I sat down across from Revecka Natalia in a Los Angeles diner this morning, eager to speak privately with a woman who's online presence I'd been following for some time. After first stumbling upon a gallery of her work, I soon realized that there was quite a bit more to this young woman than one might gather at first glance. A model turned photographer, self-professed punk rock chick with a strict ballet upbringing, Revecka has worn many hats in her lifetime. What really caught my attention, however, was Revecka's selfless work and commitment to a cause close to my own heart, eating disorder awareness, prevention, and recovery.
Since launching her online community in 2009, Revecka has reached thousands of women struggling with and recovering from the ravages of a self-contained illness. She soon found that the relative anonymity of her online forum was the perfect model to reach women who are often too scared to reach out for help in person.
"Delicious Dames" is a blog and online support community where women (and men, too) can share their own personal experience, journey toward recovery, and their hopes for the future. Revecka's own posts reflect her desire that one day ALL healthy body types will be appreciated and accepted by society. Revecka sites her cousin Ian as the greatest inspiration for the curation of her online community. During his battle with cancer, she recalled how much inspiration he drew from visiting online support forums. Today, she honors his memory by reaching out to women internationally with support and advice on beating a demon that she's fought personally.
One of the things that I found so unique about Revecka's online dialogue is how she addressed "straight size" vs. "plus size" animosity in a recent post.
"So sick of hearing the term 'Real Women' being used to describe girls who represent the average sized woman in America. As a size 6 in an industry where Body positive is the goal, I am consistently under pressure to conform to either one side or the other of the whole size debate."
Instead, Revecka supposes that we instead recognize the fact that ALL women are REAL women. Not 'real women have curves' or 'bones are for dogs' and all of the other female vs. female slander that we are constantly bombarded with. The truth is that "one-size fits all" thinking with never manage to describe or empower every woman. Revecka's message instead chooses to move forward with information about healthy choices, diversity, body positivity and female empowerment through photography, nutrition, community interaction and personal acceptance.
It's her hope that as her online community grows, that her members will continue to inspire and motivate each other to follow their own unique and serene path... and that's something that's truly beautiful.