We’re wrapping up our month-long series about the women who inspire us with an interview of our founder herself - Victoria. Born and raised in Long Island, Victoria shares with us her own journey toward body positivity and the inspiration behind Voluptas Rose Lingerie.
Growing up, how did you feel about your body?
Well, I was always the tall, skinny kid. I was so tall, that I was the one in the back row of the chorus group that stuck out. Then, in sixth grade, I got boobs and a butt way before everyone else. I was noticeably different. It didn’t bother me, but I could see that it definitely bothered many adults.
Why did your figure matter so much in sixth grade?
I kept wearing what all my friends were wearing - tank tops and Soffe shorts - nothing inappropriate. But my teachers told me I was “disturbing” the other teachers by what I was wearing. It got so bad that one teacher made me go to the counselor’s office every morning to check my outfit. Meanwhile, I was not wearing anything different than anyone else. I was just fuller figured.
Did being singled out make you retreat or make you feel bad?
I knew then, even at that young age, that it was sexist and inappropriate behavior on their part. They were making a big deal out of something that simply wasn’t. My friends and I would buy all the same clothes and wear them on the same day, and I would be the only one picked out of the group. But, I didn’t let it bring me down because I knew that even though I was young, I was normal - my boobs and butt were normal!
How did being treated this way affect you through high school?
I did care more about my figure as I went through high school and a bit through college. I was naturally super skinny with curves, but not 100% happy with my body. It was actually during my job with a lifestyle brand in the Hamptons that I started really working out to build a stronger body, rather than being so hyper-focused on my weight - which is what I was always taught was ‘healthy.’ I started to eat more and to eat healthier and I was in the best shape of my life.
Working near the beach may make some people more self-conscious, but it sounds like it did the opposite for you?
It’s true! A lot of the women I was working with went the other direction, but instead, I became really comfortable with my body and discovered that being healthy didn’t mean being skinny for me. Instead, I realized how much I loved my natural curves even more than ever before, and decided to really embrace my body.
You’ve talked about how much you love the shape of the human body before. How did this affect your work in lingerie?
I have always been into art and enrolled in some kind of art school. I took my first figure drawing class at age 11. I have studied at FIT, Parsons, and Pratt in New York and Paris. My love for the unique and varied shapes of the human body only increased over time. But not necessarily in a sexual nature. For me, drawing and designing lingerie have always been about accentuating what makes us all naturally beautiful and embracing each body's unique movements and individuality.
How do you think these past experiences have influenced your desire to create a body-positive brand?
I use the word normalize a lot. I want everyone to feel that they ARE normal as is; that your only job is to embrace yourself as unique and beautiful and to strive for what makes you feel happy and good about who you are. A company, brand, or another person doesn’t get to decide what is normal for you. You don’t need to fit into a mold that other people decide is normal. Just because a BRAND is inadequate at creating pieces for you and your body does not make you inadequate.
This issue comes up a lot in discussions about sizing. Many women feel that they must fit within a certain size range and don’t want to go up or down despite their actual measurements. However, brands manipulate sizes all the time or have bad sizing systems. An item should fit you, compliment you, and make you feel good - the number should not matter.
How do you want people to feel when they wear Voluptas Rose?
Comfortable, sexy, and empowered. I want them to feel so good that they are not afraid to show it off! With every piece I design, I consider how it could be worn on its own or layered to create a full outfit.
How do you want to continue to expand the brand over time?
It’s essential to me that every piece we make is designed in the same way for every size and to ensure that these pieces are supportive and comfortable across the entire size range - something not every brand does. This will never change. My goal is to have one of the widest size ranges in the lingerie industry. Once we achieve this goal, I absolutely want to add more colors into our pieces and more variety of lingerie, lounge, and swim pieces. I want to create your everyday, casual, comfortable essentials and also have a selection of more playful, creative pieces.