She is an inspiring force that has encouraged so many women, young and old, through her message and moves! A Bronx native, Jessie Diaz-Herrera is no stranger to dance, Hip Hop and cultural expression. Being a New Yorker, she also has a booming voice through social media, standing for all women – no matter what size or color.
Here is my interview with Jessie Diaz Herrera.
When you hear Body Positivity, what comes to your mind? What does Body Positivity mean to you?
Body positivity to me is all about appreciating the skin you are in at every stage of the body’s cycle. So, for example, I appreciate my fat body even though I’m working on getting more toned. I appreciate the new definition I see while still loving my body throughout the process. To me this so important because we often kick ourselves for not reaching a certain body goal. But in reality, we should be working through our struggles with love and care.
Do you consider yourself Body Positive and why?
I consider myself a body positive warrior! Why warrior? Well we often battle with media’s construct of what our bodies should look like or what is beautiful. I fight everyday not only with myself but also with a bigger platform like social media to stand up for body equality. We sometimes shield ourselves because of what the world thinks. But we must take up our sword and fight for body equality in media features, clothing options and overall presence. (was that enough warrior references? haha)
How have you contributed to this movement/way of thinking and living?
I’ve been a body positive advocate on social media for about 2 years. But I wanted to put those posts into action. So now I teach Body Positive Dance Classes online and in person classes in NYC. I learned how to love my body through dance and can now share that experience with other while helping them to do the same.
How long have you been a contributing factor?
I’ve been teaching for almost 10 years (since college) but I launched my Body Positive Dance Classes in July of 2017. So we will be one year’s old soon and so excited for that!
Who is your audience? Your clients? Your customers?
My classes can range from mother and daughter duos to a Girls Night Out! I love my clients for that. You will truly see every color, creed, shape, and age.
What motivated you to do what you do and what makes you do what you do so well?
For me, dancing is a way to express myself and my body confidence. It’s a way to be free in my skin and be comfortable. It wasn’t always that way. When I was 12 I was coerced into losing weight for ballet which resulted in me fainting. My mother got wind of what I was doing and took me out the program. I was upset, embarrassed and ashamed. But I was able turn a struggle and childhood trauma into something uplifting. Now when I dance, I feel beautiful and strong.
What advice or encouragement would you give to anyone who may read this article?
Start your day with affirmations! We end every class this way. Heck, you can start right now. Ready? Repeat after me: I am beautiful. I am worth it. Today might have been hard, but I did it and I’m here. I’m worthy of love. I’m worthy of respect. I’m worthy of all positive things that come my way. Now shine on girl!
What upcoming events, projects or businesses do you have brewing?
I’ll be performing at Full Figure Fashion Week in June and will have a 1 Year anniversary party for the Body Positive Dance Classes in July!
What is your favorite quote or a quote that would best describe your way of life, thinking and being?
The worst someone could say is “no” and if you never ask, it’ll always be a “no”. This has helped me take risks and go for things when I’m feeling doubtful.