Megghan Michael (Picture by Krystal Hoyte)
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Whenever Megghan Michael steps on a stage, she urges herself to own it!
As a dancer she’s fierce and energetic, and she definitely grabs your attention regardless of what she’s doing. Based on the world’s standards, she is “plus sized”. But what does that mean?
That’s a question Megghan would love to have answered.
“The term plus-sized peeves me a bit because I believe that a size is a size. Plus-sized means that you are limited to something. I would just say any size is a healthy size. It has stifled some of the things that I wanted to do, especially in the performance area. Sometimes persons would be looking for a smaller size or they would ask me to lose ten pounds in ten days,” Megghan explained.
She’s been a dancer for the majority of her life, and admitted that she has struggled somewhat with her weight.
“Like anyone, I’ve gone up and down in terms of my weight. Up until I was about seven I was average size and then puberty hit. I was always the taller or thicker one. Especially at dancing, I was always the bigger one. In terms of placements for choreography, you want people to see you perform but you always have to be in the back because you’re balancing everyone. That’s where my personality came out,” she said.
But the now 25-year-old has not let her size hold her back in any way. She knew she was talented and meant to shine and that’s exactly what she did.
“As a thicker girl I always told myself it’s not where you are but what you do. I find that for girls who are thicker they always go into a shell and they are wondering if they’re being seen or if another person is more beautiful than them. But I always say it’s how you do what you do and how you make people feel. If you’re genuine about yourself, then people would always relate to you. Believe that you can do anything. Your size has nothing to do with it,” she said.
A lover of family and friends and people generally, Megghan told Easy she was not always the confident and bubbly person everyone now sees because of negative thoughts regarding her weight and wondering where she would fit in.
“I was not always a confident person. I would feel a bit bad sometimes. If you see an audition, there is no way that you could lose ten pounds by the next day. Through my time performing and being in pageants I have gained this different type of confidence. I told myself, if something is for me, it’s for me. People should always see you for who you are and that’s inside. If you have something that you practise and you learn and you continue to work on, and you’re confident about, then your exterior has nothing to do with it.”
Megghan said that as time went on her confidence continued to grow and she started to go after all the things people said as a plus-sized girl she couldn’t have.
One of those things was pageantry. She entered Miss Holetown in 2014 and won.
“I was also the thicker girl in that pageant, but I was 30 pounds lighter than what I am now. But I still won. Following that I did Miss Caribbean Culture, Miss Jaycees, and then I wanted to do something international,” Megghan explained, her face lighting up while reminiscing on her pageant days.
That something “international” came in the form of the Miss Universe Barbados pageant. She said she contemplated entering for two years before actually taking the big leap of faith.
“When Miss Universe Barbados came back on stream in 2016, I wanted to do it so badly but I was not confident about it at all. As I grew, I watched the girls in the first one, then the second one, and then I decided to do it. I sent in an audition tape and I spoke to some of the committee members and it was a warm acceptance,” she said, stressing that was all she needed to know it was the right decision.
Megghan said to date that it has been one of the best decisions she ever made.
“That experience for me was completely life- changing. Pageantry is different for everyone. It was great and beneficial for me. I was second runner- up and I think I did a great job and I represented well. I definitely had doubts, but it’s really not about the end product but about the process. The Miss Universe Barbados pageant was all about the process and telling your story about who you are and really breaking it down. And because of that process and figuring out who I was, there was no doubt that I should have been in the pageant.”
“Miss Universe Barbados gave me a chance to break down my story and figure out who I was. At the end of it my size alone had nothing to do with it. It was something bigger than me. It was a chance to tell young girls it’s ok to be who you are, it’s ok to show your talent, it’s ok to be confident and dark-skinned. Just be fabulous,” she stressed.
She also advised young girls not to let anyone place limits on them and, more important, to never place limits on themselves.
“Do something that makes you feel good. It’s all about life and storytelling and figuring out who you are. When you know who you are, once you accept it and know your story, people are ready and willing to accept who you are and to accept you for anything that you do. Don’t crash diet. I definitely lost ten pounds in ten days. Don’t do it. I’ve definitely lost 30 pounds in 30 days. Don’t do it. You just get it back quickly. Just figure out who you are, what you like, eat all the foods, but eat everything in moderation,” she said.
She added, “and always remember: everything is as it should be. Stay in the present moment. If you’re going through an up or down, that’s just as it should be.”
Using herself as an example, Megghan said though some may consider her to be “fat” she’s very fit and enjoys a good workout – apart from dancing, that is.
“I love cardio, I love to sweat, I love to lift weights. I just love to do anything physical.”
“Fit doesn’t have a size. People need to understand that. I’ve been in competitions where girls are struggling to lift ten pounds and I’m lifting with no problem. Fit doesn’t have a size and the colour of your skin doesn’t define who you are as a person. (DB)