Body Positive Influencer, Olakemi
My name is Olakemi.
I work as a plus size model.
3. Where are you based?
I am currently based in London, England.
4. Where are you originally from?
My nationality is Nigerian.
5. Tell us the premise of your Instagram page?
My Instagram page promotes my brand and work as a plus size model, and also allows me to encourage others.
6. What does body positivity mean to you?
To me, body positivity means many different things. Inclusion but also equality. Acceptance and celebration of diversity. Relating to a certain demographic. Not tearing down others of different body shapes and sizes. Being audacious enough to love yourself. Pushing past fear and doubt with positivity.
7. What is a body activist?
A body activist is a person actively fighting and encouraging people to embrace who they are. It is all about self love, self care, and practicing what you preach. It means to be yourself and not only be proud of that, but also comfortable with it. S ociety can be harsh when it comes to pushing different body types, so it is also dealing with the anxiety caused by the thoughts and words of others and standing against them instead of conforming to social pressure.
8. I love for London Fashion Week you wore t-shirt, that said, “Be Proud Be You.” Tell us about this event.
This was actually the campaign in the running up for UK Plus Size Fashion Week and I was chosen as one of the plus size models to head the campaign. We walked through London Fashion Week whilst doing this campaign shoot, to not only create a buzz around plus size women when it comes to fashion, but to show that plus women have the right to be proud and be them. Be Proud, Be You , means exactly that. No questioning or self doubt.
9. What led you to this path to embrace who you are?
Life! As women we all face a lot of the same issues, whether it’s our weight fluctuating, a bad skin or hair day, or previous trauma/ hurtful experiences. With all the negativity life can throw at us, women must push and remember that we are beautiful regardless. Otherwise you may stay in a negative place for too long, which I believe can be detrimental to your mental and physical heath and overall well being. A healthy mindset is more likely to lead to a healthier lifestyle and you cherishing yourself.
People can be very good at highlighting things which you are most likely to be insecure about, so learning to cherish yourself is definitely not easy. The negativity you may hear from others can become so ingrained, you have to remember that opinion is not fact. Let’s not even begin to discuss the negative things we already tell ourselves. There is so much power in the tongue , we really have to turn our words around so that our mindset can turn with it too! It takes a lot of self-discipline and self assurance, even if you have to fake it till you make it. Or shall I say “Fake it till you embrace it.”
Try NOT to COMPARE yourself and your stage of life to others! Comparison is the thief of joy, and you will never feel satisfied if you continue to do this. You should only be looking at yourself and how you can become better. What is better for YOUR well being?
Embracing who you are is easier said than done. This was not and still is not a straight path for me. A lot of repetition is necessary. Constantly reminding yourself that you are good enough, and having the right like-minded characters around you.
10. How do we raise body positivity for children?
We can raise body positive children through leading by example, through positive reinforcement, through kind words, and through a healthy lifestyle.
We must not only practice self love, but teach it to them as well. Self love isn’t necessarily as romantic as it always sounds. It’s not always scented candles, bubble baths and sweets. Sometimes, it is self discipline, painful healing, and behavior correction. As children they will face what life and society has to throw at them, and this can be harsh at times. What we must do it teach them how to turn that harshness into their power.
11. How and why has a negative body image become such a big issue?
With the rise of social media we see so much more! We see more of things that have not been the usual “norm” in the past. Things that go against the usual cookie cutter types that we are used to.
Many people do not like change or to be made to feel uncomfortable.
Once something is challenged, someone will always have an issue. But who are we to say what a “negative” body image is or not? We are all individuals and we are all different. There should be no issue with that.
12. What can individuals do to help this social issue?
One thing individuals can do is continue to be themselves and love themselves, regardless of people and their negative mindsets.
Another thing to do is to join forces. There is strength in numbers and if people support each other, others may eventually back down and be in acceptance. I have stated this before and will continue to do so: as individuals, we need to know that we no not need to conform, but in fact…Set New Standards.
Standards that other females can also relate to. Standards that are not constricted to one type of beauty. A standard that empowers other women. A standard that doesn't separate or segregate other women. A standard that promotes health. A standard that changes unrealistic "norms". A standard that allows other women to mold an image to fit to their bodies too. A standard that does away with negative affirmations. A standard that encourages all types of women. A standard that shows the diversity of women
Not just as a trend! That's why the body positive and confidence movements are quite important.
13. Please describe your fashion style?
Hmmmn, I pretty much like a bit of everything ;classy, sophisticated, sexy, glamorous, regal, extravagant. I feel that fashion can be fun, so its nice to change your style, as long as you're comfortable with it. I was a tomboy growing up, so I can switch to that at any time as well.
14. Favorite fashion designer?
Currently, the international designer JPKouture. I love her couture pieces, she really understands curves. Her designs prove that plus size women don't have to look or feel frumpy or dowdy.
15. I love your Instagram page, it exudes confidence and sex appeal, do you stick to a certain diet and/or workout regimen?
Thank you so much! I try to fit in at least 3 hours of cardio a week (the elliptical machine is my favorite) and then I would end with some exercises that incorporate weights.
I also try to add in fun activities like swimming, indoor squash, badminton and boxing classes. Having my partner do these with me as well is very helpful. We all need encouragement and support, and it makes the activities more enjoyable!
My partner is really into better alternatives when it comes to diet and nutrition, so he has taught me a lot about substitute foods, such as quinoa, spelt, increasing my veg intake... etc.
16. Please tell us what does “Plus is Diverse” mean to you?
Plus Is Diverse stands for Racial Representation being of great importance amongst the plus size industry. Plus size women come from so many different racial backgrounds, and we all deserve to see someone whom we can somewhat relate too in the media. They can become a positive reinforcement/role model for so many on their journey to embracing themselves. It's a knock on effect.
I also feel that when it comes to fashion it helps to see someone who is of a similar race/skin tone to you, as it can help you to understand if that garment is something you feel would suit you too. The correct representation in fashion matters... i.e. Inclusion and equality!
17. Tell us what is the group you started, @biggirlsbrunch?
Big Girls brunch is a space for one to feel comfortable without feeling scrutinized. It's focused around embracing yourself and bettering yourself. All while enjoying a nice and healthy brunch.
18. What does an influencer mean to you?
To me, and influencer is someone who is influential to others but in a positive light. Also someone who is true to themselves, someone who us authentic in their journey of life.
19. What is your motto in life?
Everything is based around purpose! I feel we must walk with purpose, move with purpose, and pursue things with purpose!
Influencer With A Cause Feature, highlighting influencers that support a cause in a positive way.
Interview By Alison Hernon, Editor-In-Chief, PhotoBook Magazine.