We’ve all been there were we have questioned our worth at times and doubted ourselves, allowed our fears to get in the way of our dreams and set backs become our reality instead of progressing and evolving to the better human beings we know we are capable of being and being confident within ourselves and for who we really are.
Some of you may know me as the star of Princesses:Long Island on Bravo TV or the actress from My Crazy Love on Oxygen and/or my voice on top 40 radio station, 106.1 BLI , but none of those titles ever defined who I was at the core and neither does my weight, at any weight I am. We all define ourselves by society standards and how they judge us. Are we skinny enough? Are we pretty enough? Are we good enough? These are the questions we ask ourselves daily in order to fit in, including myself. My weight gain was due to a mix of career disappointments, rejection and heart breaks. I allowed my weight fluctuating to define me. I ate my feelings when things weren’t going right or my way and I gained over 30 pounds after my reality show was off the air, my boyfriend broke up with me and I basically had to start from the bottom up and it all showed in my weight gain.
I was watching #Embracethedocumentary and I was compelled to inspire others to love themselves by taking step by step on this journey to love myself, so what did I do? I do what I do best, I put my truth out there on social media for the world to see. I wanted to not only face my own truth but I wanted others to understand that its ok to live my truth without being scrutinized. I am not loosing weight, working out or getting in to shape to be a size zero, I am doing it for my mind, body and soul and that’s what I hope to encourage all of you. I believe we all need to take a stand and not allow people to judge us for how fat or skinny we are and ridicule us for being happy being a certain weight. I always wanted to please people and fed in to my insecurities that I wasn’t good enough for society standards until I didn’t care anymore and realized it was about loving myself and accepting myself at any weight that was going to make me happy and being
I have always struggled with my weight through out my life. I was very heavy set in high school while all my friends were thin and pretty getting all the attention from the popular /hot guys and I was just considered “their friend” because no one could look at me more than that due to my weight. I was always judged because of how I fluctuated in my weight until one day I was sick of hearing it, sick of disappointing people and thought, just maybe I would be happy if I lost the weight. My sophomore year of college I ended up loosing 30 pounds and looked like a completely different person. I never felt so beautiful and ugly at the same time in my life. I felt thin but it still wasn’t enough. I was always trying to be fit or loose more weight. I wasn’t myself and I wasn’t happy, just because I was thinner.
I am constantly around models and for the most part, I try not to let it affect me, however, I would be lying if I said it never affected me. I’ve been around models, celebs and designers my entire life who pride on being thin and looking good. There have been times I felt inadequate bc I was over weight or not a size zero and even felt discriminated against or treated unfairly because of it. There were times I questioned my self worth and value because I didn’t look like these stick figure beautiful models and asked myself over and over again, what’s wrong with me?? I remember I was working on a photo shoot for a well know designer at the time and I was about 130 pounds at the time, very curvy, a little over weight, not in shape and she came up to me in front of everyone, body shamed me and told me if I wanted to work for the company I needed to be a size 0-2. I never felt so depleted and helpless. I thought to myself how can I be judged for my weight and not my soul or characteristics. Are people this superficial? It took me a while to realize that it doesn’t matter what others think of you because it only matters what you think of yourself. If you’re happy with your weight than there’s no need to let others make you feel you need to change who you are physically and mentally because you don’t. You should always love yourself at any weight you are.,, it took me a long time to get there and it’s still a challenge and journey I am trying to overcome.
I remember when I had to attend fashion week. I was in front of all the important people in the industry and I was going from designer to designer to dress me but they didn’t have anything that fit my body. Everything was too small, too fight, too fitted and I began to feel insecure and overwhelmed with self doubt. Finally, I found a very cool over sized men’s hoodie dress, put it on with some sexy knee high boot, Kim Kardashian style, and I never felt so cool or sexy in my life. Even though everyone looked at me at this fashion show like I was crazy or out of my mind for wearing it but it didn’t matter because I felt confident in it and I finally found pieces by Snkrflea and Reviled clothing that made me feel comfortable, confident and sexy about my body and self, in general. I had to learn how to dress for my body, which was challenging because all of my college year and most of my 20s’ I was thin and never had to worry about that. Now, it’s the biggest worry I have. Will these clothes fit? Will I find something to I love that makes me feel comfortable. I do a lot of celebrity interviews for my radio show on 106.1 WBLI and I have to find the right outfit I feel comfortable in, because if I don’t then I won’t be focused on my interview, or I will be distracted or feel insecure and that’s a recipe for disasters when you’re interviewing the biggest artists and actors so it can definitely be challenging. This is why I am working on myself to get better for myself, by accepting who I am, embracing it and making a change to do something about it for my mind, body and soul.
The sad part is after I stopped focusing on keeping up with my weight and just let go and was happy with who I was at any weight or shape, I started dating my ex boyfriend at the time, who by the way has an obsession with models, and always made me feel insecure about how voluptuous I was or curvy or would watch everything I ate and criticized me. There were time he even made me feel ugly, fat and sloppy and that’s why he couldn’t be with me. He ended up dating models after me, which obviously didn’t make me feel good about myself. Of course I felt, if I just lost that weight or was in better shape maybe he would still be with me today. Maybe he would still love me? Maybe I would finally be good enough for him, but then I realized it was never about him, it was about me accepting myself for me. It was about me loving every part of me and being ok with who I was no matter what I looked like even though the guy I loved and wanted to marry didn’t see me in that way. We have to rise above it and be stronger than the body shaming and criticism. It’s not what defines us as human beings. We need to be confident in who we are despite what others tell us. Sure, if you want to loose weight for yourself to be fit and healthy, than do so but don’t allow it to take over your happiness or define it.
I was probably the one out of the entire cast that was scrutinized and ridiculed the most for my physical appearance and my body weight. All day long I would look at comments on social media, people tweeting at me that I was a fat slob and I should never be on TV again, that I was so ugly and had to get a nose job, that I had a weird smile or I had a weird looking face or I wasn’t universally pretty enough to be on camera or be a “reality star.” Some people even said I looked like a drag queen, which I never understood that to be negative , even though I knew they tried to mean it in a negative way, because I have a lot of friends who are drag queens and they’re beautiful. I had to take a step back and really ask myself is this true what everyone is saying about me? Obviously the people I was dealing with weren’t that educated and very ignorant. It’s difficult not to take what people say to heart, especially if you’re a people pleaser like me. I had to really get to know myself and sit with myself, embrace who I was and what I looked like and love every moment of it. I can change myself to be a better person but I can’t change what I look like physically. Of course we can tweak what we have here and there but why? Why not embrace who you are the way you are now? Why change for others because they feel uncomfortable with your appearance? I realized after going through that, that no matter what I change about myself, everyone will still have something else to say. At the moment, I stopped caring what others were saying about me and for the first time I cared what I thought about me and I saw a beautiful person, but a broken person that needed to fix herself in order to get to her happy place again and not because of what others told me.
The problem with connecting my relationship status with my self worth is that I desperately clung to my boyfriend, always asking for validation and always trying to be a certain weight for him to feel worthy. After 5 years, I realized that I couldn’t base my worth around my weight and relationships anymore. By the time I left the relationship, my sense of worth was shot. It’s ironic that low self worth is what led me to the relationships, kept me in these dysfunctional relationships, and what I had to deal with once I left the relationship. It’s funny because the minute I stopped judging myself and basing my worth on a guy or having a relationship or not, I was able to be happy and eat what I want. I ended up gaining lots of weight post break up, emotionally eating and just indulging from everything I was deprived of. I am, now, celebrating that I took a stand to leave someone who was so detrimental to my own self esteem and realized that I don’t want to be with anyone who makes me second guess myself based on how much weight I’ve gained or lost.
I’ve always been dieting and trying to loose weight, was a soul cycle and pelaton feen, took yoga classes, Pilates you name it … but it was never enough and never is. You’re constantly having to keep up and how happy does that really make you at the end of the day? When you’re constantly on a diet, you can’t enjoy the real pleasures of life. I decided I rather enjoy life than constantly be miserable on a diet. Now, I want to get back in to shape more so for my mind, body and soul all around, not because I am obsessed with what society wants me to be, which is unhealthy and a size zero and constantly basing my worth on how skinny I am. It’s just sad and beyond ridiculous.And if so, did you have a certain size or weight that you were always striving for? How does that differ from your body now?
After the daily criticism I get about my weight or people telling me if only I was thinner, my life would be almost perfect in every department like my career, friendships, love life and more. The truth is, I felt the most lonely I have ever felt. I realized no one was putting food on my table or paying my bills or caring about my well being in general. All they cared about if I was going to look skinny for that interview or red carpet event or audition. I got sick of it and said to myself everyone else is unhappy with my body weight but me. I am good with it. I love every curve and every fat on my body because it’s mine. Sure, can I loose some weight and be in better shape? Yes! But am I going to let it take over my life and determine my worth, definitely not!! I am happy with me and if you don’t like it than Se La Vi! (French term for goodbye)
I decided to take this to a public forum because I saw how many of my friends and fans were going through the same body shaming struggle as I was going through. I wanted to inspire others that they’re not alone the way I felt alone. I wanted women to understand that they cannot allow ridicule and hate from others be spewed on to them and accept that. I wanted women to know they are beautiful at any size or shape. I wanted to take a stand for not only myself, but for others out there and what way to do it and stick to it by putting it out there for everyone to see. Now that I know it’s out there, I can’t let myself down or anyone else down. It’s easy to fall back in to the rut if you do it alone and I wanted to do this as a united front, and I personally feel the only way to do that is by putting yourself out there and inspiring others along the way. I really want to make an impact on others, especially women to let them know they are beautiful no matter what because they are a human being that was made in a unique way by our creator and the universe and no one has the right to tell us how to eat, what size we should be or how worthy we are?!
I am overwhelmed with how much love and support I’ve received from my post. I have women all over the world in tears, writing to me how brave I’ve been for not only myself, but for them and that is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can impact someone else’s life for the better through your own painful experiences. I was honestly shocked by how much love as oppose to hate I was getting. I was expecting more hate than love . The positive responses drives me to be even more committed to this challenge and over come it so I can set an example for other women out there struggling with the same weight issues. I wanted people to know if I can do this, so can you. Sure, it’s scary to put yourself out there for the world to see. Being vulnerable is the hardest thing to do but it’s also the most beautiful part of a human. And I think we need to embrace our fears, insecurities and vulnerabilities and own them and be proud of them and fully accept #thisisme
My biggest fear was that people who I cared about in my life would feel shame and be embarrassed to be associated with me. I felt I was disappointing my family by putting myself out there because we pride on privacy and being conservative, I was scared my ex boyfriends would see this and it would confirm why they left me in the first place. I was scared I would loose my job or never be employed again based on others judgement but then I realized who really cares? Do I even want to be around people or work with people or have people in my life who are judging me based on my weight instead of what an incredible person I am, then I rather be alone and that’s how I got over my fear. It’s like ripping off a band aid. You just have to be brave and do it. Bravery is the most beautiful characteristic you can encompass.
The goal from this journey is to be happy, healthy and not deprive myself from anything. I hope you all stick with me on my journey and learn something about yourselves and I hope I am able to inspire you to love who you are no matter what. I hope to spread more love from this project.
Body shaming is such a crucial topic and message we need to stand against together. Many celebrities have inspired me to also take this stand and challenge like Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady, who were both featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition this year, and they are both seen as advocates for body acceptance.
Taryn Brumfitt, body activist and creator of the documentary, embrace, is who mainly inspired me to put myself out there and accept my flaws and encourage my vulnerabilities to be voiced.
I watched her explore the global issues of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and our bodies. She too posted a photo of herself (before and after) for people to be inspired to change the way they’re thinking about their bodies. I remember the night I watched it, I was getting ridiculed about my weight and harassed about it from everyone in my life, from my family members to my friends to my pears in the industry, telling me that I would be happier if I were thinner and I would get everything my heart desired if I were just in shape and thin. But I realized that’s not true and the documentary, Embrace made me realize that I had to change the way I thought of myself and my own body in order for others to back off and understand my weight doesn’t determine my happiness and as soon as I stopped pleasing everyone, I started finding out what’s important and how to please myself, first and foremost and that’s the most beautiful thing and most empowering thing you could ever do for yourself so thank you Taryn for inspiring me to do this!