How plus size blogger Maui Bigelow is empowering women

Photo Credit: P. Dillon
Maui Bigelow is PHAT Girl Fresh, Photo Credit: P. Dillon

Maui Bigelow is PHAT Girl Fresh. With over 180K social media followers and counting, PHAT Girl Fresh delivers hot, truthful and thought-provoking content to empower curvy, voluptuous women. Maui’s brutally honest approach is not sugarcoated; however, her message will make you fall in love and engage you in anticipation for her next post. PHAT is an acronym for Passionate, Happy, Appreciative and True. Maui prides herself on empowering women of color and continues to the raise the bar annually at Life Styled Honors, a celebration for women from all walks of life.

As an African American female entrepreneur, what challenges do you face and what words of wisdom would you share with other minorities venturing into the world of self-employment and fashion blogging?
As an African American female entrepreneur, I face many challenges. Like other women of color, we are placed on the back-burner when working with brands, inclusion and support. We have to work three times harder to receive the respect we deserve. Knowing this, it is vital that upcoming female entrepreneurs who are women of color understand that the road will be bumpy, there may be times when it will seems your work is in vain but it isn’t. Just remain consistent and work hard, the reward will come.

Fashion is all about confidence. How did you become so unapologetic and courageous in your journey and who you are?
I think my confidence came from the women who raised me and poured into my cup. Women like my mom, my aunt Carolyn, my godmothers (auntie Dot and Von) and my cousin Beverly were all curvy, beautiful and confident. I loved these women and I saw characteristics in them that I wanted to one day possess. So, although I was different and the butt of many jokes, I loved myself because I love them and I understood that one day, I could be great.

In this microwave society I know people think that you arrive at this place of success overnight. Is this overnight stardom or can you enlighten us about your journey in the world of fashion blogging?
Honestly, nothing happened overnight. I have been writing for most of my life and I began doing it professionally five years ago. In that last five years, there have been sleepless nights, working for free and anxiety. However, when you know that you are in pursuit of your purpose, you understand the importance of patience and persistence. I arrived here in God’s time because I was obedient, patient and willing to do the work.

Photo Credit: P. Dillon
Maui Bigelow at Life Style Honors, Photo Credit: P. Dillon

How did you arrive at the moniker Phat Girl Fresh?
Initially, the plan was to open a plus size boutique and have a t-shirt collection; PHAT Girl Fresh was just a slogan. However, over time, It became an acronym for Passionate, Happy, Appreciative and True — characteristics every woman should embody.

As a plus size woman, does size limit how fly you can be?
Size doesn’t limit how fly a woman is or can be, only her way of thinking and the way she sees herself can do that. Today, there is an abundance of brands who cater to plus size women and if you cannot find what you want, indie designers are the perfect solution. However, women need to know they can’t slay fashion until they learn to believe in themselves and slay life.

What is next for PHAT Girl Fresh and how can women begin to love the skin they are in?
What’s next for PHAT Girl Fresh is more work. I am working on a book and looking to make my event Life Styled Honors bigger and better. Honestly, I just want to continue to build upon my brand’s foundation and be more of a service to women.

When learning to love the woman in the mirror, women need to understand that perfect doesn’t exist on Earth. You are not going to be without flaws but you are still worthy of love. You have to also know that before you can truly love others or be loved properly by others, you must love you.

For more on Maui Bigelow and getting fresh, visit PHAT Girl Fresh at http://www.phatgirlfresh.com/

Patrick T Cooper
Patrick T Cooper

For over 15 years Patrick T Cooper consistently influences fashion, art and entertainment. With an innate creative ability Patrick curates visual imagery that sets trends. An avid romantic of color, texture and layering Patrick mindfully manipulates the intersections to create a lifestyle and the mantra live authentically & celebrate originality. This cultural identity is celebrated and illuminates in each uniquely designed piece of the Patrick T Cooper Resort Collection and is carefully curated in each written work for Rolling Out, The Global Traveler and Uptown Magazine. For more information go to www.patricktcooper.com