Leah Stanley, 29, from New York, USA, wants to enable other women to embrace their curvy bodies after she grew up without a strong plus-sized influence.
The social media consultant and content creator grew up the youngest of four sisters and was the only plus-size one of the four.
Throughout her childhood Leah was always bigger – but was labelled “fat” by other children as the idea of being “plus-size” wasn’t a widely held notion.
Leah has faced a lot of criticism for her UK size 28 figure, with many people telling her she is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
Although she admits she does have negative days and criticises her own figure occasionally, Leah says that is just a negative attitude and that her weight does not define her.
She hopes to become a role model and spread positivity to other plus-size women and encourage them not be ashamed of their weight.
Leah explains: “Children never ever referred to me as plus-size back then it was always fat, which was of course offensive, as we’re taught to think of ‘fat’ as being an insult.
“I’ve received countless comments and messages regarding my health, lifestyle and life overall.
“I’ve been told I should kill myself off, that I should learn to stop eating or that I’m unhealthy and am only promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
“What I’m promoting is love and respect because regardless of a person’s size they will always deserve love and respect. Bodies like mine need to be seen and accepted so that everyone can feel at home in their one and only body and confident enough to dress and live as they see fit.”
Leah has managed to gain confidence through her modelling and says she can now love the features she once struggled with.
“It’s totally normal to have days that come with a little battle,” says Leah.
“I’ve woken up and changed my outfit four times because it didn’t look right. The next day I’ll wake up and put on one of the outfits I tossed aside the day before and walk right out the door.
“I always struggled with my arms and thighs, so it wasn’t until recent years that I started to ditch cardigans and wear shorts at the beach.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of a poor attitude and needing to have a pep talk with myself and remind myself that it doesn’t matter if others think my arms are fat. I can still go out in a cute vest top.”
Leah admits she isn’t sure what her current weight is and doesn’t obsess over it as she believes it’s bad for a person’s mental health.
“I know when I’m eating poorly and when I’m not exercising,” she reveals.
“I don’t need a scale to tell me that. I know when to make changes without constantly knowing my weight.
“My regime changes daily but most mornings I start with a walk with my Bernese mountain dog and I almost always do my make-up on a daily basis. I do my make-up completely for myself.
“Then there’s always dinner – I have to have some sort of delicious dinner so I’m usually thinking about that during the day or maybe the evening before.
“My attitude and personality make me feel sexiest. Sexy isn’t always on the outside. My attitude always keeps me confident, but of course, cute little lingerie numbers also help with this.”
Leah says she never had a boyfriend at school and only noticed boys start to pay her attention when she was at university, but suspected it wasn’t genuine.
“Nowadays it’s the opposite,” she says.
“A lot of guys want a plus-size babe – and if they say they don’t, they probably secretly do.
“My overall message is to always spread love, happiness and positivity. I want to inspire and encourage people to discover who they are, to be their best and true self. Live life because we only get one.”
You can follow Leah’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.
Yesterday we told how a woman revealed her husband loves that she's a bigger girl and even split from his ex because she lost weight.
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