Proud2Bme | Haters Gonna Hate: Body Positivity Superstar Nadia Afkhami

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Haters Gonna Hate: Body Positivity Superstar Nadia Afkhami

By Catherine Mhloyi

Nadia Afkhami, a dental student from Florida and major Taylor Swift fan, recently decided to remake the Polaroids from Taylor Swift’s “1989” albumIt got so much attention that Taylor Swift reblogged and responded to her blog post on tumblr!

The story was later shared on other websites and Nadia started to receive some negative comments regarding her appearance in comparison with Taylor Swift’s. Rather than let this defeat her, Nadia was then able to put herself in the quirky songstress’ shoes and shut down the haters using lyrics that every Swiftie knows and lives by.

I was honored to interview Nadia, a young woman who really embodies what Proud2BMe is all about!

C: What inspired you in the first place to remake Taylor Swift's Polaroids from her new album "1989"?

N: Taylor had a thing on her website that allowed her fans to put their faces on the album cover and I thought it was so neat! So I thought, why stop there? Why not do more of the polaroids? So I looked at the pictures with my friends and they were like, yea, we could do some of these.

I went through my closet and tried to match clothes to hers and we tried to find doorways and windows and carpets that matched the pictures. We got really lucky. I started doing them and after the first edit, me and my friends Rajsee and Meredith looked at it and we were like…wow. You know this turned out pretty good. So I put them on tumblr hoping Taylor would see them.

C: Before sharing these pictures, did you fear any negative backlash?

N: No,honestly. I didn't even think she would see them because people are always trying to get her attention on tumblr and the people who were reblogging were all being so nice! The comments were wonderful. I made some friends, Sarah and Danessa, and Taylor followed them already, so when Taylor was on they would reblog me and one day it just happened. Honestly no one on tumblr gave me any negative comments. It wasn't until the pictures started being talked about on other websites that the negativity started.

C: How did you feel after all the praise, especially from Taylor Swift herself?

N: I was in shock! I still wake up and can’t believe it. Taylor has been a part of my life for so long. I thought maybe she would see the pictures. I thought maybe she would put a like on the pictures. But I had no idea that she was going to reblog them and write me! Taylor herself wrote ME. I still am so grateful because she took the time out of her day to reach out to me after seeing it reblogged from my friend Danessa. It was 3am when she did it and Danessa texted me… IT HAPPENED. I was crying.

C: When you were finally faced with negativity, as ironic as it must have been, which you pointed out in your response, you handled their remarks with such confidence and received even more praise for doing so. What would you say you owe your self-confidence to?

N: Well my parents always taught me to take everyone’s comments with a sense of humor. My mom always told me, don’t worry about those people, they are just jealous or probably have their issues. And it’s true. Of course when you’re younger you don’t understand that kind of thing. I would get affected just like anyone else but then I started to realize, why? Who cares what those people have to say? I think it’s important to know what you are and what you’re not. I know I’m not the same size as Taylor. So when they said oh, this is a fat version of Taylor, I was like….. well yea. I am fatter than Taylor.

But what does that have to do with anything? It’s not like I finished all the pictures and looked at them and thought, wow, I’m so glad I made these because I’m exactly the same size as her. I’m obviously not. That’s like telling me, Oh, your hair is black. I mean, yea it is. Thank you for telling me. I could change it blonde if I wanted to. But I’m ok with how it looks. And that’s the same thing with weight. I am not a size zero. But if I wanted to be, I probably could. It’s just that right now, I don’t and I’m ok with that. 

C: Beautifully said, thank you. And lastly, what advice would you give to anyone who has ever been hesitant to put themselves out there like you did for fear of how others might react or of their own insecurities?

N: The thing is that, of course when I read the comments at first, it hurt. You’re like, WOW. But then you take a step back and I thought: What do these people even know about me? Nothing. People are sitting at home judging everything behind a computer screen, but I doubt they would say it to your face. And that’s a security blanket for them. It shouldn’t bother you because that person is going to make that mean comment then get off your page and go write something rude on someone else’s page.

The attention span for negativity is very short. And you can’t be afraid to live life because someone one day may say something mean. You have to let the bad in with the good. There will always be people who criticize everything you do no matter what it is. Just be you. Nothing shuts up the haters more than confidence. And if you don’t take chances, the odds are zero. If I hadn’t posted the pictures I wouldn’t have heard from Taylor. You put yourself out there and if the results are good then great! And if not, then, you tried and you’ll learn from it and do better on the next thing. 

About this blogger: Catherine Mhloyi is a Fashion Design student at the Art Institute of New York City. She is passionate about fashion, art, music, and poetry. An avid feminist, her mission in the fashion world is to change the way we sell our products to women. She believes that the fashion industry as it stands now plays a major role in the negative influences out there that damage the way people perceive themselves. Catherine hopes to one day become a designer for plus-sized women and an advocate for body-positive marketing in the fashion world.


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