The Fatkini and Gabi Fresh: On Having A Real Belly and Being Real Fly

For the record? You couldn’t beat me into a bikini. Not even when I was 120 lbs, pre-baby—before the stretch marks, thick thighs, and stretched belly skin took over what used to be a hot, shapely, 20-something body. I didn’t know what I had then. Youth is wasted on the young. But you sure wouldn’t evah catch this 40-something mom of tweens, no matter how confident I am in my skin, in a bikini now. Which is what makes this whole Fatkini campaign over at XO Jane, spearheaded by fashion blogger Gabi Fresh, all-the-more delicious, scary and a tad bit inspiring.

The Fatkini campaign is the nickname for xoJane’s Real Girl Belly Project, a gallery full of pictures of plus-sized women in bikinis—a collection spearheaded by Gabi Fresh, a plus-sized beauty. Gabi’s gallery was spurred by positive feedback she got after posting vacation pictures of herself in a series of super cutie bikinis. “I know first-hand,” she wrote for xoJane, “how inspiring it can be to see people with bodies that look similar to my own feeling confident and happy on the beach in something other than a Hawaiian-print skirted one piece.” She adds: “Hopefully this gallery, which features lots of body diversity, proves that it’s not only “toned” fat girls who can feel confident hitting the beach in a two piece. ”

Say word. Standing ovation to Gabi and all the brave women who rocked Fatkinis in the Real Girl Belly Project. I call them brave not only because they refuse to be shamed by pop culture’s incredibly rigid, ridiculous notions of what constitutes beautiful and acceptable—gaunt, pale, big-boobed, blonde and for God’s sake, not black—but because they’re proud enough of their bodies to show them off in pictures on the internet. For the entire universe to see. I’m not there—not even by a stretch. But how delightful would it be if we moms could let go of the baby weight guilt trips and do something similar? (And P.S.? I sure would like to know where Gabi Fresh got those high-wasted bombshell bikinis. Someone might could beat me into one of those. Oh, and I heart #ThatIsAll.)


1. Beyonce’s Post Baby Body is Round and Curvy —Just like We Husbands Like Them
2. The #Flawless12 Project (Day 1): Learning To Love What I Look Like In the Morning
3. Photos Of Mariah Carey’s New Post-Baby Body! Let’s All Feel Craptastic We STILL Have Our Baby Weight!
4. Shining: What I Love About Me

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. word. I’ve been tripping and she just gave me the motivation I needed. I am going to buy a bikini this week..I just hope it makes it onto my body and to the pool without me trying to cover myself

  2. I have long ago lost the body of of my pre baby, pre 40 body. However, I have always felt that wearing a bikini was not out of the picture for me. I would go to the pool or beach and see other women much fuller than my own perceived thickness wearing their swimsuits with out inhibition. I would think to myself: “if they can do it, so can I !” So I go on and do my thing ! Even when I feel less than……this post is a great reminder. Thanks !

  3. Wow, she looks great! All over this. While I don’t have the size, I do have the stretch marks, spider veins and let’s just say not a perfect body and I am trying really hard to not care one bit and yes, wear some variation of a (not string) bikini. We all need to be more kind to ourselves and each other.

  4. What a wonderful project! It’s so exciting to see more body positivity going on these days.

  5. Well I am not going to go all out and get a bikini but I will suck it up and in and get a bathing suit. I shouldn’t deprive my son of the beach just because of being uncomfortable in a bathing suit. And its not fun wearing “beach clothes.” I want to get in the water too and have fun. Looking forward to it!

  6. Thanks for sharing, she looks absolutely adorable!!!! I love that bikini on her! So cute.

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