Shafonne Myers founded Pretty Pear Bride, a plus-size bridal magazine.
She spoke to Insider about what representation can do for brides of different sizes.
"You are valuable, and that is not dependent on your size," Myers told Insider.
When you scroll through Pretty Pear Bride's Instagram feed, you'll see photo after photo of stunning brides.
The page isn't unlike other wedding-focused Instagram accounts. It's full of pictures of brides at the altar, dancing at their receptions, or posing for portraits with the loves of their life.
But there's one thing that makes Pretty Pear Bride's page different from other bridal Instagram accounts: It's dedicated to celebrating plus-size brides.
Pretty Pear Bride caters to plus-size brides
Shafonne Myers founded Pretty Pear Bride after not seeing brides who looked like her when she was getting married 17 years ago.
Then she became a wedding planner, and as she started working with clients who were plus-size, she realized they were facing the same issues she did.
"When you're trying to plan something, especially a wedding, it's very inspirational," Myers said, as brides get ideas for their wedding gowns by seeing people who look like them modeling dresses.
"When I did not see that for myself, and when I had clients that did not see that and they struggled to imagine how they would look in something, that's when I knew you cannot truly step into feeling beautiful in your skin if you don't see other people feeling beautiful in their skin," she went on to say. "It's an isolating experience to not see people who look like you."
In 2011, Myers decided to create Pretty Pear Bride, which is dedicated to providing representation of and resources for plus-size brides.
"I wanted to create inspiration that looks like you," Myers said. "I want you to go online, see yourself in bridal imagery, and see that you can, as a plus-size woman, look amazing and see your fellow plus-size brides looking amazing."
The website is home to real wedding stories, service-oriented articles designed to help plus-size brides, and general wedding planning advice.
The articles provide information plus-size brides might not even know they need, such as recommendations for how plus-size brides should pose in their wedding photos or what bridal brands are size-inclusive. Myers' favorites range from high-end designers like Hayley Paige to affordable boutiques like David's Bridal.
The brand has built a community of brides since it was founded, and Pretty Pear Bride had almost 20,000 Instagram followers at the time of writing.
Myers hopes Pretty Pear Bride will help brides feel more empowered as they shop for wedding dresses
Myers thinks Pretty Pear Bride provides much-needed representation for plus-size brides, but she thinks it's just the beginning of brides of all sizes feeling good about themselves.
To her, the problem comes down to people not thinking they're worthy of love because of their size.
Myers told Insider she has worked with brides who didn't feel pretty in their wedding dresses, or who don't even look at their wedding pictures because they don't like how they look in them.
She hopes all plus-size women can come to see they're inherently worthy of love so they feel beautiful on their wedding days.
"You are valuable, and that is not dependent on your size," Myers said.
She hopes Pretty Pear Bride can help brides understand their worth by seeing joyful people who look like them.
In that vein, Myers has recently expanded Pretty Pear Bride to feature boudoir shoots with plus-size women.
"The thing about the boudoir shoot is it literally brings out that inner goddess," Myer said. "And you look at that picture, you remember how you felt, and it just gives you this surge of energy and a surge of electricity."
"To be in lingerie, to be in that vulnerability of my arms are showing, my stomach is showing, my legs are showing, it's something different," she said. "I think it's the next step of empowerment that I really want to bring in."
Read the original article on Insider