Interview: SHARNDA

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

Hello! My name is Sharnda, and I’m an African-American, plus-sized fashion blogger.  I was born and bred in Queens, NY and transported to Charlotte, NC in my early 20’s.

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

I can honestly say that my views haven’t been affected much. Being a dark-skinned woman in our society has its challenges, but I‘ve had a very solid support system from a young age. From my parents, to my kindergarten teacher, to my pediatrician; they would all in their own way affirm that being dark-skinned was not a deficit.

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

I will say it hasn’t affected me as much as it could have. My perception could have easily been polluted by mainstream media with images that don’t resemble me or my body type at all. However, I think growing up in New York afforded me the opportunity to surround myself with women from all walks of life, which helped balance a lot of what I saw on TV and in the magazines.

 

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

It feels purposeful.  I try to be as raw and as authentic as I possibly can because representation is everything. We need to share our stories, and repeat them often enough to encourage a healthy perspective to other women in the struggle and to young girls alike. It’s important they see what beauty looks like in all shapes, sizes and colors and learn to celebrate the diversity amongst us instead of being divided by it.

 

What helped you start loving yourself, completely?

I reached a point in my life where I refused to be paralyzed by the propaganda of it all.  There’s a quote that I refer to often to help keep things in perspective:  “In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

 

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?

The one thing I would like to see changed is the way African-American girls are perceived because of how our bodies develop - compared to other ethnicities.  Our girls are often perceived as “grown” or more mature than their counterparts.  I would like to see more images of our girls simply being girls. Whether that’s playing with dolls, jumping double dutch, shooting hoops or creating smartphone apps; they are girls and don’t deserve objectification.