Interview: PAOLA

Introduce yourself, and let us know your race, ethnicity, background, where you were raised..etc.

Hello, my name is Paola. I’m a body-positive activist and book blogger. I’m a photography student and I love helping others. I was born and raised in Venezuela, and later moved to the U.S. when I was around 17 years old.

How does your cultural background affect your overall views on beauty ?

As a Hispanic, the outside and physical appearance is pretty important. I believe most Latinas are taught to feel valued and grow their self-esteem by how they look. We have to be sexy yet classy. Be bold and have curves in all the right places. There’s too much pressure to be perfect. However, I don’t think this really affects how I view beauty overall, but in the past I used to be self-conscious about my skin tone. And, as a little girl I used to only like blonde and blue-eyed dolls. However, I currently live in Miami and being surrounded by women from all over the world has definitely taught me to appreciate beauty differently.

How does your cultural background affect your views on body positivity?

Body positivism is something that is still foreign in my home country and telling my family I wasn’t interested in losing any weight was quite the shock.

How does it feel being a woman of color in the online body-positive community?

I feel like there’s not much representation of women of color in our community and media in general. Whitewashing in the beauty and fashion industries is so,so common and damaging. I think we need more representation and take a stand against it. Why not celebrate the wonder of every shade?

What helped you start loving yourself, completely?

My journey to body-positivity was far from easy, but oh-so worthy. It started about a year ago when I stumbled across a body positive hashtag on Instagram that changed me forever. I then started following and interacting with all these wonderful women from all shapes and sizes and learned the greatest things. It was an incredible experience.

What’s one thing you want to see change about the way women of color (and their bodies)  are represented in the media, on social media, amongst your friends and family?

I want the media to stop photoshopping our skin lighter, I want more diversity, I want dolls in every shade, I want models of darker skin tones and different hair textures. I want the belief that lighter skin is more beautiful in our society to stop.