As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Maya's story, written by Charmin Michelle.
I know this may come to a surprise so many, but here we are. Yes, I got a BBL. If you aren't aware, a BBL is a Brazilian Butt Lift, a cosmetic surgery process where the doctor uses a combination of liposuction and fat-grafting, transfers the fat into the butt, resulting in added volume, defined curves, and a lift. It is technically lipo and a fat transfer. But yeah girl, this has been on my to-do list for a while. And now that I am able to afford it, I went for it.
This was a really personal decision for me to get one, and I also went back and forth on whether I would share. In the end, I am in a position to share what I know, so I decided to do so. It could help other women who are considering the surgery make a more informed decision. So, here we go:
Why, sis? Why did you get a BBL?
For my surgery, I got 360 lipo, meaning the doctor took fat from my entire abdomen, my love handles, my entire back, my arms, and my sides. I got a fat transfer which means my doctor just took that fat, and put it somewhere else. The fat was then injected into my hips and my butt, creating the hourglass shape I was going for.
I am actually not one of those people who got a BBL to get a fat butt, to be twerking, as someone looking for clout, or whatever. To be honest, I didn't even do this for my career. I got a BBL specifically to have a more feminine look about my body. I wanted an hourglass shape, being that that's not something I was born with. And like most women, I've always have body issues, or things I didn't like, so the things this surgery did for me, I could not have gotten in anybody's gym. Plain and simple. I have been super, super, super fit before—working out, eating clean, all of that—and I had no curves whatsoever. Like...none.
So my decisions had nothing to do with anyone else—my friends, my family, my man. I wanted to look more feminine in my clothing and I just wanted to be happy with myself when no one was in the room but me and Jesus.
And I have been considering this for years. I know it's easy to say that I got one because it's trendy or popular, or whatever the case may be, but I have been researching this for a long time. This is nothing new, ladies. There is nothing new about it. And I had been researching BBLs hard.
Let's talk numbers:
If you are familiar with BBLs, or if you've been doing your research, then you are familiar with Dr. Fisher in Miami, who conducted my surgery. His prices are on the expensive side, my entire BBL surgery—minus the arms—cost $8,000. I added my arms for another thousand, totaling $9,000. This price includes the surgery, my post-op care, the first five massages at his facility afterwards, and more.
A little BBL preparation insight:
OK, so 30 days leading up to my surgery, I had to stop taking all my vitamins, I couldn't drink alcohol, no drugs, and no medications. I tried to eat clean because doctors advise you to be close to your goal weight before having the surgery to avoid trying to lose weight after (and potentially alter results). You have to get blood work done, and have approved labs prior as well. Sidebar: I was on keto but had to get off because they messed up my labs. Once I began eating food from all food groups, my levels were good to go for surgery.
Obviously, because of the times, I had to take a COVID test as well. You will also need excess fat for the procedure, which is another reason I chose not to lose weight before surgery. You will need a BMI of 32 or less.
Dr. Fisher took 4,000 ccs, the maximum amount of fat you can transfer, and put almost took exactly 2,000 cc's in each butt cheeks and hips.
How is the healing process for a BBL?
The healing process is...something. You learn the tips and tricks of many things that you've never even thought of before. Things like wearing foam boards under your shapewear to tighten skin, or drains, or placing a marble in your belly button to prevent the skin from hanging too low. I had on waist trainers (and more) all the time. The scars are everywhere your lipo entry points are for both removing fat, as well as taking it out. I couldn't take a bath, couldn't get in the pool for six weeks. And using the bathroom is a new normal (and super uncomfortable).
Everything is uncomfortable. Everything.
The bulk of healing or recovery comes from your lipo areas, not even your butt or hips. You can't sit down until three weeks after surgery, but when that period is over, it's important to ease into it to begin the softening process because you'll notice that it's not soft like a normal booty for a while. The sooner you start to sit, the faster it gets soft. Please keep in mind that doctors cannot change your genetics and they can only work with what you have. This is why BBLs look different on everyone.
I wore four foam boards in my faja (shapewear), and a triangle on my back to create the dip. It's important to note that you're not fully healed, or won't see full results, until six months later despite feeling normal immediately, or not feeling sick.
Also, there is no maintenance for BBLs, which is a perk.
Having the BBL surgery is something that is extremely personal for me. I did something to improve myself and this is a part of my self-love journey and it's all about loving on yourself, regardless of what that looks like for you.
Financially, I was more than OK, I made this choice when it was a good time for me.
Spiritually, I was a mess. I prayed to God that this was the right thing to do. Every little sign where I questioned if getting a BBL was a part of my story, I paid attention to. He and I talked a LOT. But he gave me the confirmation I needed to move forward, which is why I did.
And honestly, not everyone understands this. Many people questioned my integrity, or somehow thought I was above having cosmetic surgery, and it's so hard for me to rationalize why people were shocked. But, listen, I am a woman with her own personal body issues at the end of the day. I feel like, of all the things to discuss about my experience in having a BBL, that that isn't one that I should have to explain. This is a reflection of something I've been going through my whole life with my body, and it was a choice I made, that I'm super happy about.
This was self-love for me. I loved myself enough to get myself out of that negative space that I felt about myself and my body.
Maya is a social media influencer and has a beauty channel on YouTube where she sometimes blogs about her daily life. Follow her on Instagram @maya_galore.
Featured image via Maya Galore/Instagram
This post is in partnership with Ulta Beauty.
Gone are the days where we prioritize “the grind” over our own wellbeing. #Teamnosleep is canceled. Millennial women are prioritizing themselves and their rest above all else, and we love to see it. We’re seeing proof of this powerful shift everywhere we look, but especially in the #softlife hashtag that’s been trending all over social media. The soft life movement is all about pursuing the path of least resistance, choosing ease over struggle, and relaxing in your vulnerability.
xoNecole and Ulta Beauty have identified six beauty influencers who are fully embracing the “soft life.” They’re rejecting the notion that their worth is measured by their professional output, how many followers they have, or how hard they’re hustling. Each of these creative powerhouses has learned to make self-care a non-negotiable in their lives while walking into the fullness of their most authentic selves. There will always be a demand for more content amidst the ever-changing algorithms, but as influencers like Tiffany Renee, Caitlyn Davis, and Alanna Doherty know all too well, you can’t properly show up for others until you fully show up for yourself first.
Read all about how these six beauty influencers are approaching the soft life on their own terms.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
As a full-time content creator and founder of the college clothing label HBCU Yearbook, Caitlyn Davis is no stranger to hard work. She started gaining followers while attending undergrad at FAMU, filming natural hair tutorials for YouTube in her dorm room. From there, she steadily picked up ambassador gigs for popular online fashion and beauty brands. “[They were] paying us around $300 a month,” she remembers. “I thought I was doing something with my money. I was like, ‘What? I'm getting paid to do something that I love?’ It became a snowball effect.”
After linking up with a cousin who had just become a makeup artist, Caitlyn fell in love with the idea of creating beauty content. “Beauty just elevates your personality,” she tells xoNecole. “And because it does that, you just feel better about yourself. And when you do that and show other people and they start learning and getting better at makeup and beauty, their personality and confidence starts to elevate as well.”
Caitlyn admits that maintaining a healthy work-life balance doesn’t come easy for her. She’s a self-proclaimed workaholic who takes pride in her business. “[I’ve learned] the soft life is working hard for what you want but knowing we're deserving of the best life has to offer, including rest.” When life gets overwhelming, she turns to the great outdoors. “I go on hikes,” she says. “There’s something about being in nature, being grounded, hearing birds, the trees moving, and water [flowing] that immediately de-stresses me."
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Tiffany Renee grew up on a farm in Tennessee, where her first introduction to the world of beauty and fashion came via Tyra Banks. The smizing supermodel’s competition series “America’s Next Top Model” drew this southern girl in. “Beauty wasn't really a thing [in the environment I grew up in],” she says. “So I've got to give it to Tyra. A lot of my posing and wearing my makeup a certain way had a lot to do with Tyra and how she coached those models. As I got older and started experimenting more with makeup, I just grew to love it more and more.” Tiffany says she sharpened her makeup skills by learning one thing at a time, starting with winged eyeliner. Next brows, and then lashes. Along the way, she made it a point to develop the techniques that worked for her face rather than copying and pasting from YouTube tutorials.
After moving to Atlanta in 2012, Tiffany began to rack up followers on Instagram with her beauty, hair, and fashion content. She even created an online community called “Curl Gang,” which celebrates the beauty and versatility of natural hair. With all she’s accomplished, Tiffany says she’s most proud of shedding her tough exterior and learning to be vulnerable. “My life has been pretty tough, so that made me a tough woman,” she tells xoNecole. “In my relationships, I've always had this tough persona on the outside, but really, I'm internally very much a soft person.
“For me, taking on the soft life was doing the work to break that mold, and accept that it's okay to be vulnerable,” she continues. “It's okay to be expressive. It's okay to love people. It's not just about the tasks of my life, but more so about my well-being. I’m actively deciding not to hold onto things that make me [have to] be tough.”
Hometown: Napa, California
They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Kinya Claiborne is living proof. This lifestyle influencer has a professional resume that would make any recruiter salivate. She’s worked in print, television, and radio, and has even overseen public relations for billion-dollar projects. But like all creatives at heart, there came a point in her career where she felt a calling elsewhere. “My job wasn't sexy,” she admits. “I still loved my job and I loved working in corporate America, but there was a void. There were other things that I also loved that my job wasn't fulfilling.”
Inspired by the DailyCandy newsletters she used to read in college, Kinya launched her own lifestyle magazine called Style & Society which covers fashion, beauty, health, wellness, entertainment, travel - all the things Kinya loves. What started as a creative outlet turned into a booming business. Her readers wanted to know more about her, which led her to posting photos of herself inside her stories. “I started Style & Society back in 2013. The term influencer didn't exist back then. Brands started contacting me and wanting me to do product placements and campaigns. That's how my social media following started growing. Then eventually, the term influencer came about, and at that point, I had already been doing it.”
As you can tell from her Instagram, Kinya is always well put together. Her early beauty memories include getting her hair done at the salon with her mom and wearing different lipstick colors to school. Kinya says she’s always been a girly girl. but she’s as resilient as they come. The Northern Californian survived the Route 91 festival shooting in 2017. She also lost her brother to suicide. From her perspective, being soft isn’t just about pampering yourself, but showing up for those around you. “You can't just look at someone and know how they're feeling,” she says. “It’s so important to check in, because even a phone call, text message, or just saying hello to a stranger could really change their path.”
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
For Taylor Winbush, presentation is everything. Embracing that belief has gotten her far. “My mom would always say ‘dress how you want to be treated,’” she says. “She would always dress up to go to the grocery store, making sure her hair was always done, and she was fresh-faced. She taught me that when you look better, you feel better.”
As a dancer and theater performer, Taylor got to hone in on her makeup skills early. “I remember even from a young age, when I used to take ballet classes, they would make you do your makeup way in the back of the mirror to make sure you'd be able to see it [far from the stage].” After moving to Atlanta in 2019 to pursue a career in acting and commercial modeling, Taylor discovered she could book more gigs if she added “content creator” to her resume. As a beauty lover, it came naturally to her, and it’s paid off tenfold.
At the start of the year, Taylor stepped out on faith and decided to work for herself full-time. She acknowledges that it’s a risk, but nothing a little discipline can’t manage. “As long as I'm doing my part, then I truly and firmly believe that God will handle the rest.”
Aside from constantly developing her self-discipline, Taylor says she’s embracing the soft life by taking care of her physical and spiritual temple. “I'm a super giving person, so I would give a lot of my time to friends and family, making sure everyone else is taken care of before me,” she says. “There's a saying that if you help someone build their sandcastle first, then what will you have left to build? I’m learning you have to take care of yourself first in order for you to help someone else.”
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Fashion and beauty haven’t always been a welcoming world for curvy women, but that hasn’t stopped influencer Thamarr Guerrier from accepting her rightful seat at the table. This bubbly and effervescent content creator started her lifestyle blog, Musings of a Curvy Lady, back in 2012 on her lunch break working as a nurse. “I started [my blog] as a way to promote personal style and beauty in this body of mine,” Thamarr shared on her site. “Visibility matters and you’re going to see me. I’m going to take up all the space and bring my own chair to the table.”
Thamarr’s beauty memories stem all the way back to childhood. “I was obsessed with watching my mother do her hair and makeup in the mirror,” she says. “I played dress-up in her clothes and would sneak and put on her mascara. I just couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear lipstick.”
If you peep her IG feed, you’ll notice Thamarr documents her globetrotting in head-turning looks that will make you want to book a one-way ticket to your nearest island. But it’s actually not her extravagant travel experiences that bring her the most peace. It’s the little things, like sipping a glass of wine during her skincare routine as Kacey Musgraves plays in the background. “After a shower, I always feel a little better, especially after a crummy day,” she tells xoNecole. “It’s also my favorite place to shed a tear or two. After my literal and sometimes emotional cleanse, I feel renewed. I talk positively to myself as I pamper myself with my favorite products. Taking the time and being purposeful as I go.”
Thamarr’s interpretation of “the soft life” is to live and love in a way that makes her inner being the happiest. “If it brings me peace, it’s the soft life for me.”
Hometown: Bridgetown, Barbados
It’s hard not to feel a spark of joy when you browse through Alanna Doherty’s IG page. It’s chock-full of Alanna dressed to the nines in bright psychedelic patterns. Her lush ‘fro bounces back and forth in all its glory as Alanna jams to her favorite tunes. Alanna is happiness personified, but her initial introduction to beauty was quite the opposite. “I started loving makeup and beauty products because I felt they were necessary in order to cover up my insecurities,” she tells xoNecole. “I’m finally starting to truly fall in love with them this year. I no longer need a full face of makeup to make me feel good. I’m perfectly happy going without any at all now, but love that I have the option to play with makeup. It’s more of a creative process now and I LOVE that!”
Alanna’s bold and colorful aesthetic is brave and inspiring. And when it comes to the soft life, she’s honest enough to admit that she’s figuring it out along the way. “For years I’ve been putting my own self-care behind work and I’m now starting to realize its importance in my life,” she says. “I’ve still got a long way to go but ‘the soft life’ to me would be creating the space to focus on myself and taking the time to enjoy it. I see long walks along the beach, spas, more hot yoga, and relaxing on the balcony.”
Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Renee
While there’s no perfect timeline for new mothers to get back to their workout routine after giving birth, tennis star Naomi Osaka is hitting the ground running (literally) with her post-baby fitness routine.
After giving birth to her daughter Shai with rapper boyfriend Cordae, Osaka, 25, took to Instagram to give her 2.7 million Instagram followers a peek into her training sessions just seven weeks postpartum.
In the carousel post, Osaka is seen taking in the sun and showing off her new mom glow, flashing a joyful grin and peace signs in the middle of a track field. To follow, the decorated athlete shared a video of herself pushing a fitness sled down the street with her workout partner on top, who jokingly asked, "Why are you going so slow?" To which she replied by attributing her steadier pace to enjoying a bit of Jamaican food.
The four-time Grand Slam champ took things up a notch in the next clip, showing her and a running partner engaging in a friendly race up a paved hill, with supportive cheers in the background saying, "Go, go, Naomi!"
When the tennis champ first announced her pregnancy on January 11, Osaka shared her sonogram and a heartfelt note reflecting on how she’s found “fun” in the most challenging moments of her life prior to becoming a mom.
"The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it's the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun,” she shared in the Instagram post. “These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I've dedicated my life to."
She continued, "I realize that life is so short and I don't take any moments for granted, every day is a new blessing and adventure. I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I'm looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, 'that's my mom,' haha."
Whether it’s on the court or in her personal life, it’s clear that Osaka is no stranger to putting in the work to not only become the best tennis player in history, but the best mother she can be to her new daughter.
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Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images