plus size lingerie model

Yes, you can realize your dreams while fat.

photo: Instagram/thisisjessicatorres

Being a plus-size person always made me feel like I was less than. Even when I was physically active I felt paralyzed mentally. Many of us have a drawer of clothes we want to wear when we lose weight, but we also have a mental cabinet where we store the things we would accomplish in life if we lost weight. 

Here are 9 things I never thought I would be able to accomplish until I lost my round belly. 

1

Wearing a two-piece swimsuit.

When I was younger, I was told that I would never be able to wear a swimsuit because of my size, stretch marks, and cellulite. I really took this to heart and would wear shorts and oversize T-shirts to the beach. It's been five years since I wore my first swimsuit, and it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. 

Every body is a beach body. 

2

Being on the cover of a magazine.

When I saw bodies like mine in magazines, it was labeled as the "before" picture. Like many young girls, I would stand in front of a mirror and pretend to accept awards, practicing poses for my first magazine cover. This had always been a personal goal of mine. I kept it a secret goal because the probability of having a plus-size woman on the front cover of a magazine seemed like the craziest idea ever. 

3

Traveling around the world and being able to look at those photos without cringing.

I always knew that I would travel the world, but I never thought I could do it as a plus-size woman. To me, traveling meant tons of pictures of me on the beach or site seeing in shorts and summer dresses, aka clothes I didn't want to be photographed in. All the self-hate held me back from experiencing life. Finally, I set my fears aside and started traveling around the world.

4

Appreciating my body and its sexiness.

While working with a brand, I was asked to be photographed in lingerie. Showing off my fuller body in underwear was pretty nerve-racking, and trying to exude sexiness was even harder. I never saw myself as a "sexy" woman. 

I always identified as the cute friend, at most. After I stopped judging myself through the eyes of others, I learned to appreciate my own body — and there is nothing more empowering than that. 

5

Making bold fashion statements.

When you grow up hating your body, you find various ways to hide it. So teenage me only wore dark colors and oversize silhouettes. I always wanted to be someone who was considered fashionable, but with the lack of options and role models leading the way, it felt impossible. I started by wearing crop tops, skirts, form-fitting dresses, and other things that scared me. The more I pushed myself, the more I stopped giving a damn about "flattering" fashion. 

6

Starring in an international beauty campaign.

A year ago I was featured in a Dove commercial about body positivity. The thing that I hated the most about myself was the thing that caught the producers' eyes. Those things that make you different can really change your life. 

7

Wearing bare (or nearly bare) face in public.

Being fat made me feel like I had to try harder to be considered attractive, so I dunked myself eyebrows first into the beauty world. I always thought makeup would give me that extra push of confidence to make me feel prettier, and it did. A bold lip and a fierce cat eye totally changed my outlook, until I became so addicted to the high of being complimented that I avoided sporting a bare face for years. Little by little, I wore less makeup and began to appreciate my face in its rawest form. 

8

Being the center of attention.

I used to go bright red when my school teachers called me to the front of the class. They actually stopped calling me after a while because my nervousness was THAT palpable. I sat at the back of the classroom to avoid having any eye contact with my classmates. Now that I have become more comfortable with myself, I do videos pointing out those things I never wanted anyone else to notice about me. 

9

Making a career in fashion.

The closest I ever thought I would be to fashion was getting a surprise makeover from a TV show that would help me look slimmer. Modeling clothes and putting my passion for fashion out into the world (even though I'm far from sample size) has really paid off for me. It even helped me land my dream job