Meet Dionne Reeves-Grubbs
“To me, Valiance means being unstoppable, incomparable and Fierce.”
Dionne Reeves-Grubbs is the founder of Full Figured Fierce, which is an organization formed to inspire, encourage, and empower the plus-size community. The initial goal of the company is to build confidence in plus-size women. We live in a social media world where everyone has an opinion about everyone else's appearance. It can be extremely hard to love yourself, let alone like yourself when you are constantly bombarded with images of what society says beauty is. So, if you aren't a size 2 with 30in’ weave and flawless makeup every time you post a photo, you are considered less than.
The focus then extended to the plus-size youth. Dionne has a child who lives with a rare disease that altered her appearance early in her life. Our youth, in Dionne’s opinion, have it worse than the adults because they are living in such a technical world. Dionne is extremely passionate about her organization because she herself has experienced low self-esteem at a young age from a family member. She expresses that our parents are supposed to be our first cheerleaders. Too often, young girls with larger bodies are given nicknames, via family, that they hate ( ex. Juicy), and make them feel like they aren't worthy. This behavior usually comes from the women of those families who unfortunately experienced the exact same behavior from the women before them. It can become a vicious cycle that she wanted to end in her family. She had to unlearn what she had experienced to be able to handle what her daughter was experiencing. Those lessons taught her how to speak to her daughter differently than she had been spoken to in her early years. That gave her a little reinforcement when she stepped out into the world.
Dionne recalls starting her journey with just a few posts of empowerment for the people on her Facebook page. Then one day, she felt as though God wanted her to use that moment to take it up a notch...she then decided to fully commit with no hesitation. She prayed about the name of her company now called "Full Figured Fierce.” Quickly, she created a Fan Page on Facebook and asked all of her friends to follow and the rest was history.
It was important for her to post positive images of Plus Size women, to let them know that there is someone who truly sees their value and beauty. The women of Full Figured Fierce never wanted "special treatment" or attention, they just wanted to be seen as beautiful like any other woman. That is still Dionne’s everyday goal...she doesn’t want another woman or man to feel the way she was made to feel growing up. Building self-confidence is so important to a young person growing up. One of Dionne’s favorite quotes is from Marcus Garvey, it says, "if you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With Confidence, you have won even before you have started." She shares her interpretation of that quote by stating, “if we start our youth believing they are capable of anything, then they can achieve anything.” Dionne expresses that if she could constantly remind women or young girls that they are worthy and beautiful, then they may begin to believe it which will make them unstoppable.
One of the biggest obstacles she has had to overcome were doors being shut in her face and a lack of support from her hometown.
“You would think that being from the South ( Alabama where we eat steak for breakfast) I would have a lot of support. This is not true. I have been met with several doors being closed in my face because people think I am advocating for obesity.”
Dionne shares that she is simply just advocating for people loving themselves where they are (at any size), not where someone else says they HAVE to be.
“We all learn on different levels. If someone wants to live an uber "healthy" lifestyle, they aren't going to always take the negative talk as a motivation. You have to let people accept who they are and decide to change if they want to, not because they will be shunned if they don't,” she says.
Dionne’s passion for being the voice for the voiceless is what keeps her fire burning and fighting for what she believes in. She also often hosts events that are geared toward building confidence such as Fashion shows that have more PLUS bodies than standard bodies. She openly celebrates plus-size bodies, male and female on her social media platforms. She gives her community a voice where they can express themselves without feeling they will be attacked for their views on their lives and bodies.
Her organization hosts photoshoots with photographers who understand the plus-size body and understand how to make those bodies look just as beautiful as any other size.
Dionne’s children are her motivators. She refuses to let them see her fail. She wants them to see those moments that aren't great, teaching them to understand that life is not always going to be fair. But she also teaches them that giving up is not an option for her and it should not be for them as well. They are the push that she needs to get up and keep going when she has those doors closed in her face or a deal that falls through when people find out what she does. She makes sure that her children see her get back up. She expresses that getting back up is how you kill those negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy.
Over the course of the next few years, Dionne Reeves- Grubbs hopes that Full Figured Fierce becomes a household name when it comes to confidence and empowerment. She wants it to speak to one's spirit whenever it’s heard or spoken of. She wants it to be the word of positivity women need to push past their doubts and go after the dreams, that they may believe they are more than their size or appearance.