..and encouraging others to do the same.
Stephanie Monge is an artist, muse, proud plus size/curve model, and an official face of the Baddie by Divinity brand.
“It’s an absolute honor to be a face behind this empowering brand. Baddie is inclusive, empowering, and has given me a space to feel confident, strong, and sexy af. Divinity is a no BS kind of woman and her brand tells all of us women, it doesn’t matter how you show up, as long as you show up in all your ‘badness’”.
A childhood of discomfort
“During my childhood, I was always aware that I was existing in a bigger body” says Stephanie. “There was the obvious bullying but also the unnecessary comments made by family and friends about my size that made me always aware that I was the odd one out.”
As a way of escaping this discomfort, Stephanie embraced the arts as a teenager. She learned that she could enter her own world through performance or the creation of something beautiful.
This can be a turn off, especially in the early days of a relationship when people are typically hyper-sensitive to how a person makes them feel. Adding to this is the fact that being aloof is typically associated with narcissistic or manipulative personalities. Overall, the risks are high of turning someone off completely.
Claiming her space
Stephanie’s biggest epiphany came when she learned how to detach herself from others’ perceptions. She realized that it was the most powerful thing she could do — loving herself in a world “that convinced me that I wasn’t allowed to take up space.”
Whether it was her size Latina background in underrepresented spaces quirks or likes and thoughts not being the same as everyone else no longer matters to Stephanie.
“I realized that every time I silence, diminish, or talk down on my talents and creativity, I hurt my inner child and rob her of true happiness.”
Stephanie shares another important realization: “People suck. Haha! But seriously, I’ve learned through my life experiences that some people will always have their own projections or perceptions of my body and my mere existence — and that is their issue, not mine.”
The Joy of Empowering Others
Stephanie recently discovered how much of an impact she has had on others by placing herself in the public lens representing other plus size women.
“By showing up and cultivating safe spaces for plus size/curvier women, I am working with them in the community” Stephanie says proudly. “It’s like a silent but loud nod in encouragement.”
Even Stephanie’s 12-year-old niece recently confided that she would like to be a model just like her auntie. “It was a simple phrase but it hit me; I realized I am working so others can continue to pave the way. A young girl who is trying to find herself, or maybe a middle-aged woman who has lost her confidence, or anyone who needs that extra push of encouragement to not be so harsh on themselves.”
Tenacity + Passion
“I love and admire how once I decide I want to do something, I do it. You can call it ambition but I like to call it tenacity. I am most proud of how much passion I can put into something that I feel is meant for me.” It was a year ago that Stephanie decided to take modeling seriously, so she got to it! She built a portfolio and got herself signed with Denver’s top modeling agency. Stephanie loves that she is part of the current shift in beauty toward accepting beauty in all its forms. Says Stephanie, “Seeing how quickly the world’s perception of beauty is changing is so exciting. It is happening so fast! I figure I need to move faster.” Stephanie looks forward to an exciting personal and professional future, knowing that she will be at the front of the line, claiming her space and leading the way. “I will never work against myself again. Now, I only work with myself”.
How would you describe your life journey so far using 5 words?
Risky, barrier-breaking, resilient, transformative and liberating.