“Is that bread in your pocket, or are you happy to see me: carb cuisine that will make you crumb.” BeautyCon alumni and body positivity model, Marquis Neal talks cookbook titles, fashion as a communication tool, unconventional expressions of beauty and the influence of technology, sexual desires and self care as well as diet culture and toxic social discourses in the health and fitness industry.
Art for EL CHAMP by @shameless_schroeder
FASHION and BEAUTY
Describe your approach to fashion and through this creative expression what message do you hope to transmit?
My approach to fashion for myself is pretty simple: keep it exciting, keep it fresh, and keep it original. I dress and wear what I do to communicate the message that fashion and style isn’t limited to only specific types of people, you can take risks and push the boundaries with any clothing you may have access to.
BeautyCon 2019 you were a featured talent. What can we expect from the future of beauty and how influential will technology be in creating unimagined subcategories of beauty?
Oh my, I was! It was honestly just an honor to be noticed at all by such a large beauty event, it made my little heart “warmmm.”
As for the future of beauty, I think we can expect to see more faces, more rising stars, and more inclusivity. The wonderful thing about social media is that it has been a driving force that’s helped shift what we (the people) find represents “beauty” and have created pathways for new faces in campaigns, larger shade ranges, gender-inclusive spokespeople, older women, and the best part, opening up the conversation for “what exactly is beautiful” in the beauty industry.
Three words that represent your aesthetics?
Three words to describe my aesthetic would be original, bold, and gender-free.
What’s an empowering unconventional expression of beauty and self love that you would like to see shake up the beauty industry?
Something I want to see embraced more and celebrated is facial hair. There are so many beautiful people who are born with natural growing facial hair and the beauty industry has taught us that facial hair, especially for women, is deemed as “unbeautiful” or for men, it isn’t highly represented in the beauty industry. I wish the beauty industry would celebrate more natural facial hair as there are women and men whose facial hair grows uniquely.
What does wellness mean for you and how do you employ self-care?
Wellness to me is measured in small activities that bring happiness, self-care is a lot of small moments. Ive learned to enjoy the little things that make the smallest difference: taking the extended route home to enjoy the view, laying in bed for a whole day, listening to a song multiple times, texting a friend, or even sitting in the park and people watching.
“Original, Bold, and Gender-Free.”
REPRESENTATION and WELLNESS
What misconceptions would you address about “plus size” being synonymous with “unhealthy?”
Several misconceptions about plus size being synonymous with being unhealthy is that they are equal. Bodies are bodies and genetics work in different ways. People with standard size bodies do “unhealthy” activities all the time and you don’t see people shaming them for it.
Tending to sexual desires is a component of self-care and has been linked to an increase in sexual and body confidence. Do you have a sex toy or product that you would recommend to our readers?
Tending to sexual desires as self-care is honestly one of my favorite pastimes. Although I am much of a “physical contact” type of individual. I encourage everyone to explore their sexual boundaries and understand what makes their own body “tick.”
Have you always been comfortable with who you are or how has your self acceptance journey unfolded from compulsory athletics and locker room nudity to coming out and dating?
I came out at a very early age, I was in the seventh grade and I was pretty comfortable with who I was. Although the “small town” environment around me didn’t exactly accept my form of self-expression. I always found myself looking at myself in the mirror and still feeling secure about the way that I looked in the way that I was presenting to the world for myself. As I’ve grown to be an adult I’ve come to understand that I am the only version of myself and that no one else can be ME. What I have been given on this earth is all I have, and no one can take that away from me. Staying true to that, has helped me feel confident in my body and in my identity.
Are you on dating apps and how would you describe your experience with other users? Is there an app you would recommend?
I am on dating apps and my experience isn’t good nor bad. There are so many different types of people on apps, ones that are there to sexualize you, ones that are there to ignore you, ones that are there to only have conversations with you, and [then] there are people who are genuinely creating great conversations with you. Each person is different and I’ve just come to find out that not everyone is looking for the same things. As for a recommendation on apps, it at all depends on what you’re looking for, there are apps dedicated to hooking up and there are apps dedicated to creating conversation and I think everyone should explore what it is that they’re looking for.
What would you identify as the most toxic social discourses in the health and fitness industry that we need to address?
One of the most toxic things I feel is in the fitness and health industry constantly talking about diet culture and how we as a society push the idea that being on a diet is the way to a great and healthy lifestyle. To some it can be inspiring but to a lot of people, it is triggering living in a consistent state of hearing people equate “losing weight” with “being better” and how if you are dieting you must be creating a “better life” for yourself and you’re “taking care of your actions.” I find that diet culture has created a way of bleeding toxic energy into our lives to the point that in our everyday performance, we think about what or how we eat and how if we don’t “consider” regularly what we eat, we won’t be perceived as “beautiful.”
“Tending to sexual desires as self-care is honestly one of my favorite pastimes.”
Are there any models or artists championing diversity and inclusion that make you excited for the future?
Currently I am championing for all the people that I didn’t have around when I was growing up like Raisa (@raisaflowers), not only is she a beautiful black woman representing an under-represented black body type, but she is also a woman in the makeup industry who is killing it as a working artist and creating work that inspires me to be true to myself.
Boys like Ady @adydelvalle_ who represents plus size men with larger bodies than mine, who is killing it and making his way in the fashion industry with persistence, but showing people that size isn’t a boundary that makes anyone less beautiful.
Women like @lizzobeeating who is representing a plus size black narrative through music and creating conversations about size and how to celebrate it.
If you had a cookbook what would it be called and what would be the recipe that made you famous?
If I had a cookbook it would be called “Is that bread in your pocket, or are you happy to see me: carb cuisine that will make you crumb” and my famous dish would be called “pour in that warm cream: a tutorial on making top notch béchamel.”
What would you graffiti on the back of a toilet door?
If I had to graffiti anything on a toilet door, it would probably be “FAT PRIDE” in pink glitter