The model and designer opened up about what being a plus-size woman in the fashion industry taught her about body positivity.

By Macaela Mackenzie
Updated: August 14, 2017

When you're one of the most buzzed-about models on Instagram (who also happens to have just landed a major modeling contract and her own fashion line) and are known for inspiring tons of body positivity on social media, you'd think confidence wouldn't exactly be in short supply. But even 28-year-old Nadia Aboulhosn isn't immune to insecurity. "Sometimes I feel like I need to be doing more with my life," she says. Her go-to confidence booster? "I like to seclude myself in my room, shut off my phone, and then I watch a bunch of motivational videos from Tony Robbins or Jim Carrey and journal," she says, laughing. "I try to learn from people who've experienced more than me in different ways."

The plus-size model already has her own wealth of experience-especially when it comes to pushing the conversation around body positivity to the next level. Even with all the strides the industry has made around representing women of different sizes and ethnicities and trying to promote body-acceptance and self-love, there's still a lot of room for improvement. "The typical woman they cast is a size 12 or 14 who has a curvy body type and is kinda even on the top and the bottom," says Aboulhosn of plus-size casting agents. "There's so much not being represented that needs to be. People just want to be heard and they want to have images they can relate to. On social media I-and people like me-have really brought to light the idea that the world isn't just one type of person." (Related: Denise Bidot Shares Why She Loves the Stretch Marks On Her Stomach.)

The secret to kicking your confidence into high gear is talking about taboos-from size to sex, says Aboulhosn. "When you're seeing something constantly it normalizes it...that's the biggest step we have to take in order to move forward." That belief is why the model and designer partnered with XOXO by Trojan condoms for their #TrustYourself campaign. "There's this weight on women that we have to be a certain type of way," she says of the stereotypes around everything from how you should look in a bikini to how you should handle your sex life. "Really trusting yourself goes hand in hand with body confidence and confidence in general."

To snag some of her can't-beat-me-down confidence, you need two things, she says. First up, care about your own opinion. "What you think about yourself is more important than what other people think of you," she says. "Keep that in mind when people are making their judgments." (Related: The Empowering Mantra Ashley Graham Uses to Feel Like a Badass.)

Secondly, cut the negative crap. "Society now is so eager to point out what you don't like instead of focusing on the positives about yourself," she says, but the more you believe in yourself and drown out the outside noise, you'll feel the positive vibes flowing freely. That can be especially hard in an industry where a one-size-fits-all attitude has been the norm. Aboulhosn says she's drawn on her killer set of natural confidence skills to keep a thick skin.

"I know I'm 5 foot 3. I know that my weight fluctuates," she says. "I know what I have. That's just a part of life." That's the kind of confidence you can seriously get behind. (But hey, if all else fails, you can always YouTube some of Tony Robbins' greatest hits.



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