The body positivity movement has grown exponentially in recent years. Thanks to social media, many people are learning to love the skin that they are in instead of putting themselves through needless trauma trying to meet impossible beauty standards.
One of these people is 25-year-old Julianna Mazzei from Toronto who is a size 22.
She spent the first 23 years of her life suffering because of her weight.
As a young girl, she was bullied because of her size and was incessantly called names, some people even sang songs about her, and a boyfriend broke up with her for being “unhealthy”.
“I hated school. There were so many times where I skipped school, the bullying was so bad,” the 25-year-old, who prefers to be called Jewelz, said. “I can give you probably a whole dictionary of names. Fatty, a tub of lard, whale.”
“When people are making snarky comments about you behind your back or under their breath, it’s harder to stand up for yourself and say what needs to be said, that’s one of the reasons why I got my ‘F*** Your Beauty Standards’ tattoo.”
This was a reference to the world’s first plus-size model Tess Holliday, who has caused a sensation on social media since rising to fame in 2015. She has used her platform to encourage people like Jewelz to realize that they can be beautiful without conforming to societal expectations.
“My whole life people told me that I couldn’t wear patterns such as stripes or polka dots,” Jewelz said.
“Until I was 23 years old, I hated myself. Through finding inspiration online, and coming to terms with who I am and what I need to do, I knew I needed to start accepting who I was.”
“I knew I was good on the inside but I felt who I was on the inside didn’t make up for what I looked on the outside. I got there and I found self-love. And being confident is the greatest gift that I have been given.”
The 25-year-old now has no qualms about sharing countless semi-nude snaps on her Instagram account which has over 100,000 followers.
“To be a bigger girl and then be thin and then be unhappy it was kind of a wake-up call for me and I realized that being thin isn’t going to make me happy,” she revealed.
Jewelz, however, is not the only person who is happy with her transformation. Her mother Catherine is also delighted by the results of her learning to love herself.
“Jewelz totally changed, it was an overnight thing,” she recalled. “There was this girl that used to walk around with three or four layers of clothing and then all of a sudden one day a couple of layers came off and I started to see skin.”
“She was happy to be alive, she was smiling, she was going out. Then the butterfly emerged that we call Jewelz.”
Jewelz is now hoping to use social media to inspire other people in the same way that it inspired her. That’s why she is captioning all of her photographs with inspirational quotes to promote the power of body positivity.
She captioned the above picture, “What an amazing view this morning, it’s so gorgeous, and I’m not just talking about my ass. #BigAndBlunt#IGot99ProblemsButMyFatAintOne”
Just like plus-size model Tess Holliday, Jewelz wants to reclaim the word “fat”. Check out the video below where Tess discusses the importance of people not being ashamed of being called fat:
“I’m fat and that’s okay,” Tess said.
Like Tess, Jewelz is also a plus-size model and said, “I started doing it so I could inspire people. I would definitely say that modeling is a career for me, I would definitely present myself more as a body activist.”
“There is nothing like feeling beautiful, but the main reason I do it is to remind women that they can feel beautiful so that you don’t always need to see one standard size in model modeling for lingerie or for cars.”
“I definitely think that we have to reclaim the word ‘fat’ as positive,” Jewelz added, echoing Tess. “As a negative word for so many years, it is about time we take it back, and realize that it is not a bad word, it is not a bad thing and it shouldn’t be shaded in a negative way.”
Jewelz added that she does not step on any scales because she doesn’t want to know her weight, although she has said that she is healthy.
“I definitely think that I live an active lifestyle and I think that that’s the term that people should definitely use,” she said. “I’ve never had a doctor tell me to that I have to change my diet or that I need to lose weight.”
We wish Jewelz all the best in her continued self-love journey.