My Thoughts On Victoria’s Secret Becoming More Inclusive

 

I finally was at a point where I accepted my body when I lost many of those curves & muscle tone due to a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from mid chest down…😥 My muscles atrophied and it was very painful to accept my new body and my new life! Without a doubt I can say I did NOT feel beautiful or sexy after I was paralyzed! And it took me many MANY years to get to a point where I would feel comfortable in my own skin to do a photoshoot like this AND share those pics on social media!!😱

Just because somebody has a physical disability does not mean you’re no longer beautiful, sexy or worthy! You are NOT an alien out of this world and there’s no reason for people to not be able to look at you as “beautiful, handsome or sexy” simply because you have a disability!💯A physical disability does NOT equate, powerless, unattractive, ugly, unworthy, ETC! Even though I feel that’s what some of the STEREOTYPES in our society ARE for men AND or women with different abilities!!😏

*Honestly, had I seen someone in a wheelchair in a Victoria’s Secret show, AFTER MY ACCIDENT, I would’ve felt so EMPOWERED and it would’ve made me think  “maybe I CAN also be beautiful and sexy like them…” BUT the sad reality is that it has NOT happened in the 13 years I’ve been injured!!😱 That’s the reason I decided to write this blog post!!🙌

I am disheartened by a recent interview with the chief marketing officer at Victoria’s Secret, Ed Razek, who is not showing much openness to represent more diversity on their shows!! As a leader in the industry, wouldn’t it be great for them to start showing more diversity?! I know they don’t have to, but I think it would be awesome!

“In a recent interview with Vogue, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of Victoria Secret’s explained why the company doesn’t cast transgender models. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world.” Razek has offered an apology, but the damage is done — several former supporters of the brand are already organizing a boycott.” 

I can seriously empathize with all transgender models, Plus-size, and ALL models with & Without disABILITIES who are constantly being told “they are not what they’re looking for…” 😥 It’s a horrible feeling… The fact that “it’s about creating a fantasy” and that THAT is the reason they’re not open to casting more diversity is horrible!!😱

It makes me think we are not good enough for someone to fantasize about us? Because we’re different? Because we’re not a tall, slender and fully abled-bodied woman?💯 Can we change this mentality…?? I sure hope so!

I decided to do this picture because of course it’s something we have not seen (a model on wheels modeling for them) & with their attitude who knows if Victoria’s Secret will hire a beautiful/sexy model who happens to be in a wheelchair OR happens to have a disability…♿️

*But I am ALSO doing this because when people talk about diversity & inclusion, I do not feel like my voice is being heard or that an image like mine could even come to mind because when people hear “diversity” most just think of different backgrounds/skin tones, but they do not think of people with disabilities!! In general, in entertainment, fashion etc.!💯

Am I as good enough as the tall model here next to me? I’m sure it depends on who you ask…😏 Would you like to see more diversity in fashion shows & ads? Comment below!⤵️

I have younger girls who follow me and look up to me & I want them to feel represented and see themselves as beautiful & powerful through ads, commercials etc! 

*But when society puts stereotypes and limitations on us and don’t open up opportunities, and if anything, just keep building barriers between us is very difficult!!😥

I feel like I’m lying to those little girls because I tell them anything is POSSIBLE!! But is it really…?

In my journey, as a model, host & actress, I have faced a good amount of discrimination from the entertainment industry and I have thought about giving up…😥

•BUT what keeps me going is that I don’t want someone else to have to go through what I’ve gone through!!!💯 We need to pave the way for generations to come and there needs to be more inclusion, diversity and representation of people of all walks of life and yes that includes people with disabilities!!!!!🙌

Why?! Because anything we see on TV, MATTERS and influences people’s perceptions! Any type of media should be more representative of our true society! It would unite people, raise awareness, empower communities and bring a sentiment of unity and inclusion! Every single person deserves to see herself or himself represented across different types of media!🙌

I HOPE OTHER GIRLS & WOMEN WHO MAY BE IN A WHEELCHAIR OR HAVE A DISABILITY OR SIMPLY FEEL LIKE THEY DON’T FIT IN, CAN get INSPIRED! That this can ENCOURAGE you  to NOT let society dictate YOUR WORTH!!👊Regardless of what we see in the media, we have to value ourselves FIRST and know that we ARE beautiful and sexy just the way we are regardless of our race, size or abilities!!!!❤️

These pictures that I am sharing with you, I would’ve never shared years ago!! My scars are not edited around my belly on other AREAS (although they may not be visible) BECAUSE I am PROUD of what I’ve gone through! My scars remind me of everything I have been able to OVERCOME and that’s made me stronger!!👊 So looking at them I’m NOT ashamed, I am proud!! 

Be proud of who YOU ARE! 

Let’s change this script, let’s change the negative stereotypes people have and let’s keep uniting people because in the end I believe we have a lot more in common than what our differences are!!🙌

Accept it. Embrace it. Own it! #embraceyou

 

Hope you liked this post!! I’d love to hear your comments!!😀

And please feel free to SHARE this with anyone you want to!! Share it on all your social media!!

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THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!!

Much love always,

Tamara Mena❤️

 

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