BuzzFeed profiles plus-size athletes

Strength is not determined by your physique; it’s instead determined by your skills and your perseverance — that’s what a new feature from BuzzFeed is proving.

In their piece called, “Here’s What It’s Like to Be a Plus-Size Athlete,” BuzzFeed staffers interview seven plus-size athletes about their respective sports and what they gain from participating in sports. From a pole dancer and marathoner to cyclists and lifters, the seven women profiled all had one thing in common: they refuse to be bound by stereotypes that perpetuate one image of athleticism.

Kristina Rodriguez, a “cyclist-yogi-baby powerlifter,” told BuzzFeed that her favorite part about her sport of choice is getting to prove people wrong.

“Women have to face so much bullshit about body image,” she said. “Men do too, don’t get me wrong, but you get extra as a woman in sports. People have doubted my athleticism, but I live for the look on their faces when they see how fast or good I am at whatever sport.”

Although some have had to prove naysayers wrong, long-distance runner Olivia Frempong shared with BuzzFeed that she thinks that more diverse definitions of what it means to be athletic are being increasingly accepted.

“I think the fitness community is finally realizing that you don’t have to be a certain shape or size to accomplish things,” she said. “When I first started to run, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to do it, or that I would get injured — but now, those same people are asking me for tips on how to get started.”

Show ’em who’s boss, ladies.

To read the full feature, click here.


‘Bridget Jones’ makes history

Bridget Jones’s Baby made its United States debut on Sept. 16, and while the film is already raking in big bucks at the box office, it’s also securing its place in history.

According to Bustle, the film — which is preceded by films Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason — not only marks the rare occasion of a “trilogy of romantic comedies with a female protagonist who has remained relevant for about 15 years,” it is also “ is the first movie trilogy with all female directors.”

Bridget Jones’s Diary, released in 2001, was directed by Sharon Maguire, while the second installment in the trilogy released in 2004 came under the direction of Beebon Kidron, a director from North London. Bridget Jones’s Baby, however, almost didn’t follow suit with another female director, reports Bustle.

Paul Feig (of Bridesmaids fame) was first slated to direct the project in 2011, says Bustle, but was later replaced by Peter Cattaneo (who ditched the production in 2012). But another change brought the film back on track to make history.

Bustle reports that this change was British actress and writer Emma Thompson, who “was brought on board to work on the script by Helen Fielding (who wrote the original Bridget Jones books) and Dan Mazer.”

And the rest, as they say, is history:

“Thompson joined the film at a time when reports were running wild that the third Bridget Jones movie was, for all intents and purposes, dead in the water,” Bustle says. “‘Trying to get a third film into production has been a nightmare,’ an anonymous source claimed to The Sun at the time. Whatever Thompson did seemed to do the trick. Soon, the movie was back in development, and Maguire was hired to direct. It might not be directly related, but it’s possible that hiring a woman writer (Thompson) to refine the script helped attract Maguire, a female director, to Bridget Jones’s Baby.”

What resulted was a film with a female director, two female screenwriter and a complete trilogy directed by females — one small, but important step in proving the talents and abilities of women everywhere.



ModCloth moves forward with fight to end Photoshopping

Photoshop is slowly becoming no friend to fashion — between Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign and ModCloth’s history of promoting body positivity, there is less space in the industry for the notorious editing program. And now, ModCloth is attempting to ensure that extreme photoshopping is stopped altogether.

According to Bustle, the retailer sent Co-Founder Susan Gregg Koger to Washington D.C. with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Lois Capps and Rep. Theodore E. Deutch on June 16 to “help raise awareness for the Truth In Advertising Act, a bill designed to regulate the use of material image-altering (aka unethical use of Photoshop) in advertising.”

First to sign the Truth in Advertising pledge in 2014, ModCloth thus promised to never edit the models featured in their photos in any way, says Bustle, aligning with their motto of being “committed to inspiring personal style and helping our community and customers feel like the best version of themselves.”

Bustle reports that ModCloth has partnered with I Am That Girl an organization that helps girls foster a sense of self-love — and The Representation Project — a movement to inspire people to overcome societal stereotypes — to promote the Truth in Advertising Act through a letter-writing campaign. The campaign asks supporters of the act to write to their congressional representatives to support the bill.

To participate in the letter-writing campaign, ModCloth and their partners created a site through which supporters can easily look up their representatives and submit a letter digitally, says Bustle. The goal is to have sent 10,000 letters to congressional representative to support the act, and so far, almost 2,900 have been submitted.

Speaking on behalf of the act, Bustle said a press release from ModCloth detailed Koger’s explanation of the bill’s importance and its potential effects in Capitol Hill. Koger said:

“Portraying women in an honest and realistic way is essential to fulfilling our brand purpose of empowering women to be the best version of themselves … It demonstrates to young women that measurements are a fact, not a judgement. We want to lend our voice and the support of the ModCloth community to this movement to stop the extreme and harmful Photoshopping of women in advertisements.”

We couldn’t agree more.

A ‘Runway’ Win

The next generation of big-name designers are cultivated on each season of Project Runway, the long-running fashion design competition show on Lifetime. And on Nov. 5, designer Ashley Nell Tipton followed in the footsteps of her predecessors, as she was declared the winner of the show’s 14th season. But there is something extra special about Tipton’s win.

According to BustleTipton is the first designer to win the American series of Project Runway with a plus-size collection. Her “colorful, daring and feminine” collection was presented at New York Fashion Week anonymously as part of the show’s finale, featuring “plenty of skin-baring peek-a-boo cutouts” done in lace and pastels.

The 24-year-old designer mostly designed mainstream-sized clothing for the duration of the competition, but knew she had to go out on a limb for the finale. “I never thought I would make it this far, but it was always in the back of my head that this is what I want to do,” she told People. “To be able to showcase there is just an incredible feeling. It’s just so amazing to have everyone see my work.”

And the judges certainly seemed to think that her work was incredible. Bustle says that the judges praised her collection for “‘bringing something new’ to the plus size market, playing with silhouettes [that] have been considered taboo on women of size,” while also complimenting the “chic and imaginative flower tiaras that she accessorized her models with.”

Bustle spoke to the newly-crowned winner, who said she has been busy building a website and forming a creative design team ever since she won, although it’s been difficult to keep her victory a secret for almost a month. Tipton, previously an indie designer who had a self-produced line prior to her recent win, told Bustle that this win has overwhelmingly kickstarted her career. “Once people hear what I’ve been working on, I think it’s just going to explode. I definitely feel a lot of doors are opening up right now,” she said.

Explaining that she is working on her “dream project,” Tipton said she hopes to create “an online plus size destination that ‘includes everyone,'” while also planning to unveil unisex, men’s and even non-plus collections.

Her victory wasn’t just a personal win — it’s shaping up to be a win for the entire fashion industry and consumers alike. Thank you, Ashley Tipton, for creating fashion for all, and congratulations on your Project Runway win!

Top of the Heap

The past year and a half has brought on some major changes in the world of sports, which came in the form of several major advancements for women in the industry. In July 2014, Michele Roberts, a former trial lawyer, became the executive director of the NBA Players Association. And in doing so, she became the first woman to ever hold that position.

Bustle reports that Roberts garnered a lot of media attention for her role, but she hasn’t faltered in the face of this newfound attention, nor has she become “intimidated by the prospect of being a trailblazer or of being a woman in a male-dominated world.”

Roberts even spoke to The New York Times on overcoming obstacles on her way to her current status, saying “‘My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.'”

Although Roberts ascended to her current seat as the head of the NBA Players Association over a year ago, she has recently come back into media attention for her interview with Lenny, a newsletter create by actress Lena Dunham and her Girls producer Jenni Konner.

In her interview, she provides several enlightening responses on a range of topics, one of which was how she learned to not worry about what other people think of her. She said, “I’m not suggesting that you barrel through life willy-nilly, but I am suggesting that we stop trying to allow other people’s potential prejudices, let alone actual prejudices, to paralyze us.”

Perhaps one of the greatest portions of her interview came when she discussed how she pushed past the many obstacles in her life despite her circumstances. “I grew up in the projects, I grew up on welfare. There was no reason in the world for me to think I could do anything other than get a high school diploma,” she said. “I’ll pat myself on the back, I was a phenomenal trial lawyer, very successful, and I would have bet against me [laughs] if I was not me. A little black girl from the South Bronx.”

Thank you, Michele Roberts, for showing us that success is possible no matter how difficult our circumstances may be.

To read the full interview, click here.