Psst, let us tell you a secret: your happiness will not magically appear the day you’ll manage to lose weight.
Diana Secara and I have lots of things in common. From the fact that we love to laugh (which is apparent in these photos, we could barely keep a straight/sultry/diva face up in these photos) to the fact that we used to hate our bodies. We’ve both been through a lot and the confidence we’re showcasing today did not appear overnight – it took years of work, of struggles, of learning. While our process and experiences have been different (as there’s no one recipe for learning to love yourself), there’s one thing we both agree it’s the most important lesson we learned: the fact that time doesn’t wait for fat people. It doesn’t wait for skinny people either. It doesn’t wait for you to get over your insecurities, no matter what those are. So stop telling yourself “I’ll be happy when *insert condition here*”, because you won’t. Happiness will not suddenly engulf you when you lose some weight, nor when you get that promotion, nor when you fulfil some sort of achievement you’ve bargained your happiness for. Stop conditioning your happiness by your weight, your job, your school, your wealth – because you’re not defined by those things. They are part of you and your life, however they’re not all you are. So stop letting your life run by, while you wait in stand by for things to happen so you can allow yourself to be happy. Just be.
Today is about Diana. If you haven’t heard about her before, Diana Secara is the only plus size model in Romania – and that’s a very brave thing to be, as the stigma surrounding fat people in Romania is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Besides being brave and a road opener, Diana is also a bundle of joy, charismatic and very self-aware. She’s been one of my favourite people to interview so far, so enjoy.
The basics – tell us more about you & what you do
Acum zambesc si raspund interviului pentru The OutsiderZ. In general cred in schimbari si incerc sa schimb conceptii si idealuri prin munca mea ca si model pentru marimi mari.
Now I’m smiling as I’m answering the interview for The OutsiderZ. Generally, I believe in change and I try to change concepts and ideals through my work as a plus-size model.
When did you first get into modelling?
Brusc si nebuneste; cred ca a fost singurul mod pe care divinitatea l-a gasit incat eu sa imi recapat increderea, zambetul si sa pot sa imi culeg cu mandrie sufletul zdrobit in incercarea celor din jur de a imi arata ca trebuie sa ma schimb, ca trebuie sa corespund tiparului de fata adolescenta ‘perfecta’ si bineinteles slaba. In urma cu 6 ani a fost prima oportunitate de a poza pentru un fotograf. Apoi am gasit din intamplare ( desi nimic nu e intamplator ) un afis al unui casting online pentru modele plus size,nu am stat pe ganduri si am aplicat ( cred ca eram prea incantata de pozele recente ale primului meu pictorial ) surpriza a venit atunci cand si organizatorii au fost la fel de incantati si povestea in lumea modei pentru marimi mari a inceput.
Suddenly and foolishly; I think it was the only way that divinity found it appropriate so that I could regain my confidence, my smile and that I could proudly put together my soul that’s been crashed by the attempts of the others around me. People kept trying to show me that I have to change, that I have to fit the pattern of the ‘perfect’ body and, of course, thin teenage girl. 6 years ago, I had the first opportunity to pose for a photographer. Then, I found an ad by chance (although nothing is by chance) for an online casting for plus-size models, so I went ahead and applied (I think I was too excited about the recent pictures of my first pictorial). The surprise came when the organizers were equally as excited and my story in the world of plus-size fashion began.
What was your first job like?
Primul meu proiect a fost in Franta, la Paris in cadrul evenimentului de moda Plus Size Fashion Week. Evenimentul fiind dedicat designerilor care lanseaza colectii plus size.
My first project was in France, Paris, during the Plus Size Fashion Week fashion event . It’s the event dedicated to designers who launch plus size collections.
You’ve also worked a lot in other countries, such as Germany. What are the main differences between plus size modelling in Ro vs Germany?
Da, lucrez si in prezent pentru mai multe branduri din Germania. Totul este diferit, de la privirea celor din jur pana la stilul de fotografie sau mediu online de promovare. Din pacate nu putem spune ca in Romania este intalnit conceptul de plus size modelling, caci atunci cand se vorbeste despre acest lucru inca este o uimire, un subiect tabu sau chiar controversat. Fetelor plus size le este greu sa gaseasca haine potrivite, sa zambeasca, sau chiar sa obtina un loc de munca, asadar pana la o ‘normalitate’ a acceptarii acestei categorii mai sunt cativa pasi importanti de facut.
Yes, I’m still working for several brands from Germany. Everything is different, from the way people look at it to the shooting style or online promoting. Unfortunately, we can’t say that Romania is aware of the concept of plus-size modeling, because when talking about this, it is a shocking, taboo or at least controversial subject. Plus-size girls find it difficult to find suitable clothes, smile, or even find a job, so we still have a long way to go until we are perceived as ‘normal’.
What about when it comes to people’s mentality and how they view plus sized women?
Femeia plus size este o contradictie in societate, jumatate o adora si jumatate o urasc. Cam asa se intampla si in viata personala a femeilor grase. Chiar oamenii din familie o critica si au impresia ca ii cunosc secretul pentru fericire – acesta este ca ele sa slabeasca, atunci o sa fie fericite, implinite si cu un sot perfect. Trist este cand ea nu se iubeste si nu se simte bine in pielea ei, de aici si pana la capcana depresiei si a neingrijirii este doar un pas. Personal, inca mi se mai intampla ca anumiti oameni sa imi spuna ca trebuie sa slabesc … macar putin, ca sa am mai mult succes, chiar uita ca eu sunt model plus size si mai mult decat atat, sunt fericita cu corpul meu, dar mereu cei din jur ‘’simt si vad mai bine ce e nevoie pentru altcineva’’ fara sa stie cat de mult afecteaza critica lor.
The plus-size woman is a contradiction in society, half of it loves her and the other half hates her. The same goes in the personal life of fat women. Even members of the family criticize her and believe that they know the secret to her happiness – which is for them to lose weight, then they’ll be happy, fulfilled and with a perfect husband. It is sad, because she usually doesn’t love and feel good about herself and from here to the trap of depression or negligence there’s just one step. Personally, it still happens to me – some people keep telling me that I should lose weight… at least a little bit, in order to be more successful, they even forget that I’m a plus-size model and more importantly, that I’m happy with my body. But people will always believe that they “feel and see better” when it comes to what it’s best for someone else, without actually realising how much of a negative impact their criticism has.
What tips would you give someone who wants to work as a model?
Sa fie puternica! E uneori extrem de greu sa schimbi mentalitati in Romania, dar este extrem de satisfacator cand poti sa daruiesti fericire femeilor din jurul tau. Trebuie sa fii constienta ca o sa exista multe vorbe care te vor descuraja, si multe ‘maini’ care vor incerca sa te tina departe de visul tau. Un altfel de job este un proiect personal cu tine, trebuie sa fii mereu supusa unor schimbari, multor deplasari si unui stil de viata destul de strict. Modelele plus size, sunt nevoite sa isi mentina dimensiunile uneori si pentru 4-5 luni, atunci cand se lucreaza pentru anumite colectii, pe masura lor, si nu e asa cum pare exterior ca regulile nu exista.
Be strong! It’s very difficult to change mentalities in Romania, but it is extremely rewarding when you can give happiness to women around you. You must be aware that there will be lots of words that will deter you, and many ‘hands’ that will try to keep you away from your dream. This kind of job is a personal project, you must always be the subject of changes, several trips and a quite strict lifestyle. Plus-size models are sometimes forced to maintain their size for 4 to 5 months when working for certain collections, based on their size, and it’s not as it seems from the outside, that rules don’t exist.
Some people claim the body positivity trend and plus sized models are encouraging obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Is that true?
Nu stiu ce se incurajeaza la nivel mondial, dar stiu sigur ca in Romania se incurajeaza prin toate formele posibile, femeia perfecta, femeia rigida si botoxata. Mie personal imi place sa incurajez fericirea si dorinta de a trai azi, gras sau slab, inalt sau scund, fericirea este in fiecare dintre noi daca stim sa o acceptam. ‘Traiti azi!’, acesta este motto-ul meu. Sa iti doresti sa slabesti este o alegere, in schimb sa faci din viata o eterna cura de slabire, este o eroare. Inainte de grija kilogramelor, trebuie sa existe grija pentru tine, in special ingrijirea, caci ea de multe ori se lasa asteptata, atunci cand multe femei, plinute sau nu, uita sa aiba grija de ele si isi spun mereu “ma voi aranja/ ma voi imbraca mai frumos/ am sa fiu mai zambitoare, dupa ce am sa slabesc”. Imi plac sfaturile pozitive, care aduc energie si nu cele venite sa critice pe cineva, caci nu e asa, cine altcineva decat noi, plinutele, simt mai bine ce inseamna critica, atunci cand fiecare om spune ca ‘trebuie sa slabim’ ca sa fim sanatoase, fericite, zambitoare sau chiar casatorite.
I don’t know what it encourages worldwide, but I do know that in Romania the stereotype of the perfect women is encouraged through all possible means, you know, the rigid and full of Botox woman. I personally like to encourage happiness and the desire to live today, fat or thin, tall or short, happiness is within each of us if we know how to accept it. ‘Live Today!’ This is my motto. Wanting to lose weight is a choice, instead, turning your life into an eternal diet is a mistake. Before worrying about kilos, you must worry about yourself first, especially when it comes to self-care, whether you are fat or not because we often forget to take care of ourselves. Women always say “I’ll wear make-up/I’ll dress nice /I’ll be smiling more after I lose weight.” – and that’s sad. I like positive advice that brings energy and not those who only want to criticize, because it’s not like that, who else than us plus-size girls can understand better what criticizing feels, when everyone keeps saying that ‘we must lose weight’ to be healthy, happy, smiling or even married.
Have you ever received hate messages? How do you cope with that?
Da. E foarte usor sa jignesti pe cineva, dar cel mai dureros e ca nu iti dai seama cat de mult poti sa ii machezi viata. Atunci cand mesajul negativ sau jignirea vine de la un strain, este o durere dar care totusi se opreste inainte de a patrunde in suflet. Cel mai grav este atunci cand jignirea fata de o persoana plus size vine de la un parinte sau de la cineva apropiat, atunci reuseste sa distruga stima si iubirea de sine si de aici este mai greu sa te ridici. Am trecut prin ambele experiente si as vrea sa pot sa transmit mai departe parintii sa nu isi jigneasca copii si sa isi doreasca sa fie ‘ca ceilalti’. Referitor la hate messages I get, sunt putine, trec mai usor peste ele raspunzand asa cum haterul nu se asteapta, cu bucurie.
Yes. It is easy to offend someone, but the most painful thing is that you do not realize how much you can affect someone’s life. When the negative or insulting message comes from a stranger, there is pain, but nevertheless it is a pain that stops before entering the soul. The worst is when the offense against a plus-size person comes from a parent or someone close, this then manages to destroy the esteem and self-love and that’s where it’s harder to get up from. I have experienced both and I wish I could pass on to parents not to offend their children and want them to be ‘like the others’. Regarding the hate messages I receive, they are few and I get over them easily by answering the haters in the way they don’t expect, with joy.
Were you always this self confident or was it a process?
Iti multumesc pentru compliment <3 Din pacate nu a fost asa mereu puternica increderea in mine ca si acum, au fost momente in care vroiam sa renunt, dar apoi ma gandeam daca eu care am inceput acest lucru cu atata energie renunt, ce se intampla cu fetele care cred in mine si in schimbare. Da, am trait momente cand credeam ca fericirea vine mereu dupa o cura de slabire, am experimentat si acest lucru doar ca fericirea a fost una de scurta durata. Cea mai mare schimbare a fost pentru mine clipa in care am decis ca e momentul sa ma iubesc si sa traiesc azi. Apoi am stiu ca pot sa cuceresc lumea!
Thank you for the compliment <3 Unfortunately this confidence in myself was not always as strong as it is now, there were moments when I wanted to quit, but then I thought if I, the one who started this adventure filled with so much energy, give up, then what happens to the girls who believe in me and in the changes I’m trying to make?. Yes, I experienced moments when I thought that happiness always comes after a diet, I experienced this kind of happiness but it was short-lived. The biggest change for me was the moment I decided it was time to love myself and live today. That’s when I knew I can conquer the world!
Even though a lot of women are not skinny in Romania, there are very few places where you can find plus size clothing. Some retailers, like Zara, don’t even stock sizes larger than M for a lot of their products. Why do you think that happens?
Acest lucru se va schimba curand! Am promis sa lupt din toate puterile mele, ca in Romania sa existe tot mai multe branduri plus size si deja acest lucru a inceput sa se schimbe incet. Atat timp cat la noi se incurajeaza un tipar unic de femeie care nu are nici un drept de a trece peste marimea 36, industria farmaceutica si alimentara sustine tot mai mult un ’stil de viata sanatos’ chiar daca acesta este de cele mai multe ori confundat cu o dieta drastica care lasa in urma ei doar un efect yo-yo. Toate femeile plinute sunt considerate bolnave si la un pas de pierire, dar din pacate nici slabele nu au garantia sanatatii. In acest moment nu se gasesc haine plus size, deoarece fetele plus size din Romania se inchid in casa, se imbraca in cearceafuri negre si nu accepta schimbarea in viata lor, nu au curajul sa iasa in fata si sa strige tare …. si grasele traiesc, danseaza, zambesc, se imbraca la moda si iubesc.
This will change soon! I promised to fight with all my strength, so that in Romania would appear more plus-size brands and this has already begun to slowly change. As long as in our country it is encouraged the sole stereotype of the woman who has no right to go bigger than size 36, the pharmaceutical and food industries will keep supporting the ‘healthy lifestyle’, even if it is often confused with a drastic diet that leaves behind just a yo-yo effect. All overweight women are considered sick and on the verge of death, but unfortunately there is no guarantee for thin girls regarding health. At the moment I can’t find plus size clothes, because plus-size girls in Romania are closed-in in their homes, dressed in black sheets and not accepting change in their lives or having the courage to come forward and scream out loud….fat people live as well, they dance, smile, dress fashionably and they love – and society needs to accept that.
Give us some shopping tips?
Atunci cand revin in Romania si trebuie sa imi cumpar haine aleg magazine straine in 90 % din cazuri. De putin timp am reusit sa convingem Asos. com sa livreze gratuit in Romania, chiar si returul fiind gratuit pentru comenzi de peste 30 euro. Magazine online care livreaza in Romania si pe care le recomand sunt Asos.com / newlook.com / forever21.com. Iar magazine fizice unde putem sa gasim marimi mari sunt C&A, H&M, LC Walkiki dar si cautand comori prin outleturi sau second – hand -uri. De curand exista in Romania un atelier dedicat rochiilor de mireasa plus size, dar si mai multi designeri care doresc sa colaboreze pentru modele plus size
When I come back in Romania and have to buy clothes I chose foreign stores in 90% of cases. Recently we managed to convince Asos.com to deliver for free in Romania as well, even the return being free for orders over 30 euros. Online stores that deliver in Romania and that I recommend are Asos.com / newlook.com / forever21.com. And stores we can go to and where we can find large sizes are C&A, H&M, LC Walkiki, but I’d also recommend searching for treasures through outlets or second-hand stores. Recently an atelier dedicated to plus-size wedding dresses opened in Romania and there are as well as many designers who want to collaborate with plus size models.
Cea mai mare dorinta e sa citesc fericire si incredere pe chipul ‘fetelor
mele’( asa cum le numesc pe cititoarele mele ) ca exista fericire azi, azi cand suntem perfecte! Imi doresc mai multe proiecte plus size in Romania. Mai multa incredere oferita femeilor plus size. Mai multe branduri dedicate noua.
My greatest desire is to read happiness and confidence on the faces of ‘my girls’ (as I call my readers). I want them to believe that there’s happiness today, today when we are perfect! I wish for more plus-size projects in Romania. More confidence offered to plus-size women. More new brands dedicated to us.