Meet Paola Zuccaro, the Florida-based blogger behind ‘Unapologetically Paola’. We caught up with her to talk style, body positivity and the changing face of the fashion industry...
Can you give a brief description of your personal style?
I would describe my style as feminine and girly. I also love trying out fun new trends and exploring different outfit options, such as off-the-shoulder pieces and cropped tops. Another huge part of my wardrobe and personal style are prints and colours, which ironically were some of the things I avoided at all costs when I was younger!
What made you get into fashion blogging?
To be honest I never expected to be part of the fashion blogging community. Being really insecure as a little girl, I used to hide my body and wear pieces that wouldn’t grab people’s attention. Then years later I found myself creating a body positive account and started to wear daring clothes as often as I could. Not much later people started to comment and ask if I had a blog, and while I still had my doubts I decided to give it a shot at the beginning of this year. It’s been such a magical and fun ride so far!
What response do you get from your followers?
The love and support I receive from followers is truly amazing. Chatting with them, reading their comments absolutely make my day and hearing how they relate to some of my captions makes the vulnerability part of it so worthy.
What are your thoughts on the term ‘plus size’ within the fashion industry?
The term plus size is a loaded term to many people but I understand the need in the industry to keep models categorized using these terms, even though sometimes it’s used on models that are below a size 12! To me it is simply a label to describe and categorize a body type just like tall, short, petite, etc. It doesn't really bother me unless it’s used as negative association about plus sized women or when retailers treat women who wear plus sizes as an entirely different type of shopper.
What is the shopping experience like for plus-size ladies in the US?
I’ve had the privilege of being basically a “normal size” when it comes to clothes most of my life. Being a size 12 it was fairly easy to find trendy clothes almost everywhere. Now that I’m a size 14 (sometimes 16) I suddenly had to try to find new places to shop because I wasn’t entirely sure if I would be able to find something, and the selections are usually limited. Some stores still don’t offer certain sizes at all. The assumption that we all look the same is also very frustrating. There are plus size women with large breasts and plus size women with small breasts, just like there are some that are one size on top and a different size on the bottom. Sizing inconsistency and lack of options are things we all experience.
Do you think the public and media perception of plus-size women is changing?
Plus size models are changing the perception of beauty in marketing for sure and things are actually starting to change. Because the movement has grown in popularity, size diversity is now everywhere and fat bodies are being reclaimed once and for all. It’s wonderful to see it happening, however the media and public are still too focused only on certain bodies while excluding others. Fat people are also still paid less and are intensely excluded in many forms of media.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
Everything is going to be ok, just trust me on this one. You'll do so much good in this crazy world.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I’m a full time photography student, so when I’m not blogging or creating content for my blog and Instagram, I’m usually at school or working on projects and homework. You can check out my artwork at paolazuccaro.com and @paolazphotography. I’m also an avid reader and have been a book blogger for four years now (paolasbookshelf.com) so when I have free time there’s nothing I enjoy more than grabbing a romance novel and drifting away for a few hours. It has been my absolute favourite escape since forever.
You’re obviously totally fabulous! What’s your secret?
Like Hannah Montana said, I'm just an ordinary girl! All joking aside, that’s truly how I feel. I always push myself to be the best, most confident me possible. I also like to keep it real and I’m very open and raw when it comes to my posts, often sharing my experiences whether negative or positive. I feel like that’s what mostly attracts people to my page.
What’s the plus-size community like in Florida and do you get a lot of support from it?
I currently don’t know many plus size bloggers in my area so I can’t truly describe or talk about that aspect. My friends and family are pretty supportive, so are the few bloggers I’ve met thanks to Instagram. However, I do think plus size acceptance still has a long way to go, especially here in Miami where women are expected to have a “perfect beach body.”
Thanks so much for having me and the wonderful opportunity!
[All images courtesy of Poala Zuccaro]
Paola's top picks...