It’s 2020 and our first Model of the Month feature is here – Veronica Garnett! Veronica has participated in many shoots and shows – and I’m so excited for you to learn more about her! She is a wonderful addition to the SG family.
1. Aside from occasionally modeling for SmartGlamour – what do you do?
I am a bit of a Jackee of All Trades. I am a Health at Every Size and fat-positive registered dietitian. Sometimes I moonlight at an eating disorder recovery program, but primarily, I have a virtual private practice and consulting business. I help clients heal their relationships with food and their bodies through nutrition therapy, body acceptance coaching, and culinary nutrition education. I also support dietitians and other healthcare professionals in becoming multiculturally competent practitioners. I am also the co-founder of Reclaiming Our Plate, a Black dietitian collective which aims to bring weight-inclusive frameworks for nutrition and health to communities of color.
In addition to my work as a dietitian, I am a culinarian. I am the creator and host of DiaspoRadical Kitchen, a forthcoming online cooking show that celebrates foods from the African Diaspora and features conversations of radical liberation with the aim to dismantle fatphobia, diet culture and other oppressive systems. Underneath the DK umbrella, I also offer a boutique catering service.
Lastly, I am the founder of Black Adventuristas, an organization with the mission to support the well-being of Black women by connecting them to each other and adventure experiences in their local communities and beyond.
2. How did you get involved with the brand?
I got involved with the brand because of my friend Patricia Birch. I remember seeing her modeling for SmartGlamour. She posted about the Spring 2017 casting call on social media. I thought I would give it a try. I went into the casting not knowing what to expect and without expectations. I just had fun with it. And I got selected! The rest is history as they say.
3. You’ve modeled for us multiple times – what makes you continue to come back?
As long as Mallorie will have me, I will keep coming back! First off, let’s talk about the clothes. I’ve modeled so many beautiful items. I love how the sizing is truly inclusive. No matter my weight or measurements, SG clothes will fit me. I will feel comfortable and beautiful in my clothes. Who doesn’t want that?
Second, SG is an amazing community unlike any other. It truly is a safe space for everybody. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bigotry and oppression do not fly. And it’s an anti-diet culture space! I have met so many amazing humans. Being in this community made me realize I am deserving of safe and affirming and empowering spaces. I quit a toxic a** job because of this realization. So I’m forever grateful to SG.
4. What does body positivity mean to you?
Body positivity, at least its current iteration, does not mean much to me. Since the term has gone mainstream, it has been co-opted and watered down from its radical social justice origins. It’s become a meaningless, neutral term. Yet we are not living in neutral times. Body positivity doesn’t mean anything without fat acceptance. Body positivity doesn’t mean anything without fat liberation. Body positivity and fatphobia cannot occupy the same space. But often people, brands, and businesses who say they are body positive are fatphobic AF. I’m not here for it. So I prefer to use the terms fat positivity, fat positive, fat acceptance, and fat liberation. Those terms are more grounded in social justice. They center marginalized fat bodies. So many identities intersect with fatness. There are fat Black bodies, fat Indigenous bodies, fat Latinx bodies, fat queer bodies, fat trans bodies, fat disabled bodies, etc. So by centering marginalized fat bodies, I think we create space for more inclusivity, diversity, equity, and liberation for all bodies.
5. If there is a message you could put across to women/femmes/non binary folks through your modeling photos – what would that be?
Take up space. Your body is more than enough just as it is right now. In many ways I do not live up to society’s impossible beauty standards. I’m fat. I’ve got back rolls and pudge. I’ve got a fupa and double chin. My breasts aren’t perky. My butt’s not as round and curvy as a Black girl’s is “supposed” to be. I have scars and underarm hyperpigmentation. I’m practically bald (by choice). I may have felt insecure or experienced an internal struggle with body image before putting on SG clothes and stepping in front of Mallorie’s camera. But I showed up anyway. And in looking at the photos, I see the beauty in each of my individual parts; each of these “flaws.” I see the beauty in my whole being. I see the beauty and enoughness in the other models. I hope that women, femmes, and nonbinary folks see their own beauty and enoughness reflected back to them when they see modeling photos of me.
6. What is your advice to people who would like to give modeling a try?
If we are talking about modeling for SmartGlamour…JUST DO IT! You won’t regret it. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s true. I’ve only had a few modeling experiences outside of SG and they were not great. It’s still hard out there in the fashion industry. Not all brands that say they are inclusive are actually inclusive. Some spaces are toxic and oppressive. This is all the more reason why we need SmartGlamour. The rest of the fashion industry needs to follow SG’s suit.