Last September, I attended Curvy Fest in Cancun, Mexico. It was an incredible experience (shout-out to the organizer and amazing designer Melina Alarcon) and I will be attending this year as a guest lecturer. Not only do you get to go to an exclusive body positive pool party next to the Caribbean (remember all of those swimsuits I tried on!), attend inspiring and informative discussions, and witness outstanding fashion shows, but you also meet folks doing incredible things!
While at a beach party relaxing with my babes, Lisa (@MustangSallyTwo) and Ashley (@AshleyNellTipton), Lisa asked if I had heard of body positive dolls! Lisa had no idea, but I actually love dolls and even used to create my own. Then, I noticed the dolls and bolted from where I was seated. I ran over to the Melinas’ booth. I learned from them that you can have custom dolls made. They can be made to match your hair, body type, skin color, and even add moles and stretch marks! The dolls are made with intention as I learned when I heard an impassioned speech from former Ted Talk speaker and Soy Melinas Ceo, Marelsy Castillo. The intention is for YOU to love your image! Order here.
They also make flower crowns. I was going through my all orange everything phase at the time. I mentioned to them that I loved the orange one. Remember that orange hair? The very next day I ran into the family behind Melinas when I was on my way to my photoshoot with Kevin. They gifted me the orange crown! I cry! Of course, I included the orange crown in the photoshoot. If you want one, contact Melinas!
Wearing: Melinas handmade flower crown / Dress & Booties from ELOQUII
Interview with Marelsy Castillo, CEO of Melinas, Body Positive Dolls.
You and your family create body positive dolls. Can you please describe the dolls?
The Melinas dolls are a celebration of the female beauty in all its forms. Besides having several symbolisms that will help you to introject these body positive ideas about yourself, the Melinas are designed with the help of psychologists and have a therapeutic background. A Melinas doll is customizable in great detail. Our dolls help you achieve a projection process in them, so that by constant exposure to this positive stimulus of your image, you can strengthen your self-esteem. Our personalization options include: body shape, skin tone, hair style and color, bust size, mastectomy option and reconstructed breast in cases of breast cancer, pregnancy, glasses, scars, stretch marks and even moles; so you really have a doll that looks as unique and beautiful as you are.
If I want to include my stretchmarks or a scar on a doll, can you include that?
Yes, in fact you can include a lot of details, such as: body shape, skin color, hair style and color, bust size, glasses, stretch marks, moles, and even pregnancy. The idea is to look as similar to you, so you can project yourself into it, and by the constant exposure to this positive stimulus of your image, you reinforce your self-esteem.
What does Soy Melinas mean?
Melinas is a gift of love, a boost of self-love, but above all it is the celebration of the most beautiful and powerful thing you have, yourself!
It is a way of looking at you, with love and humor, a reminder of how beautiful, perfect, feminine you are, just as you are.
Can you explain the history of the dolls?
Melinas is born from my mom’s love for me, I (Marelsy) was the 1st Melina, who inspired everything …
Since childhood I struggled against my weight and the pressure of family and friends to fulfill an ideal of beauty (that without knowing it, my body was not able to comply, due to a medical condition). This seriously damaged my self-esteem and little by little I became an insecure and introverted person, over the years I fell into a toxic relationship, which coupled with the employment discrimination I was subjected to led me to a breaking point in my life.
How did that inspire making the dolls?
My mom started looking for ways to lift my spirits and help me see how she always saw me, as the strong, extroverted and intrepid woman that I used to be. Seeing myself reflected for the first time in a doll, an object worldwide understood as something beautiful, perfect and feminine, was an emotional shock that marked a turning point in my life and prompted me to rebuild, from love and positivity. The results were so wonderful, we wanted to share this experience with other women; this is how the Melinas emerged!
I would like to thank Marelsy for accepting my interview. She also graciously accepted to do the interview in English, as that is the language of most of my audience. I sincerely hope everyone reading this learns something, shares this incredible project, and orders a doll! I saw first hand the quality and love that goes into each doll.
It’s obvious that Marelsy’s mission goes is far reaching. The Melinas website and Instagram are warm and welcoming. The people featured in their photos and articles are shining with positivity and love for themselves and each other. I met three of the four women behind Melinas and I have to say this is a proper reflection. All three women were warm, positive, and their to help each person embrace their bodies. It is rare to see such a bond in families and I am so happy that I get to share a snippet with you.
Body positive folks meeting and spending time together like we did at Curvy Fest is so important to me. If you can’t go, I encourage you to start your own group. I have so much fun with Yinz Bopo, our local body positive Pittsburgh meet-up group I founded. Start one in your city!
Please share this on social media: Pin it, add it to your IG stories, share on FB! I’m so appreciative to each everyone one of you reading this! Remember to connect with my on IG (I’m a regular over there).
Much love to you!