Our style editor gives her insight on the notion of body perfection
Looking incredible takes work. It’s a lot of exercise, having the discipline to see it through, mental and physical strain, and not to mention the financial commitment that goes into eating healthy and maintaining a strict diet (eating less really doesn’t mean saving more). “Work hard and pay attention, you may just be able to hit the reverse button on your weight,” they tell me. I agreed with them. And over the course of several weeks, I decided to get in shape and test their counsel.
The first thing I tried was Vanquish Fitness’ signature Zumba classes, in hopes that I might look as sassy as Queen Bey when she worked it in a one-piece bodysuit in Single Ladies (some of her finest moves in this video were straight out of the Zumba playbook). I ended up looking as awkward as Andy Samberg in the SNL skit version of that dance. No one flinched or batted an eyelid at my horrible dance moves. I felt great. Two weeks later, my waist and hips literally shrank an inch. Next up: flycycle. Mind you, I don’t even cycle on a regular bike so this was a whole new ball game for me: non-stop spinning for 45 minutes, surrounded by super fit ladies in strappy, neon bright sports bras spinning effortlessly in style. Me? I had on a basic Reebok active wear tank top in Barbie pink which miraculously fitted me—the usual brands in town don’t cater for breasts above a certain cup. After a brutal session at the rooftop of Avenue K, I was sore for two days. “No pain, no gain”, was what I kept telling myself as I dragged my weary legs to Celest Thoi’s new boutique launch. It was pure torture, but I knew I had to keep going if I wanted to look anywhere near as great as Priyanka Chopra did on our May cover.
Several weeks later, I felt much more energetic, a lot less lethargic and a tad lighter. But I was disappointed. Why? Because I had hoped to trim down so much more than just ‘a tad’. Because identifying as a plus-sized woman in a world where being a size 16 is cast as aesthetically objectionable, and a size 0 is considered ideal, takes a huge toll on your emotional state. While in the midst of self pity, I took a closer look at my all-time favorite models Ashley Graham, Tara Lynn and Tia Provost, and realized that the notion of the “perfect body” was a lie. From that moment, I realized I didn’t need anyone’s approval to make it in this superficial industry that I love so much. All that matters is my eye for style, and my love for all things utterly chic. After all, style has no size. Plus, it’s about time for diversity in the fashion industry. We are seeing this slowly but surely on the catwalks where big fashion labels like Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung and Dolce & Gabbana are casting bigger, curvier models to walk their runways, and designing looks that cater to their bodies. So perhaps being a plus-sized Fashion Editor isn’t such a bad thing. If we can have plus-sized models, fashion labels, super-curvy celebrities and bigger sized fashion icons, why can’t I become a voice of authority in fashion, plus-sized and all? The ‘F’ word does not define who I am, and I will continue shaking my hips to the tune of Meghan Trainor’s catchy (and super annoying) song, Lips Are Movin’ at my next Zumba class—not to fit into that small mindset the world is accustomed to, but because it makes me feel good. So for those who are still living in that stereotypical mindset, I have only one thing to say to you: eff your beauty standards.