“IS SHE REALLY THAT GOOD OR JUST ARROGANT?”

OK…. this is part random musings and part rant/vent.

Here I am on a Sunday afternoon catching up on the last episode of Scandal. To say that the “drama” and the proverbial “sh*t” is hitting the fan would be an understatement. If you are a fellow “gladiator” you know what I am talking about. For those of you who are not, here is the shortest synopsis of what the show is about and what I am referring to:

Scandal is the ABC network’s political drama loosely based on the life of Washington, DC- based “fixer,” Judy Smith that was created by the Shonda Rhimes (think Grey’s Anatomy). The series stars Kerry Washington as the Smith-like character, Olivia Pope, who runs a “crisis management” firm (think about some of the most salacious political scandals in recent times—she’s the one type that helps them disappear from the headlines and our memories). The show centers around Pope’s eponymous firm and its staff as well as the staff of the White House under fictions President Fitzgerald Grant III (played by Tony Goldwyn).

The key point you need to know about the show is that Olivia is having an affair with the married President of the United States (this didn’t happen to Ms. Smith) and the First Lady knows about it and of course is being driven crazy by this fact. It has been going on for years (the show alludes to the long standing romance with flashbacks to the days of Fitz’s gubernatorial and subsequent presidential campaigns). Well here’s what is going on this season—the cat’s been let out of the bag and after past insinuations by many of the President’s political foes, the whole world has confirmation that Olivia is sleeping with Fitz and get this…. she admitted it on TV! I know when that happened, everyone was “clutching their pearls,” gasping and whatever else one does in shock when the news broke.

Olivia Pope as portrayed by Kerry Washington

So of course, as with any scandal, the news programs decided to give us some insight on who the real Olivia Pope was (remember Monica Lewinsky?). Well as Olivia is sitting at home watching all these different programs delve into her past as an African American woman who “done good” by any means necessary (he father is in prison for supposedly embezzling money to fund a lavish lifestyle for him and his daughter when she was younger – but that is just a “cover”)—the pull out all kinds of people from her past including her 3rd grade teacher (smdh).

So as we watched Olivia watching all of this, one of the reporters uttered a phrase that had me hitting pause and question what I just heard….” Is she really this good or just arrogant?” The reporter was referring to her success as DC’s top fixer and the academic accolades and other achievements she racked up over the years. Now I know it is a TV show and that this is fake and all, but it really made me stop and think. Why did a question like that really have to be asked? Couldn’t she really be that good to really achieve all the success she had professionally? What did she have to be considered arrogant? Is it because she saw herself as amazing and deserving of that title? And before all of you jump on me about the whole sleeping with a married man (and yes, the President) thing, I am talking that out of the equation for now because I am going to relate it to real life now. Sadly, it seems that when one refers to a woman of color (particularly a Black woman) who is successful, there is always some caveat that comes with it. Oh it’s great that she is successful but she’s a bitch or she’s conceited or she’s arrogant or thinks too much of herself. It is never…oh wow her accomplishments are so impressive or inspiring or great for ALL women.

First Lady Michelle Obama in her 2013 official portrait (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Over the years I have had this conversation with women of all races and creeds in my circle and it always is something that left us either confused or angry. My white friends would first think I was being sensitive until they started listening more to what was being said. My friends of color (Asian, Black and Latina) would just shake their heads because it had become par for the course. What do I mean? Let’s take First Lady Michelle Obama for example. Over the years we have heard her called a bitch, arrogant, standoffish, “angry” and all kinds of stuff. Why is that? I am not saying one has to love or even like her, but can she just have accomplishments noted without adding admonitions about people’s perception of her as a person? And for the record, I actually say this about all women at the end of the day.

In my own life, I have had a lot of people later admit to me that I am totally different than what they surmised me to be like given my background and education level. One said that I am actually nice and not bitchy at all (how does one take that as a compliment?). I try not to get too worked up about it but things like this have happened on more than one occasion. Just last week, I was told that I must think I am entitled because I didn’t grow up in the projects and went to Wellesley. (Really?????????)

I mean seriously…why is it wrong for me to think I am worthy of success and recognition (and for the record I really don’t go looking for any) of said success? Is it wrong to think that I deserve the best things in life like my male and non-Black counterparts? Maybe I should blame it on my Caribbean upbringing that valued hard work and striving for the top; or maybe that as a woman of color I’ve had to put in twice as much work to be considered a fraction (can’t even say half) as good as others in my field; or maybe it’s just because I am a Virgo—that’s what I say when anyone points out that I am an “overachiever.” I wonder If I looked more like what many consider the American ideal of beauty (blonde hair, blue eyes and a size 2) would you say the same things to me about being arrogant or would that just come with the territory of who I was perceived to be? I have theories about the answer to this question but I am just going to end my post here so that I can get back to watching my “stories.”

Until next time love bugs.

*** NB: All images from the television show Scandal are courtesy of ABC.

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THE CS BOOK CLUB: Brittany Gibbons’ Fat Girl Walking

The last few months, I think I have gotten the same piece of advice/instruction from almost everyone I know—“Stop stressing.” And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Mr. Socialite says it daily. My mother has been saying it a lot lately too. Even my physician went as far as to write a prescription literally saying….”Stop Stressing and go have fun.” Thanks Doc. Great advice but easier said than done.

The sad part is I know I stress a lot. Sometimes it’s warranted and other times it’s due to the stars. Yes, I said the stars. Being a Virgo has its privileges but there are some nasty side effects—one of them being the never-ending quest for perfection and the stress that comes with this (Ask me how many times I have actually started this post and why it’s taken me almost two weeks to finally post it, SMDH). But I am learning to manage stress and being a Virgo a lot better as I get older. One of my coping mechanisms is reading.

Just as much as I like to write, I love to read. Magazines (I’m subscribed to a million of them), the newspaper (I blame you Mama Socialite for that one….I read 3-4 different local newspapers every day. Seriously how different can each retelling of the same news item be?) , Blogs (Bloglovin’ is one of my most active apps on my phone) and of course books.

Books are like the ultimate vacation. Where else can you travel to exotic places, time warp to the past or future; or even live someone else’s life (without being on the lam) for free? Alright….maybe for the cost of the book or download but free if you go to the library (support your local library!). For me, books are the ultimate escape from the everyday. And sometimes they are almost as good as a therapist or sister-friend. So it’s no surprise that I am launching the Curvy Socialite Book Club. The CS Book Club will feature new and old books alike (truthfully what catches my fancy at the time) with my thoughts on the book, the author and more.

To kick things off, I will talk about fellow blogger extraordinaire, Brittany Gibbons’ book, Fat Girl Walking.

Many of you know Brittany Gibbons already—maybe not by her real name but at least by her blog’s name, Brittany Herself. She is ranked as one of the top bloggers in the Plus Size/Curvy, Mommy and Lifestyle categories. I think Brittany first came across my radar after I read some coverage about an experiment in body image and self-love were she had sex every day for a year with her husband, Andy (yeah you read that right—yeah she tells us all about it in her book). To be honest, I always thought she was brave as she bared everything for the world to see (she’s also known for wowing the crowd as she stripped down to a bikini during her TED Talk a few years back). But how did Brittany Gibbons become the fabulous body positive activist and champion for the everyday woman? Simple…she was just herself.

Fat Girl Walking is one of those books that reads more like a conversation with your BFF rather than an autobiography. In it, Brittany shares her life story of growing up as a “big girl” in Ohio and dealing with mental illness, obesity, family, dating (not easy at any size) , eating disorders and more. Chock full with hilarious stories riddled with pop culture references as well as some of raw painful moments that out right broke my heart, I found myself sitting their laughing out loud (and sometimes at the most inopportune times—try cracking up in the quiet car on the Metro North….if looks could kill….) and even shedding tears throughout the whole read. She pretty much bares her soul to the reader to giving us all the good, bad and sometimes out right gross details of it all (yeah the post childbirth stories will have you second guessing kids if you don’t have them already) At the end of the day, she takes us on an intimate journey of how she came to love herself despite—rather in spite of—her size.

Fat Girl Walking is definitely a must for your summer reading list….no matter your size.

Brittany Gibbons…herself

OP ED: #TURNOUTFORWHAT

As my faithful readers know, I am passionate about a lot of things: Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment, the Arts and the list goes on and on. Many of you who know me off-line also know that I super passionate about social and political topics. I generally don’t delve into these topics so much on the blog (I do on social media all the time) as that wasn’t the original purpose of this blog. But as with me as a person, the Curvy Socialite is growing up so to speak. Don’t worry I’m not going to stop talking about the fun events I attend or the newest fashion collections and beauty products hitting the market. Rather, I am going to throw some more of my favorite topics of discussion into the mix.

What spurned this sudden need to get a little more serious?

Well it’s twofold.

Firstly, this isn’t something that is really so sudden. I have been trying to figure out a way to introduce some of current events in a way that was in line with the blog and would shock your systems too much. But then, I went out for coffee today.

I love my coffee. I make a concerted effort not to have any important discussions before my first cup of joe—I am not responsible for what may come out of my mouth prior to that first dose of caffeine. Today I made my way down to my local coffee shop to see what was happening about town and what the hot topics of the day were. My little coffee shop caters to all kinds of people (young, old, male, female, all races, colors, creeds, etc., etc.). On this fine day, two ladies (co-workers) were chatting away (ok, I admit it….I was eaves dropping; but in my defense, they were talking kind of loudly so I couldn’t help it) when one woman asked the other if she was going to vote in next month’s elections. Her response left me shocked and dismayed. Ok, maybe that was a little dramatic but yes, I was a little shocked by the fact that she said no.

I can already see you rolling your eyes. Keep on doing that—they’ll get stuck like that. Anyway….didn’t we all learn in junior high and high school about the importance of voting? So what if we’re not electing the next president (next month are the midterm elections)—there are still loads of important issues on the table. What issues you ask? Let me drop some knowledge on you….

  • ECONOMY: So we’re not as bad off as we were when President Obama took over the Oval office but on the flip side we still aren’t in our pre-recession glory either. This is still a very hot topic for Republicans and Democrats alike.
  • IMMIGRATION: Remember when all those little kids started crossing the border earlier this year? Little ones who were barely out of the toddler stage were making that treacherous journey to what they hoped to be a better life. It’s still going on. It’s just not a major headline right now. But it is definitely a hot button topic for Congress.
  • FOREIGN POLICY: It’s kind of hard to escape the news about ISIS/ISIL and their ever expanding reach in Iraq and Syria. This group is recruiting young men and women (yes teenage girls around the world are heading to Syria to take up arms and become the mothers of the next generation of terrorists) from all over to help in their “fight.” The President admitted that he didn’t think ISIS was that much of a threat….saying he was wrong would be the understatement of the year. But best believe, the Republicans will not let him forget it.
  • WOMEN’S ISSUES: Before some of you start huffing and puffing…this is not a discussion about pro-choice vs. pro-life but rather topics in general that affect women as a whole. From equal pay to birth control and beyond…we women can actually be the ones that turn the tide of this election if we head to the polls.
  • HEALTHCARE: Why are we still talking about this after Obamacare was passed? Because many Republicans still want to repeal it and are making a point of reminding voters about the logistical problems that occurred with the roll out.

Mind you I am only talking about things on the national level. There is so much going on on the state level across the country that this post would become a novel. But if you are interested in finding out more about those topics, check what the lovely ladies over at the SKIMM had to say in their guide to the 2014 Midterm Elections.

You still not convinced about the importance of getting out there to vote? Well maybe Lil Jon and all his celebrity friends can convince you to “#TURNOUTFORWHAT.”

What are you going to turn out to vote for?

CONFESSIONS: BLOGGER EDITION

The Curvy Socialite is in the September Issue of Ladies’ Home Journal

Ladies’ Home Journal, September 2013

So D-Day is finally here.

I got the September issue of Ladies’ Home Journal in the mail yesterday. A mixture of excitement and dread filled me as I held the magazine in my hands as I stared at the headline, “Love Your Body at 30, 40, 50+.” As I mentioned here a few months back, I was selected as one of the women to be featured in a piece on body confidence. Who would have thought I’d be featured in a piece about that.

So confession time…

Body confidence—or rather a lack there of—has been an issue for me for most of my life.

My vision of how I see myself and what others perceive me to be has dominated decisions I have made, paths I have taken and just how I lived my life in general. It started from a young age at home where I was constantly told that I was too big or too muscular (I was an athletic child) and that I need to be smaller if I ever want to have a boyfriend or get married. I wasn’t considered a pretty child with my thick calves, overdeveloped hamstrings, muscular arms and thick waist. I wasn’t lithe like my younger sister and my mother and every family member made sure I knew that. “You’d actually be pretty if you were skinny,” was a regular comment I’d hear from family growing up. The seed that being of a thicker frame being considered ugly and not attractive was planted back then.  I’d look at all my thin friends and family members and wonder why I wasn’t built like them. What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me?

For years I was obsessed with becoming smaller. I tried fad diets, diet pills, purging, and starvation…whatever it would take to make myself be considered “small” and pretty. I’d read all kinds of crazy articles about dieting, celebrity diets and listen to what some of my friends and teammates would do to stay small. As a gymnast, I was bigger than many of the other girls on the team.  I was a super toned athlete (think a Serena Williams or a Mary Lou Retton or Shawn Johnson) versus what many thought was the ideal look for a tumbling pixie (think Gabrielle Douglas). I would sabotage myself and pretend to be injured or “not ready” for a meet so that I wouldn’t have to go up in front of crowds and perform. Why would they want to see how fat I looked in my leo?

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Going to college didn’t make the situation any better.  Seeing girls from all over the country and around the world that were beautiful and thin just made me hate myself even more. I would work out a lot and eat as little as possible. Many times, I would take my meals up to my dorm room and eat (or not eat) there. Who wanted to see a fat cow stuffing her face?

My weight would fluctuate dramatically for years. I’d be a size 4 one moment or an 8 a next. But when I entered into the real world, the real roller coaster began. I ballooned up to a 12. For many that wouldn’t be considered fat at all but because now I was a double digit size, I thought my life was pretty much over.  “Well meaning” friends and family had a lot to say about my expanding size. Offering tips or publically letting me know that I was too fat to order anything other than a salad. And dessert…perish the thought!

By my early 20s, my self worth was so wrapped up in my dress size. I was always depressed. I was already in and out of really bad situations with “boyfriends” who used and mentally abused me because they knew they could do that because at the end of the day I was too fat to be cared about. That’s when the binging and purging really started.  I knew it was wrong and could seriously harm me, but I didn’t care. I had seen the after-school specials and made-for-TV movies with Tracey Gold and others who suffered from anorexia and bulimia. I knew it could kill me. But I didn’t care. All those did were give me tips on how to hide what I was doing better. I had to be as close to a size small dress size as possible—at any cost. Ironically, I actually was a plus model for a few years and did rather well with it. Though I smiled for the camera, secretly I was stressing on how fat I was going to look in the pictures that came out. I was generally a size 8/10 back then.

Tracey Gold on the cover of People Magazine

Around this time I met my significant other.  Much older than me, he always saw me as a person. it would make him angry how obsessed I was about food, my looks and specifically my weight. But he is a patient man. He tried to use reverse psychology to get me to eat “real” food versus the “rabbit” food I ate regularly. I began putting on more weight but he didn’t mind. He would tell me every day I was beautiful. But it wasn’t easy for him either. When I got to a size 14/16 we’d end up in fights when it was time to go out on the town. I couldn’t wear that dress because it made me look like a cow. I couldn’t wear that top because you can see my rolls. Those pants…hell no…they made my thighs look huge. Mind you, during this time I was still going to the gym almost every day. But still I got bigger.

Fast forward to a few months ago my blogger friend, Alice, telling our blogger collective about this opportunity with Ladies’ Home Journal to be a part of a feature about body confidence and…we’d be shot in our underwear. I mentioned it to my mister and said I was thinking about applying (more as a joke than serious). He was all for it. So were some of my friends (including Black, Latina & Fabulous blogger, Amaris Acosta). Not thinking they’d actually call me back, I applied. A few days later, I got a call that LHJ wanted me for the shoot. DAMN.

The week before the shoot I was in California. The entire time I was out there I was stressed over the upcoming shoot. I worried about every morsel of food that I ate and worked out as much as possible while on the trip. The trip also served as the medium for another first…the first time I wore a bikini since I was 7. I wore it…but didn’t really take pictures in it. I still hated how I looked.

The day of the shoot finally came around. And after a crazy morning (I had lost my wallet), I finally made it on set. Everyone was so sweet. The staff at Ladies’ Home Journal went out of their way to make all of us “models” feel comfortable. Hair and makeup made us look gorgeous and the gorgeous lingerie. The photographer and his team gave helpful hints as to how we should pose and still be natural. And for the most part, I had a great time.

When I did the interview for the quote to accompany my picture, I talked about how the diets and pills and how I was working on building my self esteem. How my focus was on being a healthier me (all true). I kind of fibbed a little when I said I loved my curves. It’s more like I am coming to grips with them and learning to love myself. Looking back on all the things I did to myself in my never-ending undying quest to be the perfect size2, I knew I had to stop. I already proved my family wrong by getting into a loving happy relationship with a man who loved me for who I was not what the scale said. I have even become a proponent of thick, pleasantly plump, curvy and full figured communities. I love to see beautiful curvy women like Asia Mone’t, Liris Crosse and Christina Mendez in ad campaigns in all their full figured “goddessness”.  I’m in awe at how gorgeous and confident in themselves they are. I want to be like them.

After a trip to the GYN last month, I found out that I actually suffer hypothyroidism (pretty much my thyroid isn’t functioning properly and causes issues like weight gain, depression, decreased heart rate, hair falling out and more). Turns out that it can be genetic (I just found out that there is a history of thyroid issues in my family) and can also be triggered by stress (a constant state of being in my life). The mister thinks that part of it could be from my abusive behavior towards my body. Whatever the cause, I am working on managing it. Because like I said in the article, I am about a healthier me.

But as I sit here looking at page 88… (I have a whole page to myself) typing this post with mixed emotions, I am crying. Pausing from time to time because I can’t see through my tears to type, I look at this picture of me and others from when I was younger and realize how far I have come—and how far I still have to go. To be honest, I am not super happy about the picture (in my opinion my face looks way too big). But I am a little happy with myself because I can say I did it. I took a picture in my underwear for the whole world to see. I did that. That is something to be proud of.

PS…I’m still camera shy and it will take me a while before I start posting more pictures of myself here or anywhere else…but this was a start.

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BEAUTIFUL NEWS: Cheerios Ad Tot Not Affected By Racism & Called The Commercial ‘Fun’ [VIDEO]

And like Sabastien De La Cruz, I’m glad that Grace Colbert (the cutie in the Cheerios ad) isn’t letting the bullying and racist rants take away here shine. 🙂

HelloBeautiful

[ione_embed src=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640 service=msnbc width=420 height=245 type=iframe]

Grace Colbert is the adorable 6-year-old actress who stars as the daughter in the recent and unexpectedly controversial Cheerio’s ad, sat down with her real parents, Janet and Christopher Colbert, for an interview with Thomas Roberts on MSNBC on Tuesday. In the interview, Grace was asked about how she handled the backlash and she just said that the commercial was “really fun to make.”

Must Read: New Cheerios Commercial Starring An Interracial Couple Causes Big Stir

Grace’s dad, Christopher commented, saying, “America needs to see that this is just a way of life. I wasn’t upset or anything. I was pretty much really excited about having this type of reaction so we can see where we still stand in America. But look out, America, because this is just reality. I don’t understand why this issue keeps going.”

This controversy hasn’t slowed down…

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Mariachi singer Sebastien De La Cruz responds to Twitter bullies

Alright…I’m about to start venting and I’m not going to apologize for my views. I’m so over people nowadays and the racist, sexist, and every other -ist out there that I can’t really hold it in anymore.

Between the online reactions to the Cheerios commercial and now the comments made on Twitter and other social media outlets about Sebastien De La Cruz’s performance during Game 3 of the NBA Finals, I am saddened and dismayed by some of the so called “patriots” here in the States.

Folks need to really need to take a look at themselves and ask why they are hating on America. What do I mean by that? These kids represent the diversity that is the United States today. Even from her earliest days, the United States was not a homogeneous society. American society always had more than “one face.” If you have such a problem with the melting pot that the US has become, maybe it’s time to find a new home.

As a child of parents who are immigrants I am proud of my heritage as well as being apart of the fabric of America. Many members of my family (including my significant other) are or were members of the military. Most of them were born abroad but risked their lives defending this country. Does that mean that their children and grandchildren aren’t American enough to have pride in the USA? Some folks need to get over themselves and wake up to reality is the United States in a 21st century global society.

NBC Latino

A San Antonio boy’s beautiful rendition of the national anthem has sparked some ugly comments online.

Sebastien De La Cruz sang the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night in a mariachi outfit. So how is the 11-year-old handling the twitter bullies? He’s paying them no mind.

It wasn’t planned that Sebastien would sing the anthem at the game, but he was brought in when Darius Rucker couldn’t get to the game in time.

Sebastien first captured hearts on “America’s Got Talent.” The 11-year-old San Antonio native also impressed the NBA.

RELATED: Eleven year old marichi singer attacked on Twitter after singing national anthem  

“He said ‘Oh well, you are doing the national anthem,'” Sebastien told us. “And my dad called me, and I was like ‘Yes!'”

And he planned to use his talent to wish the Spurs luck.

“It was amazing,” said Sebastien. “And…

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BRIDES MAGAZINE HAS A NEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF!

You’re probably sitting there wondering, “why is she posting about a new editor-in chief? Is this really that big a deal?”

Well, interestingly enough, it is.

Keija Minor, the new Editor-in-Chief of Brides Magazine over at Conde Nast

You see, Brides (a mainstream title over at Conde Nast) just announced Keija Minor as their Editor-in-Chief. Ms. Minor becomes the first Black editor-in-chief in the publishing house’s 100 year history. She joins the ranks of other noteworthy firsts in the publishing world including:

  • Amy DuBois Barnett, current editor of Ebony, was the first African-American woman to head up a mainstream consumer magazine during her time at Teen People.
  • And Mark Whitaker, now managing editor for CNN Worldwide, was the first African-American to lead a national news magazine while at Newsweek.

It’s not unusual (though still not very common) to see people of color heading niche and special interest titles. Keija Minor rose through the ranks over at Uptown Magazine, the magazine for targeted at affluent African Americans.

For more about Keija Minor’s new position, read the article in the UK’s Daily Mail here.

 

Vogue Italia– Something to Love!

Featured on the cover: Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley

After hunting high and low for the June issue of Vogue Italia, I finally snagged a copy from the Universal News in Chelsea. I’m so glad I did.

I had been reading the posts and saw sneak peeks here and there of the spread featuring some of the industry’s most beautiful plus models (Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine, Robyn Lawley and award nominated singer/plus model Marquita Pring). All I can say is that Steven Meisel, who photographed the amazing spread, captured the essence of what it is to be a woman. With hair by Redken and make up by superstar Pat McGrath, readers are transported to a time when curvy was definitely sexy and the feminine form was celebrated in all its glory.

The entire spread can be viewed here http://www.vogue.it/en/magazine/cover-story/2011/06/belle-vere.

 

 

LOVING THE SKIN YOU’RE IN: Plus Model & Blogger, Asia Mone’t, Shares Her Feelings About Loving The Skin You’re In

 

Curvy, Sexy Diva Asia Mone't

Curvy Socialite friend (and contributor), plus model Asia Mone’t recently shared her feelings about being comfortable with her curves with her readers on her blog. A big proponent of size acceptance and loving yourself for who you are versus who you wish you were, Asia’s words are very timely and very much needed. Check out her blog here.