Entertainment

How Dressing Up For The Gym Helped Me Start Loving My Plus-Size Body

The gym has never been synonymous with being my so called “happy place.” For the longest time, I associated the gym with insecurities of my personal body image. I carried these negative thoughts and words around for far too long that dates back to my early teenage years. So when I turned 25, I knew I had to change something. Deep down I knew the way I viewed and treated myself wasn’t healthy. My physical health was important to me, but also I had to face that my mental well-being suffered far more greatly than anything else.

Growing up I often allowed these negative thoughts to dictate my emotions and decisions. It often felt as if my thoughts controlled my life. My perception of the gym for many years had always been filled with anxiety and a whole lot doubt when in reality it was a safe space all this time. So I made a promise to myself that no matter where I took up space I would be 100% there in the moment without regret or self-doubt. I’m not saying it happened overnight, but learning how to take back this inner power and switch my outlook on places like the gym helped turn off all unsettling feelings about my physical appearance. My wall slowly came down when I started to view the gym no longer as a task, but instead as an act of self-care and love for myself. Along the way I found confidence in my gym routine and looking good for me and not anyone else.

A lot has changed with inclusivity in the fashion industry, that it even has inspired many brands to change their standards for other categories like activewear. Here are nine of my favorite plus-size brands that carry durable athleisure because you can’t spell fitness without fit and fit is everything when you’re a plus girl like me.

1. Girlfriend

If you care more than just about how you look at the gym, but actually where your clothes come from and how it’s made, look no further. Girlfriend Collective is more than just an activewear brand that has taken over social media — it is a clothing brand that does good and is made from recycled water bottles. Yes, recycled water bottles! The brand is 100% transparent on their process and where they source their recycled materials. Their classic compressive high-rise leggings and sports bras have almost become a uniform in my closet. From bright to classic color sets, there’s definitely an outfit or two for you.

2. Torrid

An OG in the plus game! If there’s one category to shop at Torrid it’s their activewear, it’s one I swear by. I may be biased because I use to work at their headquarters, but it’s only because I know how much time and dedication goes into their fit. It’s not just a mission they preach, they really do walk the walk when it comes down to sizing at Torrid. What I love most about this brand is their dedication to finding the right fit for all real plus size bodies.

Size Range: 10-30

3. Outdoor Voices

For the adventurer who is always #DoingThings from dog walks, morning hikes on Runyon Canyon, to grabbing fresh juice from JuiceLand — Outdoor Voices is the new activewear brand that’s not only cool, but seriously just gets it. Their recreational apparel was made for people like you and me to sweat, have fun with friends, but most importantly stay happy and healthy. While their sizing is limited, I do hope they expand soon! (But if you’re an inbetweenie like me you can probably get by with their XL!)

Size Range: XS-XL

4. Fabletics

I’ll be honest, I never understood the hype around this brand until a coworker dragged me into one of their store. I have to admit it was love at first fit. Fabletics has become one of my go-to brands for activewear. They have a great selection of stylish pieces you can pair and a killer VIP program. Where else can you buy two pairs of leggings for $24?

Size Range: XXS-3X

5. DAY/WON

It’s 2019 and being strong looks very different from what it did a few years ago thanks to women like Candince Huffine. She may be a model by day, but she’s also body positivity activist and designer to an inclusive activewear brand for every body. Inspired by a dare to run a marathon, Huffine embarked on a fitness journey that soon came to change her life of never backing down from any challenge.

Size Range: 0-32

6. Nike

Nike has always been at the forefront of activewear, but it wasn’t until recently did their marketing start showing up for their plus gals and community, too! I know I can alway rely on their fit from head to toe.

Size Range: 1X-3X

7. Target

For those days when I’m on a budget Target has always been my go-to. Two of my favorite athleisure brands Target carries are Joy Lab and C9. The styles and fits are always constantly changing and you can always find great deals in the clearance racks. Pro-tip: Download the Target app for those Cartwheel discounts!

8. Game by Universal Standard

For the minimalist looking for high-performance and technically-designed activewear Universal Standard is for you. They’re sweat-proof and antimicrobial leggings will become a staple in your gym bag. If you’re a simple girl who likes her basics you’ll find everything you’ll need from their Game collection.

Size Range: 00-4X

9. Beyond Yoga

This size-inclusive brand is not only female-founded, but community driven.  You can find them on social empowering people to live their best, most balanced lives daily. Their fit is one of the most supportive and soft material I’ve ever worn. This brand is 110% worth the splurge because sometimes you just have to treat yo’self!

Size Range: XXS-3X

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Culture

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Lino Obarallumbo / DailySol

Scholars at Lima’s San Marcos university say it’s the first time a student has written and defended a thesis entirely in a native language. Roxana Quispe Collantes made history when she verbally defended and wrote her thesis in Quechua, a language of the Incas. While Quechua is spoken by 8 million people in the Andes with half of them in Peru, it speaks volumes that this hasn’t happened before at the 468-year-old university, the oldest in the Americas. 

Quispe Collantes studied Peruvian and Latin American literature with a focus on poetry written in Quechua. The United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages program has Peru a part of a global campaign to revive 2,680 indigenous languages at risk of going extinct. Peru is home to 21 of those languages. 

Roxana Quispe Collantes brings Inca culture to her doctoral candidacy.

Quispe Collantes began her presentation with a traditional Inca thanksgiving ceremony. She presented her thesis “Yawar Para” (or blood rain) by using coca leaves and chicha, a corn-based alcoholic beverage in the ritual.

For seven years, the student studied Andrés Alencastre Gutiérrez, a poet who wrote in Quechua, and used the pen name Kilku Warak’aq. For her thesis, she analyzed his mixture of Andrean traditions and Catholicism. 

“I’ve always wanted to study in Quechua, in my original language,” she told the Observer

Quispe Collantes traveled to highland communities in the Canas to confirm the definitions of words in the Collao dialect of Quechua used in the Cusco region. 

“I needed to travel to the high provinces of Canas to achieve this translation and the meaning of toponyms that I couldn’t find anywhere,” she said. “I asked my parents, my grandparents and teachers, and [it didn’t prove fruitful].”

Quechua entering the academic discourse can help preserve it. 

“Quechua doesn’t lack the vocabulary for an academic language. Today many people mix the language with Spanish,” she said. “I hope my example will help to revalue the language again and encourage young people, especially women, to follow my path. It’s very important that we keep on rescuing our original language.”

Her doctoral adviser Gonzo Espino told The Guardian he believes Quispe Collantes’ thesis was a symbolic gesture. 

“[The language] represented the most humble people in this part of the world: the Andeans, who were once called ‘Indians’. Their language and culture has been vindicated,” he said. 

It should go without saying but the doctoral candidate received top marks on her project.

Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America. 

The oldest written records of Quechua were in 1560 in Grammatica o arte de la lengua general de los indios de los reynos del Perú by Domingo de Santo, a missionary who learned and wrote the language. Before the expansion of the Inca Empire, Quechua spread across the central Andes. The language took a different shape in the Cusco region where it was influenced by neighboring languages like Aymara. Thus, today there is a wide range of dialects of Quechua as it evolved in different areas. 

In the 16th century, the Inca Empire designated Quechua as their official language following the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many missionaries and members of the Catholic Church learned Quechua so that they could evangelize Indigenous folks. 

Quispe Collantes grew up speaking the language with her parents and grandparents in the Acomayo district of Cusco. Quechua today is often mixed with Spanish and she hopes that “Yawar Para” will inspire others to revisit the original form. 

Peru takes Quechua to the mainstream. 

Under the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages campaign, this year, Peru began the official registration of names in its 48 indigenous languages.

The U.N. launched its initiative to preserve indigenous languages in 2019 after the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues determined that, “40 percent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.”

According to the Guardian, for years, Peruvian registrars refused to recognize indigenous names on public records. They would then force indigenous people to register Hispanic or English-sounding names on government forms while keeping their real names at home. 

“Many registrars tended not to register indigenous names, so parents felt the name they had chosen wasn’t valued,” said Danny Santa María, assistant manager of academic research at Reniec. “We want to promote the use of indigenous names and recognize the proper way to write them on birth certificates and ID documents.”

In 2016, Peru began airings its first news broadcast in Quechua and other native languages, ushering into the mainstream. 

“My greatest wish is for Quechua to become a necessity once again. Only by speaking it can we revive it,” Quispe Collantes said.

A Look Back At The Legacy Of Pedro Zamora, 25 Years After His Death

Culture

A Look Back At The Legacy Of Pedro Zamora, 25 Years After His Death

juddwinick / Instagram

Back in 1992, MTV first aired “The Real World,” which went on to define reality TV forever. The shows premise and tagline — “This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a house… and have their lives taped…to find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real… ” — seemed like a fresh concept. At the time, viewers were simply taking in how people from different backgrounds got along. A lot of the time, they didn’t. In the middle of all that TV drama, something unusual was taking place: viewers were meeting individuals that presented extraordinary stories. In the show’s 27-year span, only one person stood out among them all and is remembered for literally changing the world. 

In 1994, MTV’s “Real World” San Francisco featured a 22-year-old Cuban named Pedro Zamora. 

Credit: @dc408dxtr / Twitter

For those not familiar with Zamora, his life story is a remarkable one of survival. He was just 8-years-old when he and some of his family members left Cuba on the Mariel Boatlift and settled in Miami. Sadly, his mother died of cancer a couple of years later when he was 13. Zamora still excelled in school. It was around this time that he realized he was gay. While he did come out to his family, they mostly feared that Zamora would get discriminated against because of his sexuality. 

At 17, Zamora found out he contracted HIV and decided to bring awareness to his disease. 

Credit: @theadvocatemag / Twitter

While attending Miami Dade College, Zamora became a fierce AIDS educator. One of the most impressive traits that he possessed was that he could engage with people of different ages and backgrounds. He was a great speaker. It was his charming characteristics and profound knowledge that made him perfect for TV. He ventured into several famous talk shows of that time to speak about what it was like to be a young gay man living with AIDS. 

With the encouragement of friends, Zamora felt he could reach more people with his message of empathy and education about HIV and AIDS by auditioning to be on MTV’s “Real World.” Naturally, he was one of nine to be cast on the show. 

As a cast member on the show, Zamora helped to educate his housemates about living with AIDS. Those moments on MTV also informed millions of viewers. Zamora loved for people to learn about his Cuban culture. 

Credit: @simplymiatx23 / Twitter

Today with the lack of Latino representation in the arts and entertainment industry, we now see how rare it was to have two Cuban Americans on MTV talking about their culture and family. Another castmember that has continued to be in the limelight was Zamora’s housemate Rachel Campos Duffy. She was a young conservative back then, and she still is today as the wife of former GOP representative Sean Duffy (he too was a former cast member of the “Real World” Seattle). While Rachel and Zamora clashed on various topics, including his homosexuality, their bond broke through her closemindedness. 

While Zamora died shortly after the last episode of the “Real World” aired, his legacy continues to be inspiring 25 years later.

Zamora’s housemate and one of his loudest advocates today, Judd Winick, who wrote the 2000 book “Pedro and Me” said this on social media: 

“I’d ask that on this incredible milestone that we try to remember how he lived, and how he literally changed the world, rather than focusing on our loss of him. By appearing on The Real World in ‘94, he showed everyone what it was really like to be living with AIDS, to be living out, to love, to be loved by friends, supported by family—to have a full life. And it seems crazy that this was a lesson that needed to be taught. But it did.” 

Rachel echoed that sentiment on the 25th anniversary of his death on Twitter: “@RealWorldMTV changed many lives -including mine. #PedroZamora died 25 yrs ago today, but his impact lives on. I miss Pedro & the days when MTV respected young people enough to make shows like the Real World, San Francisco.”

For those of us who watched Zamora on the “Real World,” we learned about showing empathy and compassion for those that suffered AIDS and HIV and continue to live with it today. Zamora also taught viewers to always show kindness, respect, and love for one another.

Credit: nycaidsmemorial / Instagram

Click here for more information on the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship and The Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship

READ: A Single Mom On DACA Is One Of The Newest Cast Members On MTV’s New Season Of ‘The Real World