My first memory of my body, is the first time I felt different or that my body was “wrong” in a way.
People talk a lot about taking back your space, especially in feminist or body positive communities. As a fat woman, I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to take as little space as possible, ironically so. I was enough of a bother to the world because I was bigger than other people. I tried to fit it, I tried to make myself liked by people, because I was the first person who didn’t like me. But that’s so, so wrong and downright stupid. I don’t have to give anything to the world just because I take up more physical space than others. My personality shouldn’t be small, as some sort of compensation. I deserve to be as big, as loud, as colourful as I want to. We all do. Today we’re discussing space and body activism with style maven extraordinaire The B Word, Brianna McDonnell.
Hey! My name is Brianna McDonnell, I live in Los Angeles and I blog about plus size fashion, body confidence and being a boss babe on my blog, The B Word. I’m extremely passionate about inspiring and empowering women through fashion and that’s what The B Word is all about.
What’s your first memory about your body?
My first memory of my body, is the first time I felt different or that my body was “wrong” in a way. I was six years old and it was pointed out to me at the pool, that I was bigger than all the other girls. I remember not even thinking about it before that point. That was for sure a defining moment in my relationship with my body.
3. What was your childhood like? Have you always been on the plus-size side?
I have ALWAYS been plus size. I’m 6’0 tall and big, I’ve been that way the majority of my life. Growing up was interesting because I was always confident but I felt really disconnected from my body.
My parents were very supportive but they also were very concerned with my health. It wasn’t until I found the online body positive community and plus size fashion bloggers, that I really found people that looked like me. That completely changed how I viewed myself and my body.
How has your perception about your body changed across the years? Were there any triggers?
I didn’t feel connected with my body for a long time. It wasn’t until I was older and really looked at myself in the mirror and did the inner work that I started to love my body. It was a journey. I had to change my thoughts first.
Can you explain a little bit more what it was like to be disconnected from your own body?
When I was younger I felt disconnected from my body, like it wasn’t mine, like I would love myself when I lost weight or when I looked a certain way. It was surreal, I just didn’t feel comfortable in my skin. I didn’t own the space I took up in the world. I allowed my physical body to hold me back for so long, until one day I said fuck it. It was either learn to love me now, or hate myself and I couldn’t hate myself any longer.
What would you tell your 13 year old self?
I would tell her to go kick ass and do not apologize for the space you take up in the world. For a long time, I tried to hide my light to make other people comfortable. Girl NO, go for it!
How has social media changed your life? How important is Instgram to you?
Social media changed my life because it opened me up to a community I would never have had otherwise. I grew up knowing no other fat, plus size, curvy women. I never saw anyone else like me, so social media really opened me up to people who looked like me and had similar experiences.
Tell us more about your project, #BEinyourskin
#BEinyourskin is a hashtag campaign I started with my blog in 2015. So many people think when I lose weight I’ll be confident, if I didn’t have flabby arms or If I wear these clothes I’ll love my body. #BEinyourskin is to inspire and empower people to love their bodies now. Every August my blog and social media channels focus on the #BEinyourskin 31 Day Body Confidence Challenge. A theme driven month, with activities all focused on building self esteem and body confidence. 2017 was the third year I did this!
What would you like to teach or change in the people who follow you?
I would love to inspire them and empower them to live their best lives. I want them to feel powerful, kick ass, like they can take on and do anything. We are so powerful as women and I would love to inspire someone to follow their dreams, never letting their size, shape, weight, height, body insecurities to hold them back.
In what sense did you use to hide your light in order to make people feel less comfortable? What would you do/not do?
I was very conscious of the space I took up in the world and my energy. I was afraid to fully be myself because people told me, I was too big. My body was too big, my dreams were too big, my voice was too loud. It was my mom who told me I can’t make myself shrink for people because they were uncomfortable. I had to live for me, be my best BIG self.
11. Does knowing that many women looks up to you as a role model put pressure on you & what you do & choose to publish on social media and your blog in any way? Do you think online visibility comes with a responsibility and that public or famous people should keep certain things in mind before posting?
I feel a pressure for sure. It isn’t a bad pressure, I feel a pressure to be great and to win for all of us. I feel like when I win, I open a lane for more women like me. So I feel a responsibility to be as honest to my following, with blog posts as possible. The more I learn from the body positive community the more I look at what I post and think more responsibly about what I’m saying with my content.
12. How important is representation in the media (of plus size women/different body types than the standard) and why?
I think representation is everything. We are controlled by the images we are sold. I never saw someone who looked like me in a magazine growing up or in media, which makes you feel isolated.
13. What is the advice you would give someone who still believes they will only be happy once they lose weight?
I would say look in the mirror, really look at yourself. Try to find three things you love about your body now, right now. Do this everyday until it becomes second nature. Self love goes a long way and happiness will never lie in a number on the scale.
We released the #BEinyourskin Plus Size Editorial Wall Calendar at the end of August. I’m so incredibly excited about it and had such a great time creating it! A 12 month wall calendar featuring 18 plus size bloggers, models and influencers shot in an editorial, artful, fashion way. I wanted to create something that my followers could hang on their walls and look at everyday, see themselves represented and feel empowered. Calendars are on sale exclusively at www.thebwordmerch.bigcartel.com