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Exactly this time two weeks ago, I was on my plane getting ready to attend what would be my first Life Styled Honors event created by Blogger, Feminist, and Body Positive Warrior Maui Bigelow better known to us all as Phat Girl Fresh. Although I didn’t know fully what to expect being a first time attendee, one thing I was certainly sure of was that the event would be a safe space for women of all body types that represented all walks of life. What I have come to admire and respect about Maui is her unapologetic stance on living life the way you choose and embracing your body and magic as a woman.
All I can say is, from April 26th through April 27th, what I experienced truly embodied what this curvy community was created for. It was such an amazing experience that I couldn’t wait to sit down with a cup of tea and interview the mastermind and She-E-O behind the vision that has now become one of the Plus Community’s premier events. Here is what Maui had to say:
Question: What is was your vision behind creating Life Styled Honors?
Maui: The overall goal for Life Styled Honors was to create a space to support ALL women and honor those who are doing the work within the community. As women we do so much for everyone else but don’t take time for ourselves. I wanted to create a space for women to take time out to know they were important.
Question: The atmosphere of your event is so positive and uplifting, what do you think is the key to creating that environment at your events?
Maui: From the beginning, I never allowed negativity in. I personally believe that anything that is created is a reflection of the leadership in control of your event. I made it my mission to surround myself with people who reflect who I am and who are focused on maintaining a forward thinking and positive mindset. I refuse to let anything toxic or negative near Life Styled Honors. I make it a point to give my event what people come to get–what I give out on a regular basis as the Public Figure I am, which is honestly keeping it authentic and positive.
Question: So how do you determine who will be honored from year to year, and this year who were the honorees?
Maui: I look for individuals who are out here doing the work to uplift and promote a positive message with their work. I honor people from all levels of expertise and from varying backgrounds to highlight great work being done all over the world. This year’s honorees were:
Nikki Free Wiggins – Fashion and Lifestyle Influencer
Mike Moss of Big Man Culture
CeCe Olisa -Co-Founder of The Curvycon
Danielle Young – Comedian, Producer, Editor and Host of Essence Magazine
Francie Maupin – Model, Designer, and Creator of The Miss Diva Kurves Brand
Nicci Gilbert Daniels – who is the creator of the female R&B singing group Brownstone and the creator and executive producer of the show R&B Divas and From the Bottom up, which is a foundation that is targeted on helping minority women get resources they need to sustain life.
What is the highlight of the 6th year celebration that really resonated with you?
Maui: For me, every year it is the Curves En Blanc party because it is just so much fun. I feel that the event truly allows everyone to have a sense of being normal and just unwinding from their day to day responsibilities. The other highlight for me was honoree CeCe Olisa’s speech where she stated that “There is room for all of us in this space”. I think that was a monumental statement that needed to be heard by everyone. So many times we get caught up on what everyone else is doing and becoming discouraged to pursue our visions and dreams. In all honesty, there is room for us all. Everyone is needed and provides value to the body positive mission.
Question: I see that you include Big & Tall men in your event, what is your thought process behind that and will this always be a permanent part of your event?
Maui: I have always felt that the success of any event also should include great men that support women. Additionally, I saw a need that wasn’t being addressed and that there wasn’t a space for men to have a voice and a space to be celebrated within the industry. From the inception of Life Styled Honors, I’ve included men because they deserved a space to be heard. I also make sure I allow the men to curate their scene and represent what resonates with men.
Question: Speaking of next year, what should we expect from year 7 of Life Styled Honors?
Maui: Just bigger and stronger period. I am focused on always giving more and expanding to create more for everyone to enjoy.
I appreciated Maui for taking the time to give me more insight behind her vision for her event and to share some highlight photos and video from the 6th year celebration. If you are interested in attending next year, the save the date has been released and year 7 will take place on April 24th and 25th in 2020. To stay in the loop please visit www.lifestyledhonors.com or follow the page on Instagram @lifestyledhonors and on facebook at Life Styled Honors.
~ by Lorna Finn
Lorna is a PCOS Advocate, Model, Curvy Influencer, and Mentor. Check out her work at cystumofcurves.com.
Instagram: @lorna.fabuplus / @cystumofcurves