This size 22 colombiana is determined to change the perception of full-figured women.
Those of us who are “curvaceously challenged” are often sent the messages that we are unlovable, will never get the guy, will be glossed over for the best jobs and are incapable of being fashionable or beautiful. I personally have been told, “You have such a pretty face, if only . . . ” Of course, they want me to finish the sentence with, “I’d lose a few pounds.” The awkward silence that ensues when I don’t give them that satisfaction usually makes them realize that maybe, just maybe, this is an unkind thing to say.
I have been curvy since the age of 12. I want to say that my cute smile and great personality made me a popular child, but it wasn’t always like that. There were the days when the name-calling would hurt. But I learned early on that people come and go—I have to live with and love myself for the rest of my life. My positive attitude and sassy personality showed others that big girls could be just as beautiful and popular as the thin and sexy cheerleaders.
I decided that I would not change, but would remain curvy and instead try to change the way society sees plus-size people. It is a full-time job, but one I do with pride—and I was blessed with tons of self-esteem.
My confidence came in part from growing up in a Colombian household, where I was inspired by parents who overcame many obstacles to live in the United States where they could make a life they were proud of. They encouraged me to be more and to do more than expected, as they did not want me to settle for average. And in a country where the average woman is a size 14, it appears that at a size 22, I am “above average” in this area of my life as well; my curvaceous abuelas would have been proud.
As a result, I’ve never spent my days obsessing over my weight. I am a loving wife, mom to four amazing children ages 6 years old to 18 years old and a daughter who cares for her ailing mother. I’m a writer and an editor, a model and a mentor. In fact, in the last 10 years of being a proud thick girl, the plus-size community has welcomed and embraced me. I mentor so many young curvy teens who are crushed just because prom is coming and they are the only fat girls in their senior classes. These girls want to stay home on prom night, but I encourage them to go and be the most beautiful and sexy big girls they can be.
And I have news for all of the critics who say curvy girls are also unhealthy. I, for one, go to the park with my kids daily and attend the gym three times a week. Swimming fascinates me and I rollerblade often. Many of my plus-sized model friends are in great shape too; they just don’t wear a size 2. So please do not judge the quality of a life on the quantity of the curves.
Finally, to full-figured women everywhere, we have a role in stopping the prejudice. You can buy into the “if only” stigma, or you can buy yourself a new pair of shoes and strut proudly down the street in your curves.