It’s easy to see brand ambassadors on Instagram and think they’re pretty fabulous, I mean they get free clothes and make money off of Instagram posts that sounds pretty easy and fun.
Well here’s the real story.
My Instagram feed is something I have been tweaking and developing for a while, especially when I was abroad, those posts were sometimes the only communication I had with my family and friends back home. Come summertime after having my feed reflect the hard work I put into each picture and making my profile public, I had some companies approach me to be their brand ambassador.
At first, I was extremely flattered. After always having the mentality of the chubby kid I was growing up, getting that external validation of brand ambassadorship was a huge boost to my ego. Someone saw my pictures, appreciated what I looked like and wanted me to model their clothes for them.
I got quite a few offers, most companies commenting on my unique, diverse look, which at first, I took as a compliment. I’m unique, eclectic, nobody is exactly like me. But then the logistics rolled in. Being a brand ambassador means I would have to get clothes online; from stores, I didn’t know and hope they have my size. Now every company did this part a little differently. Some would have a select number of items I could choose from and give me for free and I would just have to cover shipping, while others gave me a percentage off of their entire store and then gave me a discount code for my followers to use that I could make a commission off of. Of course, I had to pick and choose which companies I ended up with but all in all, it was pretty fun.
I went through each inventory trying to match their clothing with good picture ideas that I knew would fit into my schedule in the coming weeks. Like I knew I would be going to the beach a couple of times that month so modeling a bathing suit was reasonable or I tried to order clothes to ship in time with my friends being in town, so I had someone to take pictures of me.
Yet going through their inventory comparing sizes and measurements trying to think of the most flattering clothing for the most flattering picture eventually got to my psyche. It’s hard to look at so many gorgeous models and not begin to compare yourself. So many of those girls had impossibly tiny waists and pulled off this tight-fitting clothing that I felt like wouldn’t even fit my right boob.
But I had to remember these companies chose me. I’m unique. I’m diverse. I’m eclectic and cool.
Part of me felt like those were code words for being a plus-sized model, which at a size 8 I don’t think I should be declared one but then I really thought about their message. These companies were looking for diversity, they want every girl to be comfortable in their clothes, looking at their store. With models that match so much of today’s beauty standard: tiny waist, medium-sized boobs, and big booties, it felt like I didn’t have permission to wear their clothes. That I could never look as beautiful as they do in them.
But my different body is exactly what those companies were looking for, to show other girls like me that we can wear these clothes, tight-fitting and all and still look damn good in them.
A brand ambassador is a model of the people, to show how these clothes look on someone who looks like you, with fat rolls like yours, with insecurities, without airbrushing or photoshop and it’s a damn hard job. The comparison to someone who fits the beauty standard is easily made since you’re wearing the exact same dress, bathing suit, skirt or whatever. You’re making your body vulnerable to the world, while those insecurities can come out in waves of imposter syndrome, or body dysmorphia. But you must constantly remind yourself that your body is beautiful the way it is. And that challenge was so empowering to overcome. I’m not going to lie it continues to be an uphill battle, but remember to love myself and the package I come in has been instrumental to my confidence.