The women’s plus-size modeling industry is full of inspiring figures who empower others and spread body positivity in their everyday lives. However, when it comes to the male plus-size modeling industry, few names stand out.
One curvy male model, known as Coach Rob, is determined to change that. The Georgia-based body-positive influencer regularly posts encouraging content on his social media channels to spread acceptance and share his different projects with his growing fanbase.
But Rob is more than just a fitness buff and Instagram maven. The 30-year-old also recently released a song with artist DjBrickz called the “Big Girl Anthem.” The lyrics contain references to plus-size women, including Melissa McCarthy and models Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence.
Before Kendrick Lamar even released his ode to “real women,” Rob was dropping lines praising “women with the curves” who have “thick hips, thick waist, chubby cheeks.”
“I wanted to do a song to empower the plus-size women out there — the curvaceous women with just a little bit of fluff — let them know they’re just as beautiful as everybody else out there,” the former elementary school teacher tells Yahoo Style.
Coach Rob’s personal journey to body acceptance is what has inspired his music and other work. After losing 140 pounds years ago, he realized that just shedding the weight wasn’t going to make him happy. “I was like, I don’t know if I want to eat broccoli every day for the rest of my life. I just created a balance and got a little bit of fluff back, and it’s a comfortable place to be right now.”
This balance led him from posting content of his weight-loss transformation to posting content more centered on accepting his body — regardless of its size.
“I posted a real picture with my full body with my fluffiness. Somebody pounced on ‘body positive’ and I was like, what is this body-positive movement that’s going on,” he says. After discovering the supportive community on Instagram, he built his newfound image in the plus-size community and gained a supportive fanbase that fully backed his decision to disregard what some might deem unrealistic body expectations.
“Not being able to go to the pool, taking my shirt off without getting looked at crazy. I literally woke up one morning and said, “Forget this, I love my body, I love who I am. I’m a Christian-like man, there’s a lot of biblical artwork on me, and I don’t care what anyone has to say about me,” he says.
Since then, he has amassed almost 40,000 followers on Instagram, mostly through his comical and incredibly honest posts about body shapes and sizes. He recently shared a video in which tries to fit into skinny jeans.
He captioned the clip, “Ladies, fellas go through the same things! Lol #skinnyjeans kill me everytime! Lol can I get a ‘Good Morning’ though?” The post was met with a number of supportive comments from followers who thought the clip was hilarious.
On his large social media following, Coach Rob shared, “It’s picked up in the last month or so in particular. I guess because I’m in the body-positive community now and everyone’s looking for a male to grab onto.”
He feels that the male plus-size community is desperately lacking a figure to lead and inspire others.
“Right now if you can think about a nucleus, that’s the female plus-size industry. You’ve got your Ashley Grahams, your Iskra Lawrences, and all these plus-size women — and then you’ve got your electrons floating on the outside trying to get inside the nucleus, that’s the plus-size male models,” he says.
He feels that not enough people realize the need for male figures in the plus-size industry. “We really don’t get the recognition yet, because there really isn’t a demand for it just yet. I’m not saying there won’t be a demand for it. I wanna be that piece. I want to be that guy — the Ashley Graham of the male industry. That’s my goal. That’s how successful I want to be. I’m not saying I want to be like her or do the things she does, but I want to have that kind of impact.”
Despite the message on his page mainly revolving around embracing curves, Coach Rob encourages his followers to still maintain and live healthy lifestyles. The certified trainer and nutritionist commits to healthy food in his diet — but also leaves room to indulge when he wants.
“I eat clean probably three or four days out of the week. I’m not just destroying my liver, pouring all types of toxins in my body. I eat what I want on the weekends,” he says. “Gentlemen all over the world, you don’t have to slave and do all this meal prep that everybody’s doing nowadays — trying to starve themselves to get down just two pounds. It’s just crazy,” he says.
Coach Rob is at the point where he would rather embrace happiness than focus on numbers on the scale, he says. “I’m embracing the finer things in life. Time is of the essence. I think we move so fast that we forget the little things that make us happy.”
That means he also has no time to pay any attention to Instagram hate — something many members of the plus-size community are subjected to. “A lot of people are so concerned about what other people are thinking, what they’re doing, or what they’re saying — I don’t have time to think about all that. As long as I’m happy and my family’s happy, I’m good to go.”
For now, he plans to continue expanding his modeling portfolio and being a source of support and encouragement for his followers.
“I want to be the male face of the body-positive movement. I want people to be like, “Hey, this guy used to be this big, he’s still healthy, he still embraces his body — no he doesn’t eat clean every day. You can still live a healthy lifestyle with a little bit of fluff. You can still embrace your curves, you can still embrace who you are,” he shares.
He tells Yahoo Style that his work has already led men to reach out to him to share his impact. “I’ve gotten a lot of guys saying, ‘Hey, thank you so much for the inspiration. I laid out at the pool today with no shirt on for the first time,’ and, “Hey, I stepped foot in the gym for the first time. Thank you for the motivation.'”
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