There are very few pictures of me that other people take that I like. When other people take a picture of me, I pick the entire image apart, focusing on what I don’t like about myself.
My double chin is too noticeable.
My arms are lumpy and too big.
My stomach sticks out.
My eyes are so squinty.
My hair is too frizzy.
My face looks shiny.
My legs are really lumpy.
…and on, and on, and on. Over and over, all of the body positivity that I’ve worked toward is knocked down, bit by bit, until I end up hating myself. I’ve even had some wedding photos that I disliked, although there are a few cosplay photos that I was okay with.
However, this mindset has gone through a major change in the past few months, and it’s mostly due to Trashy Diva.
Trashy Diva is one of my absolute favorite clothing brands. What TD usually does is they release multiple prints over the course of the year, and each print comes in a few dress styles. So if you love a print, you can find the style of dress that you like best.
Back in May, a Facebook friend of mine who worked part-time at Trashy Diva messaged me and asked if I was interested in being one of the models for their “For All” fit guide blog posts. Typically, when a new print comes out, TD pulls together a bunch of lovely ladies of all sizes and shapes to display the different styles and how they work on their bodies. My emphatic “YES OMG YES” could probably be heard around the state! My favorite dress company wanted me to model for them…I was nerding out, big time. I contacted Jen, the TD Office Manager, and signed up.
About two weeks later, the Ruffled Feathers print launched. I was nervous as heck that morning…we had to show up with our makeup and hair done, and they would provide the outfit and shoes. Sandy and Brittany, the photographers, were simply lovely, and everyone there was so amazingly positive – not just about the print and dresses, but they supported and we all gushed over how great we all looked!
After the shoot, I was told that they’d send me some pictures. Less than a week later, I received these images:
These were the first pictures I’ve ever had taken of me that I didn’t pick apart. When I look at them, I see someone who’s grown more confident in herself and her body. I felt amazing. I felt happy. I felt comfortable in my own skin on camera. Not only that, I felt like those totally pulled together pinup ladies I always see on Instagram which was AWESOME.
Since then, I’ve been really lucky to be asked to come back and model for their blog posts two more times! I’ve also become friends with a few of the lovely ladies that work there, which is even better. I love making new friends.
When I modeled for the most recent post about the Psychedelic Ferns print, they sent me this picture. I sent the image to a few friends with the following message:
I look hot af.
I didn’t see someone with lumpy arms or squinty eyes or any other issues with their body. For the first time ever, I saw past all those imperfections. My shoulders are not “as wide as a linebacker”, they actually look really good in strappy dresses. My “too-pale” skin that has been a constant source of jokes by others looks really great in bold colors and prints. As for the other stuff…whatever. My large arms and my chubby face and everything else does not define who I am. I am more than these pieces.
I look – and more importantly, I FEEL – really damn good. 🙂
So thank you, Candice Gwinn, for making these gorgeous dresses that make women feel fabulous. Thank you, Trashy Diva team, for being really body positive and super amazing to everyone who comes there to shop, and for making me feel – and look – like a real pinup model, and a beautiful woman.
(And thanks for dealing with my TD nerdouts as well. I gush and chatter a lot, I know. LOL.)