Khrystyana Feeling The Marilyn
Some Like It Hot
My first memory of Marilyn Monroe was when I watched Madonna mimic Marilyn’s classic song, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”, to the “Material Girl” music video. Afterward, I saw the movie, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, in which Marilyn sang this song. Marilyn stood out in the movie with a different appeal, sexy, sultry, alluring; she was a talented singer with a breathless voice that was seductive. In “Some Like It Hot”, she showed comedic talent.
Our featured model in this story, Khrystyana, shot beautifully by Sequoia Emmanuelle, shows the beauty, and sexy appeal Marilyn had with some innocence and fun. Khrystyana is a body-positive activist. Jejune Magazine got to interview and learn more about her strides for acceptance and her appreciation of all human body types. She is helping a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive outlook on their image. I am not sure that Marilyn felt this way about herself, but the movies and imagery we have all seen, suggest she did.
Foreword by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director, Jejune Magazine
1. Name: KhrystyAna
2. What inspired you to become a BodyLove Activist?
It just happened. I am passionate about helping people to accept themselves and find love for their bodies. And then slowly people labeled me as “body love activist." I wasn’t planning to become one.
3. How did the BodyLove Activist movement start?
Shortly after overcoming self hateful times, I started my journey of self love. I shared my journey with the world. I shared my ups and downs and saw how many people could relate. We became a supportive community, and this group is growing fast.
4. Can you share a little bit about the hashtag #theREALcatwalk.
I organized a pop up shop with lingerie and bikini fashion shows. First two tries of the pop up shops didn’t have a name. The third one, on December 2, 2016 was at a much larger scale, even though it only took three days to plan and execute. It was a catwalk and I asked everyone to walk the show with no exclusiveness to size, shape, gender, ability, sexuality, skin, health condition. It was just a bunch of us, real people, whom are setting realistic standards of confidence.
5. Why do you think so many people struggle with body image? What are some of the root causes?
I think, we live in a world where rejection is so incredibly common. Even as babies, some of the first things we learn is our parent asking us to “calm down .. shhh shhh...” For whatever reason a baby cries, it’s not bad or good, it's just what it is. It’s a cycle many go through, in the process of life, we developed a habit to reject ourselves. So we look for salvation to “fix” ourselves elsewhere. Often looking up at media, assuming that would be the standards to live by and the perfection that will grant us unconditional happiness. Is this too heavy? I’m just assuming, I really don’t know the true reasons.
6. As a fashion model, can you share your experience with the harsh beauty standards of the fashion industry? How have you dealt with this pressure?
Straight size or plus, standards are still very specific in terms of sizes and shapes , Hip to waist ratio, skin condition, hair condition etc. I know I definitely deal a lot with my size since I’ve always been that “in-between” model. There isn’t much space for girls that are “inbetweenies” yet. While there are women in my size who too buy clothes, so I can’t see why they/we aren’t really represented yet in fashion .
Also my teeth aren’t perfect. I was offered a really good campaign under a condition of basically changing my entire set of teeth, which I nearly had it done. But it just didn’t feel right in my guts, so I kept my “funny teeth” and not regretting it at all.
7. How has modeling changed the way you view body image?
Well, I now look at my body as “my business.” So I guess it’s a different attitude towards my body now. My body is my office, my presentation , my skill etc. so I try to see it more objectively which taught me not to take things personally, especially when facing rejections. It’s never about me. It’s what works for the brand and person at the time.
8. If you could change one thing about the beauty standards held by society, what would it be?
F A C E S! While I see more size and skin color inclusivity, I often notice similar overall facial features on models with bones structure, noses, lips, and eyes. Most of my friends don’t look like those models at all. Which often pushes them to go “get jobs done” on their faces. I feel like having actually different faces represented would be by far even more important to me than sizes.
9. How do you think the widespread reach of social media, specifically Instagram has had an impact on body image and the messages that are being conveyed to youth?
There are two sides of every story.
I see powerful body positive advocates doing amazing jobs with their message but when I look though most popular Instagram stars/influencers and again I often see a similar specific standard of beauty and editing that can be a little discouraging for those young folks who struggle with self acceptance. I’d say “choose carefully who you want to see on your feed and how they actually affect your life.”
10. How have you seen the beauty standards for women change within the past decade?
Slowly but surely.
Slowly ... but it’s changing. Thankfully.
11. You emphasize “everybody empowerment”, including Men BOPO on your Instagram as well, what do you have to say about the stigmas surrounding men in the fashion industry?
Men don’t really have a body positive community like women do but my message is not exclusive to any gender and on my instagram we all talk openly about men having to be in very strict boxes of traditional “masculinity” .. “don’t cry, don’t wear pink, don’t this and don’t that." I feel like if we all focused on embracing our unique natures, getting to know our bodies and treating our true selves with respect, the world would be a happier and kinder place for all.
12. How have you seen your movement impact the LGBTQ community?
I’m queer and being an ally to all lgbtq + community is my duty and passion. I genuinely believe in world peace. I also believe it can start with educating ourselves about people whose journeys aren’t similar to ours and embracing the differences while appreciating each other’s lifestyles.
13. Do you think there are different beauty standards for members in the LGBTQ community?
Y E S! And this is also a very important topic. Beauty standards are so strictly specific, I just recently had this conversation with a friend of mine Mia, who is a trans-woman. We spoke of how incredibly specific “trans-women beauty standards are” while she is encouraging to embrace your natural beauty. Wearing certain clothes, a size of your bra, a shape of your nose does not define you as a woman. You already know you’re a woman and you don’t have to try hard to fit into one tiny little box of looks somebody made-up.
14. How has your journey with BodyLove Activism impacted you and your own self confidence
I’m certainly much more confident the more I know myself, my patterns and ways. It’s up and down and there are days I’m back to square one with my self-esteem. And I appreciate those days too. You appreciate day light so much more, than darker the nights your face.
15. In Jejune's recent shoot you were photographed as Marilyn Monroe, what do you have to say about the messages of self acceptance and self love that this fashion icon portrays?
Actually, this shoot was very special to me. Because during my low points, when I was self belittling and wanting to be anyone but myself, I looked up to Marilyn and wanted so much to be like her. In the process. I lost myself, because I wanted to be anyone else but myself since I felt that the real me was worthless. Now I made this whole circle of embracing my body, personality, face raw and real. There are so many images of me out there with no makeup on, and now I found myself face to face with this re introduction to “play” but this time I wasn’t trying to be like Marilyn. I was just being confidently me, sharing similar qualities and style as her. Fully aware and appreciating, I felt so at home to not deny myself yet play the iconic character lovingly. It was a liberating shoot because I don’t have to deny the affect of idols, I can choose to have them impact me without rejecting my own nature.
16. Your instagram sends powerful messages preaching body positivity, how have you seen your social media have an impact on both the men and women following you?
Yes. I talk with many of my followers in DM’s daily and we talk so much about self love. Many just send me beautiful thank you notes. I smile when I read them. I don’t feel powerful, I’m just being me and what I saw resonates sometimes with people :))
17. Are there any personal testimonies of people you’ve inspired that stick out to you? If so, would you share?
Ahhhh so many ...
I think possibly my story that came out this year, when I spoke for the first time about being molested when I was 11 years old to public and my mom on international television spoke to my audience and it really made waves. Many children spoke up to to their parents, opening up about their truths, leaving the feelings of shame and guilt behind and empowered in their bodies and emotions.
18. Do you have any future plans to continue this movement of self empowerment?
I really hope to start a little interview show. But while this topic is serious, I’m overall a very goofy light hearted person so I’d love to take body positivity to a level we can talk about and laugh about.
19. What do you think is the key to gaining and maintaining a positive self-image?
The image is already positive. You can’t gain it or lose it
It’s up to you to peel off the boxes somebody made for you and see a bigger picture
20. What are your words of advise for the women and men struggling with body image?
There isn’t one way to follow or one answer to your question. An individual often already knows the truth within them and it’s up to them if they choose to hear it. I just hope whatever the way one chooses, they choose it through compassion
21. Instagram: @khrystyana