Monique Frausto is the first to admit that when she started Blogs by Latinas in 2008, she didn’t really know what she was doing. But she did know there had to be other Latinas out there blogging and she wanted a place where they could find one another.
So she approached a few of the Latinas she knew with blogs and asked them to join her directory. For the first two years, she says, it was slow-going.
But now the directory has more than 2,000 blogs by Latinas, ranging in topics from beauty, food, health and shopping to parenting, education, technology and career advice.
“I’ve seen a 300 percent increase this year,” Frausto told VOXXI in an interview. “I’m getting submissions almost every day.”
Latinas blog from all over the world
Frausto, 35, manually adds each Latina blogger to the directory, so she gets to see where the women are writing from. At first it was the usuals: California, New York, Texas, Puerto Rico and South America. But now Latina bloggers are writing from all over the world, Frausto says, from Korea to Iceland to the United Arab Emirates.
“A lot of the time these women come from somewhere like Dubai where there aren’t a lot of Latina women,” she said. “This directory gives them a chance to connect to women who are like them and find blogs they will like.”
While Latina bloggers have considerably raised their profile since Frausto launched her directory four years ago — most recently a group of top Latina bloggers were invited by LATISM for a retreat in Washington, D.C. — Frausto says many Latinas still tend to flock to parenting and lifestyle topics, and she’d like to see more Latinas blogging about sports, politics, science, cars and art.
“I want women stepping into what is very popular for men in the field,” she said.
In addition to overseeing Blogs by Latinas, Frausto, who is Mexican-American and based in Los Angeles, is in the process of starting a new online magazine for women of color — not just Latinas and African-Americans, who dominate the market, she says, but a broader range that includes Native American, Indian and Filipino women.
Latinas and plus-size fashion
On her own blog, Curves and Chaos, Frausto writes about plus-size fashion, a part of the fashion industry that is increasingly grabbing the attention (and dollars) of major brands, says Frausto, who herself has worked with Neutrogena, L’Oréal and CoverGirl.
“I’m a big, big, big supporter of body acceptance and self acceptance and I would just love to show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors,” she says. “The world isn’t just black and white anymore. It’s like a kaleidoscope.”
Frausto, who was invited to cover Full Figured Fashion Week this week in New York, says one of the main misconceptions is that if you support plus-size fashion, you also condone obesity.
The topic went viral recently when xoJane, an online magazine for women, posted a photo gallery of “fatkinis” — or plus-size women in bikinis — and the author, fashion blogger Gabi Gregg, appeared on The Today Show to talk about embracing the body you’re in now, “regardless of where you are on your path to health.”
“I don’t think your health should determine whether you’re allowed to wear certain types of clothing,” Gregg said on The Today Show.
Like Gregg, Frausto says she wants women to be healthy and says there are plenty of people who need to exercise more and eat better to get there. But that doesn’t mean they have to cover up their bodies while they’re working on it.
“It’s about being comfortable in the skin I’m in now,” said Frausto, who herself is plus-size. “While I’m in this body, I have to dress this body and I’m going to be as stylish as I can at this time.”