Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2015-09-10

I’m Totally Having So Much Fun on Snapchat Here’s Why

It’s no secret I adore social media. I prefer to curate my own information streams because I think that corporate media is designed to create scarcity mentality, fosters insecurity and just works to ad big dollars to the insecurity industries.* Also, I like people’s stories, I like learning about new places and I love seeing lots of adventures through people’s eyes.

Instagram has been a favorite for some time, but lately I’ve gotten into Snapchat! (I’m @queerfatfemme there and all the other stuff I use.) I tried it once before when it first came out and it was okay but not great. Pretty social but I didn’t have a group of friends who were doing it so I didn’t stick with it and uninstalled the app.

bevindollypaloozagreenslipMe at Dollypalooza this year! Photo by Ves Pitts.

Recently a couple of bloggers I like mentioned that they were Snapchatting and my friend Devon Devine’s fun videos convinced me I should give it another shot. When I got a new phone I decided to try it again.

Snapchat is so different now and I’m really enjoying it!

Here’s the deal:

Record a video of up to 10 seconds, or take a photo that will be live on screen for up to 10 seconds (you choose the length). Add text, emojis, or draw on the photo if you want. Add a filter/skin and voila! You have a snapchat! (Here’s my tutorial about how to use Snapchat since I found it hard to figure out at first.)

Here’s a video as part of a little diary about why it is awesome to have a Femme roommate.

A video posted by Bevin (@queerfatfemme) on

Your snap can be sent directly to your friends on Snapchat or you can publish it to “My Story” which is an aggregate of all of your snaps for the past 24 hours. Once it is 24 hours old it disappears forever!

The idea behind snapchat is that it is kinda throw away media. It’s not meant to last forever, so people are really casual, they lip sync, they dance, they show you where they are vacationing or walking down the street, they goof off with their best friends, they introduce you to people, lots of cute snuggly animal moments. In some ways, I find it to be more intimate social media because you get a sense for someone’s personality rather than something intricately curated like perfecto instagram pictures or a well-edited blog post. I would call it “hang out media.”

Some of my favorite things to watch on Snapchat are hotel room tours, house tours, cute pet moments, cool travel places, snap chatting (where folks talk to the selfie camera and tell us about something going on for them), outfit ideas, ten second drag acts, day in the life montages. I especially like when my real life friends talk because if they are my friends I probably miss them and like the opportunity for a virtual hang out!

One of my favorite things about publishing to Snapchat is geotagging! There are these skins that pop up for your videos or photos (when you’re in the editing screen, swipe right) that are specific for your location. They are very cute! New York City has at least one for most neighborhoods I’ve been in. For example, my therapist’s office is at Columbus Circle, so when I swipe right I can get one for Columbus Circle, a couple for the Upper West Side, sometimes it gives me Hell’s Kitchen, and I always get Manhattan. It’s cute!

bridgetboxFrom my snapchat tour of Bridget’s Femme apartment.

I love geotagging when I’m traveling just to show off and play with the geotags where I’m at. When I went to Normal, Illinois this summer (this is a real place, Dara’s brother lives there) I was really disappointed when I thought that Snapchat didn’t have geotags, and was delighted when they eventually showed up as options during my third hotel room snapchat tour video!

There are lots of places that don’t have geotags yet, I learned on my road trip through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey this summer. It’s fun to watch Snapchat develop and add more. Right now I’m visiting Webster, FL for a wedding and there could (should) be a geotag for Florida and perhaps one for “Swamp Life” out here!

Here are some things I’ve been doing over at my Snapchat story:

Tours of where I’m at (I travel soooo much sometimes, especially in the last few months)
Narrating my favorite parts about NYC
Nightlife adventures—the last couple of weeks I’ve been going out a lot!
Cute videos of Macy
Tiny diary-like snippets (e.g. a couple weeks ago I talked about how like how I leave blank space in the calendar intentionally so I have time for mini side adventures)
Goofing off with my friends (When I hang with Victoria chances are she might be scantily clad and when I hang with Jacqueline she will usually do a boob shimmy for my snapchat viewers)
Dance party at the Bed Bath and Beyond (that happened with Dara)
A tour of a sparkly and amazing Femme apartment (Hi Bridget!)
Wedding venue I officiated

jacquelinemacyJacqueline with Macy, before her Snapchat shimmy.

On Monday at the beach I had my friend Jo tell my snapchat how to body surf—a skill set I have not learned!

I’ve also really loved the special Snapchat content! Snapchat has an NYC local story that is really cute and seems to change daily. There was an adorable Animal Rescue one recently, a back to school one that focused on a day in the life of a high school, a really great “Life on the Farm” story, I loved the Snap story for Ramadan (at Mecca), and all sorts of music festivals I’ve never heard of.

There’s also Snapchat exclusive content from other media providers if you want to go down that rabbit hole. The National Geographic one is generally interesting and shout out to the Food Network Snapchannel because a friend of mine oversees the content there. I now know the secret to perfect hummus every time thanks to Snapchat. Also People Magazine does some throw away content (almost every time I look in on it there is a story about Taylor Swift).

Here’s a cute video I saw on Lady Quesa’Dilla’s Snapchat (@ladyquesa_dilla) that I asked for her to download so I could show off backstage at Dollypalooza on Instagram:

A video posted by Bevin (@queerfatfemme) on

Here are some folks I am enjoying following on the Snapchat:

Blogger Nicolette Mason—she’s always on the go to private meetings she can’t talk about, going out with her hot wife, and talking about how perfect her adorable pug Frankie is because Frankie is, in fact, totally perfect.
@nicolettemason

Blogger Gabi Fresh—she’s got a wardrobe to die for (naturally) and she does really fun “what’s in this box” reveals when she gets mail. She’s also a big traveler and always doing cute hotel room tours.
@gabi.gregg

My fav Real Housewife Kim Zolciak-Biermann—she has a totally adorable brood and they are always doing something fun. Also, her family’s chef is a hot dyke who does animal rescues and I totally love her show Don’t Be Tardy on Bravo.
@kimzbiermann

Blogger/model Nadia Aboulhosn—she’s literally always clowning with her BFF Shavah, being a total goofball behind the scenes, her knowledge of hip hop lyrics is pretty impressive as she is often lip syncing, and she has this cute animal voice where it gets all high when she sees a cute animal. Also, her jet setting model life.
@nadiaaboulhosn

nadia-aboulhosn-1441275114Nadia is this ultra model BABE but she’s also totally a weirdo magical person on Snapchat.

Plus Size Supermodel and Body Positive Activist Tess Holliday—she has a snapchat diary thing going on that I adore. Last week she real talked about how once she gets comfy in a hotel room it is hard for her to keep plans with her friends. She’s really good at narrating what’s going on and she is ultra jet setting.
@tessholliday

Are you on snapchat? I would love to know what you love to watch on snapchat, who you love following (and why) and any other protips for good snappin! Leave a comment below!

*Diet industry, plastic surgery, beauty industry, spending money to feel class status, etc… Don’t get me wrong, I love Sephora, but I go on my own terms because I like to decorate myself not because I think there’s something about me that can be fixed by $22 mascara.

2015-01-28

Why Plus Model Tess Holliday’s Media Blitz is an Important Moment for Fat People Everywhere

So the other day I got a phone call from a reporter friend of mine at the New York Daily News (one of the big dailies in NYC) doing an article about plus size model Tess Holliday (formerly known as Tess Munster) being signed to a modeling agency. Tess is unusual because she’s only 5’4″ and a size 22–much different proportions than the standard for plus size models. By the way, even though plus size models are modeling clothing worn by women of lots of different shapes and sizes, the “industry standard” is under size 14 and 5’8″ or taller.

tessCNNTess Holliday on TV! Source: Tess Holliday Facebook.

I did the interview with the New York Daily News and my quote is good and meaty. Here it is.

“It’s astounding the reach she has and how many people respond to her,” said QueerFatFemme blogger Bevin Branlandingham. “She created a movement around being a plus-size model.

“It’s radical to have an agency willing to stand behind someone and push the envelope about what way models have to look. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. A good model has more to do with how she works in front of a camera then what her height and weight proportions are.”

Since that article came out on Saturday the media has been blowing up about Tess getting signed! I got an excited text from the reporter, Pearl Gabel, that it was the third most popular article on the Daily News’ website! Since the Daily News article came out I’ve seen Tess in People Magazine, Buzzfeed, CNN and just learned she was on Inside Edition!

During my brief interview with the Daily News I had a lot more to say than what my quote could fit, so here are my thoughts on why it’s important that Tess was signed by an agency and the resulting media storm.

tesscuteShe’s so cute! Source: Tess Holliday facebook page.

Fat comes in lots of shapes, and my fat looks really different than someone else who may be the same size as me. And it definitely looks different than a standard plus size model. It’s really refreshing to hear of a modeling agency willing to take a chance on a model who doesn’t fit into the industry standard.

So why does the modeling industry matter in all of this? Shouldn’t we be moving away from more superficial representations of bodies?

I was steeped in this issue when I was working at Re/Dress in its Brooklyn incarnation, 2008-2011. Then-owner Deb partnered with Plus Model Magazine to do a model search for a size 18+ model. I resisted at first, not feeling great about modeling as an industry and Re/Dress as an indie store helping supporting it. I remember a long conversation with Deb while we were sorting clothing on the racks talking about this. (Plus size processing was one of the best things about being a Shop Girl at Re/Dress.)

I came around 180 degrees watching the model contest unfold. There was of course an essay contest in addition to the photos for the entries. As folks who love people who love their bodies we really looked for people who had body positivity as part of their ethic. Seeing how excited people get about modeling and models, I thought it was a great way to use that excitement to feed in messages of body positivity. Additionally, it’s really fun to dress up and look pretty, especially if you’re in a non-normative body that is historically marginalized.

We ended up selecting a regular customer of ours who was so glamorous and gorgeous and, like Tess Holiday, gives amazing face in front of the camera. Audrey Lea Curry, who later went on to co-star in the erstwhile awesome show Big Sexy with my friend and fellow Re/Dress shop girl Leslie Medlik, was the model and won cash and prizes, including a spread in Plus Model Magazine featuring Re/Dress clothing and shot by amazing plus size model and photographer Velvet D’Amour.

audreyplusmodelmagA page from the Plus Model Magazine spread. Photos by Velvet D’Amour.

The plus model industry and size positive movement has been pushing the issue of representation in the fashion industry for a long time and it’s really heartwarming to see a shift happening in this moment. I remember ten years ago mainstream plus brands were barely starting to use standard size plus size models in their advertising. And today mostly you get the really pretty, “curvy” models. I love brands, like Domino Dollhouse, that have been using bigger plus size models all along and work to support them.

I first heard about Tess Holliday when she was modeling for Domino Dollhouse. I got to meet the designer, Tracy Broxterman, at an indie trunk show at the closing of the Re/Dress Brooklyn incarnation. (Re/Dress has since retained an online store and has a storefront in Cleveland, and is now owned by the fabulous indie designer Rachel Kacenjar of Cupcake and Cuddlebunny fame.*)

tess-holliday-anthonyevansPhoto by Anthony Evans.

What I love most about Tess’s media blitz is that not only is there a non-standard plus model in the industry making huge waves, she’s also tattooed and pierced! Tess has been staying on message about believing in herself in spite of what people told her. This quote from the People Magazine online article is really inspirational:

“I’ve just kept doing this stuff recently, thinking, ‘Thank God I didn’t give up,’ ” says the Los Angeles-based Holliday, who had to overcome many detractors to get where she is today.

“I found out about plus-size modeling when I was 15, and I went to an audition in Atlanta. They told me that I was too short and I was too big, and I would never model. But I’m very hardheaded!”

I can definitely relate to being bullied and using that spitfire to rise above the lies people told me about my body and loving myself anyway. Tess didn’t just stick to plus modeling in spite of being told no at that audition, she also began a movement called Eff Your Beauty Standards in order to empower other fat folks. I think it’s amazing when plus models, who could just stay a pretty face in front of the camera, get political with size activism and empower others.

The modeling agency (MiLk Model Management) said that they were driven to sign Tess because of her social media following. I think it was Tess’s inspirational movement that has been a big part of her prolific social media presence that helped get her that deal.

Tess Holliday’s Instagram is a very satisfying feed to follow. Lots of gorgeous Tess shots, of course, but also glamorous behind the scenes of a modeling career and regular every day stuff like hanging out with her babetown Australian fiance and her son. And it’s always a good moment for me when Tess is in her underwear. Swoon!!

tesshollidayforpowdermagazineHeidi CalvertI adore Tess’s vintage aesthetic and her fatshions. Photo by Heidi Calvert for Powder Magazine.

Our society’s ridiculous notions of beauty are being thwarted a bit right now, because of this event and the media avalanche. This is a big story. People who read it who haven’t heard about size activism might have their minds stretched. The modeling industry is seeing that people respond well to non-normative body shapes.

The more people who share about Tess and talk about how great it is to have actual plus size diversity in modeling the more we can catalyze a bigger societal shift towards body acceptance. So share this blog post, or a media piece you appreciate about it. (I’m especially fond of the Buzzfeed article because it shows lots of Tess’s followers using the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag being empowered!)

Fat allies, this is your time, too, tell your people about Tess and let them know that it matters to you that this is representing change in an industry that oppresses bodies. Remember my mantra, All bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are!

And be sure to write your favorite plus size manufacturers to ask them to use models of all plus sizes so we can be sure that MiLK model management and other agencies that follow suit have jobs to send these models on! And support the indie designers that have been using plus models of all sizes all along!

I would love to see this change mean more gateways for other non-normative bodies, ages, ethnicities, genders, body hair status, etc…

20150117_182554-MOTIONI also want to give a shout out to my bestie Mackenzi’s new women’s clothing boutique in Astoria, Queens, Lockwood Style, carrying sizes 0-24! The inventory is really diverse and there’s a lot of turnover in styles. It just opened as the sister store to her Lockwood home and gift store next door. It’s worth a trip to Astoria if you find yourself in NYC shopping while fat! The dress I was trying on was from Cabiria Style, an indie local plus size designer carried at Lockwood.

*If you’re suffering from cold this winter I highly recommend fleece lined leggings, and Re/Dress online is having a Winter layers sale right now. I just bought some in pink and black. Use code LAYERUP for $5 off each piece. I secretly wanted to buy this $98 vintage nightie but for now just practical layers, I will when I am a rich lesbian.

**PS. Be sure to check out Domino Dollhouse’s Valentine’s lingerie line featuring Tess Holliday!

***PPS. Read this article from Huffington Post last week about my friend Sophie Spinelle’s body positive feminist pin-up photography business. I love the title of the article so much! These Pin-Up Photos From ‘Shameless Photography’ Show That Every Body Is Gorgeous. Congratulations Sophie!

o-SHAMELESS-PHOTOGRAPHY-900Bra burning pin-ups is the way to go!

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