Alicia Mitchell is a plus-sized beauty and style blogger who has spent much of her life learning to love and celebrate her curves. She's faced criticism for ages but never on as grand a scale as what she has faced recently. The former beauty queen from Jersey is used to people looking at her and commenting on her appearance, but it typically happens on her terms.
Somehow, an image of Mitchell in an old Halloween costume surfaced on the internet and gained traction as people began to mock her for it. Mitchell paid homage to Aaliyah, sporting a recreation of her metallic bikini top look from the "Try Again" video.
Aaliyah was known for her long and slender build, and the look accentuated it by maximizing the amount of skin shown. The top had the thinnest straps possible and the pants gave us that '90s lower-than-low-rise. Mitchell wasn't fazed; she knew she could adapt the look for her body and comfort level and make it work.
She nailed the look by lifting the rise on the pants and adding a jacket so she didn't freeze to death.
Most of the responses she received were positive until one man took it upon himself to re-post her image negatively. The comments on that post were awful. Eventually, someone tagged her Mitchell so she could see the post, the comments, everything. It was bad.
Mitchell told BuzzFeed:
"As soon as I turned on my phone, my notifications started going crazy. I went on to Facebook and saw that someone had tagged me to a post that a gentleman had written about me in a negative light and I was like: 'wait a minute, I don't know this man' and I looked through the comments and it was chaos from there."
Once she was tagged, the abuse went from the comments section to her inbox. People called her a "fat b*tch" and said awful, abusive things. One person told her that what she SHOULD have been for Halloween was running on a treadmill. Mitchell said the experience was confusing for her since none of these people actually knew her or knew anything about her. They didn't know about her charity work, her longstanding efforts to uplift anyone who is different, or her body-positive message. They just knew she was "fat" and they hated her for it.
But Mitchell, in keeping with her personal values, faced the situation with positivity rather than telling everyone where to shove it.
That positivity took the internet by storm. People came out of the woodwork to defend the look and compliment her for doing it so well.:
And can we talk about THIS amazing nod!?! If Missy says Aaliyah would have loved it, that's the end of the story.
The man who originally shamed her did eventually show back up — in her inbox. He pulled the classic backpedal maneuver, but Mitchell wasn't about to let him off without reminding him that there is a lesson here.
She told Buzzfeed:
"He was in my inbox trying to explain himself. He tried to apologize, tried to clean it up, he tried to say it wasn't his intention he said, 'oh I thought you were cute but it was the wrong fit.' Who are you to tell me what looks right on me? Now you've started all this, these people that don't even know me, I've got people in my inbox sending hateful messages, my picture is going around everywhere and I was just minding my business and you started something that I didn't ask for."
We remind you once again that there are actual human beings on the other sides of these pictures and memes you re-post. They may not have asked for their 15 minutes of internet infamy; and there are very real consequences. We're so incredibly proud of Alicia Mitchell and inspired by her boldness and positivity.