The first time I have met Yonon Koffa, she actually participated in the Plus Size Model Open Shoot. Truth be told, the whole team was excited. For the first time, a woman who is proud of her morena skin has applied and for us, it was one of those yummy fashion treats that the fashion gods would bestow every now and then.
We felt really good that day.
She approached a bit shy, a bit tentative, but as soon as she warmed up in front of the camera, I saw that there was a spark inside of her. She knew that she finally belonged in this Erzullie tribe and now, here she is --- part of the top 5 for The Next Erzullie Icon 2017.
And with that in mind, we asked her --- who does she represent as an Erzulliesta? And this is what she replied:
"I represent those who are misunderstood. Those who hide in the shadows. Those who think negatively about themselves because of their size or the color of their skin. That one girl in class who had no friends. The shadow underneath a shadow.
I used to be that girl. I used to be ridiculed because I was different. They called me fat and ugly. At the age of 10 I already wished I was dead. I wished I was invisible. They called me names because my dad is black. They laughed at me because I was fat. I didn't want to go out because I was scared to be laughed at. I was scared to love because I was scared to be rejected.
Have you ever felt that way?
I learned to speak out my mind. I finally had a friend. She showed me that looks are nothing. Despite the color of my skin and size she talked to me and made me realize that the world is much bigger than what I thought it was. She opened my eyes.
Now? I am an independent woman. I work for my family, my true friends and myself.
Don't think of the color of your skin or how big you are. These will not and will never make you less of a person. We are beautiful! Live life to the fullest! We only live once. Make the best out of it. Be confident! You are smart! You are beautiful! We are women with power. Women with curves. Women with inner and outer beauty. Do not let anyone tell you that you are less of a person or tell you who you are. You know who you are!
You are confidently beautiful. Flaunt it!" - Erzulliesta Yonon Koffa
Erzullie is an invite-only fierce plus size fashion designer brand from the Philippines dedicated to serving the style of the empowered Erzulliesta. Shop online: www.erzullie.com