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Can we pretty please talk about Denise Bidot for a hot minute? You may know her as a groundbreaking plus-sized model who truly believes that "there is no wrong way to be a woman." You may be aware of the 29-year-old stunner of Puerto Rican and Kuwaiti descent because she is killing it career-wise and opening doors so that more curvy women can follow in her runway footsteps.
That's all well and good, but I want to talk about Denise Bidot the mother, and Denise Bidot the advocate for women-of-all-sizes, and what she's doing to make us all feel beautiful.
The reason Bidot gets so much attention for her size is because we still live in a world that feels it has to make those kinds of qualifying distinctions. Heaven forbid she simply be known as a model. But please do not make the mistake of thinking that because Bidot is labeled "plus-sized" that she is a voice for "curvy" women alone because in reality she is a voice for every woman.
In a recent interview, Bidot was asked what she is doing to foster body positivity in her 7-year-old daughter and her answer blew my mind. She said, "I keep wanting to figure out that there is a science to how I'm going to help her feel beautiful or understand that about herself. But I think just traveling with me, going to photo shoots, hearing me talk, the way [I] feel — kids are a direct reflection of you. I feel beautiful, therefore she feels beautiful. She doesn't see that there is a problem, she doesn't see color."
"I want every woman to feel beautiful," Bidot said. "I want every woman to understand their power and be confident and go through life that way and be happy."
Photograph by Getty Images
Why did Bidot's words blow my mind? Because she spoke to me as a woman and as a mother. The truth is that I have never truly felt beautiful and Bidot made me realize that I better freakin' figure out how to embrace my beauty and celebrate it if I want my two daughters to grow up feeling beautiful, powerful and confident.
When I became a mother, I vowed that I would never talk smack about myself or my appearance out loud because I grew up as the daughter of an incredibly beautiful woman who spent far too much time pointing out the flaws in herself and others. It left me with a legacy of insecurities that I do not want to pass on to the next generation. I thought that by not putting myself down out loud or complaining about the size of my butt or the lonjas around my waist that I was somehow sparing my daughters from a lifetime of not feeling beautiful, but children are so much more perceptive than we give them credit for.
My girls can tell when I'm happy or sad without me having to say a word, so I can only assume that they can also tell that I don't consider myself beautiful or that I pick myself apart without doing it out loud. This makes me cry for them, and to my surprise, it makes me cry for myself too because enough with this nonsense already, I deserve to feel beautiful. We all do.
A big thank you to Denise Bidot for making me see the error of my ways. I, for one, am going to start referring to her as "Our Lady of Curves and Enlightenment" and whenever I feel anything less than truly beautiful I'm going to think to myself "WWDBD?" Yes, indeed—What would Denise Bidot do?