“I was about 19 years old and I remember hearing a group of young women talk so badly about their bodies,” said Ebbi Nicole. “They all wanted to be someone different. Someone thinner. Someone taller. Someone lighter. Someone with straighter hair. I remember thinking, ‘This is a real problem. How could these gorgeous girls want to be anything other than who they are? They're...perfect!’”
Before this moment, Ebbi Nicole, creator and founder of the Fluffy GRL Movement, struggled with low self-esteem and questioned everything about herself. A student at University of Missouri – Columbia at the time, she started learning about the media and its depiction of women’s bodies deemed “acceptable” as far as shape and size. Hearing the group of women dislike themselves did more than spark her passion and purpose, it was the beginning of her journey to love and accept herself.
“That's when I knew that WE needed a space to be ourselves and see ourselves reflected. If the media wasn't going to normalize us, we had to normalize ourselves,” Ebbi added.
Being informed of how the media affects self-image led her to do something to change the narrative and uplift other women in the process. In 2012, she created an event called the Fluffy GRL Summit, hosted on her university’s campus.
It was a big hit, featuring a panel of curvy women, full-scale fashion show and expo that showcased “Fluff Friendly” products and services. After graduation, Ebbi focused on spreading the Fluffy GRL message via social media. In 2016, she established Fluffy GRL Movement, LLC.
“At Fluffy GRL, our mission is to celebrate, elevate and empower the plus and curvy communities to tell their stories their way and live their best lives. We host a number of innovative events and conduct interviews featuring plus women who are the face of their brand. We also help women polish their personal style with our style consulting services.”
She’s bringing the second installment of one of these unforgettable events – the type that you normally have to catch a plane to places like New York, or Los Angeles to experience – to the Midwest by way of St. Louis.
“When we started Curves N' Waves Pool Party in 2018, the sole purpose was to create a space for women of all shapes, sizes and shades to be carefree in their skin and to normalize what it means to be body aware and accepting here in the Midwest.”
The party will feature beverages courtesy of 1220 Spirits, an epic hula-hoop contest with prizes from event sponsors, tunes curated by Makeda Kravitz, a VIF (Very Important Fluff) section to get excited about, two 50-foot twin slide boards, body love galore and more.
By the end of the festivities, Ebbi hopes the women who attend go about the rest of their days and lives better than they were when they arrived.
“I want women to leave empowered and excited. I want them to see themselves celebrated in a major way. I want them to leave feeling loved and connected to a community of women who will root for their well-being OUTLOUD!”
What began as a conversation between a group of women is now a movement to challenge the media’s limited portrayals of curvy women while emboldening them in the process.
“Self-awareness and self-acceptance are important because we should all work to embrace what sets us apart. We are NOT the same and that's important to acknowledge. Our bodies are one part of the equation, but in today's society, it is magnified in a major way,” Ebbi said. “When people stand up in favor of difference, a ripple effect begins. Representation Matters! The more people we have who appreciate their uniqueness, the more room we make for true creativity to flourish.”
The Curves N’ Waves Pool Party is on Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm at Collinsville Aqua Park, 10 Gateway Drive, Collinsville, Illinois 62234. Tickets are on sale at curvesnwaves.splashthat.com.
Sharee Silerio is a writer, director, producer and blogger. When she isn’t creating for The Root or Curly Nikki, she enjoys sharing her journey to discover wisdom, become whole and fulfill her dreams at SincerelySharee.com. Take a peek into her #BlackGirlMagic via ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.