When Alicia Mitchell, a curve model, received criticism for dressing up in an Aaliyah costume, she got the Internet’s attention by sharing messages of body positivity.
Mitchell dressed up as the late R&B icon in 2017, nailing the look in a sparkly choker, bra and waistband with an accompanying leather jacket. In October, the New Jersey resident posted a screenshot of a man on Facebook who wrote, “I need her to not do that again.”
“So I’m the Big Girl That everyone is Posting about !” she said in response in a tweet that got more than 20,900 likes and 3,900 retweets. “If I was a size 2 No one would have an issue….”
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“I’m the Big Girl / Fat Girl That’s getting reposted in this picture,” she continued in a tweet that raked in 159,000 likes and 30,600 retweets. “I was Paying Homage to Queen Aaliyah. I love her look and I have always been a fan of her ! Women come in all shapes and sizes No need to FAT SHAME ME … yes I’m Big but I work with what I got.”
“I went on to Facebook and saw that someone had tagged me to a post that a gentleman had written about me in a negative light, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t know this man,’” Mitchell explained to BuzzFeed News. “I looked through the comments, and it was chaos from there.”
“I had people in my inbox making judgments on my appearance, calling me a fat bitch, saying things like I should have been on a treadmill for Halloween, all types of things,” she said. “I was so confused because these people don’t know me from a can of paint.”
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She decided to use the hurtful moment as an opportunity to encourage body positivity. “My thing is, you have to be happy with who you are, and I made a statement of saying, everybody has flaws with their body and everybody has something that they want to change, but why spend all your life trying to fix something and miss out on the fact this you only get one life and you have to live for today?” she explained. “If you want to lose a little weight, then absolutely work on that process while you’re living, but don’t stop living.”
Her message even reached the man who had critiqued her. “He was in my inbox trying to explain himself. He tried to apologize, tried to clean it up, he tried to say it wasn’t his intention,” she said.
Many supported her as well. “When I saw the way people on Twitter started standing up for me, I was blown away. Seeing all the love on Twitter let me know that I can really handle this,” she said. “I was inspiring plus-sized women, smaller women, men as well.”
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