Chubby Vogue Divas
Text JF. Pierets Photos Charmain Carrol
Chubby Vogue Divas is an ongoing photography project by artist and activist Charmain Carrol. Her being an activist started in the 90s when black lesbians went through a phase where their parents were not accepting their children’s sexual orientation. At that time her daughter Lynne was 2 years old yet Charmain decided to take in about 11 lesbians and 2 gays because they had no place to live. From that point on she became an active member of the LGBT movement, attended and sat in many discussions on the well being of black lesbians in the townships of Cape Town.
As a member of the Global Girl Media South Africa – an organization that trains young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in telling their own stories through media by offering them assistance in research, film and photography.
As well as giving them the opportunity to do their own sound and lighting and edit their own stories – Charmain uses her art and photography to make a point. She’s an activist when it comes to women and specifically the image they present in the media.
Growing up with different women like her grandmother, mother, aunts and her step mothers sisters, she noticed that they all had their own idea of what beauty was and she herself never seemed to fit in any of the boxes. What she saw in magazines and on television was totally different then her reality.
‘Charmain uses her art and photography to make a point. She’s an activist when it comes to women and specifically the image they present in the media.’
While researching and reading about black women in history like Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman – the most famous of at least two Khoikhoi women who were exhibited as human zoo attractions in 19th-century Europe – and Mkabayi Kajama’s step sister in particular, Charmain build a platform for big, strong woman and added the word Vogue to the title since full figured women still seemed to be unfashionable.
Both pictures and the models stories are to be found on the Chubby Vogue Divas blogspot, since most of the models have been bullied or teased at some point in their lives and now speak up about how they made it beyond the bullying. Models with different backgrounds and upbringing but with similar stories to tell, and all part of this inspiring project with a positive impact on a large range of women.
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