Rock ‘n’ Representation
When we started planning our January shoot, we definitely wanted to keep it close to home. We were so delighted when The Goldfish (@thegoldfishla on Insta!) gave us the opportunity to shoot in our neighborhood at their beautiful new indie music venue. The same week we started styling for the shoot, Ronnie Spector, the lead singer of the Ronettes, passed away, and it got me reflecting on everything her style stood for. She was the first singer to come out with the black eyeliner wing, and she took great pride in her beehive height, as well as shortening her skirts as much as possible. Amy Winehouse got her signature look directly from Ronnie. These are the kinds of role models I always looked up to growing up. I’ve always been what they call a “free spirit,” always testing the limits, always breaking the rules, and always questioning authority — I guess it makes sense that I ended up as a fat liberation warrior because I never was one to just listen and go with the status quo.
These strong women, who stood up for their art and didn’t back down or do what people were telling them to do, really inspired us all on set. This photo shoot means a lot to The Plus Bus and to all of our customers because the representation of visibly fat women leading and performing as the main character in their group is such a different image than what we have been taught to aspire to. Growing up as young women, men and all humans, really, fatphobia, weight stigma, and the “perfect” size 2 models were the only things that were offered to us, visually. Whenever there was a girl band, there was never a fat girl band. And besides Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas, I don’t really remember many vintage rock ‘n’ rollers who inhabited fat bodies at all.
So this opportunity to create the perfect fat girl group was one that I relished in. I found so much inspiration in the badass rock ‘n’ rollers who have come before me to question the boundaries of what it means to be a rock ‘n’ roll group, what it means to go against the flow, and what it means to have the confidence to stand up for what you believe in and what you dream of being. Seeing these bad ass women rocking out in amazing costumes and taking up space that hasn’t typically been shown as a place for fat bodies is revolutionary in and of itself. I love the way photographer Cassia DeMayo captured so much energy, so much movement, and so much beauty and power in the shots. Shooting in a dark club is very tricky, and getting the balance between the moodiness and the lighting of the beautiful skin tones is not something that is very easy to achieve, and here, these images have come out so beautifully!
As we move into a new year, it can be tempting to fall for things that are comfortable and things that you know to be “starting points” for a new way of living. The Plus Bus hopes to be a shining example of how you do not need to wait to be thin to be the rock ‘n roller you wanna be. You do not need to wait until you reach some type of beauty ideal to live the life you want to live! And by having so many clothing choices and so many opportunities to fit so many bodies into their dream wardrobes, we can be one tiny rock ‘n’ roll concert blaring in your ears against fatphobia. Because sometimes, we’re the only music that matters, and sometimes we’re the only one who can hear the drummer that’s beating for us. So, hopefully you can dress your inner Rockstar at The Plus Bus this new year, and really lean into being the main character of every performance of your life – every day, in the body you have right now!
Now, that’s going against the grain!