Posing in swimwear and showing off skin can be an uncomfortable — and even scary — task for some. But Alex LaRosa, a plus-size model in New York City, doesn’t fall into that category.
The curvy model and community organizer shared an image from a test shoot with photographer Lucas Jones in which she wore a GabiFresh for SwimSuitsForAll bikini top with jeans. Alongside the April 18 photo on her Instagram channel, she included an important message about body image.
“‘She can have a tummy and still look yummy’ is literally the only appropriate caption for this photo!” she captioned the shot. “I am so in love with all my pics from my recent shoot, but I just had to share this completely unedited photo of all this fat black girl magic!”
LaRosa is an advocate for body positivity and aims to spread acceptance and awareness of women of all shapes and sizes via her social media platform.
“It is always my intention to make the Internet a slightly safer space for plus-size women,” she tells Yahoo Style. “I hope my post inspires those who struggle loving their bodies, and I hope it helps to normalize bodies like mine. People of every shape, size, and color deserve to be represented in the media. I’m hoping that we see more #VisuallyPlusSize models in campaigns, on runways, and in magazines.”
Despite loving her figure and fully embracing it, LaRosa wasn’t always confident in her body. “It took me years to get to this place,” she shared with Yahoo Style. “My 15-year-old self wouldn’t even feel comfortable in tank tops, let alone crop tops.”
LaRosa wants to teach young women to be comfortable in their own skin. “Beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes!” she says. “It is not reserved for thin, white, able-bodied people or for anyone else that fits conventional — and unrealistic — beauty standards! I took this picture and immediately thought how important it is for young girls — especially young, fat, and black girls — to see someone who looks like them loving themselves on their Instagram feed.”
To those who don’t agree with her message and leave hateful comments on her content? LaRosa doesn’t have any time for it. “I seriously give them as little attention as possible,” she says. “I delete the comment, block them, smile, and move on.”