A self-styled ‘plus-size activist’ is urging overweight women to embrace their figures in a bid to reclaim the word ‘fat‘ as positive.
Julianna Mazzei who calls herself ‘Jewelz’, has no qualms about posing with little clothing and talking to her thousands of social media followers about ‘fat problems.’
The 25-year-old from Toronto, who hasn’t stepped on the scales in years and refuses to lose weight, said: ‘I feel sexy in my body and I feel like everybody should.’
Although the body positive advocate is now confident in her size 22 (UK size 26) clothing, Jewelz admits she hasn’t always been proud to show off her physique in revealing clothing.
After being severely bullied as a youngster, Jewelz has found herself on the receiving end of nasty songs and name-calling – and once had a boyfriend break up with her for being ‘unhealthy.’
‘They called me a tub of lard’: How years of bullying took their toll on Jewelz
She was even told that ‘skinny jeans are called that for a reason’ after showcasing her figure in a series of revealing outfits.
Jewelz, who has almost 100,000 Instagram followers, recalled: ‘I hated school. There were so many times where I skipped school, the bullying was so bad.
‘I can give you probably a whole dictionary of names. Fatty, a tub of lard, whale.
‘When people are making snarky comments about you behind your back or under their breath, it’s harder to stand up for yourself and say what needs to be said, that’s one of the reasons why I got my “F*** Your Beauty Standards” tattooed.
‘My whole life people told me that I couldn’t wear patterns such as stripes or polka dots.’
Jewelz explained: ‘Until I was 23 years old, I hated myself. Through finding inspiration online, and coming to terms with who I am and what I need to do, I knew I needed to start accepting who I was.
‘I knew I was good on the inside but I felt who I was on the inside didn’t make up for what I looked on the outside.’
‘I found self-love’: Jewelz learns to embrace her size 18 figure
‘I got there and I found self-love. And being confident is the greatest gift that I have been given.
‘To be a bigger girl and then be thin and then be unhappy it was kind of a wake-up call for me and I realized that being thin isn’t going to make me happy’
Her mother Catherine recalled: ‘Jewelz totally changed, it was an overnight thing. There was this girl that used to walk around with three or four layers of clothing and then all of a sudden one day a couple of layers came off and I started to see skin.
‘She was happy to be alive, she was smiling, she was going out. Then the butterfly emerged that we call Jewelz.’
Inspiring others with her body confidence
Now, Jewelz says she is stronger than ever, inspiring her social media fans on a daily basis and spreading the importance of body positivity and self-love through her online hashtags and modeling.
Jewelz explained: ‘I started doing it so I could inspire people. I would definitely say that modeling is a career for me, I would definitely present myself more as a body activist.
‘There is nothing like feeling beautiful but the main reason I do it is to remind women that they can feel beautiful to that you don’t always need to see one standard size in model modeling for lingerie or for cars.
‘I definitely think that we have to reclaim the word “fat” as positive. As a negative word for so many years, it is about time we take it back, and realize that it is not a bad word, it is not a bad thing and it shouldn’t be shaded in a negative way.’
#IGot99ProblemsButMyFatAintOne: Inspiring others on social media
‘I realize that hash-tagging and coming up with word or phrase was super important, people would see it and they would catch on to it. It would give them hope to see somebody just living a positive life and being happy. That’s why hashtagging is important.
‘My two biggest hashtags are #BigandBlunt and #IGot99ProblemsButMyFatAintOne.’
In order to remain confident, Jewelz refuses to step on the scales and monitor her weight.
‘I haven’t stepped on a scale’: Model’s refusal to lose weight
Jewelz also fiercely dispels claims that she is unhealthy, and says she leads a healthy, active lifestyle and is not putting her life at risk.
She said: ‘Since I found body positivity I haven’t stepped on a scale. A scale doesn’t define who you are and it doesn’t define your health what so ever so.
‘I definitely think that I live an active lifestyle and I think that that’s the term that people should definitely use.
‘I’ve never had a doctor tell me to that I have to change my diet or that I need to lose weight. I’ve had a doctor tell me that I was fat for sure but they were never immediately like, “Well you need to lose weight like your health is at risk”‘.
‘You’re entitled to self-love’: Jewelz’s important message to her fans
‘You’re not automatically unhealthy being a bigger person and you’re not automatically healthy being a thinner person and even if you were unhealthy you’re still entitled to self-love and people need to remember that.’
While she receives many positive comments, her voluptuous body modeling bikinis and lingerie can also result in result negative and more sinister reactions.
But Jewelz has developed a thick skin and is determined to promote body positivity, dreaming of one day traveling the country educating schools on the topic.
Jewelz said: ‘I feel like it’s one of those things that need to be taught in the school like we take health classes. We do all these things to promote sex or to learn maths and I think that loving yourself is, is just as important as all those things. So, that’s what we need to do to promote body positivity.
‘I encourage body positivity by putting myself out there, by showing other people that you can love yourself at any size and be positive is for everybody.’
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