Meet the strongest voices in the Middle East's body-positivity movement

The real-body revolution starts here
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Meet the strongest voices in the Middle East's body-positivity movement

Stretchmarks on show – albeit glittery ones inspired by Instagram artist Sara Shakeel – Huda Kattan has become the latest public figure to flaunt her imperfections with pride. Huda Beauty’s summer campaign features a diverse cast whose perceived flaws – including freckles, birthmarks, vitiligo and prostheses – have been artfully crystallised.

“As a beauty influencer and someone behind a beauty brand, I feel it’s so important to express what beauty really is. Beauty to so many people has been perfection, and we feel at Huda Beauty, now more than ever, beauty is about YOU. It’s about embracing all of who you are,” Huda insists. “We’re here to tell everyone who has something unique about themselves that they are a part of this conversation, are leading the conversation and are the future of beauty.”

Huda Kattan embraces her imperfections

One of the most authentic voices as the Middle East’s #bopo movement gains momentum is health and travel journalist, and influencer Danae Mercer, who – alongside candid shots against sweeping backdrops of the Pyramids of Giza, and body-boggling yoga poses against the dreamiest of sunsets – shares unforgiving snaps ofher cellulite, bloating, and speaks frankly about having struggled with disordered eating. Danae tells Grazia, “More and more, I just want to be as real as I can be, whether it’s what I believe or what makes me feel less confident, and working on how to embrace that.”

Pinpointing the moment she decided to ditch perfection, she recalls, “For years, it was always about being perfect, showing the highlights, and that’s not who I am anymore. I was feeling disconnected.” She concedes, “I always want to be raw, but it’s my version of raw. I’m trying to help other women figure out what resonates with them, and not being afraid to share it. We all have our own approach when it comes to what make us feel strong
and empowered, and it’s about not being afraid to be open about it.”

Her honesty has paid off. “As soon as I started opening up with my audience, the connection I felt from my followers has been so much stronger than before. It’s been amazing to discover such an active community that’s out there, and it’s given me more confidence to share and be real.”

Grazia Girl Gang ambassador for Body Positivity Dima Ayad has always been one of the most vociferous critics of size inclusivity in the fashion industry. Now, from conglomerates to the catwalk, it looks as if the brands are finally taking note. “I experienced first-hand, trying to get gym gear and it being too tight, because their XL is actually an L. When brands promote themselves with slogans like, ‘Just Do It’, you can’t actually do it because there’s no size to do it in,” she seethed in the past. But after a recent visit to London and seeing the plus-sized mannequins at NikeTown in real life, she admits, “I had a moment. Inclusivity at last, and I got to witness it!”

Perhaps the fashion world should take some advice from the Middle East’s first curvy model, Ameni Esseibi. “The biggest change I’d like to see is for any woman, whether she’s a size 0 or a size 54, to be able to enter a shop, find her size and be able to shop in peace. The message I have for brands would be: address all your clients. I’m pretty sure that even curvy women would want to wear your brand but aren’t able to because of the sizing.”

The pay-off? According to Ameni, a big dose of fashion feel-good factor. “Being able to spread awareness about body positivity and helping the world to increase their self love and self-confidence is the best feeling on Earth.”

And since the latest figures from the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education put the size of the average American woman at between 20-22, a huge spike in profits, too.

  • Read the full story in the Grazia out now

The body positivity issue of Grazia Middle East is out today

Photos: Supplied

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