The conversation around body positivity has mostly been centered around women and female body types. Men are often lost in the conversation when in essence they should be included. Here is a list of men taking charge of the conversation and steering its inclusion.
- Mina Gerges
Gerges achieved his online fame by recreating photos of celebrities in a body positive and unique way. In 2015, Buzzfeed found Mina’s photos, and their subsequent article shot him to super-stardom overnight. This threw Mina into a whirlwind of trouble though, as the internet fame outed him as gay to his Arab parents. Mina is now open in telling the story of his coming out and path to becoming confident in his body in an all-white, skinny, and muscled gay world. Gerges is now a model, and he strives to bring about more representation in the media, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community.
Youtube: Mina Gerges
- 2. The Queer Eye Crew
If you haven’t seen the hit Netflix reboot of Queer Eye, you’ve gotta crawl out from under your rock! The new Queer Eye crew is taking the world by storm, and refreshing lives in beautiful ways. In the show, the “fab five” as they’re called, visit straight men and work with them to makeover their looks, their homes, and their emotional centers. During the time spent with the crew, these men learn to love themselves in a multitude of ways they never thought possible. The current fab five is composed of Karamo Brown, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness.
Karamo Brown has long been on the fashion scene with his oh-so-eye-catching bomber jackets, but he is also in the spotlight to discuss mental health. Karamo opened up to his fans about his own suicide attempt, in an attempt to help those currently hurting. Karamo champions body positivity with the rest of the “fab five,” and as a mental health professional, he helps the men on the show to really confront who they are and begin on the steps to love themselves and their lives. Karamo has a podcast on Luminary where he discusses mental health and body positivity issues. He has also recently announced his new children’s book which he wrote with his son, I Am Perfectly Designed, which is about loving yourself exactly as you are.
Body Positive quote by Karamo: “He needs to understand that being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. It shows that you are in tune with yourself, which is the sexiest thing to men or women.”
Tan France was a well-known fashion designer well before his appearance on the hit Netflix show Queer Eye. He works with the men on the show as the fashion expert, to help revitalize their closets renewing them with confidence. Tan France is an openly gay Muslim man, and he has gifted fans with his story of coming out to help those who struggle with the same issue. Tan discusses cultural sensitivity, the gay community, fashion, and the importance of representation in his new book, Naturally Tan. A lesser-known fact about the fab five member, he actually almost quit the show after an episode was filmed where his co-host, Karamo, was pulled over by a police officer in the southern US. Police brutality is no new subject to the crew, and the officer demanded that Karamo step out of the car during the incident. It was later revealed that the episode was actually a stunt by the best friend of their new makeover mark, and it was meant to be a joke. However, the group was particularly upset by the “joke,” and it’s no surprise that Tan considered leaving the crew.
Youtube: Tan France
Body Positive Quote by Tan: “Style is not fashion. Fashion is not trendy after a season. I couldn’t give a sh** about fashion. Style is dressing the way that you feel confident and what is appropriate for you, your age, body type.”
Antoni Porowski is the in-house chef for Queer Eye, and his main goal is to create healthy foods that bring people together in an engaged and loving way. Despite his celebrity status, Porowski is rather private about his personal life, but he never shies away from discussing the kitchen. Antoni fell in love with cooking at a young age, and he actually got some teaching from Queer Eye original, Ted Allen before being cast on the reboot. On the show, Antoni strives to teach the men that a key piece of a healthy mind and heart is a healthy body. He spends time with the men, teaching them to cook, and revealing the importance of a healthy (not model-skinny) body. Antoni co-owns a Manhattan restaurant called The Village Den where he has left the mark of his culinary skill.
Bobby Berk had an eye for design at a young age, and he has since brought his skills to the Queer Eye crew. Bobby works with the men on the show to reimagine and makeover their homes, because a happy home is key to a happy life. On Queer Eye, he often opens up about his experience with coming out to his parents, in order to connect with the men he works with. Bobby began in stores such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and worked his way up he chains until he had enough experience under his belt to begin his own interior design company. His website blog has since grown to cover a variety of subjects such as fitness routines, recipes, and gift guides. He has recently announced the upcoming launch of his new furniture line, which he has developed in collaboration with ART Furniture.
Facebook: Bobby Berk
Jonathan Van Ness
Jonathan Van Ness is no shy Bambi in any part of his life. On Queer Eye, JVN is well-known for his bubbly and sunny disposition which he uses to lift others up and inspire confidence. As a young child in middle America, JVN experienced lots of bullying for his sexuality, and he has often thanked his mother for always being there for him during hard times. JVN has opened up about his experiences on the show, and he has alway strived to help others be fearless in their identities too. He has also discussed his experience with depression as an inspiration to others. He is known for his hair-styling talent that he displays on the show, but he is also now working with the crew of Gay of Thrones which is sure to give you a laugh! JVN also has his own podcast called Getting Curious and he has a book on the way as well.
Podcast: Getting Curious
3. Kelvin Davis
Kelvin Davis is a renowned fashion blogger who got his start after a shopping trip gone awry. After experiencing some less-than body positive environments while shopping, Kelvin began to take his fashion into his own hands. He started his blog, Notoriously Dapper, in order to inspire other men to love themselves and dress how they want, regardless of body color, shape, and size. His blog is complete with a fashion guide and guides on how to love yourself and be confident. He has since written a book called Notoriously Dapper: How to be a Modern Gentleman with Manners, Style, and Body Confidence which aims at teaching life skills spanning over all areas. Kelvin is also a signed model, who strives to empower other men in his body positive approach to modeling.
Facebook: Notoriously Dapper
Pinterest: Notoriously Dapper
4. Martinus Evans
Martinus Evans began his journey as a self-improvement guru when he experienced a tearjerking pain in his hip that wasn’t solved by 20 weeks of physical therapy. He came to the conclusion that he needed to build some healthier habits and lose weight in order to alleviate his pain. So, he began to run marathons, and he started a blog to chronicle his journey and inspire others. The blog has grown to include lots of marathons, merchandise designed by Martinus, and a podcast about self-improvement. Martinus has also written a book that serves as a guide to those interested in running, but need help to start. He is very particular about using the term “self-improvement,” because he wants to help people not simply with lifestyle, running, or weight loss, but with the psychological work that is required to begin self improvement.
Facebook: 300 Pounds and Running
Podcast: 300 Pounds and Running
Website: 300 Pounds and Running
5. Rishi Bhaskara
Rishi Bhaskara is up-and-coming in the world of men’s mental health awareness and body positivity. He is known for his instagram where he chronicles his life, his kids, and writes inspiring messages for others. Rishi runs marathons to fundraise for various organizations such as Beat, a UK based charity that works to help people who struggle with eating disorders. He is also often featured in various podcasts where he discusses the topics he is passionate about like mental health, such as this one with WARO. Rishi also works with Self Love Club, a group that works to promote mental health and its awareness.
6. Michael-Anthony Spearman
Michael-Anthony founded The Big Fashion Guy blog to help men via fashion guides and documentation of the big n tall movement in urbanwear. He is also moving towards becoming a fashion designer himself, and you can see his looks on his website. He strives to inspire other men like him with his lifestyle guides, and he even writes about the hidden failures behind his success in order to motivate others. He was a speaker at the 2017 Curvy Fashionista Style Expo, and he often collaborates with JCPenney’s to create looks that are stylish and affordable. Spearman is also known for founding Men Of Size and co-founding Big His Her Plus.
Pinterest: The Big Fashion Guy
7. Dexter Mayfield
Dexter Mayfield grew to prominence as an LA-based choreographer and dancer. He has since become a model, well-known for his rule-breaking runway walks that have earned him a spot with runway designers. He is a stark proponent of body positivity, often speaking on the topic in places such as the ABC Freeform Summit. Dexter is and always has been unapologetically himself, and his hard work serves as an inspiration to others watching him on the road to success.
Facebook: Dexter Mayfield
Youtube: Dexter Mayfield
8. Darnel Ghramm
Darnel Ghramm got his start as a body positive blogger on tumblr, and he has since risen to model status. Darnel blogs about men’s body positivity and fashion for the big and tall crowd. He is the creator of #WeAreBigAndTall, and he strives to help men use fashion to express themselves regardless of their size. He has done a number of projects with print, editorial, and runway modeling, and he has collaborated with brands such as ASOS and Brandon Kyle.
9. Charlamagne tha God
Charlamagne tha God grew to fame while hosting his radio show, The Breakfast Club, and he has since taken on the worlds of television and literature. Charlamagne moved to tv, appearing in shows such as Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, Charlamagne and Friends, and Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne. He has discussed many times the issues of mental health, racism, and success in the contemporary world. Charlamagne’s strive to help others led him to the MTV show Catfish where he appeared as a guest co-host, and then to developing his own spinoff of Catifish, called Catfish: Trolls. On the show, he works with co-host Raymond Braun to hunt down online bullies who hide behind their internet profiles and discuss with them the issues of their actions in order to promote healthier online presence. Charlamagne wrote the New York Times Bestseller, Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It and Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me.
Facebook: Charlamagne tha God
Devin-Norelle is an activist for the LGBTQ+ and POC communities. Ze has a blog where ze chronicles zis journey with transgender transformations and writes about subjects that impassion zim. Devin-Norelle is also a writer for them., Outmagazine, and TeenVogue. Ze is also known for zis modeling career, and ze has recently worked with Marco Marco on the NYFW runway. Devin-Norelle was invited to the NY BeautyCon 2019 as talent alongside stars such as Cardi B and Charlamagne tha God. Ze has a number of projects working with trans, poc, and non-binary charities/fundraisers/awareness campaigns, and ze is making an appearance at the WorldPride NYC 2019 + Stonewall 50 dance party, for which you can find tickets here.