Photography by Karlo Gomez
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Not too long ago, Natalia saw something that made an impression on her. She saw two pictures of a circus elephant tied to a pole. In the first picture, the elephant is a baby, just starting to be trained to stay at the pole it’s tied to. The second picture, the elephant is full grown, and the pole is the same flimsy metal that it was in the first photo. But, because of its training, the elephant will never feel that it is empowered to break away from its restraint.
Natalia was born and raised in Colombia, and she came to the United States around seven years old. She had only one close friend, Maria, who she sees as a sister today. Throughout middle school to high school, Natalia’s insecurity and small self-confidence made her an easy target for bullies. She had started puberty very early, so her body was constantly changing at a rate that set her apart from others, and she had gained a lot of weight. Natalia felt a constant pull to be part of society, but she stood out completely.
“I think what made me overpower all that insecurity was one day being tired of dealing with it,” she says. “Literally just this year, I finally started just loving myself. There’s this huge wave of general body positivity going on, and I think that’s great.”
To break out into the body positive scene, Natalia is working on projects for women’s empowerment, including a video blog project. In her work, she wants women to find strength in who they are -- everyone has their own energy and style that they find power in. Self acceptance seems to be on trend, and it’s one that should stick around.
“I see a lot of girls now constantly comparing themselves, being negative. And through social media I want to reach out to them and be a role model.” Natalia has discovered that no matter what you do, there will always be people who are negative, and you have to brush them off. “When I was insecure, people were constantly talking picking on me, and now that I’m more confident, they’re still talking about me. It just shows that you can’t please everybody. I’m really happy with myself.”
Natalia praises her mother for keeping her balanced. “She’s always bringing this huge wave of positivity in me. She’s the biggest source of light and energy for me.” With her mother’s influence, Natalia uses meditation and a connection with spirituality and nature to keep herself balanced.
If Natalia could talk to her younger self, she’d want her to break away from the insecurities that restrained her. “I would want my younger self to not compare herself to anybody and realize how much growing she has to do. I still have a lot of growing to do. I just want my younger self to accept herself and love herself and know that she doesn’t have to compare herself to anybody else.”
To see more of Natalia and her journey please follow her @lordenzo__