Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Deep down, we all know this, and we all know that our value isn’t tied to how our body looks. But many of us still struggle to maintain a positive body image because we feel like we’re supposed to look a certain way — and that’s simply not the case.
I sat down with my dear friend Gia Sinatra, hair stylist, plus-sized model, and body positive influencer, to get her advice on what it takes to build a positive body image no matter your size.
Overcoming the What If’s
From a young age, modeling was always in the back of Gia’s mind. Growing up, she was overweight, “but I was always told I had a beautiful face,” recalls Gia. “I never said out loud that I wanted to be a model, but deep down I thought that a career as a plus-size model would be amazing.”
After seeing Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she got inspired and started feeling like modeling was within her reach. A friend reached out to her about doing a photoshoot, offering to trade photography services if Gia could do her hair. Her friend went above and beyond and helped her submit the photos to agents and got two offers — all while still working at a hair salon.
She actually turned down both offers because around the same time, she got an offer to take ownership of the spa connected to the hair salon she worked at. But about 15 months later, she decided to close the spa and pursue modeling with all she had.
“I didn’t want to have any “What if’s” to look back on, and once I started making more money than what I was making at my salon, I knew I was on the right track.”
Becoming a Plus-Sized Model… and Owning It!
Gia admits she went through a phase when she didn’t embrace her curves, and if she hadn’t overcome those feelings, she may never have gone into modeling.
“I had to realize that everyone has different body types. That’s just how it is. Now, I try to be my happiest, healthiest self. I’m a curvy girl and had to learn to love who I am instead of trying to fight it.” Gia trains hard, eats well, and works out consistently. She kicks my butt when we go hiking, and it’s proof that a strong body doesn’t have “a” shape.
“I love to show up and kick ass. I know people might look at me and think I’m out of shape because I’m a bigger girl. But I can take pride in knowing I’m strong and healthy, and it gives me major confidence.”
On my recent podcast, Gia revealed that plus-size modeling actually starts at a size 6 (sometimes a size 4) — sizes that many people wouldn’t consider being plus-size. But Gia isn’t as concerned about her size at all, and neither are her agents. Her main focus is being healthy, and taking comfort in the fact that size isn’t always reflective of health.
“I don’t eat healthy anymore just to be a certain size. I eat because I know the benefits that come with it. I feel good when I eat good foods. Most importantly, I want to be the woman I needed when I was younger. That’s really become my purpose in life.”
Catch my entire conversation with Gia Sinatra on building a positive body image on the Self Love & Sweat podcast!
And connect with Gia Sinatra on Instagram and see some of these incredible photos we talked about on the podcast.