When plus-size fashion blogger Gabi Gregg posted a photo online of herself in a bikini — and called for other curvy girls to do the same — she was applauded for her bravery and confidence, but also slammed by critics for “promoting an unhealthy weight.”
Gregg, 25, says she’s not a poster girl for obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle. “I’m all for health,” she told TODAY’s Tamron Hall. “I think people should be really aware of what they’re putting in their bodies and try to get more active. The truth is, we have to live in our bodies and be happy with the bodies we have right now, regardless of where we are in our journey to health.”
Gregg, a size 18, called out to the online community of xojane.com for images of full-figured ladies in their bikinis. The call-out resulted in an online gallery of 31 women of all shapes and sizes rocking their two-piece "fatkinis".
The fashion blogger had the idea for the gallery after posting a bikini photo of herself on her own blog last summer. This year, she wanted to go bigger and show more people that all women, regardless of weight or size, can be happy heading to the beach.
She encouraged her readers to embrace what they have. “Don't let body shame keep you from having a good time!” She wrote.
Gregg, who is from Detroit but lives in New York City, says her gallery is about empowering women by offering different images of body types. “So often in the media all we see are thin women in bikinis,” she told TODAY.
“I love my body,” she said. “I think we should kind of reject these fashion rules about what we are and about what we are not allowed to wear.”
Gregg is quick to point out that her health is not determined by her size, an assertion that has been criticized for its lack of acknowledgment that weight is a part of one’s health, and that obesity can cause serious health issues, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
“My measure for health is how good I feel,” Gregg said. “The main thing is to judge how you feel and what you’re putting into your body, how active you are and not based on a number on a scale.”