Caribbean-styled carnival culture has now grown to state of popularity where it is embraced by millions across the globe and transcends all ages, races, geographical backgrounds and sexual orientations. Nadelle Lewis has been making major strides to ensure that Carnival remains inclusive and accessible to women of various body shapes and sizes via her body-positive #everyBODYplayahmas movement.
Over the past few years, Nadelle who wears many hats including plus-sized model, event coordinator, project manager, entrepreneur and advocate has been strategically utilizing this movement to champion the cause of Inclusion, Body Acceptance & Full-Figured Representation in the international Carnival industry.
The Toronto-based beauty has graced numerous international catwalks, broken ground as pioneer plus-sized model at Canadian Carnival band launches and is a steadfast lover and participant in Carnival parades and festivities throughout the Caribbean and North-America.
Her current mission with this body-positive movement is to encourage more full-figured representation in all Carnival-related media, marketing materials and band launch runways, to challenge public perception and insensitivity regarding curvier masqueraders and to promote a confident self-image and support for women of all sizes in their desire to participate in the liberating experience of playing mas.
The momentum of #everyBODYplayahmas has been rippling across the region, diaspora and Carnival-loving world, as Nadelle continues to spread her message of diversity in Caribbean carnivals via her web and social media platforms.
She shared, “It is disheartening when people, especially women, feel that they have to look like those that are showcased in popular marketing materials in order to participate and play mas.”
#everyBODYplayahmas has so far received positive feedback from the public and support from the carnival industry for its realistic depiction of masqueraders. It has gained many followers who frequently use the hashtag online, as the community is viewed as an inclusive safe-space for women to unite, share their stories, embrace their beauty and accept their flaws without public shaming or self-criticism.
As corporate entities like Dove, Sports Illustrated, and Mattel (makers of Barbie) have embraced a message of inclusion with the branding of their products, the dynamic and determined Nadelle considers #everyBODYplayahmas to be an integral asset to Carnival mas bands in their incorporation of more diverse product branding strategies and their changing the way women view their bodies.
In addition to mas bands & designers, for 2019 #everyBODYplayahmas will be partnering and collaborating with several similar-minded Carnival-based businesses such as Carnival Concierges, Carnival tights, footwear, Monday wear & accessories creators and distributors.
Look out for Nadelle and the #everyBODYplayahmas ambassadors at several international festival events which include Carnivals in T&T, Jamaica, Bermuda, the US, Canada, Europe and the famous Ubersoca Cruise. Nadelle and team are always open to connecting and networking with persons around the globe who are interested in joining the movement.