Growing up, I was never comfortable in my skin. I was 5’10 in 5th grade, towered over everyone, and felt awkward and embarrassed of my body. I’m sure many of you out there have felt the exact same way. Now that I’m older, many of my insecurities have gone away, but until recently I wouldn’t be caught dead in a bikini. Swimsuit shopping has always included me trying desperately to squeeze into the last size 14 one-piece that didn’t have some hideous Hawaiian pattern, or a skirt meant to camouflage my cellulite. Of course, this usually ended in heartbreak and too much emotional eating.
This year however, I am happy to announce that there are more options for the fuller figure than ever before!! Not only did Gabi Gregg of Gabifresh create a line of “Fatkinis” for plus size fashionistas (found here), but a slew of other designers and stores are carrying fashion forward options for us bigger gals. Some of my favorite ones can be found online at Monif C, Rue 107, Forever 21+, and Modcloth.
With all the cute new styles out this year, I decided to bite the bullet and jump into my own bikini (I’ve NEVER in my life worn one). I was nervous to put it on, but now that I have I’m never looking back. Swim season is too much fun to miss out on just because of body-shame or not having the right swimwear. I’m in love with this one that I found at Land’s End. What do you guys think?
All photos copyright Joy Lengel Photography
So three Black women in maybe two thousand pages of women’s magazines and all of them biracial or racially ambiguous, so they could be Indian or Puerto Rican or something. Not one of them is dark. Not one of them looks like me, so I can’t get clues for makeup from these magazines. Look, this article tells you to pinch your cheeks for color because all their readers are supposed to have cheeks you can pinch for color. This tells you about different hair products for everyone—and everyone means blondes, brunettes, and redheads. I am none of those. And this tells you about the best conditioners—for straight, wavy and curly. No kinky. See what they mean by curly? My hair could never do that. This tells you about matching your eye color and eye shadow—blue, green, and hazel eyes. But my eyes are black so I can’t know what shadow works for me. This says that this pink lipstick is universal, but they mean universal if you are white because I would look like a golliwog if I tried that shade of pink. Oh look, here is some progress. An advertisement for foundation. There are seven different shades for white skin and one generic chocolate shade, but that is progress. Now let’s talk about what is racially skewed. Do you see why a magazine like Essence exists?