Nabela Noor just did something gutsy: she posted her very first bikini photo on Instagram last month. What might seem like no big deal to some was a major step for this body-positive influencer.
Noor, who made her name on YouTube and Instagram by posting makeup tutorials, is the founder and CEO of Zeba, a plus-size women’s clothing company. Despite her 1.2 million followers and impressive social media empire, she still had to work up the courage to share that image.
“Instagram aesthetics can make us feel like we aren’t good enough as we are or that we need some skinny detox tea or waist trainer or to hit some weight-loss milestone to finally feel beautiful in our own skin,” she wrote in the photo caption.
“Your body deserves your love and I hope you don’t wait another second to love yourself fully and unconditionally,” she continued. “Whatever that may look like for you, I encourage you to do it.”
And she has. In addition to her bikini photo, Noor was a featured speaker at the 2019 CurvyCon event in New York City last weekend, which brought together fashion-loving women, brands, and influencers for three days of celebrating size diversity and body positivity.
During a panel discussion, she spoke to the audience about how crucial it is to share her message with women who look like she does. “Its tough enough being plus size, but when you’re a woman of color and plus size on top of that, there’s so many things all of us deal with being marginalized. So it’s been important to me to share my experiences,” she told the CurvyCon crowd.
Like many women who take a stand on social media, Noor has dealt with her fair share of trolls. But she uses their negative words as an opportunity for growth.
“If someone sends me a hate comment telling me to go die, I say, ‘Why? I’m thriving, I’m living,’” she said at CurvyCon. "I encourage people to flip the script, and I want people to take whatever is going to drag them down and use that to lift them up. If someone says I look like a fat cow, I say ‘I love cows!’”
Despite the vicious messages she receives, Noor is using her platform as a public figure to support other women in similar situations.
"When you are a plus size women existing on the internet, people think that you are a property that they can discuss and talk about at their free will," she told the audience. "I get so many messages on a daily basis completely degrading me. And I thought ‘Well maybe this is just the price I have to pay, and I’ll just deal with it in silence.’ But I finally realized, I am not going to do this anymore. I am going to advocate for plus size women as a plus size women and the dangers and aggressions you have to deal with as a plus size women."
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