It’s getting easier to find communities that promote body positivity online, but in the real world, events and safe spaces are few and far between. This is one of the reasons that plus size actor, model, and style enthusiast Troy Solomon is kicking off #BearItAll, a campaign/multi-city event promoting self-love, body positivity, acceptance, and inclusion. The launch event takes place tomorrow, 8/20, in Los Angeles, with more coming soon in cities around the country. Troy talked to us about why #BearItAll is sorely needed right now, how he found acceptance in his own life, which independent designers he likes to shop.
Chubstr: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Troy: My name is Troy, also known as @ABearNamedTroy on Instagram. I am a plus-size model, actor, and style blogger. I am the founder of #BearItAll, a campaign that promotes and encourages self-love, body positivity, acceptance, and inclusion. It is my goal, and the goal of #BearItAll, to encourage people to love, accept, and not judge themselves and those around them because every BODY is beautiful.
Chubstr: What made you start the #BearItAll campaign?
Troy: I guess I’ve always encouraged people to learn to love and accept themselves and those around them. It’s something that took me a long time to learn to do for myself, but, once I did, I realized how much happier and fuller my life was. As my following grew, I realized I was creating a platform where I could get that message out to more and more people – people that I noticed were struggling with self-love and body appreciation. I started #BearItAll to encourage people to look at their insecurities dead in the eyes and say, “you don’t control how I feel about myself as a whole”. It’s universal, we are all insecure about SOMETHING and the best way to overcome your insecurities is by “bearing it all” to yourself (and the world around you) by identifying the insecurity and claiming ownership of it.
Chubstr: One of the reasons I think you’re inspirational to people is that you seem to have embraced who you are – something that’s difficult for a lot of people to do, especially those who don’t fit into the “mainstream”. Have you always been so confident? If not, what spurred that?
Troy: I definitely wasn’t always this confident. When I was younger, in middle school and high school, I was the shy quiet one who was taught being heavier was a bad thing. It was all around me – my parents, the ads on TV, kids at school – all planted and watered this seed in my head that in order to be accepted you had to be skinny. And it wasn’t really anyone’s fault – it was the status quo: being fat was wrong. It took years of unlearning this idea and accepting who I was and coming out of the closet and loving myself for all that is me before I got to the place where I am today. It also took a shift in the society to help me feel less shameful – nowadays we are making progress to end body shaming. There’s still a lot of work to be done, however, and THAT is why #BearItAll is so necessary and so important. As the fearless RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
Chubstr: Can we expect to see more #BearItAll events in other cities in the near future?
Troy: Absolutely! This first party in LA is the official launch of the campaign and there is no end in sight. We are planning to take the next events to New York City, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Portland, and so on. We are spreading the love in every city very soon so stay tuned!
Chubstr: Your style is so unique and fun! Can you share some of your favorite places to shop?
Troy: Currently I’m obsessed with ASOS, American Apparel, Old Navy, and this AMAZING up and coming brand called Oublier. I primarily get all my nail polish from SinfulColors (pastels are my life right now). My fanny packs are from this dope independent brand called Rack Addik from Boston. I get some of my sweaters with cute sayings on them from this brand called Tees And Tank You in Ohio. A lot of my jewelry is made by this funky cool brand called Vinca from Austin, TX. And I never have enough sunglasses from Rad + Refined, made right here in LA – (I have this pair with little cactus on the sides that I can’t stop wearing). Much like the goal of #BearItAll, I want to support independent designers and companies all over the country.