Model and Self-Love Blogger Zoe Chin loy Dishes on the Power of Accepting Your Body
Zoe Chin loy was an entrepreneur, wife and mom when she decided to take up blogging during the pandemic—and her life really hasn't been the same since.
The Jamaican-born, Miami-raised star set out to empower women and show them that they're beautiful, inside and out, no matter what anyone else says, but things didn't end there. In sharing her own journey, she also found her confidence and decided to become a professional plus-size model, showing the world just how beautiful bodies of all sizes are.
We can't get enough of her story and the path she's taken, and she'll be sharing it, and more, as a speaker in the Strike Your Empowerment Pose virtual body confidence event held by Shapermint. The event is totally free and will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 10, National Shapewear Day, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, so register now—and check out Shapermint's sale for up to 70% off through Aug. 11. We were lucky enough to get to chat with Zoe all about her personal and professional journey and the event in the interview below.
Sweety High: Can you tell us a little bit about how you became a model? What has been your journey to embracing your body?
Zoe Chin loy: My journey to embracing my body is ongoing. It all started with accepting the skin that I was in and starting to focus on the things that I like about myself vs. the things I didn't, and saying kind things to myself and breaking the habit of tearing myself down daily. Doing these little things daily has helped me build my confidence to the point that I have started modeling professionally. I started reaching out to brands to see if they were looking for plus-size models, especially the brands that had no plus-size models, and was amazed at the response. And now, bigger brands have started to reach out to me, which has been so exciting! It's amazing what you can achieve when you change your mindset.
SH: What does it mean to you to be a role model to other girls and women 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 and from different backgrounds?
ZCL: To be able to help women and girls feel better about themselves means the world to me. I wasted 10 years of my life hating myself and now wish I could get that time back, so helping women love their life to the fullest is the best feeling ever.
Modeling in an exclusive society, and being a plus-size model was a little nerve-racking at first. Being in not only a bigger body but a body with stretch marks and cellulite and being over 30—it's a lot of pressure—and then when you're modeling next to a 20-year-old that's fit—even more pressure. Or so I thought. It was uncomfortable at first, but now it's second nature. I think it's so necessary to show every body type so that everyone feels included. Every body type is beautiful and deserves to be represented.
SH: What type of audience do you hope to reach with your content, and what do you hope they learn from it?
ZCL: I hope to reach mainly women and girls. Living in a society that has set such unrealistic beauty standards is rough, so I want to share my body confidence journey with others to help them not waste years of their lives hating themselves like I did and start focusing on what really matters—happiness, health, love, family.
SH: What are some of the most egregious beauty standards today? What makes them so harmful, and how can we challenge them?
ZCL: One beauty standard that drives me nuts is the snapback culture after having a baby. We literally just had a baby, may be breastfeeding, still healing from delivery, but you want us to rush back to looking how we did before the baby?
Also, I hate that cellulite is viewed as unhealthy and ugly when it literally has nothing to do with health and 90% of women have it. As a 12-year-old child I was shamed for having cellulite, so I really want young girls to know that this is normal!
SH: What advice do you have for others to accept their bodies, no matter what size and shape?
ZCL: My advice to other people would be to start accepting your bodies now! Not tomorrow, not next week, now! Life is so short. Don't spend it at war with yourself.
SH: What's the most important lesson you've learned over the course of being an activist and sharing your message with the world?
ZCL: An important lesson that I've learned on this journey would be that you will still have bad body image days, but don't let those bad body image days trick you into believing that you have a bad body. Self-love is a never-ending journey. It takes practice and commitment and a lot of undoing and unlearning what society has taught you. When you're having a bad image day, practice your affirmations even more. Be kind to yourself and give your body grace and practice even more self-care on those days.
SH: What advice do you have for dealing with negativity and hate, especially online, about the way you look?
ZCL: My advice to people dealing with negativity and hate when it comes to the way that they look would be to practice your affirmations. I know it sounds cliché, but actually saying the words to yourself while looking in the mirror really helps a lot. It may feel and seem funny or even odd at first, but it has really helped me learn to love myself!
SH: How excited are you to be invited to be involved with the Strike Your Empowerment Pose event? What perspective do you hope to bring to the table, and what does it mean to you to be working with Shapermint?
ZCL: I'm extremely excited to be involved with the Strike your Empowerment Pose event! If there's one thing I want women to feel, it's empowered. We are such amazing beings and it's important to feel like we can conquer the world because we literally can!
I hope to bring a relatable perspective to the table. I hope to share my journey and connect with women that may have been going through the same things that I was. I hope to help them see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that they can let go of the stress of being physically "perfect" and that our flaws are what makes us unique. We're flawsome!
If you loved this interview, also be sure to click HERE to read our interview with Carmen Rene, who'll also be speaking at the event.