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Beauty Beyond Size

Welcome to our very first interview for #ValMAG.

hey!Valerie aims to be a Co-Created brand. A brand is empty without stories. So therefore we wanted to have a magazine with great stories written with, by and for our community. #ValMAG is here.

We are really proud of our first interview with beautiful Sonam Raj Verma. Sonam, raised in India and living in Holland, has a name that stands for 'the Fortunate One'. Read her story and you'll find that that specific name didn't match the life she had growing up at all.

Sonam Curvy Model

Sonam is, what we call, a curvy model. She sees a world where body positivity is about self-acceptance and self love. It wasn't easy growing up being plus-size. All the bullying, the name-calling, the misunderstading. It was a constant fight. Growing older, wiser and more confident, she found that the biggest fight... was with herself.

Sonam, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
My name is Sonam and I’m a Nepalese-Indian born and raised in India. I have a Tibetan name and it means “The Fortunate One”. I am a curve model, body positivity influencer and a fashion blogger. I love wearing make-up and dressing up. I follow fashion & make-up trends like a religion. 

How is it to build a life here and at the same time follow your heart?
The easiest way to go ahead in life is to choose what you love as your profession. It makes all the hardship & struggles look miniscule. But it doesn’t happen in general because of various reasons. Most common is the influence of our family and the surrounding. I ended up pursuing an MBA and then working as a Human Resource professional and I still do. I am working in the HR department since 2012. Crazy isn’t it! But I did love fashion & make up too much to give it up and then Instagram happened and Beauty Beyond Size Official was born in June, 2017.

What is the most important thing to do to become a (curvy) model?
It starts with self-acceptance follows by self love and self respect. Don’t look at Curvy modelyourself as someone who is not normal. Accept yourself with all your flaws and be proud of yourself. Being curvy or fat doesn’t make anyone any less capable. The way we look has nothing to do with our ability to achieve success. When you know who you are, no one can break you. Curve or not, the most important thing to do if you want to be a model, is to respect time and be punctual. Discipline pays you in the long-run.
Curve doesn't mean unhealthy. Workout and take good care of your health. If you aren’t healthy you can’t deliver. Modeling isn’t a 9 to 5 job. It involves long hours of standing, sitting 4 hours for make-up, walking in five inches heels and so much craziness (fun-crazy). A healthy body and a fit mind helps to keep your calm and maintain a positive environment in stressful situations.

You have almost 40k followers. How did you make them follow you, what is the secret ingredient?
My three key principle - Honesty, consistency and gratitude. It has worked well for me.   You have to be truthful to connect with your audience.  You have to be consistent with your content quality and you have to be relatable.  You can’t act like an arrogant person who has it all. You have to be humble and grounded. Your people should know that you are going through similar struggles and hardships. If you don’t understand them, you can’t connect with them. 

What is missing in the fashion or beauty industry at the moment?
Brands and media perception has changed but not enough. Fashion and beauty industry has to be more open about accepting and including diversity. They should focus of inclusion and diversity as the integral part of their marketing campaigns.  

What message do you want to give your Dutch (potential) audience?

Since I have moved from India recently, I still have a long way to go in terms of creating a special bond with my Dutch audience. I hope they like my individuality and my journey as a curve model and body positivity influencer. I would really want them to know that it is ok to be fat or dark or short or too-tall. YOU are perfect just the way you are. 

What message do you want to give your Iranian (potential) audience? Fortunately, I have a lot of followers from Iran. Something must have clicked for us and I’m happy to be a part of their lives. My message for them is to celebrate their culture with pride and showcase their country with as much love as they have been doing. Iran is one of the most sought after travel destination. In fact, I have been meaning to visit Iran specifically Shiraz and Esfahan for a long time now. 

How can girls change the negative self image of themselves and turn (body)positive? 
I have always said it starts with US. No one has the power to change your reality, but YOU. Accept yourself for who you are and love yourself because there is only one you. Respect yourself as much as you would respect any other human being. Always remember, we are not defined by how we look, how much we weigh and which skin color we are. Follow people who make you happy about yourself, surround yourself with positive people and have a no-nonsense policy with bullies & negative people. 
"It leaves a deeper scar than any physical trauma could cause to a growing child. It was devastating. To be loathed and discarded for being fat is a shameful reality and it breaks the person from within."

What was the moment you decided to pro-actively go out and work with body positivity? 
I had experienced body shaming, bullying and name-calling through out my life when I was growing up. It leaves a deeper scar than any physical trauma could cause to a growing child. It was devastating. To be loathed and discarded for being fat is a shameful reality and it breaks the person from within.

It is a disgusting experience that any one has to go through and growing up, I had to go through all of that. Fortunately, even after all the bad experiences as a kid,  I grew up to be a strong independent woman and I had the courage to fight back. When I reached high school, no one would dare say anything to me because I was that person who would make a noise and counter-question. Gradually, I grew more confident about myself and the way I look. The more confident I grew, the silent the bullies got. After a certain point of time, a lot of women and girls started telling me how they like the way I carry myself and dress freely irrespective of the notions of the beauty standards set by the society. It kept on going and I felt that I had the responsibility to empower girls and women who were going through the bullying and shaming just like I had experienced. And that’s how this story began. I started my modelling career in 2017 and have not looked back. 

To finish off, what is your favourite book, drink, dish and movie?
Book - The Secret by Rhonda Brynes, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Little Women by Louisa M Alcot
Drink - Gin with sparking water & lemon swirls
Dish - It varies 🙈
Movie - I’m a movie-buff and I have a long list of favourites. 💕

Follow this curvy beauty on Instagram via @beautybeyondsize for daily updates on her quest for more self love and beautiful people of any size. 

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