Proud2Bme | Proud2Bme Rock Star: River Zain Ceballos

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Proud2Bme Rock Star: River Zain Ceballos

Over the course of NEDAwareness Week, Proud2Bme is honoring the work of five young activists. Today, River Zain Ceballos shares his story of speaking out and creating change—in style.

Proud2Bme: Tell us a little about yourself: 

River Zain Ceballos: I am a 23-year-old college student, actor, writer, print model and activist. I speak about my struggles as a young male in recovery from an eating disorder, body image issues and self-harm. 

Proud2Bme: How did you first hear about Proud2Bme?

River: Proud2Bme was one of the first supportive websites that I came across when I was suffering from my eating disorder. It was the only place that didn’t only target a female audience. I found Proud to be a hub for all young adults to help and support each other, giving words of wisdom and inspiration. 

Proud2Bme: What was your favorite piece to write and why?

River: Ah man, probably the article "Where are the Plus-Size Male Models?" because it was a genuine question I had asked myself for many years. I've been acting and in the industry for years but I had never been asked to model until I started losing weight. In the midst of my disorder, I would be on the set of a photoshoot and the photographer would say things like, "You look amazing! Where have you been this whole time?" And all I could think was, "I’ve been here! I just wasn't being sought out because I was heavier" so writing that piece was therapeutic for me. We see so many young female plus-sized models but the world of beauty doesn't only belong to women. Bigger men have desires to see themselves in a magazine or on a billboard.

Proud2Bme: What are you doing currently (school, job, volunteer work, etc.)?

River: I am a child psychology major but decided to take a semester off. I am also a sales associate at Hot Topic, which I love because I can be myself and it’s a place where different and unique is always in style and accepted. I am also a motivational speaker and book gigs to speak around California. I recently found out I will be on the board of directors for an amazing organization...I can share more details soon!  

Proud2Bme: What are your future goals/plans?

River: My goal is to continue on the path of helping others, inspiring and opening peoples’ eyes. I also want to continue to break down society’s stereotypes. 

Proud2Bme: How has your involvement with Proud2Bme shaped your way of thinking?

River: I learn so much from the stories I read and the people I've met. I realized that my past struggles aren't any more my story than anybody else's. I used to believe I was the only one suffering, that I was the only male on earth with body image I know differently. I don't feel alone anymore.  

Proud2Bme: What advice do you have for aspiring body image/recovery activists?

River: To be honest, to live your truth and to never be ashamed or embarrassed. You can't help anyone by sugarcoating the truth...the key is to have people identify with you. You never know who's listening, you never know how many lives you can impact. Speak up, even if your voice shakes, and believe in yourself as much as I do. The world needs more people like us. 

Proud2Bme: Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

River: I've always had a dream of starting my own clothing line one day! I get a lot of compliments on my wardrobe. I shop literally everywhere, find clothes and come home and put outfits together. I want a high-fashion punk/alternative clothing line without the high-fashion prices AND I want the clothes to be for plus-size people as well. I don't think I've told more than a handful of people this, ever. But it's definitely a goal of mine. 

Do you know an activist who is committed to building a nation where confidence rules? Are YOU that person? Nominate a Proud2Bme Rock Star!

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About Us

Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.