Influencer Spotlight: Desiree Marcano Talks Body Positivity

Social Media has an enormous impact on how we perceive ourselves and our bodies, which in turn impacts our mental health and our overall wellbeing. As leaders in the influencer marketing industry, Obviously is doing our part to promote a healthy self-image both online and in everyday life. We’re launching an ongoing blog series about the #bodypositive movement to spread the word about body positive influencers who are making social media a more healthy and welcoming place.

This week, I was lucky enough to chat with Obviously influencer and body positivity advocate Desiree Marcano (@modernvanitystyle) about her journey toward self-acceptance and what she has gained from learning to love the skin she’s in.

First, tell us the basics: Name, Age, Where You’re From

I am Desiree Marcano, 26 years old and I’m from Raleigh NC.

What’s one fun fact about yourself?

One fun fact is that I almost made it on a reality tv show last year! Made it to the last round and then they picked a different friend group.

When did you first become interested in fashion, and how did you get started blogging?

I first became interested in fashion at a young age but more seriously at my first job with American Eagle. I was 17 at the time and American Eagle was changing their marketing and how they educated their sales reps. I was watching videos about how they made their clothes and learning the whole process behind building the garments. That’s when I really fell in love with fashion. I enjoyed putting outfits together and later I went on to work at an upscale boutique in Greensboro NC  as a stylist. I had always thought about creating a blog ever since I was 12 but kept putting it off. I had a lot of fear that people would make fun of me or that I would fail. And these are common thoughts people have that hold them back from reaching their potential. Last year, right after the New Year, I decided I really needed a life change. I wasn’t happy with my full time job and that I was not using my creative potential. At 2 am, I decided to bite the bullet, stop making excuses, and purchase my website. That is when Modern Vanity Style was born.

What does body positivity mean to you and why is it important for influencers to talk about?

Body positivity to me means loving every inch of yourself, pampering yourself and doing whatever you think your body needs. It is also shutting down negative body talk when you either think it, say it or hear it. I think it is vital for influencers to talk about body positivity because influencers (including myself) are always showing the best version of themselves out there. It’s important for every person to see themselves represented in media but also to be reminded to love themselves just as they are. 

What impact, either positive or negative, do you think social media has had on society's beauty standards?

Social media has definitely had an impact on society’s beauty standards but I think it depends on who you choose to follow. I have seen social media create some positive and truly beautiful movements for real beauty, including untouched photos, inclusivity of different body types, etc. I chose to be more cognizant about who I followed on social media. I want my timeline to be filled with positive women that motivate me to be a better, more positive version of myself. 

Do you think influencers have the ability to change the conversation around beauty standards?  Why?

I think Influencers have changed the conversation around beauty standards. Every time a company invests in an unconventional (compared to print models) influencer, it proves that woman are more likely to purchase from people that look like them. Influencers are using their platform to show women that it’s okay to be different, it’s beautiful to be different and you can be successful for looking different. 

Tell us about your own journey toward loving yourself and your body.

This new body acceptance and positivity lifestyle I have lived has only been for two years. What motivated me to begin was being tired of hating my curves, yo-yo dieting and then binging again. I was so tired of feeling unworthy of feeling beautiful because of my size. I knew there was more to life than always worrying about my weight and food. The truth is that not every day is perfect. I too fall into the comparison game and feeling bad about myself. But now I stop myself before it gets too out of control. I know I am in control of my thoughts and how I feel about myself. If I can do it, any woman can! 

Would you be willing to talk a little more about the struggles you faced with dieting before starting your new lifestyle?  Was there a final moment that motivated you to make a change, or was it gradual?

My whole life I struggled with dieting. At one point I was eating under 700 calories a day to look a certain way. This type of lifestyle, just wanting lettuce leaves and feeling guilty for eating anything else was no way to live. My final moment before changing into my body positive lifestyle was when I had just given up on it all. I was in a depressive state, over sleeping, no motivation, it was really bad. That's when I realized I needed to change the way I thought about myself. Body positivity isn't anti-health, it’s just not hating yourself and trying to be anything other than what you are. I still go to the gym and try to eat healthy, I just don't obsess over it or feel guilty for not being something or someone else. 

Why do you think it's so easy to fall into negative cycles when it comes to accepting ourselves?

I think its so easy to fall into negative cycles because women view life competitively. As stupid as it sounds, we are trained to believe we are competing over friends, over boyfriends, and over looks. We equate beauty, fitness, and sex appeal with success. So when you may not fit that exact, "perfect" mold, you fall into negative thought cycles. When the truth is that there is no one in the world more beautiful and as thoughtful and as special as you are individually. And often times, what people find is that weight loss does not equal happiness for the long term. Happiness comes from deep within. From a place of contentment and joy that you find in your overall confidence. 

What has been the biggest personal benefit of making this change in your own life?

The biggest personal benefit of making this change is ridding yourself of any doubt, and insecurity that you are beautiful just as you are. You are capable of mental control of negative thoughts. Your days do not have to be consumed about worry about food or dieting. You are reclaiming your life. 

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to accept their own body?

Every day you spend wishing you had someone else’s body, is a day wasted. When you accept your body for exactly what it is, you are liberated from any thought that you are not worthy. You see everything in life so differently. The choice is up to you. It won’t be easy, and your mindset won’t change overnight. But make a point to start saying positive things about yourself, stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! You only have one! 

Finally, who are some of your body positive role models on social media?

My biggest body positive role models are Sarah Tripp @sassyredlipstick, Ashley Graham @ashleygraham, and Noelle Downing @noelledowning.

I want to give a huge thank you to Desiree for bravely sharing her personal story and for being an inspiration to all of us. Please feel free to respond to her story or share you own below.

February 23rd-March 3rd is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. If you think you might be struggling with an eating disorder, call the NEDA hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

Emily BarozComment