Model and Influencer Dani DMC on Unconditional Self-Love and The BodCon 2023
We love Dani DMC's message of radical self-love and confidence, reminding us that when we believe in ourselves, we're capable of pretty much anything.
The plus-size model, content creator and confidence activist leads by example, demonstrating that through genuine confidence and unconditional love for ourselves, we become free from the reigns of all of the mental blocks holding us back and can finally take control of ourselves—mind, body and soul. Dani has half a million followers on YouTube and 485k followers on Instagram as part of her Confidence Crew, showcasing her best life while inspiring others to grow into and live theirs.
On March 5, Dani will be one of the speakers at The BodCon 2023, a virtual conference on body confidence and self-acceptance. The seven-hour conference will begin at 11 a.m. ET, hosted by Alicia Mccarvell and with panelists including Virgie Tovar, Stella Naomi Williams, Derek Frazier and so many more. Dani and her partner T.Bell will be part of the Navigating the Dating World as a Plus-Size Individual spotlight chat, focusing on stereotypes and misconceptions around body confidence when you're plus-size, but your partner is not. Ahead of the convention, we had the opportunity to chat with Dani about her work as a model and her journey of empowering the world to love the skin we're in. Read the full interview below.
Sweety High: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a model? What part did embracing your body play in that journey?
Dani DMC: In 2017, I spontaneously made the move from Chicago to L.A., not quite sure what was ahead for me career-wise. A mentor of mine suggested I get into the plus-size modeling industry, as it was at an all-time high, and within two weeks, I was signed to my first agency! I was in shock during the whole journey. I remember sitting in my car, sobbing on Sunset Boulevard after signing with a larger agency about six months later, thinking to myself, "I can't believe I'm here." A fat girl, in Los Angeles, who has not had the easiest path to get here and I'm doing it! The best part of my career has always been showing up for other women like me. Even if we don't have the same "differences," I always want to be living proof that the underdog (or so society says) can win!
Embracing my body definitely played a massive role in my modeling journey. Prior to moving to L.A., I had a tough two years where I really did a lot of the hard work of rewiring my mind from what society had tried so hard to get to stick with me. I moved to L.A. with unwavering confidence and nothing could get into my impenetrable bubble of self-love. This showed up in my work ethic, my energy on set and how I performed in castings. This is ultimately what led me to move into the social media space. Something was missing from modeling for me. After doing some reflection, I realized being a model was fun and exciting, but I wasn't able to fully be my raw self. There are still so many issues with the modeling industry—editing and airbrushing being major problems for me! I wasn't able to truly connect with my community. In 2018, I made my first YouTube video and never looked back. Social media allowed me to cultivate a community of women that have been told they don't live up to societal standards of beauty so they're not worthy and I continue to call bull*** through my content daily.
(Photo credit: Thomas Kirk)
Also read about: Lisa Schoenberger on the Importance of REAL Fashion Inclusivity and The BodCon 2022
Sweety High: What does it mean to you to be a role model to others who may be struggling with their body image? In an industry that can be very exclusive, how does it feel to show inclusivity for people of different sizes?
Dani DMC: It means the world to me to be considered a role model. My journey started first and foremost by being a role model for my younger self. Growing up, I spent a lot of time alone in my thoughts and constantly fighting against a narrative that was consistently being forced onto me. I knew from a young age that I was rare—and because of that, I was prepared to fight and hold my ground. I knew it was going to be a long, grueling fight, but I never gave in. I know that little girl would be ecstatic to see her older self thriving! Everything I did in the beginning was to empower that young girl that was told she needed to conform because it was a bad thing to stand out and be different. Every one of my followers now has a bit of the little girl in them. So while showing up for my younger self, I simultaneously created a safe space for any woman who has ever felt othered. That has hands down been the most fulfilling part of my career.
SH: What are some of the most egregious beauty standards today? What makes them so harmful, and how can we challenge them?
Dani DMC: I could sit here and list off some beauty standards that I think are trending right now, but honestly I don't even want to give them the time of day. Beauty standards have no home with me, unless they're set by me. I am beautiful. You are beautiful. Every human is beautiful. The most beautiful person is the one who knows their own beauty and doesn't rely on outside validation.
Beauty standards are often unattainable and only a small group of people will meet them, leaving the majority to feel unworthy and less than. This is exactly how we challenge them by creating a new narrative. Individuality is key.
SH: What advice do you have for others to accept their bodies, no matter what size and shape? Can you tell us about your Confidence Crew and the work you do to empower them?
Dani DMC: Starting from the beginning, at the root. First, understand that most of the thoughts that live in your mind about your body are not your own. You've allowed other people to create a vision of how you see yourself—destroy that. Start from scratch and be patient and diligent on your self-love journey. Learn yourself, date yourself, spend time alone, create a romanticized self-care routine and stick to it. Learning to accept your body and your full self is work that is not for the faint of heart, but a solid relationship with yourself is the most powerful relationship you will ever have in this lifetime. Prioritize that.
This is exactly what I teach my Confidence Crew! I created the name Confidence Crew for my community online because I wanted to do something different. Many influencers create a community name that has to do with them as the influencer. I wanted my community to know that everything I do is for them! I also aim to show my followers that the confidence and love I have for myself is obtainable. It's not out of reach. By calling them The Confidence Crew, it made it obvious what we're here for and that it's possible right now. If you're part of the confidence crew, then you're confident! It then puts the responsibility on them to make that a reality and utilize the tools I provide on my platforms to be the most confident version of themselves!
You hold the power. You are truly in control. The second you dedicate yourself to rewiring your mind and relearning what the outside world has attempted to brainwash you with, you've already won.
Also read about: Alicia Mccarvell Talks The BodCon and Her Tips for 'Living a Fat Happy Life'
SH: What's the most important lesson you've learned over the course of being a model and activist and sharing your message with the world?
Dani DMC: I always say when it comes to confidence, I'm part of 1% of people who truly unconditionally and unapologetically love themselves. I don't take that lightly—like I said earlier, I knew from a young age that I was rare. I've met so many people in both the modeling and influencing industry that don't always lead with authenticity. They may preach something online, but are completely different in person. When I show up, whether it's in person—at a meet and greet, an event or online—I am always 110% myself, and always will be. I think my career and activism have reinforced how important my work is. I was given this level of confidence, not to keep to myself and think I'm better than anyone, but to give back to humanity and show others that your entire life can change when you dedicate yourself to being confident in all aspects.
(Photo credit: Meg Remien)
SH: How excited are you to be participating in BodCon 2023? What perspective do you hope to bring to the table?
Dani DMC: I'm ecstatic to be participating in BodCon! Any opportunity to amplify my voice and message makes me so happy. When I'm able to connect with my community one on one or through a platform like BodCon, it brings my message and story to the next level. I think it allows people to see I'm just a regular girl who happens to have the gift of knowing and loving exactly who she is and I always aim for it to be a contagious experience. I'm also so excited to be speaking with my partner, T.Bell. He offers such a beautiful perspective and our relationship is living proof that when you create your own path instead of following the one society has tried to set for you, not only will it benefit you individually, but also in your love life and beyond.
(Image courtesy of Dani DMC)
Curious about The BodCon? Click HERE to learn more and read our interview with weight discrimination activist Virgie Tovar.