My name is Gaëlle Prudencio. I am the founder of “The Curvy and Curly Closet”, a blog that strives to promote self-acceptance among women. I started my blog in October 2007, almost 10 years ago. Yes, you can call me a veteran ! I first started on a platform called “Vive les rondes!” or “Long live curvaceous women.” I was seeing all these curvy women posting pictures of their looks so I said to myself, ‘Ok I’m going too!’ Unconsciously I needed to get the compliments that I was not necessarily hearing in my day to day life.
Challenging plus size women to play with fashion
In July 2013, I started the French Curves Challenge. Every month, I will suggest a theme to a dozen plus size bloggers, 33 and beyond. They have 30 days to cook a look aligned with the theme. We started at 10, today we are a good 60 something. The themes can vary from Rockabilly to Polka Dot. The next one will be Mix and Match!
The pressure to fit in society’s beauty standards
I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. I never really had issues loving the skin I’m in. It was the desire to fit into society’s standards because the people around me wanted me to, that led me to start dieting at as young as 7-years-old. I remember gaining a lot of weight after loosing my sister in March 1995, 21 years ago today. I’ve always been chubby as a kid but after my sister passed away, I became fat. I grew up in Senegal and only came to France at the age of 18. Contrarily to what most people think, Africa is not a place where curves are praised anymore. Everywhere I went, I will felt people staring at me. It was as if I wasn’t anything else than my weight. They identified me as the little fat girl.
I tried all the diets that one can possibly think of until January 2003. There, I decided that I wanted to loose weight, to be fit for my 20th birthday. That’s how I registered to Weight Watchers. I was living, sleeping, talking points and pounds to loose. I lost 88 lbs in less than 6 months which is very dangerous by the way! I couldn’t even recognize myself. I felt more visible because my weight was like an armor–a shield. Without this protection I was vulnerable. After I stopped the diet I gained 110 lbs. That’s when I decided to learn to accept and love myself just the way I am.
Fashion and the weight of appearances
There are so many dos and don’ts limiting curvaceous women in fashion! To me there is nothing such as a fashion faux pas. I own my identity, my eccentricity … I took back my power through fashion. It’s a way of expressing who I am. Sometimes I will be in the metro and it’s just men and women in black everywhere. I mean people don’t wear color anymore! I am very proud when I am the only one with a bright yellow jacket rocking my big ass afro like a crown. I am visible anyway so why try to hide myself ? It makes me happy when women who are a size 26 come to me, sharing that my blog has helped them in accepting and loving themselves.
“We are not encouraging people to be fat !”
We always say, ‘Long live curvy women’ but I can tell you that none of us is complying in that situation. We are not encouraging women to say ‘Youhou! Ok girls! Let us all be fat it’s wonderful!’ Sometimes I would love to run but I can’t. In my dance practice I can see that other girls have more ease than I do. So all in all our message is, ‘Let us accept our selves first, then we’ll figure things out.’
I never had any problems finding a man. There’s a popular saying: ‘Men prefer curves.’ I think that it’s more about personality. I am single for the moment but it has never been an issue for me. I have absolutely no problem getting naked in front of a man. In the past I’ve played the fat funny girl card… I’m over it now, I just embrace everything I am and as long that I am fine with it, so are men.
“Did I tell you how much I am proud of who I am?”
I am very proud to be me, Gaëlle. But today I would love to drop 45 lbs to be a better dancer. I am part of a dance crew called The Booty Shake Academy. I was lucky enough to go on tour in 2014 with them, we got to perform in the United States. It has been a wonderful experience, something I would never have thought possible even in my wildest dreams–to be on stage, touring …. and I owe it to my blog. !
Gaëlle is one of the faces of the MS Mode campaign, a brand new active wear collection designed for plus size women. Because every woman in every size should feel comfortable in their clothes when they work out. Check out the video !
32 years old
Born from Senegalese parents
Based in Paris