A few weeks ago, I had the most humbling experience of flying up to New York city to shoot the Holiday lookbook for the amazing brand Rue107. This collaboration had been brewing for several weeks and on November 11th when I boarded the flight to New York, I finally came to terms with the exciting journey ahead.
However with that realization, naturally came hesitation. There was a precise moment between takeoff and landing where I questioned myself. Like anyone out there, I started to question my capabilities. Was I good enough? Would my Spanx really hold all of it in? What if the clothes didn’t fit me? Why did I think I could do this? I wasn’t a model, I was just a little girl from Ghana who had a point of view.
Many of you have followed the journey of my struggle to reach confidence, the story of having to date as a plus sized woman, the story of having to come to peace with my reflection. But the moment that I stepped in front of Osha Waiters lens, marked a new journey. This was the first page of the story of what life looks like when confidence finally settles into ever aspect of your being.
Confidence transitioned from an internal brewing emotion to became a part of me, seeping out through my pores. The feeling of shooting on the busy streets of New York with passers by yelling out compliments and people stopping to take photos proved to me that ultimately confidence is something that is so contagious and beautiful.
That day I felt for the first time the wholistic feeling of beauty. Beauty from the inside, beauty in the clothes I wore and beauty in the amazing experience that I would get to share with all of you.
While I may not be your definition of a model, I take so much pride in the fact that everyday, with every outfit and with every word I write, I get to model what confidence could feel like if you just allowed yourself to own the skin you are in.
As you look through these photos, look again, at the little girl who never thought fashion existed beyond baggy clothing that hid any evidence of a body. Look at the girl who was too embarrassed to show a single stretch mark, or her arms, or even dare to wear pants!!! But don’t look at this little girl and think that it could never be you. I have come to learn that everyday is a photoshoot and every sidewalk should darn well be your runway. Remind yourself that you don’t need permission to act like a model.
When you allow yourself to play the role of a model, you can ultimately become a role model.
That Hayet Rida
Enjoy some of my favorite shots, and shop these full looks by clicking on the links below.
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Body Positive fashion and lifestyle blogger.