beautiful. So can you even blame these group of teenagers for behaving the way they do towards others they do not recognise as the typical verified beauty. We are subconsciously programmed.

This is why being a plus model in itself already means a great deal because it is setting new standards out there that beauty comes in other sizes too and these are standards that many females can relate to. But being a black plus model feels like an accomplishment, and is important to me. because I have felt for a long time that black girls who are curvier and have gone into modelling have usually been sexualised so much and have to model on other specific platforms or have had to stay at an amateur level. I want to show that we too can get the top jobs where we are wearing and modelling clothes and other products too. I'm proud to be a black plus model and I want to continue to push boundaries and break misconceptions. I hope to use my platform as a black plus model to be an example to younger females of all races to be proud of who they are, where they come from and to encourage them that they can accomplish whatever they want. Being a black plus model I believe is more than just about me, it goes beyond me, I want it to impact others in a positive way.

I think times are definitely beginning to change and inclusion is happening of all.

Beauty is diverse . no matter your skin colour, no matter your size.

As a whole I think the fashion industry is beginning to show its diversity in a lot of ways. But there is definitely always room for more. I believe things are changing more and more. And I myself, I'm looking forward to seeing more racial diversity as well as size.

I've come across a few establishments such as agencies made entirely for women of colour. I do think this is a step towards creating more diversity in the fashion world, but also a contradiction.

I'm a firm believer in creating your own platform and establishing that, but I also think it potentially creates separation. The entire issue is that there should be a variety across the board.

Like I said, there is now a lot more inclusion. I believe the plus industry is growing and redefining what beauty is , it is no longer limited but opening up to different sizes and colours. It is changing the misconception that plus size means unhealthy or ugly. Beauty truly comes in all shapes, sizes and skin tones!

Although, you still find prejudices with hairstyling for black women and a lack of expertise when doing make up for black women, such as unfamiliar knowledge as to which foundation colour that best suits a darker tone. But thats another story for another time.

I am still very much embracing this dark skin of mine. I represent a different category of woman but I hope all embrace their God given beautiful skin. And are content with themselves no matter their size.

Love what makes you different... Love the skin you're in!

I am dark skinned, plus and proud!

She blossomed in the dark

she blossomed in the light

no matter the environment

no matter the circumstance

Turn your situations into flowers

Here's to the women that can water themselves and still pour into others

Blossom No Matter What!

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