I ACTUALLY Woke Up Like This and I Reject the Concept of Flaws

Originally posted on Twenty-Three

#nofilter #selfie #iwokeuplikethis #flawless

#nofilter #selfie #iwokeuplikethis #flawless

Here’s what I woke up thinking about this morning:

"Weakness" is a synonym for "flaw." Today my face is broken out on my forehead and chin and I have dark circles under my eyes. Are these "flaws" signs of "weakness"? Am I weak for working as hard as possible these last few weeks leading up to my graduation from university? Is my body weak from trying to deal with the way I’ve been treating it - not enough sleep, eating processed food since I’m so busy I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping?

My body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to - my body is releasing toxins in the form of acne, my  body is miraculously healing itself from the destruction my lifestyle is causing it.

Why is it that our society has turned acne into a terrible and disgusting thing? Acne is incredible. It’s necessary. And yet when someone gets a pimple, they cover it up with a skin-colored paint that only suppresses the toxins the body is trying to release and interferes with the healing process. I am guilty of often doing this myself.

But even worse, we are covering up the real problem - the way we judge ourselves and others for our bodies working perfectly. Instead of critiquing our bodies, we should be critiquing our lifestyles. If I don’t wear makeup and leave these black circles under my eyes exposed, when my professors notice my appearance and comment with “woah are you okay? You look really sick,” we should be thinking critically about this overworked lifestyle that has been forced upon me, and the chemical-filled “food” that is being sold to me and put in my body, and see my acne and under-eye circles as a sign that the way we live needs to change. I don’t need to change. Nothing is “wrong” with the way my body is reacting to sleepless nights and a lack of green vegetables.

The concept of “flaws” insists that there is one way my body should be and any other way is a problem. “Embracing your flaws” only gets you so far. It’s a start, but it’s not the solution. Just the notion of being “flawless” suggests that it is still possible for there to be something wrong with you. But nothing is wrong with you!! Don’t you see? These dichotomies are tearing us apart within ourselves. Flawed, flawless. Thin, fat. Straight, gay. Black, white. Able, disabled. Man, woman. These things do not exist!!! We are perfect human beings. We are divine souls with the amazing opportunity to experience life in the physical form. Why do we condemn ourselves so often when we are perfectly, miraculously, beautifully divine?

Wake up to the spirit within you and Be Yourself To the Fullest. Be-you-ti-full. Embrace the divine within and focus on who you are, not what you look like. Focus on action and existence, not looks and appearance. When you are fully yourself from within, your lifestyle will reflect that. And as a result, your body will react by being completely and entirely beautiful.

It is unfortunate that I cannot currently live in a way that allows my body to experience optimal health, but with graduation around the corner, I will be able to make my health a priority. Until then, I choose to be happy and grateful for the amazing body I have been given, and that it is capable of withstanding the disillusioned state our society is currently experiencing.

Much Love,
Brenna Paxton

In The Family: Sisters Spread Eating Disorders Awareness

Sisters Sarah Aya and Brenna Paxton are two of many people around the world that are participating in Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014 from February 23rd to March 1st. Sarah Aya, who has successfully recovered from anorexia nervosa, and Brenna, who has supported her sister throughout her journey, are sharing their insights with the world in the hope that they can connect not only to individuals battling eating disorders themselves, but also to the family and friends affected by the illness.

Brenna and Sarah Aya Paxton

Brenna and Sarah Aya Paxton

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, "20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified."

Why is eating disorders awareness important?

Sarah Aya: "Eating disorders awareness is important because it's not just the preconceived notion of an eating disorder being an image issue. An eating disorder is an issue far deeper and I don't think people realize that. This is a serious mental disorder that is affecting a huge portion of our society and yet it is being somewhat belittled and overlooked. To be able to starve yourself, something must be going very wrong for a person. The fact that this issue is not being addressed and is just brushed aside is very reflective of something terribly wrong with our society at large. We need to look into the underlying cause. If we could pinpoint why this is happening to so many people, we could pinpoint a big fault in the way that we are living on earth."

Having experienced an eating disorder yourself, what would you say should be the first route of action to help someone with an eating disorder?

Sarah Aya: "The very first thing is just loving the person. Just hold the person and tell them 'I'm happy you're here and I care about you.' Physically hold them and tell them. If they can have anyone in their life that can do that – a parent or a sibling or a friend – they should. Hold them and tell them 'I'm happy you're here on this earth and we need you here. You're okay. We love you. There's nothing wrong with you.' Genuine love is the most important thing."

What advice would you give to people that have friends or family members with an eating disorder?

Brenna: "Be gentle. Every person has a different perspective, a different way of communicating, and a different way of interpreting the world. Growing up with my sister, I eventually realized that she did not understand things in the same way I did. I had to learn how to communicate with her in a way that was completely unique from how I communicated with other people. It's important to remember that the person and their eating disorder are two separate entities. I learned to recognize when my sister was Sarah Aya, and when she was a hollow shell of an eating disorder. When someone is overcome by an eating disorder, as with any mental illness, they are not functioning in the same way you are, so you can't expect them to think or behave the same way you would. You need to be kind, understanding, and non-judgmental. Never frustrated or angry. Just gentle."

Of course it's been difficult, but has your sister's eating disorder positively impacted your family in any way?

Brenna: "We've definitely had some difficult times but we are much stronger because of it. We are a very close family and we can thank our struggles for that. It may seem contradictory but my sister's eating disorder brought us closer together. There was a period of a few years where it felt like the eating disorder was causing our family to unravel, but we did our best to address our problems and love each other no matter what. Everyone in the family is affected when one member has an eating disorder, so you have to support one another. Not only has conquering the eating disorder helped us, but hopefully we can help other families that are going through similar experiences. We want them to know that they aren't alone and that their family can be happy and healthy again."

Throughout the week Sarah Aya is sharing her story, insight, and inspiration and Brenna is sharing stories of strength and hope.

Help spread eating disorders awareness this week by posting inspirational images on Instagram and tagging them #CaptureHope. Even if you haven't had an eating disorder, every person has had dark times. So what's something that has inspired hope in you?

For more ways to get involved with NEDAwareness Week, visit nedawareness.org and for more information on eating disorders, go to myneda.org.

Women Are Back, the new project by Marina Rinaldi

by Italian correspondent Barbara Christmann

Marina Rinaldi _Women Are Back_ - 4.jpg

Marina Rinaldi, the Italian plus-size fashion brand that sells all over the world since the early 80, chose a new communication strategy. Instead of using curvy models the company invited 12 famous curvy bloggers from all over the world to be the new testimonials for Marina Rinaldi.

The first meeting took place last July in Milan to check the new Autumn Winter collection and every girl could choose the outfits she liked to present herself. They are all different kinds of women with different shapes, but all have in common a positive energy and the wish to help other women to feel comfortable in their bodies. Last September the project "women are back" was presented to the international press during the Milan Fashion Week. Like at home, in a relaxed atmosphere the 12 wonderful bloggers presented the collection and it was a pleasure to talk to these positive and real creatures. Black and white photos showed how beautiful 
and interesting they are.

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Georgina Horne - Fuller Figure Fuller Bust (UK ), Gabi Gregg - GABIFRESH (USA ), Tanesha Awasthi - Girl with Curves (USA ), Roberta Scagnolari - Robyberta Smilemaker (IT), Iris Tinunin- Stylosophique (IT), Stephanie Zwicky- Le blog de BigBeauty (FR), Edith Dohmen - Style has No Size (NL) , Ditte Valle - Marilyns Closet (DK), Maire Denee - The Curvy Fashionista (USA), Shila Kreuzer - S.A.F. Photography (CH), Katya Zharkova - Katya Zharkova (Russia), Melike Garpatan - Dolabimiseviyorum Blog (Turkey).

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Every blogger has her own personal story and style with many followers and is now the new model for Marina Rinaldi. It is a very modern and intelligent way to communicate, that curvy fashion fits all showing it on real girls. All women want to be fashionable and beautiful, no matter what size they are. The fashion industry and media are not taking in consideration the existence of so many women all over the world. Some of these bloggers can live with their blog, but the most part of them has another job. The important message of this campaign is that beauty and fashion are not depending on sizes, but on the way you feel with your outfit .You can see the result in these amazing pictures. Marina Rinaldi has shops all over the world so it is easy to communicate directly to women by shop events meeting the testimonial of every Country. 

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Marina Rinaldi _Women Are Back_ - 1.jpg

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014

by Nora Hazel


The inaugural event was such a success, how do you plan on making next year's event even better? 

Last year we worked really hard to have the event take place, and now it’s about making sure that each plus-size woman that attends has the best possible experience that a plus-size event has to offer. We are based in such an iconic location, and we hope to draw from the best things that London has to offer, via showing that what we do is not a fad, but an event to take seriously in the world of fashion.

What did you learn from the collective reactions of the inaugural BPSFW?

We believe there is always room for improvements and take on all comments, good or bad, to make sure we are offering a service that consumers deem important and are still excited about. 

 Are the reactions from the 2013 show going to encourage any changes, radical or otherwise, for the 2014 event?

The event will be bigger and better this year as we have looked into a variation of changes, such as, 4 fashion shows, which is a major change from the last year’s event. Also, we have removed the classes this year, and will concentrate more on discussing important issues affecting the plus-size industry as a whole. 

With such far-reaching influences from such a trailblazing endeavor, do you plan on having a broader scope of press for the 2014 show?

We plan to make a greater use of social media this year as we feel this is an avenue to push our event to the top, and take us to the next level. Social media is one of the fastest ways to allow information to travel and we feel that having the right team onboard to do so will help to continue to grow our brand in the right direction. 

Excited to bring you our Fall supplement Issue of VOL•UP•2!

by Velvet d'Amour

Hundreds of pages featuring amazing models like CURVY GIRLS TV stars Denise Bidot, Lorna Litz and Rosie Mercado, iconic Tess Munster, plus supermodel Clementine Desseaux, superstar blogger Marie Denee, Russian beauty Juliya Lavrova and it doesnt stop there. Interviews of world re-known contemporary dance genius Arthur Aviles (founder of BAAD), FROCK magazine (the world’s fastest growing quality magazine for transsexuals, cross-dressers and drag queens) founder Katie Glover, Canadian fashion photographer extraordinaire Captured by Chelsea, a guide to plus size blogs in Brazil and so much more! Enjoy!!

3 Questions to Ashley Graham about her new Lingerie Collection

(French article below)

As you may know, the plus size model Ashley Graham is launching her Lingerie Collection with Addition-Elle on november 7th.

ashley graham.jpg

Today, we had the opportunity to chat live via Twitter with the lovely Ashley Graham to know a bit more about her new collection and her motivations behind this amazing project.

Here are:

3 Questions to Ashley Graham

1. What is your inspiration behind your collection? The inspiration comes from my everyday looks. I love what is sexy, vintage inspired and comfortable.

2. What made you decide to do a lingerie line instead of the traditionnal clothing/shoe line?Lingerie is a passion of mine and LADIES– it all starts with the BRA!!!

3. What do you want women to take away from the AG Collection experience? I want women to feel confident while wearing my collection. i made it for women!!

If you want to know more about the collection, you can watch Ashley’s talk about it here. Enjoy!!

Comme vous le savez peut-être, la mannequin taille plus Ashley Graham lance sa propre collection de lingerie avec les boutiques Addition-Elle le 7 novembre.

Aujourd’hui, Addition-Elle nous donnait la chance de discuter avec Ashley via Twitter, de sa collection et de ses motivations derrière ce fabuleux projet.

Voici donc:

3 Questions posées à Ashley Graham

1. Quelle était ton inspiration pour cette collection? Mon inspiration vient de mon look de tous les jours. J’adore ce qui est sexy, a une allure vintage et qui reste confortable.

2. Pour quelle raison as-tu choisi d’apposer ton nom à une collection de lingerie, à la place d’une ligne de vêtements ou de chaussures? La lingerie est une de mes passions et LES FILLES– tout commence par un bon soutient-gorge!!!

3. Qu’aimerais-tu que les femmes retirent de leur expérience avec la collection Ashley Graham? J’aimerais que chaque femme se sente belle et bien dans sa peau en portant un item de ma collection. Après tout, je l’ai créée pour les femmes!


Si vous voulez plus d’information à propos de la nouvelle collection, vous pouvez voir Ashley Graham en parler plus longtemps ici.

Kurvenrausch Plus Size Fashion Show – Event Review by Lyz Lupo

I had the honour to attend the Kurvenrausch Plus Size Fashion Show by Tanja Marfo from Hamburg. It was the first fashion show who only presented plus size fashion labels in Germany. Little did I know about how exciting it will be to attend this show. I arrived in Hamburg on Saturday afternoon September 14, 2013. At about 5pm I arrived at the Mozart halls in Hamburg. I never saw so many elegant plus women at one place before. I was even overwhelmed first. The event was well organised and very soon everyone found their seats inside.

The Mozart halls are so beautiful with their classic look:


I was very happy to have on my left Velvet D’Amour and on my right german blogger suzieknows.eu – Two amazing women next to me.

The Kurvenrausch Fashion Show was inspired by the Full Figured Fashion Show in New York. Tanja attented the FFFW this year and was amazed by the idea of presenting different plus size fashion labels on one event. During her trip she also met Dunja Messner-Jourdain from Amiiee and became friends with her. Later in Germany Tanja went to the navabi plus fashion event in Berlin. It was held during the normal fashion week, but Tanja was disappointed from this event cause they only showed normal size women. Back in Hamburg Tanja decided to organise the Kurvenrausch event. She had no experience about how to do this, but she received a lot of support from the plus size community in Germany. I was just thinking this summer that we also need something like the FFFW also here for Germany. I dont have any community myself where i live. Therefore my personal wish also came true with this. I met so many new people there. One amazing plus woman after another. And I cant even wait to attend the show next year again. So, I am very proud to present you the following pictures from all designers from the show:

1. 2M http://www.2m-biginfashion.de/

Big in fashion is a family company for plus size clothing. They are from Kiel, Germany and you can order their stuff online. They offer casual and elegant fashion. I especially like the red one shoulder dress, because its cute and still elegant.

2. Junarose: http://junarose.com/

Junarose is a subsidiary company of the clothing company Bestseller based in Denmark. It is a fashion brand only for plus size women and it's meant to represent fashion and fit. The clothes I saw at the fashion show also have a casual and cool touch. Junarose makes fashion for the young and trendy plus size fashionistas worldwide, because you can only order their stuff online. Junarose has no stores, not even in Denmark.

3. Ulla Popken: http://www.ullapopken.com/

The clothing company Popken was founded by Johann Popken in the year 1880. His son Friedrich founded later with his wife Ursulla Popken the company Ulla Popken in 1968. They just did maternatiy fashion first. They got into making plus size fashion because one of their female costumers said their fashion is young and comfortable and it also works for a size 18. The rest is history already. Ulla Popken now has over 300 branches and international internet retailing.

4. King Size Queens by Tine Wittler: http://www.kingsizequeens.de/

Kingsizequeens is by German TV-Star Tine Wittler. She offers costom made dresses for plus size women and also offer other plus size designers like igigi for the german costumers in her online-shop.

5. Sheego: http://www.sheego.de/angebote/

Sheego is a subsidiary company of the well-known German clothing company OTTO which only makes plus size fashion. Like Junarose, it should attract young plus size costumers. But for the the Kurvenrausch fashion show Sheego also showed their elegant dresses including a very famous German dirndl.

6. Miss Molly Lingerie: http://www.miss-molly.com/

Miss Molly is a Hamburg based lingerie company for plus size women. They offer their lingerie online. Tanja said after the girls finished their walk that she didnt had to force them to present the clothes. I loved to see confident plus women wearing some sexy lingerie.

7. OnOz: http://www.onoz.fr/fr/

OnOz is a french plus size label who is young, trendy and elegant. You never look bad in these dresses. They make tight dresses also to emphasize the female curves and the golden belt  gives every dress the elegant touch.


Onoz propose aux femmes rondes des vêtements chics et glamour mettant en valeur leurs courbes généreuses.

Les collections Onoz, aux univers très différents, offrent des vêtements structurés et conçus pour les morphologies allant du 42 au 60 pour des silhouettes féminines et glamour!

. La collection “Glam’” mise sur des pièces féminines se portant en toute occasion et placées sous le signe de l’élégance.

. Grâce à la ligne ” Rétro”, on laisse s’exprimer la pin-up qui est en nous avec ces robes inspirées des 50’s !

.” Preppy”, c’est une ligne contemporaine à l’allure chic associant des articles aux coupes structurées et des robes à la fois travaillées et confortables.

8. Amiiee: http://www.amiiee.com/

Amiiee is a high-fashion brand for plus women created by Dunja Messer-Jourdain. Dunja is from Germany and moved to the US years ago. The look, touch and feel of fine materials such as leather, organza and silk are catalysts for the designer’s sensual imagination. Dunja Messer-Jourdain brings fresh and genuine glamour and beauty to the stage. She possesses a unique creative intuition that allows her to produce garments that accentuate, bring lightness to and indeed, even pay homage to the curves of a woman. Each piece by Amiiee is made to caress those feminine curves like the hands of a familiar lover.

I have to say that the dresses from Amiiee speak for themselves. They are made in New York, because Dunja wants to keep the control of everything. Therefore they might be more expensive, but the quality of the dress speaks for itself. I became myself a huge fan of Amiiee after the great show in Hamburg.

Special Thanks go to:

Tanja Marfo for creating this whole event,

Velvet D’Amour for allowing me to attend it for Volup2,

Dunja Messner-Jourdain and all the other designers for presenting their great clothes,

Mona Schulze from Curve Modelmanagement for that nice talk and for presenting her models on the show,

Silvana Denker for just being there and the chance to finally meet in person,

Sarah Pinabella and Elisabeth Boateng for being such nice and kind plus women, enjoyed meeting you two,

Susanne Grundlach for telling me how she never gave up her dream of having a plus magazine in Germany,

and to all the other great women and men in the audience.