#sizecelebration: Leslie Lozano
#sizecelebration is a bossbabesATX series of photos and interviews, featuring women of different sizes in dressing rooms, proudly disrobing to dispel negative body image. These portraits were taken by Stef Atkinson, in conjunction with and in the dressing rooms of SoLa.
So, goodbye, fat-shaming. Goodbye, skinny-shaming. Toodles, crying in dressing rooms. We're done with you.
Meet this week's #sizecelebration model, Leslie Lozano.
Q: What's your current occupation?
A: I'm a representative for a local printing company, the Art and Workshop Coordinator for #bossbabesATX, an aspiring improv superstar and Beyonce's body double.
Q: How old are you?
A: 23, bish.
Q: When did you first become aware of your own size? Was that a positive or negative experience?
A: I've alway been very aware when I was young, but when I really took notice was in junior high—when all my girlfriends started pointing out my boobs. It wasn't negative or positive, but it made me take a step back and question whether my body should or shouldn't look the way it did.
Q: When did you first become aware of others' sizes?
A: In middle school, I started noticing everyone else's bodies, but it wasn't until my freshman year of high school that I started harshly comparing myself to other girls. It wasn't healthy. I made the Varsity cheerleading squad my freshman year and thought I looked like a whale and was afraid I was "too fat" to be a flyer (the girl they throw in the air).
I was 4"10-ish and less than 90 lbs., but my best friends were smaller, and I felt like the fat one of the group. I look back at pictures and wonder how I though I was overweight or like I needed to lose weight.
Q: As you've grown, what have you determined to be true or untrue about size?
A: Size does not define one's health. You can be fat and healthy, you can be skinny and healthy but using size to judge whether someone is unhealthy and lazy is ridiculous!
Also, you can't live life thinking, "Oh, I'll be happier once I drop this 15 lbs.," or "I'll be happier when I have bigger boobs," or "I'll be happier when these stretch marks are gone..." No. Be happy now.
Celebrate your body and all the wonderful things that make it yours—and not like everyone else's. For so long I let other people influence my definition of beauty, but beauty can't be defined by one person or one group of people.
Q: How do you celebrate yourself?
A: I've started improv, and as challenging as it can be, it's what fuels me. I feel my best when I'm making people laugh... Or just myself laugh. I also try to take as many dance classes as I can; there's something about being in tune with your body and expressing yourself with both moves and music.
And I wear whatever the hell I want, when I want.
Q: How do you think the world should change the way it celebrates beauty?
A: Let women love themselves, dammit! We tell women they have to be beautiful, but when someone who doesn't fit the stereotypical idea of pretty, but is confident and owns it, she's conceited... No. We need to let women of all ethnicities, shapes, colors and backgrounds to be seen in media. Their faces need to be seen just as much as their voices need to be heard.
Q: What are some immediate, day-to-day things we can change in our lives to better appreciate our own unique bodies? As well as others'?
A: Compliment each other, treat and take care of your body, check out your booty in any reflection shamelessly, talk and bring awareness to things like this and when you tell your girlfriends they are smart and beautiful, be sure to tell yourself those same words.
Q: Why are you participating in this shoot?
A: We need to celebrate our bodies more. I need to celebrate my body more. I've grown up thinking my boobs, brows, hair, hips, eyes, ears, everything were too big, and the attention I would receive was my fault. I always felt I had to tame everything about me but I'm a Leo, dammit! And in the words of a very young Miley Cyrus, "I can't be tamed!"
My freshman year of college, I stopped going to one of my classes for a period of time because my professor hit on me... multiple times. The last time he did, he asked me to go to his office (it was the size of a closet) to "discuss my grades." I did. The air in the space was intense, and I felt icky. He locked the door behind him and was asking me questions most professors wouldn't ask. I was uncomfortable, and he knew it. He asked for my number and wanted to meet up in a different town, I said no and asked for him to unlock the door so I could leave. he stared at me for what seemed like eternity and finally opened it. I cried in the elevator leaving his office and thought maybe if I hadn't worn that fitted shirt, maybe if I didn't wear makeup, maybe if I didn't wear tight jeans.
These past two years I've stopped apologizing, and I've stopped caring. I did this shoot, because I've learned that my body is mine, and I shouldn't apologize for it. I love me and I want other woman to love who they are and spark conversation and change beauty standards.
Q: What does #sizecelebration mean to you?
A: It means being free of the stress to fit society's standards of beauty and being proud of my body and celebrating how beautiful and different all bodies are.