By: Rachel Ross
I met Raeann the good ole fashioned way- through Instagram. She popped up on the Casa Flor feed via an Aerie Real post and I immediately became her fan girl. After viewing her beautiful feed, I saw that she was from Denver (same as Averie) and the same size as me and I thought- why not reach out? She very sweetly responded and modeled in our Fall Lookbook shoot in Boulder, CO back in August. We had a great conversation in the car ride from Denver to Boulder and it felt like we had been friends for a long time. When women build each other up, it truly makes an impact and that is a huge reason why we love Raeann so much- the goal of her career is to encourage women to love their bodies.
Being the 'tall/big' girl growing up, I always find a connection with other tall gals. Seeing the way Raeann embraces her body with such confidence inspires me to hold my head a little higher and love the body I was given. One of our foundational truths of Casa Flor is that we make clothes for 'every body'- we believe that women are beautiful and strong and unique and their clothes should reflect that and fit well.
Read more about Raeann below and her goals for being a body positive influencer:
1. Describe your childhood and growing up being a ‘tall girl’. How was your confidence growing up and describe your relationship with your body?
I am a born and raised Colorado girl. My family always jokes that we “grow them big” in the Langas family. At 5’ 11” I’m actually the shortest of my three sisters. I was always the tallest in my class and amongst my friends growing up. Being a tall, curvy girl was really hard. The best way to describe it was, I felt like a monster. In my mind the small, thin girls were pretty and I was hideous because I was twice the size of most girls (and boys) growing up.
2. When did you feel a change internally to accept yourself and your body? Was there a defining moment or continual moments of acceptance? How do you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself?
There wasn’t one specific moment when I felt a change, rather it was a gradual change over time. It wasn’t until I started seeing different kinds of women and role models in the media that it even occurred to me that my tall, curvy body could be beautiful. That is why I think it so important that our society shows all types of beauty.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your body is a relationship that you have to work on every single day. Whenever I have negative thoughts about my body I immediately tell myself something that I love about myself. You can’t tell yourself that your stomach is too big or you hate the cellulite on your legs because you will eventually believe it.
3. Have you always been interested in fashion? How has developing your personal style influenced your relationship with your body?
I have loved fashion for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school I would sit at my parents computer for hours making word documents about trends and items that I liked. I basically invented Pinterest before it was around! Fashion and finding my personal style has also helped me find my confidence because when you feel like you look good on the outside you feel good on the inside.
4. How do you stay true to yourself in a world/fashion industry that constantly tells women they should look a certain way?
The modeling industry has come a long way but there is still pressure as a curve model to look a certain way. I think as women and models it is important to continue to be real and show real bodies. Eventually seeing all kinds of bodies will be a normal thing. I also think it’s important that women realize even with curve modeling, it is still a photoshoot. There is a stylist, makeup artist etc. so even though they are showing a “real” body it’s still not real life.
5. Social media can be such an amazing tool to connect with people (like how we met!!) but it also can be so damaging for women to use it as a way to compare themselves to others. How do maintain a genuine voice on social media and create an environment to inspire and connect with others?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “you are who your surround yourself with.” I think that is true on social media as well. My biggest piece of advice is to follow positive and diverse people on social media. I follow a ton of curve models that portray messages about loving your body and positivity everyday. I try to be as real as I can be on social media. I don’t share every aspect of my life on Instagram but I go on Instagram stories with no makeup and in sweatpants because that is real life! As a body positive influencer I am the happiest when I am empowering other women to love themselves. I want my social media presence to help women find their personal style and confidence, not second guess themselves.
6. What hopes do you have for the future of the fashion industry? What are your personal goals and how do you hope to make a positive impact within your industry?
I hope the fashion industry continues to embrace all kinds of bodies. Every women deserves to wear and enjoy fashion no matter her size. As for my personal goals, I hope to continue to grow as a body positive influencer and become an expert in the field. I would love to start speaking to more women about body image and fashion. I am also hoping to launch my own clothing line down the road.
7. Finally, is there a quote or manta that you live your life by?
Ashley Graham always says,
“You are bold, brave and beautiful.”
I love this because it is simple but so powerful.
Photography by: Emily Sierra Photography