Baring It All. Sort Of.

I have had a fear of being seen in a swimsuit for many years.  I’ve heard people say FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.   Like a lot of women, I hoped for many years that I would have a “perfect” body that would be bikini worthy and the envy of supermodels everywhere.  Yes, I often live in fantasy.  Don’t judge me.  In my head being thin meant being acceptable and worthy.  I’ve shared candidly about that on my website, and accept that I’m on a journey of self-acceptance about my body, who I am, my passions and my aspirations.  If I were “perfect” then there would be nothing to strive for, and that makes Pia a dull girl.  But I digress. 

Last week, my modeling agencyasked me to send them some photos of me in swimwear for a job.  My reply was “I’m not sure I’m swimsuit ready.  But I’ll send you something anyway.”  Shit! Was I ready for the world (I mean my agent) to see my thighs in all their imperfect glory? Would she balk at my fleshy arms? “You can’t do this,” my loud Fear said.  But there was another voice underneath it.  A gentler, kinder more Loving voice that said, “Why not, Pia?  Isn’t it time to walk the walk?”  I’d forgotten about my desire to have integrity.  Damn that conscience of mine!  I realized that this was an opportunity to overcome the anxiety of my projected judgment of others about my body.  I was still scared shitless.  But I did it anyway.

I sprang into action and called my dear friend and stylist extraordinaire, Melinda Alexander, of Jill of All Trades to get me ready for the pictures.  She pulled some great swimsuits for me, some of which I were sure were going to make me want to disappear into exile.  But she just kept telling me how amazing I looked.  Of course what I heard was a good friend trying to make me feel better.  But when I finally garnered the courage to look in the mirror, I was completely amazed!  I was in awe at the sexy, confident woman staring back at me.  Yes, my thighs were in full view for the world to see. My arms were broad wings, resplendent and ready for flight! I felt so beautiful.  I accepted what I saw in the mirror and didn’t judge it.  What I saw reflected was strength, grace, courage and unique beauty. We took loads of photos and I embraced my body in a way I never had before.  I was so moved by the experience that I knew it would be the subject of my next blog post.

What I learned about myself in this process is that I’m far braverthan I give myself credit for.  I learned that having big thighs is not a crime against humanity.  And I gained insight into how limiting fear can be in all areas of my life.   If you are in fear about something, I recommend walking through it.  It will empower you beyond measure. Go forth and conquer!

Nearly Naked Plus Size Models Strut at Fashion Weekend

I am so freakin’ excited I can’t stand it!  As I was researching a topic for this week’s blog, I came across an article on Brazil’s recent Plus Size Fashion Weekend, featuring women with hips, breasts, cellulite and real curves strutting their stuff on the runway in not much more than their bras and panties!  I was immensely inspired and simply had to share it with you.  These women make me proud to be a feminine creature, with my own unique set of dips and dimples!  The fashion show, which is the biggest in Brazil, was created by journalist Renata Poskus Vaz.  The plus size journalist has a blog of her own, called Mulherao, where she is an advocate of plus size women.  The Fashion Weekend has been instrumental in the growth of the plus size industry in Brazil.  

It’s interesting to compare the body types of these Brazilian models with what we are used to seeing in the U.S. market.  Plus models, like Fluvia Lacerda, Tara Lynn and Denise Bidot seem to have firmer, more toned figures.  Is the Plus Size Modeling industry perhaps a bit hypocritical?  I don’t know.  I suspect there’s a some photo-shopping going on there as well.  Yes, there are great strides being made, but there is still a great amount of pressure on plus models to be keep in shape, and yet not get too small. Don’t get me wrong, I think Fluvia, Tara and Denise have bangin’ bodies. I’m simply offering that plus size models and women who have some jiggle in their wiggle are just as beautiful and just as worthy.  I hope we continue to see progress in this area, so that young girls and women everywhere will begin to celebrate their bodies, instead of hating them.  As plus size bloggers, we have a responsibility to embrace all types of beauty.  And I think collectively, we’re doing a great job.  There is always much to discuss, and like anything else worth pursuing, there is always more progress to make.  So, let’s support one another and keep creating forums where we can talk about creating a world in which a woman’s worth is not determined by her dress size, but by virtue of her value as a human being.  Keep on keepin’ on!

Ciao for Niao,

New Year’s Resolutions…Do They Really Work?

It’s 2012, and if you are like the millions of other women out there who are resolving to lose weight this year, it’s time to find a new resolution!  Resolutions to lose weight and exercise more are usually bound for frustration and breakdown because they set you up to fail.  As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to have this perfect body (whatever that means).  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can begin the new year in self-care and self-acceptance by simply loving who you are one day at a time.  And P.S., you don’t have to wait for January 1st to do it!

Many people get so caught up in the tradition of resolutions that they avoid making changes the rest of the year.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad to want to be better and feel better;  striving for peace of mind and contentment are wonderful resolutions. However, punishing our bodies for the sake of fitting into society’s twisted views of beauty is another thing entirely.  Being our best selves is about loving our bodies and ourselves no matter what we weigh or what size our jeans are.  

And so I propose that you resolve to celebrate your muffin top, cellulite, dimples and soft flesh today and every day.  As Mark Twain said, “A woman cannot be comfortable without her own approval.” AMEN!  You can also practice this principle by telling other women how beautiful they are too.  Pay it forward and help the world see that there is so much more to life than being obsessed with our bodies.  Our bodies are a God given gift.  We get to borrow these bodies temporarily, so treat them well, respect them, speak well of them and they will be good to you.  That’s it.

I wish you a happy new year, full of confidence, self-acceptance and a willingness to do things just a little differently today.


P.S. In addition to continuing to love myself this year, I also resolve to blog more and do my share of paying it forward 🙂

3 Ways to Love Your Body Now

Loving your body isn’t always easy, whether your a size 6 or a 26.  As women we are bombarded with unrealistic images of ultra-thin models and actresses who represent about 1% of the population.  It’s no wonder we’re totally fucked up about our body image.  I know it’s possible to love your body at any size.  Here are three ways you can begin doing it today:

  1. STOP  READING MAINSTREAM FASHION MAGAZINES. I made the decision to stop buying and reading these magazines because they lacked the diversity that exists among real women.  Super thin, air-brushed women are not role models to be emulated.  They are false images, conjured up by the media and corporations who create an unattainable ideal to get your money and mess with your head!  Yup, I said it.  It’s all a bunch of bullshit.  I realized that after many years of reading those magazines and obsessing over the cellulite and stretch mark-free bodies on the pages, that I felt really crappy about myself. Those women are not real.  Instead, I prefer to read wonderful publications like Plus Model Magazine and Skorch.  I read blogs by real, confident women who accept themselves and love their bodies, imperfections and all.  I suggest you do the same.
  2.  WEAR SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD NOW.  It makes me so sad when I hear women say “I’ll wear that when I lose 20 pounds.”  What the hell for? First of all, you deserve to feel good all the time.  Secondly, what if you never lose the weight?  Should you be doomed to a life of fashion mediocrity because you don’t look like Naomi Campbell?  I DON’T THINK SO!  Life is too short to not enjoy every moment.  If that size 18 label makes you uncomfortable, then cut it off!  Besides, there are so many wonderful clothing options for plus size women today.  You can be fashion forward, chic and trendy at any size.  So go out and treat yourself!
  3. HIGHLIGHT YOUR FAVORITE BODY PART.  We all have a part of our bodies that we really like.  Whether it’s you sexy thick legs, shapely bosom or gorgeous hair, you should play it up.  I love my smile and my decolletage.  So, I wear red lipstick and necklines that highlight my graceful neck.  It always makes me feel good about myself.  When you begin loving one body part, it becomes easier to love the rest of your body too.  It may not happen over night.  But the next time you are in front of the mirror, just say to yourself “I love my…!”  It really works!

    CELLULITE–Embrace It Already!!

    I don’t know about you, but I’m so freakin’ tired of reading about magical cellulite creams that will remove so called unsightly skin dimpling.  The fact is, 95% of women have cellulite. That’s right, pretty much all women have those fatty deposits that cause our skin to look a bit uneven.  Models and actresses have it, but we don’t see it because their photos get airbrushed.  We have been sold a bill of goods by the media and cosmetic companies that want us to buy their useless products.  

    They want us to believe that we are ugly and unworthy because we have cellulite. They want us to believe that if we use their special potions, that our lives will become improve drastically.  It’s total BULL For years they have caused women to feel less than for what is a normal occurrence. The reason women are prone to cellulite is because we tend to have thinner skin and carry more fat than men do. It’s just a fact. Although cellulite may be more prominent on heavier women, it does not necessarily go away if you lose weight. It can be genetic too. Accept the fact that you are like the majority of women and you’ll save yourself the agony of hating your thighs, butt, stomach, arms, blah, blah, blah!!  So, it’s fine to keep on exercising and eating well.  It’s good to be kind to your body.  But don’t make yourself crazy trying to rid yourself of what makes you a woman.  Embrace it and you will empower yourself and others.