Have I been body-shamed? Of course – much like every other woman at some point in their lives. I grew up dancing ballet, tap, modern and jazz. Later on, I moved on to hip hop and contemporary dance. When I was in middle school, my dance career was just about to take off. Sadly, this coincided with my having to move countries. I had to leave my dance school and naturally, this me and my former dance teacher heartbroken.
The next summer, I decided to come back to the school to train. During my time away, puberty struck, and as everybody knows, my body changed in more ways than one. Let’s keep in mind that dancers are, and always have been, notorious for their skinny bodies and strong physiques. Upon arriving at the airport to meet with my dance teacher, I was greeted with a “Hello! You’ve gotten fat!”. I was shocked, insulted and humiliated, but what was I to do? Call her out? She was going to house and train me the entire summer. I was too humiliated to ever come back.
Being subject to certain standards, the biggest struggle I’ve had is being comfortable in my own skin. But I’ve gotten there slowly. I went to school for drama and one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that you have to take care of yourself in order to move forward. Whatever is going on in your life will eventually influence the work you are doing – on stage, in class, wherever.
Ysabel is originally from the Phillippines. She grew up in Singapore and Guam and now resides in New York where she recently graduated with a BFA in drama from New York University.
Photo Creds: JMA Photography