Being a plus size model in the fashion industry is hard. You can imagine how ground breaking you have to be to defy those odds to become successful. But thanks to Instagram influencers like Shelmith Mukami, the modeling and beauty industry is being dismantled and marginalized bodies that have been generationally excluded are here to claim their space.

As a stunning curvy woman what does fashion represent to you?

Fashion for me has always been a way to express myself. You can tell a lot about someone’s personality by how they dress.

Being blessed with curves comes with its own unique set of challenges. Because of this do you ever shun away from certain outfits because of your body size?

Yes of course! Bodycons. But I’ve found a way to work around that using shape wear.

Women who are considered plus size like yourself suffer from a lot of body shaming. How do you handle negative comments about your body on social media?

Comments and trolls still get to me but over time I have developed a thick skin. Sometimes I respond but most times I ignore and block.

How has that had a negative effect on how you look at and see yourself?

It makes me think that I don’t deserve certain opportunities because I’m plus size.

Tell us about your journey as a content creator in the plus size niche and really what inspired you to start?

I wanted to inspire young girls out there that they can be anything they want to be and that there’s nothing as beautiful as being confident in your own skin and loving yourself. It doesn’t happen overnight though. It’s a journey but when you get there, you’re unstoppable.

 There’s nothing as beautiful as being confident in your own skin and loving yourself [Courtesy]

Where does your content fall?

I create content that focuses on body positivity, lifestyle, travel, fashion and food. I hope my audience loves my content as much as I love creating it.

Looking at the engagement and your growing followers, they enjoy your work. This however comes with a lot of hard work and sacrifice. How has the journey been?

I am loving the woman I am becoming. The journey to self-love is hard and there are days I want to give up but I remember how far I have come and all the people I’m inspiring.

Is content creation something you do full time or do you supplement it with other jobs?

Yes, I create content full time and I also model for different brands. Being a plus size model gives me so much power and confidence seeing the way I inspire other women to be comfortable in their own skin. I’m also a marketing consultant for Wavu tours and travel.

 Being a plus size model in the fashion industry is no easy fete [Courtesy]

Speaking of modelling, it can be very seasonal and unreliable especially during certain times of the year. How often do you book gigs?

They’re not easy to come by but I’m grateful I have some brands that use me for most of their shoots. I pray and hope for more modeling gigs in 2022.

Onto more juicy stuff, you were crowned Miss Kenya Plus World finalist 2019. Congratulations for that by the way. What gave you the courage to compete?

One of my dreams has always been to be on the runway so when my best friend sent me the poster for the MKPWorld auditions I had to try it out. I was very hopeful because I knew I had done my best during the auditions. The pageant opened so many doors and I would like to give a special thanks to team curvy and especially Neomi Ng’ang’a for the platform. The pageant changed my life. I met such incredible women who continue to change the narrative every day. Walking on that runway was powerful.

Words have power and I love the fact that you call yourself Phenomenal Woman. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

I believe I am phenomenal and a once in a lifetime kind of woman hence the name. It’s hard to explain using words.

Give us your final word on the impact you would like to leave behind for young girls who struggle with body size and image and where you see yourself in the near future?

I want to be the most sought-after content creator and I want to keep creating authentic content that encourages people to love themselves and not to conform to the societal standards of what beauty is.

CREDITS:

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Pheel 62 Studio

Instagram: pheel62studio

John Paul

Instagram: velosphotography

MAKEUP:

Wanjiku Ndegwa

Instagram: wanjiku_ndegwafaces

Michelle Mutanu

Instagram: michelle_mutanu

The Makeup Tower

Instagram: themakeuptower

MUSE:

Shelmith Mukami/Phenomenal Woman

Instagram: shely_sophisticatedrythm

STOCKISTS:

Selected stores