28 February 2013

Graphic Designer Creates Plus-Size Art

Fractal Fish Graphics

Fractal Fish Graphics

As you guys may have noticed, I’ve had several graphic illustrations created for the site, from Chubby Journalist Girl to Mer-Marie.  These graphics are done by Fractal Fish, an independent graphic designer who does amazing work, and especially loves creating art based on plus-size ladies (if you couldn’t already tell!). If anyone is interested in having a photograph of themselves turned into a graphic design, please e-mail me for details. There is a fee, but I assure you it’s quite affordable and worthwhile considering the amount of work and detail put into these pieces.

In case you need to be reminded of what some of the designs look like, check out those above and below.  The ones above are recent, created to express my premise that we shouldn’t be afraid to show our bodies, tummies and all.  Heck, tummies especially!  Every body is a beautiful body, after all.  The ones below are older illustrations, which have featured on my site at one point or another.

Fractal Fish Graphics is definitely a proponent of body love and plus-size acceptance, and I assure you, this artist will make any of your photos look absolutely stunning!

Fractal Fish Graphics
Fractal Fish Graphics

Rebel Wilson to Host 2013 MTV Awards

Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Below is the extended version of an article I wrote for Marie Claire, which you can find here.

We’re a little over a month away from this year’s MTV Awards, and I’ve just learned (a few months after the announcement) that Rebel Wilson with be hosting this year.  Rebel isn’t exactly what you’d call a household name.  Granted, she was the star of Pitch Perfect (but I for one can’t say I really care to see Pitch Perfect now or ever) and she played (awesomely played I should say) Kristen Wiig’s freeloading housemate in Bridesmaids (a role which I found extraordinarily quirky and perfect despite featuring very litter).  But besides these roles, and her overall role as a stand-up comic (which unless you’re a comedy aficionado I suppose you wouldn’t know about this anyway), she’s just not that renowned.  I’m thinking, however, that the MTV Awards will probably be changing this.

I bring this up because one of Rebel’s many talents (and she really does have a ton of talent) is her apparent confidence – the kind of confidence that’s pretty rare to find in anyone, let alone in a plus-size woman, and which I imagine is even harder to maintain when the only other famous Australian actress out there is Nicole Kidman, who we all know does not have an ounce of fat on her body and whose legs go on for three miles.  But Rebel always seems elated – a true enjoyer of life (something not easy to do, because, well, life kind of sucks sometimes…or, most of the time).  She seems genuinely pleased inside her body, and is often seen wearing clothing that reveal quite a bit of it.  No, not skimpy clothing, but tight, form-fitting apparel – like the belly-revealing outfit she wore in Bridesmaids, or the horizontal-striped top you see here (one of the many ridiculous plus-size fashion no-nos out there).  If she has any qualms about her body, she sure as hell doesn’t let anyone know.  But I genuinely (and I know, who am I to say this, really) don’t think she does.

Something I’ve also noticed when it comes to this pretty blonde, plus-size beauty, is that no one seems to care that she’s plus-size.  From what I know, her character in Pitch Perfect was called “Fat Amy” but it was a self-given nickname created because she’d rather call herself fat and be proud of it than have any “twig bitch” (Amy’s term, not mine!) say it behind her back.  This is, perhaps, the one thing that sparks my interest in Pitch Perfect, because I wonder if it’s this role and Rebel’s self-awareness and pride in being big that’s made it so hard for anyone to complain about her body.  I mean, calling someone “fat” when they openly call themselves fat with a smile on their face just isn’t going to be insulting (not that it should be insulting anyway, but as noted in the previous paragraph, life kind of sucks sometimes…or, most of the time).

Anyway, I present this because I’m pretty proud of the MTV Awards for choosing Rebel as their host.  It’s been years since there’s been a female host, and moreover, it’s been years since the MTV Awards have actually been good (in recent years, Twilight has won far too many awards for my tastes and featured far too many almost-kisses and feigned awkwardness by RPatt and KStew).  But maybe the 2013 awards will be a turn-around.  I mean, I for one think this past year has seen some incredible film releases – from The Hobbit to Beasts of the Southern Wild to Argo to Life of Pi.  And now that Twilight is finally over, maybe there’s nowhere to go but up again.  Adding a plus-size, comedian actress to the mix is bound to create something that is if not better, then at least far more memorable than we’ve seen in recent years.

25 February 2013

A Chat With Gemma Cruickshank

Gemma Cruickshank
Last November the 22-year-old bombshell Gemma Cruickshank was crowned the winner of the Miss BBW International Pageant (now called Miss Plus-Size International).  As you may recall, I covered the story and expressed how inspired I was by finding out about the pageant and its mission to inspire body love and plus-size acceptance and pride.  I’ve been so lucky this year, because not only will I be competing in the pageant, but I’ve had the opportunity to speak to both Caroline Dawson, a finalist last year, and Gemma herself.  Originally in London, but now living in Essex, this English beauty says, “I have always been plus-size and I have also equally been on a diet my whole life,” but these days she is embracing her curves and hoping to build positive body image for plus-size ladies.

No More Diets

“I have been on diets since I was the age of 8 until 18 months ago.  I gave up on the yoyo diets and just accepted that this is me and I love it.  I have lost weight so many times – lost six stone and put on seven, even went down to a U.K. size 12 (U.S. 8), and it didn’t make me any happier being slimmer; it actually made me doubt myself.  My confidence definitely lacks when I lose weight.  At present I am at my biggest and I’ve never been so confident; I love it.  I totally understand the negatives associated with excess weight, but right now I live my life the same as everybody else, I have no health complaints, I’m happy and I enjoy being fat and fabulous.”

Joining Miss BBW

“I have had a Facebook page running of my work for a while, and I received a private message from a follower saying I should apply, so I filled in the online application out of pure excitement of the unknown and the rest is history.  I definitely think I was in the right place at the right time.”

Motivating Plus-Size Women

“It’s been the most important thing to me; knowing that I can represent other everyday plus-size women and that people can relate to me is one of the best feelings you can have.  It’s important to me that people can join in on my positive vibes and truly love themselves.”

An Experience of a Lifetime

“The competition as a whole is a memorable experience in my life I will cherish forever; it’s something to tell the grand-kids haha.”

New-found Fame

“Being thrown into the spotlight is an amazing feeling; I cannot describe how grateful I am to be given such an amazing opportunity and to have so much positive feedback come my way. The amount of personal messages I receive is immense, and I love hearing from all different people who say I have inspired them.  Inspiring other people to make the most of themselves and live their lives is something I really believe in and get an amazing buzz from doing.  I always try to reply back to people as quickly as a I can.  My Twitter and Facebook have both grown literally overnight, which is amazing.  However, I haven’t actually mastered the laws of Twitter yet, which can be a bit tricky at times. Facebook is my main port!”

Gemma Cruickshank Collexions

Gemma Cruickshank Collexions is in the start-up process; I’m currently working with The Princes Trust to launch my dream business.  I have recently graduated from university with a BaHons Degree in Fashion and Printed Textiles, and have been working with the Princes Trust scheme since October.  Gemma Cruickshank Collexions is a fresh new plus-size fashion label which will be available late 2013.  I am currently making bespoke items for clients, along with my day job within the cosmetic industry.  Ideally I would love to just work my fashion label and give up my retail-based job.”


“I wouldn’t consider myself a celebrity; I’m still the same Gemma I was before I won my title.  However, I get recognized on a daily basis after appearing on the BBC Three documentary, “Britain’s Biggest Beauty Queens.”  It’s an amazing feeling to know you have reached out to so many different people, and personally, I have had really positive feedback.  As with everything, the good also comes with the bad. Reading negative articles about yourself is frustrating, but when you stand up for something as controversial as plus-size body confidence it’s definitely something you anticipate.  I’m very realistic and I totally appreciate that everybody is entitled to their own opinions and views.”

Day to Day

“I get recognized on a daily basis from being on the television, in national newspapers and in magazines.  I love being able to meet people and interact with people who have taken time to watch or read about me.  My inbox is still as busy as it was back in November; I love it.”

An Independent

“I’m very independent so it’s humorous to see how many people now remember my number, but everyone has been very positive and supporting, which is a great feeling.  My Nan is especially supportive; she carries pictures of me in my crown wherever she goes.  Bless her.”

The Ultimate Goal

“My main life goals at present are to be secure and happy.  I would love my business to be as successful as I desire and I want to promote body confidence through clothing and inspire people to love themselves regardless of their size.  I would love to work with community groups that encourage youth to understand that everybody deserves an opportunity, regardless of their appearance.  I think people need to know their true worth and appreciate themselves to get the most out of their lives.  Building other people’s self-esteem is an amazing achievement and something I would love to work on.”

You can follow Gemma on Facebook and Twitter!

An Ode To Warm Weather And Volumptuous Gals

Robert Daly, Getty Images

Only 24 days remain until spring is officially here.  In case you hadn't noticed after my round up of plus-size spring dresses a couple of weeks back, I'm literally counting down the days.  I stumbled upon this photograph today and was reminded that when the time does come for sun bathing and pool season, I'm going to wear my two-piece bikini proudly for the second year in a row.  The photo reminded me of my best friend and me -- I've mentioned before she's a petite 115-pound, size 4.  And I of course am around a U.S. 16/18.  But size has never mattered to us, and, well, you all know I personally don't think it should matter at all.  Well, that's not true.  I am a lover of curves after all, so the bigger the better ;) but that's besides the point.

The point is, I look at the photograph and I think both women look gorgeous, sexy and confident.  And I hope, I hope, I hope, that this year, with the increase in plus-size blogs, online stores, activists, spokespeople, celebrities, etc. etc. etc. and the body image revolution that is close, albeit sometimes seemingly infinitely far, we see more curvy ladies strip down to their two-pieces and strut their stuff on the beach chairs and in the sand.  If there's one thing I know for certain, it's that more people appreciate pudge and a fuller figure than you might think.  They may just be too shy/embarrassed to reveal it yet because such a mentality may not be the norm, but you'll just have to trust me!

21 February 2013

Transforming The Teen Girl

Getty Images

Today I got an e-mail message from a young woman who wishes to remain anonymous.  She confided in me that she has been plus-size her whole life, and that as a member of a thin family, she has struggled with her weight for as long as she can remember.  This young woman, who is only 18, has been battling a serious eating disorder for the past five years.  She’s tried to become “skinny” as a means of becoming “beautiful” but finds herself miserable and wishing she could simply learn to love herself as a plus-size woman.

Reading her message, it occurred to me that I have kept something from you all – not because I wished to lie or omit the truth, but because it’s a difficult subject to discuss, and because it feels like it was so long ago, and part of someone’s life who wasn’t really me.  It’s funny: I’m so comfortable in my body these days that it’s easy to forget that wasn’t always the case.  I’ve mentioned in passing that I dealt with the typical teenage weight-related issues most girls undergo, but it was nowhere near as simple as that – well, things are never that simple I suppose.

Though I was bullied and made to feel somewhat of a black sheep as a child for being overweight, it wasn’t until I was 13 and hit junior high that it truly got to me.  I couldn’t stand being known as the “chubby” girl in class – even though that’s all I was, really; just a little chubby.  I couldn’t stand not delving into the dating world, or receiving my first kiss when so many of my classmates were starting to experiment with the opposite sex.  I couldn’t stand being patted on the belly by relatives who’d mention my belly, calling it “cute” with an apparent air of distaste -- or constantly being told I should join sports in order to lose weight.  And so I did what so many do – I plunged into an eating disorder that would shape the beginning of my adolescence.

I don’t blame anyone for this.  Ultimately, it was my choice to stop eating.  I ate the bare minimum to keep myself going – a piece of bread, some cheese perhaps, occasionally a granola bar.  I spent the better part of a year and a half going on 200 calories a day (at most).  And I lost the weight.  I lost every bit of baby fat and fit into those tiny jeans all the other girls could wear.  I started getting asked out on dates – even had a date to the 8th grade graduation and freshman year homecoming dances.  But I was, you guessed it, miserable.

It must’ve been 18 months or so (after numerous fainting spells, a diagnosis of anemia and consistent complaints of nausea) when people realized what was going on and I was forced into therapy by both my school and my relatives.  At the time, of course, I was infuriated.  I refused to believe I had a problem, and would barely grant my therapist the occasional grunt.  I’d go days without speaking to anyone in my household.  My meals started being monitored by a guidance counselor in the cafeteria at school, and that kind of monitoring made me more embarrassed than being a little fat ever did.  I knew I had to start eating and putting on weight if I was ever to escape the watchful cafeteria patrol or the supervised meals at home; so I did.

At first, I hated getting bigger again.  I hated going from 200 to 2000 calories a day.  I hated not being allowed to exercise as excessively as I had been (I'd grown addicted to the treadmill in those 18 months).  But I loved that the more I gained, the more people left me alone.  I wasn’t gaining weight for the right reasons, at first, and for most of high school I remained unhappy at my heavier body.  But as you all know, four years post high school, I couldn’t be happier.  I can’t really pinpoint the change in my psyche to one specific event.  Going to college certainly helped; meeting open-minded people and leaving the small town I grew up in where "thin is in" most definitely helped; dating helped (and I know you should never base your self-worth on a man but what woman doesn’t enjoy being admired and complimented?); studying abroad where I saw how much other cultures value a thicker figure helped; and falling in love helped.  But ultimately, growing up helped the most.  Realizing how over-rated and quite frankly, boring, body image issues are helped me move on and not want to spend another second hating myself.  I didn’t want to be a cliché anymore.  I didn’t want to strive to be thinner, because I felt like that made me no different than the thousands of women who want that.  I wanted things for myself – not because anyone else wanted them or told me I should want them.

I’m not devaluing the seriousness of eating disorders – there’s a reason so many men and women seep into them – whether because of the media, bullies, “friends” or relatives who tell them they look wrong.  But in response to that young woman who e-mailed me, asking how I went about becoming confident being plus-size, the long and the short of it is what I’ve said: I chose to step away from the cliché and become my own person.  I chose to sort of grow up – and I say sort of because I really have no interest in being a grown-up but I do have interest in learning and expanding my train of thought.  I’d like to say it was easy, but no, obviously it wasn’t easy.  But it did happen – and it can happen.  The key is to just stop caring about everyone else; stop wanting what everyone wants you to want; and live for you.

A Chat With Caroline Dawson

Courtesy of Caroline Dawson
Last year, Caroline Dawson charmed the UK, and, well, probably the world, at the Miss BBW International Pageant (now called Miss Plus-Size International). Looking at the confidence that this 27-year-old, plus-size beauty exudes, it’s difficult to imagine that she ever would have doubted herself. But, like so many, Caroline battled those body image insecurities that plague most women. I was lucky enough to chat with Caroline about her life as a plus-size woman, her goals, her time at the pageant, and what it’s like to become a face for plus-size acceptance and a role model to bigger gals struggling with their bodies.

A Bit of Background
“I am originally from a town in Warwickshire called Nuneaton. Small town, not much goes on there, but its home. I’m an ex-hairdresser, learning disability worker and customer service agent.

I was always singled out as a child; I never made many friends, and then as time went on the taunts of 'fatty' started.  By the time I was about seven years old, I already had body issues.  I hated myself. And after looking at my pictures of that age I can see that I was a perfectly normal child.  Life and depression continued as did the numbers on the scales.”

Feeling Like the Black Sheep
“I do not come from a family of overweight people so I was the black sheep.  My school life was one of the most horrendous times of my life; I was mentally abused daily, and I would have gum stuck to me or in my hair, my gym kit was flushed, ink flicked on me, hair pulled, death threats; that was my day to day life.”

Delving into Depression
“I was utterly ill with depression; I even started pulling my own hair out in order to cope, and my head was soon covered in bald spots.  This was all because I was bigger than other girls. Silly huh? Those childhood scars stay with us for years after.  I had issues with alcohol by the age of 15, and was a self-harmer by 19.  All from being bullied.  It took me until I was 25 to get the help I needed.  I had been taking anti-depressants from the age of 16, but I hadn’t ever had psychology.  This was finally offered to me after nine years.”

Life as a Plus-Size Lady
“Being plus-size has affected my life in many ways; in fashion, as I adore clothes but can’t find ones I like in MY size.  In work; as it was assumed I was lazy and I often felt I had to do more than others in order to fit in.  My friendship groups were always kept small, due to trust issues (I feel like I am talking about somebody I used to know!).”

A Support System
“My life is different now; I have learned to deal with who I am, and I have started to find my place in this world. I still have bad days, but I reach out for support when I need it. I have the most amazing best friend; she has been there for me when I had nowhere else to turn.  I feel she is my own guardian angel.  I hope I can repay her one day.  Friends are the ones who can make us break us.  Take care of them.  I am no longer clinically depressed, no longer on pills, no longer have the issues I used to have.  But this only happened by asking for help and working hard. I have goals, and I find happiness from seeing others happy.”

In Love
“I am in a serious relationship; he is a wonderful man who actually saw me through many a bad day, and he helped me believe in myself.  I want to give a little piece of advice when it comes to guys: please do not let them define who you are. I hear of too many big girls ending up in crappy relationships just so they are not alone.  Those relationships are dangerous.  Never settle.  Only give yourself to someone who really knows your self worth.  Being someone’s girl isn’t the be all and end all.  Being single is just as much fun!  As long as you’re not the girl sitting on her own moaning about being alone.  Get your butt on the dance floor and enjoy life!”

Courtesy of Caroline Dawson

A Voice for Plus-Size
“For the past 3 years I have been interested in being a voice for plus-size women, and in the past 18 months I have been driven by being one.  The media love to portray plus-size people as stupid people, and I am not stupid.  I am nicely educated and I can communicate effectively.  Our media trainer for the documentary was kind enough to say I would be perfect for television debates.  I have a quick mouth, I don’t put up with rubbish, and I have the ability to articulate my point without being rude.”

Best and Worsts
“The best part of the competition would be learning to push myself, learning about how strong and passionate I am.  I got to wear a beautiful dress that my amazing mother gifted to me.  I learned that I could wear a swimsuit in front of the UK viewing audience!  The worst was my asthma attack.  I had this as I was very nervous, as we all were during rehearsal.  Some of the judges saw this and it affected my placement.  I heard when watching the show that they didn’t think I could cope with media work, and it was not my place to argue.  But, I was so sad. I put so such passion and work into the pageant.  I am not bitter as I didn’t need to win a crown; I may have wanted one but I didn’t need one to validate me or my self worth.  But as advice goes, please do not enter if you are not willing to have vile comments about you pasted over the internet.  That was a low point for me; I had a lot of abuse for the newspaper work I did.  I still get nasty comments on my Facebook pictures, but you have to learn to not look at them; that skill takes practice.”

Living in the Limelight
“It’s flattering.  My favourite part is that about 75 percent of my followers are women!  Women rarely like women!  Having followers around the world fills me with pride, and the desire to reach so many cultures is incredible.  I have an inbuilt desire to help others who are in the place I was before I found myself and my confidence.”

Student Life
“I decided at the age of 25 that I wanted to pursue my ultimate goal: university!  I enrolled in a college course which would give me the grades to get into university.  I did that while still keeping my full time job as a support worker for people with learning disabilities.  I worked very hard, and sometimes I didn’t think I could get here but here I am, at one of the best universities: Royal Holloway, University of London.  I read criminology and sociology because I have such a huge interest in crime and TV shows such as Criminal Minds, NCIS and CSI. I liked the idea of helping the community, but now I feel I would like to work in victim support, helping those whose lives have been effected by criminal activity.”

A Dream
“In my dream world things are slightly different; I would ideally be involved in self confidence and self help work, in schools for example, or giving talks at other events. Anything where I could have the chance to talk to someone who needed help or advice with their own self image.  I believe confidence is so hugely important as the lack of it can lead to poor mental health.  I have been there; I had my life ruined because of mental health issues so I would love to raise the awareness of mental health and body issues.”

Famous Now?
“Gosh no, no, I am not in any way ‘famous.’  I have a small number of likes on my Facebook page and a few likes on Twitter, nothing to brag about.  I suppose I am lucky that the platform of the BBC documentary gave me the chance to be known to a few people, and those people were gracious enough to contact me to tell me I made a difference to them, and I was shocked that I had touched just as many slim ladies; not just the plus size community!  I was asked to audition for Big Brother, but I think the show has been ruined by the press.  The most incredible thing happened just last week when Body Gossip, a self confidence organisation contacted me and asked me to be one of their ambassadors.  That made me cry like a baby!  I have not done any work with them just yet but they give talks at schools, universities and at events (sounds a little like my dream job I described earlier!)”

Life Post Pageant
“I get about a tweet a week from ladies thanking me, and I always thank them personally.  I was never one to hunt for a life of fame.  My life is about university right now.  Fame comes and goes in this world; I need my degree if I am going to continue to work in my desired areas.  The only thing I could desire from fame would be to have the chance to reach a larger audience.”

You can follow Caroline on Facebook or Twitter!

14 February 2013

Chocolate, Candy And Cake

Jupiterimages, Getty

I realize I have posted several times today without making any mention of Valentine's Day.  This is primarily because I don't usually bother much with it.  Whether I'm in a relationship or not, I don't see the point of setting one day aside each year to be especially loving and romantic to your partner.  In my opinion, these traits of affection should be demonstrated every day, cheesy as that may sound.  But what I do like about this holiday is the surplus of chocolate, candy and cake that seems to materialize out of thin air.  It's all simply everywhere!  Having the sweet tooth that I do, this makes me very, very happy.

My request to you all, though Valentine's Day is coming to a close, is not to count calories today.  Don't worry about how many pieces of chocolate you're eating from the over-sized box your boyfriend gave you.  Just eat it all and enjoy!  Do you see how miserable the woman in the picture looks? You do not want to be that woman.  I'm not saying the fruit salad doesn't look appetizing -- sure, I guess it looks pretty enough.  But if the option is between a bowl of fruit and a slice of cake, just eat the cake.  Today of all days, just let yourself make use of those taste buds.

Positively Plus: This Is Courtneigh


I was so excited to do a photo shoot of the lovely Courtneigh this week. This sassy, fierce and utterly fabulous beauty made an excellent model. I had such a fun time -- and ended up wanting to steal her entire wardrobe.

P.S. If like me you fall in love with those platform, patent Mary Jane's, they're on sale for $40 at Vamps&Tramps!

Fat-Acceptance: From The 1960s And On

Courtesy of Debra McClinton, Getty Images

I read a Time article recently called, "A Brief History of the Fat Acceptance Movement."  I was surprised to see that a publication as prestigious as Time magazine covered a story on fat acceptance back in 2009 and made an effort to detail the past and present of the movement.  It seems to me that no publication has really done so before or since -- and those that have have put a negative spin onto the whole idea.  The Time story was wonderfully un-bias; it was a simple news story.  It told us the facts and left opinion out of it -- yes, it mentioned the counter-arguments to weight acceptance; no it did not support them.

As I was reading, I became increasingly agitated, however.  Not at the writer -- Dan Fletcher did his journalistic duty of filling readers in on the subject.  I was agitated at the knowledge that fat acceptance has been a movement since the 1960s -- and in comparison to the causes and revolutions surrounding that decade (from sex to war to race to feminism) it seems weight acceptance got shoved aside and buried.

It was a smaller movement -- one that climaxed when fat activists staged an event at Central Park, "Fat-In", and ate ice cream while burning posters of Twiggy, but which otherwise didn't see much of a rise at all.  Organizations like "Fat Underground" came about supporting the cause, and dozens of others which were just as short-lived.  Ultimately the only one that has survived is NAAFA: the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.  I can't help but feel a little sad -- a little sad that the movement has been around for over 50 years and not only is there only one primary organization fighting for it, but in those 50 years it's barely received any acceptance or acknowledgment.  The recognition it does receive is usually in the form of chuckles and snorts at the thought that anyone would be proud of being fat -- or would even perhaps enjoy being fat.

I think we're at a point where it is safe to say that the other causes surrounding the 60s have seen radical changes and advancement.  Whether in race or gender, equality has been on the rise and diversity much more accepted, even sought out.  But what about fat acceptance?  What about "pro-plus-size?"

The fact that in the past few years there have been a record number of eating disorders leads me to believe fat acceptance is nowhere near the level of acceptance it should be after a 50 year battle.  Then again, as I've said before, we are seeing a rise in plus-size celebrities, bloggers, activists and models in the past three years or so.  But I can't help but feel it's still not "ok."  People still find it odd to hear a man or woman admit to liking being big -- or to hear someone say they like those who are big.  People find it odd to hear of BBW models who are proud enough of the fat on their bodies to pose nude or even want to gain more weight.  It's simply not at the level the other revolutions of the 60s are at today.  And I wonder...how long until it is?  And what will it take for it to reach that level?  I really don't know what it would take.  I find myself thinking about the large role that music played in the 60s, however, and my silly, overly optimistic, side is telling me what we need is a theme song to fat acceptance -- some incredibly talented folk musician strumming the acoustic guitar and singing for the cause.   Well, one can only hope.

A Wedding Proposal To Remember

Getty Images

On my way to work this morning, I was proposed to.  No, it was not by any of the members of the hipster trio that live in the apartment below mine.  No, it was not by one of my few straight male co-workers (I intern at a fashion magazine after all...).  And no, it was not by anyone I've dated or even met prior to my 9:00a.m. subway ride.  Today I was proposed to by a four-year-old boy.

I didn't mean to be proposed to; it just sort of happened.  I took my seat next to a woman and her curly-haired, bright-eyed munchkin and pulled out my copy of The Elephant Vanishes, ready to spend the train ride immersed in Murakami.  It must've been the small photo of the elephant on the book's cover that caught the child's interest, as he soon started asking me questions about said elephant and what the book was about.  I didn't quite know how to explain that.  Like his novels, Murakami's short stories are often filled with death, peculiar sexual encounters and fantasies or McDonald's robberies.  I simply went with, "It's about a disappearing elephant."  The boy seemed to like this answer, and proceeded to ask me about myself.  He was rather assertive and chatty for a 4-year-old, and I couldn't help but feel he was wise beyond his years.  The mother was adding a few lines to the conversation here and there, apologizing for her talkative son as though he were a nuisance.  He wasn't, of course.  He was endearing.  But all of a sudden the conversation took a turn, and suddenly he had proposed.  It was a simple proposal, one that I can recollect with full clarity:

"You're really nice; will you marry me?"

He said the words with a giggle and quickly shadowed his eyes in embarrassment.  I couldn't help but laugh as well, and even his preoccupied mother gave a small chuckle.  She replied before I had the chance, saying, "That's silly, sweetie, don't you want to marry someone your own age?"  Before he got a chance to counter her argument, it was my time to get off the subway.  I said goodbye and told the mother that she had a very sweet kid.

As I walked the few blocks from the subway to the office, it suddenly occurred to me that this little boy had proposed because of the simple fact that he had decided I was nice.  He didn't say, "you're really pretty" or even "you smell nice."  He said I was nice.  This isn't the first time I've seen a child propose to an adult -- I'm sure, in fact, we've all seen this happen from time to time on sitcoms or the CW.  Actually, I think it is my second proposal by someone under the age of 10, the first being the boy I babysat in high school.  However, it's the first time I really thought about it from the child's perspective.  It's the first time I realized this is another example of how unburdened children are by the stigmas of the world.  They can find beauty in the simplest things; they will like people based on whether they are kind or mean -- not big or small, or thin or fat .  I often wish I was more closely connected to my child-self, but it seems like it is a disconnect inevitable with the passing of time -- with the more time spent out there as opposed to in the worlds we can still imagine as kids.

I think I have only met one or two people in my entire life who have seemed at all in-tune with the person they were as a child.  I don't mean those girls who act like kids even when they're in their early 20s.  What I mean is something much more heartfelt than that.  It's much more to do with a manner of thinking.  My suitor this morning probably wasn't thinking that I was especially attractive, and he probably didn't think of me in terms of "fat" or "skinny" either -- his ultimate decision came from thinking and deciding that I was kind, and so I must be a good person.  I just can't help but wonder why the concept of judging others based on whether they are "nice" or "mean" seems so simple, and so effective, yet we, as adults, rarely think in those terms.  There are always the "buts" and "ands", like, "he's really nice, but he's in a fraternity," or "she's really nice but she's just a bit too chunky...and she likes Lady Gaga."  And I catch myself wishing we could just get rid of the latter parts and think of things in the simpler form.  I just wonder what it would be like -- how things would change.

I miss being a child -- partly, of course, because of the lack of responsibility and the complete naiveté to the burdens and blows of being a grown up.  Being a child isn't easy, by any means.  Your opinions are constantly invalidated simply because you are a kid; adults often don't give you the time of day, other kids can cause you great distress and you can't fathom concepts like why it's so terrible to have a cookie before dinner (this concept is one still unfathomable to me).  But I miss the way I looked at things, the way I made judgment calls, the way that so many more things were beautiful and interesting.  The way that every day could be an adventure in the forest -- everyone could be a mystery to solve -- and the smallest of things could be the best of treasures.

12 February 2013

Miss Plus-Size International 2013


Hello beautiful people!

I'm really pleased to tell you all I've been accepted as a finalist for this year's Miss Plus-Size International!  I want to thank you all for supporting me and reading my musings!  We've been asked to create a fan page for ourselves throughout the competition, so if anyone wouldn't mind, please like my Facebook fan page if you can.  I'd really appreciate it!

Marie Southard -- Miss Plus-Size International Finalist 2013

11 February 2013

The Plus-Size Burlesque/Rockabilly Babe

In case I haven't already said this about 10 times, I secretly fantasize about being a burlesque dancer: the clothes, the music, the overall ambiance spark the inner diva that lives deep within my introverted soul.  As though this weren't enough, the fact that plus-size ladies aren't just welcome to participate, but often dominate the competitions and events creates this fluttery feeling inside my chest.  It is this hidden dream (or not so hidden as I talk about it all the time) of mine that has made me want to collect images of plus-size women whose looks are inspired by either burlesque, rockabilly, pin-up or vintage fashions -- or a little bit of them all.  If you're interested, please feel free to e-mail me!

So here's round one: Cherry D'Lish.  She was nice enough to contact me via Big&Beautiful&Bold's Facebook page and submit her photos.  Cherry is everything I love about the retro/pin-up look.  I mean, honestly, she actually looks like a pin-up porcelain doll.  Cherry, you are simply flawless, and your confidence and classiness really make me smile.

Age: 28
Hometown: Roseville, CA
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Sci-Fi, Comics, Hot Rods, Pin-Ups, & Car Shows
Profession: Student; Masters in Business Management
The Look: My look is very retro/pin-up. I love this style because I love the grace and glamour of vintage pin-ups as well as the way they could exude sex appeal without showing to much.
Fashion Inspirations: Vivian Leigh, Gwen Stefani and my Grandmother
Favorite quote: Attitude is Altitude!

Jackie Scott 2

Jackie Scott 1

Jackie Scott 5

Jackie Scott 4

Jackie Scott 3

10 February 2013

Fat Acceptance And Tea

I'm so glad to have received a notification from a fellow plus-size blogger today.  Jana from the Tumblr blog, "Fat Acceptance and Tea," shared a link to her blog with me, and I already love it and everything it stands for -- and this isn't just because there was a picture of Plump Princess on the blog's Facebook page, although that certainly helped.  By the looks of it, "Fat Acceptance and Tea" posts body positive, fat pride images, and as we all know, a picture can say a thousand words.  I've re-blogged some of my favorite photos here:

I can't help but love the classic Venus pose, especially when done as beautifully as this and, of course, when featuring such a lovely, voluptuous woman.  Her body art gives this an almost majestic feel, like we can't quite be sure if this woman is real or not.  I know if she is real I'd definitely love to meet her though.

Fat Pride 4
Feeling dehumanized when you're overweight is obviously a problem.  It isn't just the blatantly rude comments or stares by strangers and passerby's that do it, but I remember some of those "closest" to me making me feel the worst growing up.  I don't know if they meant to do it, probably not, but I used to think there was something wrong with me for being a little fat as a kid and then as a teen.  But for all those larger lovelies out there reading this, I really hope if there's anything you gain from all my rants and musings, it's the knowledge that you're damn beautiful, wobbly bits and all.  In fact, wobbly bits especially!

Fat Pride 3
Ok, so I kind of fell in love with this woman.  She's so beautiful that my eyes have literally started to hurt from staring so intently at this photo.  That face and those curves are simply breathtaking..ok I will stop now.  You get it.

Fat Pride 2

The ultimate message I try to get out there.  I must admit, though, I love her methods of delivering it!

Fat Pride

Prabal Gurung Comes To Target - AND Has Some Plus-Sizes

Continuing along with the general idea that I truly cannot wait for spring, I figured I should let you all know that Nepalese American designer Prabal Gurung is collaborating with Target this season, and the result in something pretty spectacular.  Then again, I've loved Target since I was 10, I've loved Prabal Gurung since he launched his first collection in '09 and I love bright colors and floral prints, so I guess there was no way I wasn't going to love this collection.

What I adore about these pieces are that the vast majority are crazily bright and bold.  To be honest, I find immense pleasure in defying all the fat girl taboos out there -- "no neon colors or wacky prints" among them.  I love florals; I love bright yellow; I love trippy, ink-blotted patterns, and I just couldn't care less if those things make me look bigger.  In fact, sometimes I find such things emphasize my curves, and I have no shame in saying I like that.  I can see myself in every single item from the collection, and that's pretty rare for me (unless we're talking about ModCloth).  Unfortunately, unlike most Target brands, Prabal Gurung only carries up to sizes 16 and XL, but by the looks of it, everything (from shorts to skirts to dresses to tops) is stretchy, so I recommend checking out the line.  I'm right at the 16/18, XL/2XL cusp, so chances are a lot of these items will definitely be snug on me, but that doesn't automatically mean they won't look adorable, so...I'm pretty sure I'm going to Target soon.  For a general idea of what to expect, check out the photos below, or go to the main Prabal Gurung for Target site:

Prabal Gurung 3 Prabal Gurung 2 Prabal Gurung 12 Prabal Gurung 7 Prabal Gurung 6 Prabal Gurung 10 Prabal Gurung 11 Prabal Gurung 5 Prabal Gurung 1 Prabal Gurung 4 Prabal Gurung 9
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