Virgie Tovar, the author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat, won't fall to the nagging pressure of impostor syndrome, and encourages us all to do the same. Her Instagram is part fashion, part activism, and she’s always challenging beauty “rules” for plus-size bodies. Tovar also created the hashtag #LoseHateNotWeight to celebrate the beauty in all sizes. That's why she's included in this special edition of Bustle's Must Follow, in which we highlight the incredible Latinx voices you need to follow on Instagram and Twitter.
Describe yourself in one line, including how you identify and what you do.
“I’m the author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat, a fat activist, and a brown woman with Mexican roots.”
What do you hope people take away from following you on social media?
“I hope they see that fat brown babes can have joyful lives full of big earrings, hoopties, friendship, cute dates, world travel, and amazing lattes all while smashing white supremacist heteropatriarchy.”
When did you first feel that you were a voice for the Latinx community?
“I definitely struggle with impostor syndrome. My family doesn’t have the story of California Mexicans that I saw represented growing up. I don’t speak Spanish very well. A lot of people don’t even recognize me as a Latina from my appearance, but I think I feel it when I show up, and I admit I feel confused, and I admit I’m struggling with internalized colonialism, and I admit I feel like an impostor, and I bring all of myself rather than leaving parts of me at the door. In my writing I talk about the little details that made up my childhood — like how all of our furniture was wrapped in plastic or how my grandfather had gold teeth — and these are the intimate details that make up the lives of other Latinx [people], too. I think many of our lives in the Latinx community are touched by the narrative of immigration — of existing between two places, where our bodies are in one place and maybe our hearts are in another. I think I embody that duality, that ‘border spirituality.’ Like, my work is pretty academic and I navigate scholarly conversations while also cursing, talking about tarot, and telling stories about meeting weird dudes on Craigslist. Like, I was awarded a fellowship at Yale earlier this year. And when they gave me the framed award, there was an image of me on it, and they said, ‘You’re the first Poynter Fellow who’s ever submitted a photograph of themselves in a tube top.’ My duality grants me perspective and confusion, access to the unusual/magical as well as a permanent sense of my own alien-ness. What is more human than that?”
Who's another Latinx person you would recommend to follow on social media?
“I can’t narrow it down! I really like: Jotita de Amor @jotitadeamor, Xandra Ibarra @lachicaboom, Juliana Delgado Lopera @julianadlopera, Baruch Porras-Hernandez @baruchporrashernandez, Cesar Cummings @cesarcummings, Alejandra Luisa Leon @thelionessoracle, Juana Maria Rodriguez @RadioRodriguez, and Achy Obejas @achylandia.”
Follow Virgie Tovar on Instagram, @virgietovar.