Short Story. I was perusing through Instagram and came across this empowering image of a confident, black, full-figured model name Shinar. I instantly followed her on Instagram and was further inspired by each post I viewed. Her pictures were more than fashion to me but an ode to be comfortable in my own skin. Her pictures further encouraged me to embrace my full body and not just the neck up as I was beautiful from head to toe.
Sometime later I reached out to her with no other way to start besides indicating how dope she was by how she represents confidence. I asked for an interview and not only did she agree to it, she was my first in-person interview since I started Be Your Own Kind. I will say she is even more incredible and dynamic in person. We shared stories, exchanged encouragement, discussed the wonders of God and had lot of laughs.
This Indianapolis native knew her purpose needed to be fulfilled and audaciously moved to New York to pursue her career as a Body Positivity coach and model. Her main mission was to help women of all sizes feel more comfortable in their skin. Although, the industry still acknowledges the smaller size 8 as a plus size model figure, Shinar does not let that deter her and she continues to boldly walk in her purpose. She is positive that God will pave her way and every opportunity that is passed over or not embraced is for a reason. She keeps God first in all she does while helping others experience the power and self-fulfillment there is in self-love and self-care.
Facebook: Shinar S Martin
Top Three Accomplishments you would like to share:
- Graduating High School
- Moving to New York
- No longer being afraid
Q: First time I saw the picture below I was like Yassss! The confidence that exudes in this picture was show-stopping and encouraged me to start taking full body pictures. Where does your confidence stem from? And were you always this confident?
A: I am a confidence coach that empower women of all sizes. Although the media makes it seem like plus-sized women suffer from low self-esteem, I believe all women suffer with it. Plus-Sized modeling has been trending for a long time but celebrities such as Tyra Banks presented this concept as if it was new. I appreciate her efforts but this is not a new fad it’s been a movement. Social Media makes you feel like you need to alter your body but it does not embrace people being who they are. I know people that have underwent body enhancement and still struggled with self-image.
Honestly I was not always confident. As a teenager I was a ball player and I did not care about my image as much. It wasn’t until my Senior year in High School that I started self-care and dressing up. Also, I attribute my past experiences as they helped me to self-reflect. Overtime these reflections caused me to value and love myself more. Self-love is not only about loving yourself but also how to love others and be receptive of love. Social Media makes you feel like you need to alter your body but it does not embrace people being who they are. I know people that have underwent body enhancements and still struggled with self-image.
Q: Plus sized model, Ashley Graham, is always mentioning her mission to stop body shaming in the model industry. Is your message the same?
A: No, my motto is “It’s bigger than me and it’s bigger than you”. I include everyone it is not just about plus-size, it’s all body types.
Q: Do you think the fashion industry is evolving to embrace all body types?
A: Yes. People like Ashley Graham and Danny from Orange is the New Black is promoting positive body images. I hosted the first body positivity movement seminar in Indianapolis to help spread awareness. Events such as these are all over the states and body positivity awareness is on the rise.
Q: In your opinion what are the main misconceptions of plus-sized women? How do you think this misconception can be reversed?
A: That we don’t like who we are or we are too lazy to lose weight. The reality is women want to be loved and they feel the need to change in order for that to happen. Most of these types of comments stem from men and causes women to feel ashamed. It is so important to have self love and not depend on others to give you the love you are looking for. I love my thighs. I love everything about me.
Another stigma is plus-sized women can’t wear crop tops. I encourage wearing a crop top. The more plus-sized women wear a crop stop the more confidence we will exude to minimize this stigma.
Q: What/Who inspired you to pursue modeling?
A: My past inspired me. I wanted to walk in my purpose. I knew I was going to be great. I was not going to give up on my purpose no matter what I endured in the past. Due to my perseverance I am now a public figure reaching people and encouraging self-love and helping them blossom.
Q: What is your favorite modeling gig to date?
A: My favorite gig was June this year. I was hired by LAA Production for a play/fashion show and I was the masterpiece and it was about all shapes and sizes. The show represented my message of body positivity. This experience opened another door for me. This was a big blessing because I’ve been rejected a lot of times by people that don’t like me or by family or individuals that did not like the way I looked. When I went to rehearsal, I discovered they studied my Instagram and podcast and I did not know they were going to pick me for the masterpiece. My sister, Peniel Love, came through for me and made me a skirt for the event last minute. At the end of the play I had to stand on stage alone, I was trying so hard to hold my composure as I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness from God blessing me with this opportunity.
Q: What can your fans expect from you in the future?
A: I will be involved in something called the “The Workshop” so be on the lookout.
Q: What advice would you give to a woman struggling with her body image?
A: Look in the mirror everyday.
Be Your Own Kind Staple Question: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
A: Strong. I was strong enough to last. I got through it and I know there is more to come and I know I will be able to tackle it.