When The Real Housewives of Toronto premiered on Canada’s Slice network last year, it featured the standard cast of slender, affluent characters all trying to glamorously start drama. Then there was Roxy Earle, the corporate executive turned wifey who oozed sass, charisma, and most important, body positivity—being the first plus-size cast member featured on the global franchise.
Earle became one of the most popular cast members on that first season and seized upon this momentum to create a safe space online through her Instagram: She frequently tags full-body shots and hella-glam close-ups with #MySizeRox—and her followers have followed suit. “Having diversity in beauty and fashion is essential to making girls feel good,” the 34-year-old said of the hashtag at a talk on body positivity hosted by Instagram in Toronto last week. Now with over 55,000 followers on the platform, Earle’s on a mission to make people feel good online.
Glamour caught up with Earle after the panel to talk about the impact of the movement she started with a hashtag, body confidence, and, of course, The Real Housewives of Toronto. Read on.
What was your experience like on The Real Housewives of Toronto?
I was really proud that I could be a new version of what women consider glamorous. I also like that I took a show that is usually about women fighting with each other and made it about empowering women, all by just loving myself and being comfortable in my own skin. There was some fat shaming on the show, and I stood up to it and handled it in a classy way.
Do you feel like being a body-positive activist is your new path?
I certainly feel like I found my calling. Being on Real Housewives was an incredible platform, but Instagram is my space to help people love themselves and also to change the fashion industry. If fashion always ends at a 10, I can’t make girls feel good—they still can’t go into a store without feeling like they’re some sort of other species. I don’t know if being a body positive activist is my forever thing. It’s more that my calling is to make people feel good—and if that’s through loving your body and loving fashion, then that’s how I’m going to do it.
What does body positivity mean to you?
It’s about loving yourself and ending all of this self-hatred and judgment on women and men’s bodies. To me, it’s a call to action for people to [be] more cautious about the way they objectify people’s bodies
How can someone who has grown up with negative messaging shift his or her perspective?
I give this advice all the time: It’s about surrounding yourself with media, people, and celebrities that inspire you, rather than continue that bullying you do on yourself. If you only follow Victoria’s Secret models, then you’re going to think that’s the only thing that’s beautiful and that it’s the only body that exists. When in reality, it’s such a particular body type. I follow a range of women that show me a multitude of images that are beautiful.Another thing I say is just to let go of the shackles—they’re preventing you from just living your life. So often, we say, “I’m going to do this when I’m an X size”; just let that go. They’re ruining all of your experiences for you.
When did you shift your own perspective?
I started to come into my looks in my twenties. Before that I was never the friend who had the boyfriend—all my friends looked a certain way—and I remember feeling like not the pretty one. In my twenties, I started to embrace my looks and play up my curves, my dark hair, and all the things I liked. It’s not to say that I haven’t had dark moments or that I’ve always felt great, but that I realized those moments had nothing to do with the way I looked. I began to love myself when I was my biggest, and everything just fell into place after that.
You make it sound so easy…Most Popular
I would actually get up, look in the mirror and say things like “You’re beautiful.” I may sound corny, but it works. I’ve erased all talk about weight loss, diets, and calories in my household. I don’t allow myself to look in the mirror and say things like “I wish my thighs were smaller.” I buy clothes that actually fit me rather than trying to fit into smaller sizes. I removed all those experiences that were negative reinforcements. It’s just so much easier to love yourself than hate yourself.
What are your thoughts on the term plus size?
I find it really annoying because I’ve never called anyone a negative size. This is my body, my size—and my size does rock
Can you tell us about your recent experience at New York Fashion Week?
About six months ago, I decided that I wanted to be a model. It was really important for me because it’s a way for us to break down barriers: If my followers see me walking in NYFW, it shows them that a size-14 girl can do it. It validates that beautiful comes in different sizes. The more you see diversity in the media, the more the media changes and [in turn] your mind changes. For me, it was a huge milestone. But it was also a huge milestone for my followers because it validated everything I’m going on about everyday.
You’ve started a movement with #MySizeRox. What have been some of the highlights?
The moment I realized the power of my voice was early on in the Housewives season. I had said that day that I wanted girls to stop wearing black—baggy black clothes aren’t the answer to girls’ feeling good about themselves. I walked into a store that I shop at, and there was a woman buying something colorful because she had read my message on Instagram. She started to cry because it had taken her so much courage to buy something colorful and that I was there to see it through. It was a very surreal moment because it showed me the weight of my words.