I have had a turbulent relationship with my body. It used to be so bad that I felt too self-conscious to wear a body-hugging dress, even when no one else really considered me fat. I’ve also met really slim women, who I believed have the “perfect body” only to discover that they feel incredibly self-conscious too.
With time, I’ve discovered that this really isn’t about the number on the scale, or the one on the dress label, it’s not these numbers, it’s perspective, how we feel and the way we think about ourselves.
So meet my heroine, the woman who has helped me see myself differently; Philomena Kwao
Face of Torrid 2015, Philomena is a British-Ghanaian plus-size model with JAG Model Management, and has been featured in major fashion magazines including Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Elle, Essence and other magazines, promoting beauty and sensuality at every size, and challenging the standards of the modeling industry today.
I first saw Philomena on Instagram while following other plus-size model Robyn Lawley. What struck me is how similar I think we look; save for her classic haircut, she’s dark skinned and chunky around the middle. She’s got a Masters in International Health Management; brains to go with all that beauty.
Despite being scantily clad or in a daring outfit for a shoot, Philomena seems at ease in front of the camera, laughing or staring dead into its lens, confident and unbothered by a few extra pounds. She owns her body and encourages the rest of us to do same with ours.
My pivotal moment was this picture of her in a two piece. It made me realize that I didn’t need to be skinny to wear a swimsuit.
I’ve found relative peace with my body. On the pool deck, I’m not concerned with what onlookers think about my body and its size. I’m bigger than the average but I love me, and isn’t that all that matters?