So many people post pictures on social media but what made me notice Esther most was her confidence, beauty and her owning of her amazing curves.With 10k plus followers, her Instagram page is graced with so many amazing shots, it was hard to pick just a few for this post. I was happy to hear from her about my Q&A segment and i could not wait to share. She is an inspiration,not only to me but so many girls out there with body confidence issues and this is my way of applauding her and thanking her.
APW: Tell me about yourself and where you grew up?
Esther: My name is Esther Nagawa (Nakitende is my handle on social media). I am a 35 year old proud mother of 3 children. I was born & raised in Mukono, Uganda & I am the last born of 5 children. I moved to Toronto, Canada in 2006 & have made a life for myself & my children here.
APW: When were you first discovered?
Esther: I have always loved fashion & all that it entails. When I moved to Toronto I had access to beautiful clothes, shoes, accessories etc & I began to post pictures of myself on Facebook. As time went on, I caught the eyes of various different plus size store owners who realised that when I wore their clothes it reached a large audience of plus size women. I began to get calls to do photo shoots & runway shows for various plus size designers. Although the plus size industry is fairly new I have faith that eventually the fashion world will realize we are here to stay and we may be plus size but we also love to look beautiful and sexy.
APW: As a girl, we are usually stressed about looking like this and that. Have you ever felt pressured into looking a certain way?
Esther: I would be lying if I said no. Every woman is pressured to look a certain way. Depending on where you are professionally & socially a woman has to look a certain way or else risk judgment by society. I get judged everyday because of my weight. I have learned that if one tries to please everyone all the time you end up very miserable. Magazines & the media especially in the developed world celebrate skinny Caucasian women. I have developed a thick skin because it is a fact that I am in an industry that judges you because of your physical attributes – you may be attractive to one designer & another designer prefers a different look. It’s part of life. In addition as a woman from Africa I have faced a lot of judgment because of my weight. Dressing up in sexy fitted clothes is frowned upon. Wearing a swim suit is an abomination of major proportions. If a slimmer woman of the same age wore the same outfit or swim suit it’s accepted. Why are we so ashamed of our bodies just because we are plus size??
APW: How has modelling changed you as a person?
Esther: Modelling has given me so much confidence. I am confident in my fashion choices & have learned about what makes me look good. I am contacted by many plus size women especially from Africa who want advice on being confident because they are made to feel unattractive due to their size. Most important is that modelling has made me realize that beauty is subjective. What may be attractive to one may be unattractive to another. That’s okay because beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, & colors.
APW: What does beauty mean to you?
Esther: To me beauty is what makes me feel good about myself……beauty is happiness…..my children are beauty personified, beauty is when I achieve something I thought I could not……beauty is encouraging another woman to feel better about herself. Physical beauty is easy to achieve for anyone. We live in a society of makeup, fantastic clothing, shoes, accessories & hair extentions & of course plastic surgery. It’s how or what you use your beauty for that matters. After all we all know as we age so does our physical appearance.
APW: What advice would you give to young girls hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Esther: The advice I would give to young girls is to first and foremost love themselves as they are. If your body type is plus size you need to embrace that. People will always have opinions about you – most will be negative & vicious – ignore those opinions surround yourself with people who build you up not knock you down, people who give you constructive criticism. Never take the negative comments personal. Get ready for endless rejections after model calls. Get ready to be judged for your size. People think plus size people are lazy & unhealthy. We work out, we eat healthy & according to our physicians we are healthy but we are still judged. Young girls in this generation will have it harder because social media has made us all connected. We see endless photos of celebrities who were once proudly plus size loosing weight to comform to Hollywood standards. We need to try and be happy with ourselves rather than trying to attain the unattainable.
APW: Aside from modelling what else are you into?
Esther: Aside from modelling I am a part-time student of Community Development. I also do small scale business selling clothes to plus size women as well as styling some clients.
APW: What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Esther: My hopes and dreams for the future is to empower plus size women into believing in themselves. I also would like fashion shows to reflect the real woman. It’s proven that the average woman is curvy…..why do fashion houses only advertise clothes for skinny young girls? ?? My hope for the future is acceptance from main stream media that we are here to stay.
THANK YOU SO MUCH ESTHER!!!! I hope everyone can be blessed from this like i have.