Popular media personality, Toolz ‘Toolz’ Oniru-Demuren, has reflected on her experience growing up as a full-bodied woman further detailed her journey towards accepting her body shape and size.
“The journey to accepting my body hasn’t been easy. As a curvy girl, you tend to feel out of place – my body type wasn’t the hot thing back then. I just didn’t fit in,” she said.
“I want ladies, irrespective of their size or body types, to be confident and love themselves, and essentially embrace their beautiful, because beauty is from within and is not dependent on what society dictates.”
She further explains that it took her some time to come to a breakthrough about seeing herself through a lens of body positivity. That change in perspective was something she wanted to share, but not just through words.
As a plus-sized and curvy girl, you tend to feel out of place – my body type wasn’t the hot thing back then. I just didn’t fit in. I became very self-conscious – I thought my hips were too wide… my bum was too big, and I was on the short side.
As a teenager, you are dealing with a lot especially when it comes to self-identity and accepting yourself, and you often get quite confused about what beautiful is. My self-consciousness got so bad at one point that I had to cover up all the time. In the middle of summer, I would wear a light coat to cover up my hips, and people thought I was weird. Shopping for clothes was a bit of nightmare, not to talk of lingerie shopping. Most of the lingerie in plus sizes were quite unattractive; boring styles and colours with super thick straps. Sadly, inclusivity wasn’t such a big thing when I was growing up, you were basically stuck with what was available.
Later in life, I began to notice and research curvy/plus sized models like Tabria Majors, Candice Huffine, Anita Marshall and Ashley Graham – her confidence is incredible!! In an industry that is notoriously discriminating about anyone above a size 8, seeing this beautiful and curvy ladies flourish was magical. I was extremely inspired to say the least.
Being in the public eye also had a big impact on my ‘acceptance journey’. I have been bashed and shamed about my body on so many occasions, I can’t even remember. The first few times it happened, I was very hurt because there was always so much venom behind the attacks, and I would be at home in tears thinking what did I do to anyone to warrant this? Unfortunately, this comes with being in the public eye, and I soon managed to get thick skin.
On the positive side, as I got more popular I began getting messages from women who admired me for being one of a few plus sized women in the public eye. I would get messages from young women who had contemplated suicide because they looked different, and they were being bullied for that. They would write and say how seeing pictures of me boosted their confidence, and made them accept themselves and their bodies. These messages, comments made me realize that my presence and visibility in the industry was having a positive impact on at least a few people.
My experience strengthened and gave me a voice, which I have decided to use in empowering and boosting the confidence of women like me – plus-size, but are currently in a psychological and physical battle to accept their own bodies.
I am Tolu Oniru-Demuren. You probably call me ‘Toolz’.
Meanwhile, Tolu just launched Sablier (“Sab-Lee-Ay”), a premium fuller bust lingerie line. Sablier – which is French for ‘hourglass’ – was created to cater to the often overlooked plus-size market.
Toolz who took a course in lingerie and swimwear design at the prestigious and award-winning London College of Fashion to get in-depth knowledge of the lingerie market, reiterated that her struggle to find brands that cater exclusively to her body size was a motivating factor in creating the Sablier brand.
“A huge part of my personal journey was finding clothing, lingerie and apparel options that catered specifically to my needs as a curvy woman. I didn’t find a lot of options in Nigeria, and most often would shop when I travelled,” she said.
It’s only natural that I take on the challenge of providing comfortable but attractive options for plus-size African women who struggle with finding brands that cater to them.”
Pieces from the lingerie line will be available online and in select stores with sizes ranging from 34/36D, with a few selected bra lines going up to size 42J(UK). Orders can be made on the website, shopsablier.com and on Instagram @shopsablier.