Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Real-Life Goddess: Loren Mae Monares

I've heard of Erzullie's continuos search for plus size women to represent their fashion line. When I see their print ads, I can't help but feel amazed with their fabulous poses and inspiring auras. See, not all plus size women are willing to display such inner strength. Hence, I'm intrigued at how they arrived to this part of their journey of self-acceptance. I imagine that behind those fierce projections possibly lies a tearful past. However, this interview with one of the mentioned brand's Icon proved me wrong.

Erzullie Icon: Loren Mae Monares

Lornadahl: Tell us what’s like to be an Erzullie Icon. How did it change you? Your view of yourself?
Loren Mae: I feel blessed to be an Erzullie Icon because I am able to inspire other plus size women to love and feel good about themselves. It feels great when people look up to you and be influenced to accept themselves. Before, my reason for joining Erzullie was merely because of experience and exposure. But now, I realized that above all those, God brought me here to help others. (Read up on her adventures during her iconship here.)

Lornadahl: When you heard about their search for the next Icon/s, did you feel qualified to apply or your family and friends had to convince you it’s your time to shine?
Loren Mae: Erzullie, as a brand, promotes self love and plus size women empowerment through the fashion items they create. They are very keen into looking for self empowered plus size women who can give justice to their brand. Yes, I knew that I had the right confidence and reasons for joining. Of course, my friends and family have always been there to support me.

Lornadahl: How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Loren Mae: I’m a very bubbly and happy person. My life is very colorful and this reflects my style of fashion. I love playing with bright colors, doing mix and match of accessories, shoes and bags. This, for me, creates a positive vibe.

Loren Mae in her usual colorful look

Lornadahl: What’s that one thing you WON’T be seen wearing in a public place?
Loren Mae: Hmm…..two piece swimsuit?

Lornadahl: Why not? Would you turn it down say, Erzullie asks you to don a two-piece swimsuit for a pictorial?
Loren Mae: I still need to have at least some limits to whatever I am willing to show to the public. As for Erzullie, I trust the designers and I know all they want is for the best for the brand. I would probably get into an agreement with them on how we can re-create it like wearing it together with a cover-up or something. That, I believe, will still work.

Lornadahl: Which celebrities serve as your style icons?
Loren Mae: Just recently, as I’ve been hooked up with the “Walang Hangganteleserye, I became a fan of Dawn Zulueta’s fashion style.
Lornadahl: Sorry but I don’t get to watch TV often. I imagine she’s into feminine wardrobe in the teleserye, yes? Could you be more descriptive of her style?
Loren Mae: The feminine, classy pieces. Soft colors, light material, free flowing dresses that really highlight her face. I also love the corporate top with details and simple black drop bottom outfit she wears.

Lornadahl: What's the best fashion accessory for big women?
Loren Mae: Fashionable belt to enhance the curves.

Wide belt + layered skirt = fierce curves!

Lornadahl: How do you deal with I'm-so-fat-and/or-ugly days?
Loren Mae: I take a deep breath, pause for a while and realize that these “not-so-great” days happen to everyone, regardless of size. It’s all in the mind.

Lornadahl: Would you agree that guys only chase after skinny women?
Loren Mae: Who said so? I have a boyfriend, most of my plump friends have boyfriends. So I totally disagree with that assumption.

Lornadahl: Do you think a great number of men appreciate big girls, too? Why so?
Loren Mae: Definitely YES. I know a lot of men who prefer plump women because we are very cuddly!

Loren Mae and the lucky guy
Lornadahl: If you were to appear on a billboard or magazine cover, what would your desired peg be?
Loren Mae: I have a couple in mind, which represent my interests: I love to party with friends so one of my choices would be “Night Out” theme. Also, I love bright colors and nature, specifically beaches, so I would love to have a summer theme. Last but not the least, since I am working in an investment banking industry, I would also love to do a project focusing on “Fashion in the Corporate World”.

Night Out: Looking ready to paint the town red!

Lornadahl: If you were to endorse a local clothing for big women (aside from Erzullie, of course), what would it be and why?
Loren Mae: I would love to endorse Forever 21 as well because I love the classy style and play of colors. It reflects my personality.

Lornadahl: Would you be willing to do nude modeling? Why or why not?
Loren Mae: No thanks. I reserve my right of privacy when it comes to showing all out to the public.

Lornadahl: What's the secret behind your self-confidence and body acceptance? Is there a sob story behind it?
Loren Mae: For me it’s about perspective and it's a choice. There’s more to life than just the physical aspect. You have to discover your strengths, talents and other qualities as a person then work on those areas to be successful in life. You really have to make that choice to be happy and love yourself. I believe that the only way others will accept you is when you have first accepted yourself.

Lornadahl: What is beautiful about being big?
Loren Mae: By being big, it gives us a deeper understanding of true beauty. Our perspective is not only limited to the physical aspect of a person. Therefore, we appreciate more the value of the word “beautiful”.

Lornadahl: What you dislike or hate about being big?
Loren Mae: None at all.

Lornadahl: How do you respond to the argument that obesity is unhealthy?
Loren Mae: I don’t contest to that as I believe that too much of anything is harmful. Yes, I am promoting self acceptance and empowerment for plus size women, but it doesn’t mean I ignore the fact that I have to take care of my health as well. What I want is for us to change our mindset and not to hate ourselves because of our size. I’m working on my diet now, not because I don’t like being fat or ugly, but because I want to live a healthier life.

Lornadahl: How do you take care of your extra seksi body?
Loren Mae: I make sure that I balance my food intake by taking fruits and vegetables and plenty of water.

Lornadahl: How about your lifestyle? Are you into sports or any form of physical activities?
Loren Mae: I love swimming and dancing. Recently, I enrolled in a gym.

The Icon in action!

Lornadahl: Given a chance, would you join reality shows like "The Biggest Loser" or "Thintervention with Jackie Warner"? Why or why not?
Loren Mae: Of course! In fact, there is an upcoming Biggest Loser contest here in our company and I am eager to join. Regardless of size, living a healthy life is something that we should think about, with good amount of exercise and healthy food intake. With this type of contest, it’s an opportunity for me to meet new plus size people and share our objective of living a healthier life.

Lornadahl: What do you say to people who say girls our size are addicted to food?
Loren Mae: Who doesn’t love food? Seriously, they do not have the right to judge a person. There are many reasons why a person grows extra big; one of those is because of illness. Know the person first before you make any conclusions.

Lornadahl: How do you feel if people stare at you? yell degrading stuff at you? Do you ever experience that?
Loren Mae: Fortunately, I haven’t had any experience of being yelled at or embarrassed in the public because of my size. Although from time to time I do notice some people stare at me. But you wouldn’t really know what’s running in their minds. It could either be that they love the dress I’m wearing or I look familiar to them or just because I’m a plus size. Which should I pick? Well, I would rather pick any of the first 2 and walk away feeling good about it! Again, it’s all in the mind!

Lornadahl: Do you believe that thin privilege happens? Which of those apply to you?
Loren Mae: No, I don’t. Opportunities are equally available to everyone. It just takes confidence for you to grab it.

Lornadahl: Do you ever confront people? What happens when you do?
Loren Mae: Not really. I’d rather use my energy and time to more important things than explaining to them why I’m this and that.

Lornadahl: What do fat people want to be called?
Loren Mae: I find the word “plump” sexy, so yeah, I’d love to be called plump!

Lornadahl: Does a big woman's self-appreciation and self-love root from the culture/environment she's accustomed to? What can you say about Filipinas and their self-appreciation?
Loren Mae: For me, it should start from your family. Relating it to my own experience, I accepted and loved myself because of how my family loved me. Years back, I remember most plus size women doubt themselves because of how society dictates what beautiful and sexy should be. I could have doubted myself then, but because I have a very strong foundation which gave me the confidence to prove this society wrong, I was able to surpass those challenges because of my size that came my way. I’m happy though, that in this generation, society has loosened up and plus size women are now being recognized in the different fields, especially in the fashion industry.

Loren Mae and her loving family

Lornadahl: Let's assume that your future daughters (or sons) will turn out to be plus size when they grow up. How will you convince them that it doesn't make them a lesser person?
Loren Mae: I would do just how my parents supported and loved me. My parents accepted me for who I am and never failed to make me feel that I am beautiful. They helped me build that confidence and self acceptance which allowed me to face all challenges in life.

Lornadahl: Some big girls are unaware that they're beautiful and sexy. What would you tell them?
Loren Mae: There are so many great things about you that you can only discover once you start accepting and loving yourself. This is a choice that you have to take. It’s either you continue to feel bad about yourself because of your size and live a half-filled life, or choose to be happy, accept yourself fully and believe that you are beautiful and sexy then you start facing the world with much confidence and eventually discover so many great things about yourself. Also, don’t let others define what beautiful and sexy are for you. True beauty comes from the inside and once you have that, beauty comes out naturally.

All photos from Loren Mae.

***End of Interview***

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