While around the world plus size liberation and the body positivity movement are big, booming trends, here in South Africa those talking about the topic are fewer and far between. Lala and her sister Nkanyezi Tshabalala are amongst some of the most well-known voices on the subject in South Africa, with almost 50 000 followers on their Facebook page alone. I had the great honour of chatting to Lala about her personal style, and thoughts on body positivity.
About Lala from Plus Size is Me
My name is Lala, I am a plus size fashion blogger, activist and sometimes model. I have my own fashion and lifestyle brand for fuller figured women called Plus Size is ME which I started 3 years ago.
How do you define your style?
Style is about figuring out what looks good on you whether it’s a current or past trend. It’s about taking chances and creating a look which people can identify you with. E.g. Kim Kardashian may wear new items everyday but her ‘style identity’ is pieces that are tight fitted, sometimes revealing and accentuate her curves.
Who inspires your style?
My top 3 ‘style icons’ would have to be Amber Rose, Kim and Khloe Kardashian.
Where do you shop?
I shop at many different stores. I’m not afraid to pop in even if I don’t think they will have my size because you never know. I have assumed the worst about certain stores and walked out with items. My main stores would have to be Cotton On, YDE, Mr Price and a lot of boutiques.
Who is your favourite designer or label?
My favourite label would have to be Babes and Felines. It is an international brand and the reason I love the clothing so much is because it WORKS FOR CURVY WOMEN AND LOOKS DAMN GOOD. I haven’t bought anything from their online store yet because I’m so afraid of purchasing from so far away and the size not quite fitting my body, BUT I’m DETERMINED TO OWN some of those pieces.
What are some things you can never leave the house without?
I wouldn’t leave the house without a phly pair of shades, red lipstick, mascara and my wallet.
What is your favourite fashion item at the moment?
What does the term ‘body positivity’ mean to you?
Body positivity is a positive way of looking at your body and a positive messages being spread about body image.
What are your ‘secrets’ for learning to love your body?
I have four factors that have helped build my self-esteem. Social media, people, physical and psychological health. Social media refers to taking control of your pages and following pages that contribute to the way you feel about yourself positively. “People” is about surrounding yourself with positive people and physical and psychological health is about taking care of YOU by being active and kinder to yourself. I had posted a video on YouTube explaining all of this in depth.
What are you passionate about?
I’m super passionate about this body positive/ healthy body image movement. I live for it every day, it is my work, I believe in it and will keep working on it. It’s important that we spread this message and get it right so that men and women can learn how to love themselves, so that we can keep fighting eating disorders, suicides and all these issues that come from self-hate.
If you were a character from a book, TV or the movies, who would you be and why?
I would want to be Hannah (Lena Dunham) on the tv series “Girls”. I watched that series for the first time a few weeks ago and I remember thinking ‘now this is absolute SELF ACCEPTANCE’. Lena has put herself out there on one of the most public platforms for literally the world to see and you can only do that if you are more than ok with yourself. I don’t know if her intention was for her character to inspire women to be at peace with their bodies and love themselves but that is exactly what she is doing without outright saying it. One of my favourite scenes is when they were away on vacay and Hannah rode her bicycle from the house to the shop in her bikini!!! Ahahahhahaha ha hahahhahaha! Not even her skinny friends did that. She is too awesome.
Who has been the most important person in your journey to body positivity?
I would have to say Toccara Jones definitely put me on the path of body love and acceptance. Watching her on America’s Next Top Model as the first plus size woman gave me a sense of hope and belonging. Now I would have to say I’m inspired by a lot of plus size bloggers, activists, models and other women who are owning their “flaws” and are choosing to celebrate them, such as Chrissy Teigan and Lena Dunham. The most important lesson about confidence I have learnt is to surround yourself with positive people. If you are constantly around negative people it will rub off on you and it will be very hard to feel good.
What wisdom would you pass on to someone at the beginning of their body positivity journey?
Be patient with yourself. You will have good days and bad days but whatever happens remember to be good to yourself.
I love my body because…
… it has been so good to me. I have abused it and mistreated it but every morning it gets up and carries me through my life.
You can read Lala’s blog here, or follow here on Twitter and Instagram on the handles @misscurvylala + @plussizeisme. Her Facebook page is here.
If you would like to be featured on my plus size Style File, please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.