Body Shame Body Love: Taleni Nengola

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Its hard to love your body, yourself and the way you look in todays "you're never good enough" culture. Companies spend millions of dollars to feed our insecurities. I am a supporter of striving to be a better version of yourself but its important to love yourself, your body and how you look exactly where you are. Meet Taleni.

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Taleni has come home and shared some of the most hurtful things that other people have told her about her body, her skin color and her hair. The comments I hear touch a nerve not only because she is my sister and I what an awesome person she is but I also know hard she works on becoming a better version of herself mind, body and spirit.

If she's being told these things, then other young woman are too.

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My sister gets called fat. She gets side eye for wearing her hair in its natural state, the very way that it grows out of her head. She gets compared to lighter skinned women and is deemed inferior.

What makes me the most sad about the comments is that they come from people that look like her.

I want to celebrate her and others who look like her! I said "Lets do your make up, dress you up and have a photoshoot!"

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Taleni is beautiful because she is not afraid to admit that she is not perfect but will always strive to do better. She is generous and will sacrifice for others but makes a conscious effort not to overstretch herself. I've never met anyone so expressive of their emotions. All of them, without ever allowing one certain emotion to define her. She has kinky coily course hair and melanin rich skin and full hips.

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The photoshoot was followed by an interview:

1. What was your reaction when you were asked to do a body love photoshoot?
Taleni: "I was really excited. Mostly to get a positive message out there. I love the idea of loving your body exactly where it is on your journey to achieving your goals."
2. Would you define yourself as confident?
Taleni: On most days, yes I would. Then there are days it's not as easy and on those days I focus on the qualities I possess inside me instead of my physical appearance.
3. What is a misconception that other people have about you? What would you like to say to them?
Taleni: Well probably because of the fact that I appear happy most days they think they can say whatever (no matter how negative) to me. I'm very sensitive lol. And I have a strong appreciation for good vibes.
4. What do you love about yourself?
Taleni: Well that's a hard one. I love my positive outlook on life. I think daily life gets really hard and it's important to try and always see the good.
5. Who in your real life inspires you to be confident, authentic and bold?
Taleni: My mom. Cliché but yes her because we are so alike and to see her be bold and beautiful every day encourages me to do the same. And of course all the strong women who work hard doing their thing. I see you :)
6. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with their body image and self confidence?
Taleni: I would say forget about how you look for a while. Focus on your internal person. Nourish that person and make sure she/he is entirely content and happy. Then take care of yourself and the rest will follow. I'm sure of that.

We encourage you to love on yourself exactly where you are right now. Take steps to reaching your fitness/body goals and I'm all for enhancing your beauty with makeup and hair accessories but also cultivate a strong foundation built on self love, confidence and an appreciation for all types of beauty.

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