If you thought the body positivity movement hadn’t quite reached the Philippine shores yet, these plus-size models will change your mind. It has indeed been a progressive year for body-positive advocates. MUNA, a local clothing brand that advocates inclusivity, body positivity, and self-love, just launched last April. Our very own Kat Gumabao graced the New York Fashion Week runway for the American plus-size clothing brand Torrid last month. Read on for more body positivity inspiration from our very own plus-size Filipina sisters.
Filipino Plus-Size Models Championing Body Positivity
“Your worth is not defined by a number on a scale or in a label,” she was once quoted saying. Kat is the sister of actor Marco and volleyball player Michelle and has been a plus-size model for eight years already. She is no stranger to international runways. In 2016, she walked at the Melbourne Fashion Week Plus, the first plus-size fashion show in the city. Her experience at the MFW+ made her realize even more how the Philippines is “way behind” when it comes to the modeling industry. “We are not as bold, not as diverse, and not as open as to how Melbourne, the UK, and the US are. They have women sizes 16 to 22 on covers of their magazines,” she said.
This year, on September 13, she walked for Torrid at the New York Fashion Week, putting the Philippines on the map once more when it comes to plus-size fashion. Torrid is an American fashion brand that offers stylish clothing and accessories for plus-size women with sizes ranging from large to 4X.
Kata continues to debunk common misconceptions and advocates body positivity through social media. “Plus-size models are models that have body shapes that do not belong to the ‘standard or normal’ sizes dictated by clothing brands. [They] are not all necessarily fat. Everyone has fat in their body. This is the biggest misconception, [that] plus-size equals fat. No, pwedeng bigger hips, bigger thighs, etc. Pwedeng due to fat, [pero] pwedeng ’yun lang talaga katawan niya,” she explained.
Danah and Stacy Gutierrez
“I’ve tried it all. Pills, supplements, coffee, and sabon,” said Stacy, who battled bulimia just to shed a few pounds.
These identical twins are plus-size models and the founders of the first plus-size fashion and body-positive online magazine in the Philippines, Plump PH, in which they served as editors-in-chief. The sisters’ blog in 2009, “The Plump Pinay,” paved the way for this web magazine and advocacy, giving them numerous appearances in media while promoting their message of self-love. The twins’ campaign, advocating the creation of more clothes and accessories for plus-size women in the Philippines, was well received by their readers. They believe that if a woman likes what she wears, then she becomes more confident about who she truly is regardless of her size.
Although Plump PH is no longer active, the twins continue to be in-demand keynote speakers and have even authored and released a book, The Big Fat Book of Self-Love, in 2016. They have appeared in the fashion spreads of Cosmopolitan and in feature articles from Rappler, ABS-CBN, Lifestyle Network, Business Mirror, and many others.
If Kat Gumabao walked for NYFW this year, Trina did the Philippines proud by being the first full-figured Filipina to strut on that runway in 2017. It had always been her dream. Prior to walking in the runway of NYFW 2017, Trina participated in charity fashion events. Her desire is to show the whole world that plus-size models, especially Filipinas, can grace the runway too, even international ones. She sees an optimistic future in the fashion world because the current generation acknowledges body diversity, where women or one of the plus-size models of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities are represented in runways, magazines, television, and billboards. When asked about fashion, Trina says in an interview for Inquirer, “It has no boundaries. As long as you are happy and feel fabulous wearing your clothes then it’s all good, rock it!”
Although Trina’s Instagram account is private, she does allow us to take a peek through a hyperlink in her account to her website related to health and fitness.
Teena used to be a regular 6bomb girl for Eat Bulaga one of the plus-size models. After that stint, she did commercials and television guesting and soon pursued her career as a freelance makeup artist, which led to her launching her now-popular YouTube channel, Ang Kikay Ko. Catering to over 52,000 subscribers, she shares beauty vlogs and makeup tutorials and discusses her advocacy every now and then. Aside from being a YouTuber, she still juggles multiple careers as a makeup artist, TV talent, and plus-size model for Love Curves, a plus-size fashion brand.
When asked what her take on beauty is, she said, “Be your own standard of beauty. . . . Once you’ve accepted that, you’ll never be insecure with what you see in mags.”
Through her campaign, #MagandaAkoPeriod, Teena continues to spread awareness and encouragement to the growing body-positive community in the Philippines. The fashion design graduate started to roll the said campaign by releasing T-shirts printed with the campaign’s hashtag.
Cai, nicknamed the “pambansang best friend,” has several acting credits under her name one of the plus-size models. She starred in Ang Taba Ko Kasi, an indie rom-com screened in this year’s CineFilipino Film Festival, and appeared in the millennial play No Filter. She was in My Ex and Whys, Kasal, The Girl in the Orange Dress, and many more, including this year’s #Jowable.
In 2016, she was one of the endorsers of SM Woman’s plus-size line. She has walked the runway for the clothing line Zilingo, modeled for Erzullie, and has endorsed various local brands.
“Ang sarap kasi finally, na-a-acknowledge na, hindi lang ng society [kasi] in fashion itself, na-a-acknowledge na napakalaking percentage ay hindi size zero,” Cai shared when asked about being a plus-size model. “Hindi na masyadong dinidiscriminate yung mga matataba. Meron pa rin pero mas accepted na siya.”
Currently a plus-size models and commercial model every now and then and once one of the plus-size models of SM Woman, Kimi Lu offers workshops and programs as a certified life coach, neuro-linguistic program practitioner, hypnotherapist, and Reiki master.
“I am a fervent believer of celebrating one’s self healthily, believing in the power of becoming and loving who you are. I love helping people find their purpose in life. I have so much faith in positivity and how it can improve your life.”
Check out her Instagram for plus-size inspiration and powerful quotes of wisdom.Pinay Plus-Size Models Powerfully Advocating Body Positivity and Self-Love by George