“I’m not round, I’m fat, and there is no shame in that”: with her pin-up outfits, her sassy poses and her free speech, fashion influencer Virginie Grossat captivates dozens of thousands of Internet users.
The 32-year-old Lyonnaise, size 54, loves to wear colorful, tight-fitting and readily kitsch clothes. “I really like to exacerbate my femininity, mark my size, the extravagance that borders on bad taste”, she explains while preparing “her little looks” in her room lined with pink arabesques.
His words bluntly seduce. “I laugh very hard, I’m clumsy, I have a bigger buttocks than those of Nicki and Kim put together, I have frightening eyes, my thighs are rubbing (…)”, she writes on her blog.
“Obesity, everyone experiences it differently. There are people who, with my weight and my height, could be bedridden. We are all different,” said AFP Virginie, 24,000 subscribers on Instagram and 280,000 on TikTok.
– “Dare and shine” –
Behind the scenes, the influencer works meticulously on her image. “Can you take a picture for me where you can see my butt a lot?” she asks her photographer, during a shoot on the Confluence quays in Lyon.
Bohemian, she puts on a crop top and a long yellow floral-print skirt. Urban, a pink low-cut dress and wedge sneakers. Sexy, a black ensemble leaving her stomach visible.
“What I really recommend is to dare. (…) Wear things in which you feel good and shine!” But don’t smile.
Virginie, naturally laughing, “looks heady” in her photos.
In the media, “we often see very jovial curvy women, but the girls on the catwalks look serious, sometimes haughty. I don’t see why I could not look like that, I try to embody fashion. “, she recalls, chin raised.
Virginie was inspired by bloggers like Stéphanie Zwicky or Gaëlle Prudencio, based in Lyon and Paris, who have been advocating inclusive fashion for the past fifteen years.
“Style is not a size, but an attitude”, notes Stéphanie Zwicky, 83,500 subscribers on Instagram “both women who are 34 and 60”.
“Accepting yourself is not easy. I’m not talking about assuming, because you assume a fault. I did not commit a fault but I stopped fighting against myself”, confides to AFP the one who had “fallen into an infernal circle of regimes”, then “in depression”.
– “Educate the gaze” –
“I live in my body. It is true that it is not easy every day”, also tells AFP Gaëlle Prudencio, 53,000 subscribers on Instagram, evoking for example sore knees. But “I don’t wait to lose weight to be happy.”
“When the Internet arrived, it saved my life. (…) Having suffered a lot of bullying at school, I felt a kind of need for benevolence, perhaps for validation by other fat women who would tell me + you are beautiful + “.
But the web can also be violent. Virginie will file a complaint for cyberstalking. “Just because my body is different, we allow ourselves some odious things”, even death threats.
Many people accuse him of promoting obesity. “Just by being visible, just by being me and in the public space, I would be an advertisement for obesity”, she laments. “For them, it is unthinkable to see a fat person fulfilled”.
Virginie refuses to “pose as a victim”. “Where I am told that I cannot go, I impose myself”, on networks as in life.
Despite slimming standards governing the world of fashion, she studied in the sector and became web marketing manager for a ready-to-wear brand. Despite the “small seats” of the planes, she goes to Japan ten times.
And because she has to order on the Internet for lack of “beautiful pieces” at her size on the shelves, since 2017 she has been organizing specialized empty dressing rooms. As well as twerk lessons. “You have to live, be present, to educate the gaze” of others, she insists in a calm voice.
To her detractors on the networks, she translates in a more flowery language: “That I am fat, thin, misshapen, I have the right to be visible as much as you are idiots”.