The fashion world is finally starting to realize real women aren’t just skinny models.
Thanks to plus-size models such as Denise Bidot, Ashley Graham and Alessandra Garcia, the fashion industry is refreshingly featuring more women of color with various body types.
CREDIT: Instagram/@denisebidot @theashleygraham @alessandragl
These women exude confidence and are proud to show off their body despite their size — which is why the term “body positive” has exploded.
One of the most down-to-earth style bloggers that is revolutionizing the way we see fashion and body positivity is Jessica Torres.
This 26-year-old Ecuadorian from the Bronx is upping the style game in an incredible way on Instagram and YouTube. In five short years, she’s gone from former retail clerk to style blogger, body positive and fashion reporter at Revelist.
But let’s back track a little. If you’re unfamiliar with the term body positive, here’s roughly what it means:
Mallorie Dunn, founder of the body positive fashion line SmartGlamour, told Psychology Today that this relatively new term means “accepting the body you have as well as the changes in shape, size, and ability it may undergo due to nature, age, or your own personal choices throughout your lifetime.” In other words, being body positive is “understanding that your worth and what’s going on with you physically are two separate entities.”
For Torres, being body positive was a way to cope with her own insecurities.
“I can’t remember when I realized that bo-po had become a cultural phenomenon because it was who I was, or at least who I had become, “Torres tells mitú. “Before body positivity was the cool thing, it was the way I was surviving in this world. It made me realize that you are worth more than your body and that size of your jeans does not determine your worth.”
Torres tells mitú that growing up, she always felt embarrassed about her body.
“People would always compare me to my sisters and friends,” Torres says. “I was taught at a really young age that to be beautiful and successful I had to be thin. That really halted a lot in my life. I always thought that the day I lost weight and became thin I would be happy and successful. I would wear big baggy t-shirts and jeans that were two sizes too big to make sure I hid my body.”
Torres says that it wasn’t until she got to college that she had an awakening of confidence thanks to people she met there.
“When I got to college I met friends who were unapologetically themselves and made me realize that I could start living my best life now, not 10 or 50 pounds later,” Torres tells mitú. “I also discovered fashion blogs at that time and I became obsessed. I would go onto these blogs and save the pictures hoping they would encourage me to be brave enough to wear something bold and not be embarrassed about my body.”
Two years into college, Torres decided she was ready and confident enough to take the brave step and take a full body picture and post it online.
Torres credits her mom and sisters for continuing to support and motivate the work she does today. But also, Torres says, she wants to inspire little girls that need someone to look up to, just as she needed while growing up.
“I realized that I needed to be the role model that I needed when I was younger…”
Torres tells mitú that she wanted to be someone who could’ve told her that she could be “fat and fashionable, happy and successful” and that’s why she started blogging.
That determination has taken her to great heights including speaking at SXSW this year on a panel titled “Rise of the ‘Real Girl,’” and this is clearly just the beginning for her.
In the past couple of years, she’s gotten lots of attention from various fashion magazine and blogs.
Part of being an online personality means Torres is gaining new friends and fans.
She killed the look, just like Torres, don’t you think?
She’s even famous in Puerto Rico!
CREDIT: Facebook/Darlene Lebron
On a recent trip to Puerto Rico for an event, Torres was humbled by all the women that approached her with gratitude.
“I was so shocked to have so many people there waiting to see me and talk to me,” Torres said. “They mentioned the videos and stories I’ve written. I couldn’t believe it. The best part was to hear their stories of how because of my videos they decided to start their journey of self-love. One of them had even worn a two-piece swimsuit for the first time and showed me pictures.”
But of course, along with fans, will come the haters.
“The hardest thing about being online is the negativity I get,” Torres says. “A lot of the things I do is to set an example for other men and women who are afraid to do things like wearing a swimsuit, crop top, form-fitting dress or even a sleeveless shirt. So I constantly put pictures of my body online and all of a sudden my body becomes the subject of discussion for many. People forget that the people online have feelings and emotions. I don’t personally get bothered by what they say but when my siblings or family see it and get offended that’s when it bothers me.”
Seeing the good and bad that comes with being a body positive style blogger, what does Torres tell aspiring people who want to do the same thing that she does?
“If you are interested in becoming a style blogger you should know that this is harder than it looks,” Torres says. “Find the reason why you want to do this, find your message and stick to it. Work hard and make a lot of connections with as many people as you can.”