All I ever wanted to do with this Instagram thing and (potentially) modeling thing was to create a place for diversity.
Now, growing up I didn’t have one. There wasn’t anyone looking like me, or just different looking than the stick figure the media showed. I didn’t know that it was okay to be different and that that was actually also kind of beautiful. I was feeling inadequate when I was with my peers, and when I saw the girls in music videos I quickly figured out you had to be slim, beautiful, and sexy (for men) to be successful in this world.
Home is supposed to be your safe place, but for me, it wasn’t that. I was very strictly raised by my dad who would shame me for my weight and force me to go out and exercise, it itself was a punishment, and then there was the punishment for not doing the punishment… Now looking back at pictures of myself from that age I’m in disbelief because I was not in any danger to my health! Sure, I was bigger than the other girls in my class, I was built differently, I had hips and a butt, and I didn’t fit into the low rise jeans trend the ’00s had to offer my generation.
Sure, I could have lost 5 kilos, but that wasn’t the point. All of my surroundings told me that I NEEDED to lose weight. To be pretty for the boys, to be healthy, to be a regular happy peer. But guess what? My weight wasn’t what made me unhappy. Instead, even to this day, I’m still carrying a lot of that around with me – and I’m not talking about the extra weight on my stomach, because it turns out we’re getting along perfectly, and we’re quite the match.
I’m carrying around the weight of all those years of trauma and verbal abuse to lose the weight.
Now, I do not believe my dad or anyone else thought that it would hurt me deeply like that, so I’m not blame shaming. At the same time, we need to do better and know what kind of example we’re setting for our kids and this generation. There’s a complete pressure to change the way you look all the time. Daily I see girls getting lip fillers, cheek fillers, and breast implants like it’s nothing other than a dentist appointment. Now, if you’re reading this, and have had anything done, please don’t get me wrong. I respect your decision, and I think it’s great that people can look exactly like they want to, and I have nothing against that. As long as they do it for themselves and no one else – do you boo! As long as they love themselves as much without it all because self-love comes from within.
What does hurt deep in my soul is all the young girls who are so easily influenced. I don’t want anyone to feel like they only matter if they have big lips, or if they have a slim figure. “Oh please, it’s 2019 it’s totally okay to be curvy and have a big butt!” …Yeah, just be sure to have an unrealistically tiny waist and big boobs that go with that, and we’re all good 👌🏼 No. You’re beautiful when you’re you, and you’re unique. The thing is trends change all the time. Don’t change after them, change only for you or not at all. You are beautiful. You are deserving of love. You are unique and special. Don’t ever let them take that away from you.
My best friend once told me (while under the influence – which is why I know she meant it) that it made her sad that I cared so much about what other people thought of me, meaning all the pictures I post on Instagram. Not gonna lie, that hurt me a little bit, because she didn’t get it, and she’s supposed to, you know? She knows me. I’m afraid other people don’t get it either sometimes. I’m afraid that people look at my Instagram and think, “well she’s conceited and gosh so shallow! Who does she think she is? A model? What makes HER so special?”
Nothing. I’m not that special, or different from you, and in fact, that’s kinda the point. I feel embarrassed when other people describe me as “a model” because I in no way feel like it, and I feel like I have to apologize and correct people *plus size* model.
What I am is like you. I’m a normal girl, with a little too much anxiety and social consciousness. I have cellulite and a lazy eye. I have bad skin and rolls on my stomach. Why I do it, is because I am like you, or nothing like you. I do it to hopefully add to the diversity. Hopefully, that is what a model is or will become – A role model.
I take unrealistic, and posed pictures sometimes – I guess that’s the “model” in me. I do this because it’s fun, and to show you that even when you’re bigger and unedited you can still look good – just like the models do.
I do it because I DON’T care about people’s opinions of me anymore. I decided to be unapologetically me, and yes that comes with a cost, especially when you used to care so much it hurt.
Of course, I’m only human, and I do still care, I care a little too much, and I get anxiety. I want everyone to like me, and I’m sensitive. If they don’t like me I feel misunderstood because surely they must have only seen Karima “the persona” and the facade, and I have failed and not let you in. That’s my biggest worry that I’m misunderstood, but I have to have faith in myself and trust that I’m doing okay. It’s a movement. It starts with you and me, and you know what? If a small thing like me posting in underwear on my Instagram and collaborating with brands, I had never dreamed would collaborate with a plus size girl like me, can show just one young soul that you can wear beautiful lingerie like the other girls can, and feel confident in the body you were given, then my job here is done.
Kidding. We’re just getting started sharing the positivity. Keep shining, love ✨
Love and hugs,