“You are beautiful, you are strong, and you are capable of everything you set your mind to, so love yourself B, start loving yourself now, because this is your world, love, love, love.”
This week's Sunday Girl, Arlenne Gonzalez, shows us why self-love matters!
Sunday: Thanks for joining us today, Arlenne. Let's start off by asking, what’s your ethnicity?
Arlenne: La Mexicana ;)
Sunday: What’s your age?
Sunday: What do you love most about your body, and why?
Arlenne: I love my booty, lol. Yes, I worked too hard for that ass. I am proud to know that I grew it on my own, that I did it the natural way.
Sunday: How was it shooting with Karlo with no makeup?
Arlenne: Karlo is so amazing! He’s such an amazing friend, entrepreneur, and the best women-empowering figure I have ever met. Nothing but laughter in our session. Thankful for you, Karlo ❤️
Sunday: Do you typically wear makeup? If so, why?
Arlenne: I typically don’t wear makeup; quite frankly, I think it's time-consuming on a daily basis. I preach coconut oil and some bomb Rose Spray. However, I wasn’t always like this. It was so hard to get out of the house with a full face of makeup; I felt incomplete and unready without it.
Sunday: How do you keep yourself healthy?
Arlenne: I lift at the gym; that keeps me happy. Every morning, I aim to start with a healthy breakfast. If I start off good from the start of the day, I am more likely to make better decisions throughout the day. I surround myself with people that love me, make me smile, and reciprocate that positive energy.
Sunday: What physical activities make you feel better?
Arlenne: Weightlifting is my all-time favorite! Lifting as heavy as possible makes me feel like a beast! When I have a good lift, my whole day and week are made. I just release so much pressure, stress, through every rep. I love it!
Sunday: What do you typically eat to stay healthy?
Arlenne: I opt for a vegan diet; I have been vegan for about 4 years now. I eat a lot of peanut butter, grains, and veggies. I feel so energized, faster, and full of joy. I didn’t know the power of food until my fitness journey began. Growing up Latina with tacos, antojitos Mexicanos, and dinner as my biggest meal, I naturally felt exhausted and drained. You see, my culture eats for fun, as a way of getting together, not as a form of fuel. So, unlearning all of my habits I had since I was a child was difficult but so worth it. I now know what macros are; I eat a balanced diet filled with nutrients and tons of water.
Sunday: What words of inspiration can you give to a girl struggling to love her body?
Arlenne: Don’t let your mind bully your body, babe. Remember all of the beautiful things your body does for you; she can dance, run, sing, smile, love. So, love her back; feed yourself to feel fueled.
Sunday: What is one major way you’ve struggled to appreciate or love your body?
Arlenne: Oh, goodness, I think it depends on the day, how I feel about my body. Some days I feel bloated; some days I feel too skinny, too flabby; it's up and down all the time. When I was younger, it was even harder, constantly comparing myself with the one in the room. Wondering how could I not be as pretty as she, downgrading myself, right up from the start, not realizing that I am so much more than just the outside, and so is she.
Sunday: Why do you think women develop negative relationships with their bodies?
Arlenne: The media has a ton! TON! TON! to do with it! During my undergrad, I studied Advertising, and I learned so much about selling products and how to appeal to the consumer. The focus is always on making the consumer feel like they are missing something, that they need something to be complete—to feel prettier, richer, stronger, and so forth. It's the same reason why the advertisements in media are so beautifully photoshopped. Everything from the psychology of color to the body copy, the words, and images chosen are used to make us feel like we aren’t perfect, that we need something to be complete. These strategies are used in every industry: fashion, beauty, skincare, automobiles, food—everything. The average person in the United States is exposed to about 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. Imagine that—just with media consumption alone, they have about 4,000 to 10,000 different reasons to tell us we are not perfect on the daily.
Sunday: What are a couple of ways you’ve found to overcome negativity in relation to your body?
Arlenne: Praising myself! Reminding myself that I am a Bad Ass Bitch! I say that with love. Not to feel better than anyone else, but to pour that love into myself. When I first began my self-love journey, I took the time to look into the mirror; to really look into my eyes, my smile, all my features. I always wondered what the world saw when I was present. It's crazy to say, but I had never really looked into myself before that moment. To my surprise, when I looked in the mirror, I found some heartwarming eyes that were looking for adventure, for love to give, for memories to make. It triggered all the beautiful things I had experienced, the moments that scared me, and how I overcame them. I saw the people that made me smile, so I smiled at the mirror, and I fell in love. I fell in love with that person in the mirror because what I saw was beyond my appearance. I realized that this was who the world saw—someone with a little crazy drive, a huge heart, with grit, full of smiles. At that moment, I whispered to myself, “You are beautiful, you are strong, and you are capable of everything you set your mind to, so love yourself, start loving yourself now because this is your world, love, love, love.” So now, when I look at the mirror and I’m feeling down, I remind myself of that moment, the moment I realized I was more.
Sunday: What’s one thing you wish would change in the world to help present and future generations of women feel more beautiful in their own skin?
Arlenne: I think in recent times, we have begun to make a change. Women are speaking up and sharing how human they are. Influencers are talking about the things that make them insecure and taking those insecurities to make them feel stronger. It's such a powerful movement. So, just encouraging each other to speak up and spreading the message through platforms like SundayMorningView, changing the media one step at a time.
Sunday: Why is it important to feel sexy?
Arlenne: For self-expression, I believe women's ability to be sexy and sensual is like the 6th sense; it’s in our nature. Having that taken away or being unable to tap into it is limiting. It’s important because it’s powerful, liberating, and a part of us.
Sunday: Some people feel that taking pictures in underwear is wrong. How does it make you feel when you take photos in a bra and underwear?
Arlenne: I'm all for it. I don't believe people should be judged for their personal choice to take a picture. Nudity can be a form of art, and if women want to embrace their skin, wear some cute underwear, then go for it. It's your choice, your body, and everyone else's opinion is nothing to stress about.
Sunday: How has SMV impacted you?
Arlenne: SMV has empowered me through the lens of real women. Having the opportunity to be a part of their events, where women share their insecurities and flaws, is so amazing. SMV has led me to new friends who are my online cheerleaders, and with whom I can feel genuine kindness and love. SMV has a motherly, empowering nature that makes you feel safe and loved, so thank you.
To see more of Arlenne and follow her amazing journey, say hello to her on Instagram @rlennegonzalezz