Mattie Barringer, Closets
Mattie Barringer

"Sometimes it is necessary / to reteach a thing its loveliness," Mattie quotes, with her fragile defiance, from the poet Galway Kinnell. She could play the part of a ballsy, empowered fairytale princess -- purple dye in her blond messy braided locks, gold collars, fluffy sweaters, shredded hose, and strident black DM's. But Mattie's current role is about much more than how well she pairs Margiela tabi boots with a tie-dye, lingerie-inspired skirt: she has finally liberated herself from what has been the prison of most of her adolescent/young-adult life as a curvy girl waiting to be thin.

Mattie has bravely battled her body issues and was equally brave to share them with us. "A really cute super thin blond who wore Abercrombie" is her summation of her middle school self. Her boyfriend was a lacrosse player (who she dumped because he was a bore). But once Mattie's body began to mature into that of a woman's, the putdowns started. Stares followed her as she ran laps in gym, her locker was showered in Weight Watchers brochures, and, on her school's "Once Hot" list, she was named number one. In the years that followed, Mattie rotated between starving herself and a seemingly heathy diet. "I used to buy mass quantities of food. I'd chew it up then spit it back out into garbage bags," she says, with awe-inspiring composure. "One day, my roommate found a bag of this gross stuff that I meant to throw away. It was the most humiliating thing that has ever happened to me."

Ultimately, Mattie reveals, her entire life was centered around food: "I didn’t have time for other people. I was so depressed that I seized to relate to other things." At rock bottom, "Why?" was the question that she finally asked herself, one that impelled her climb out of the hell of society's constricting beauty standards and senseless constructions. A true best friend, sites like Style Rookie and this one (where Mattie interned), her classes at Gallatin/NYU, and an online community nurtured her recovery to the point where Mattie is today -- in a skin-tight, floor-length Gareth Pugh dress with a poise that reflects her words: "Beauty is vast."

-- Elisa Goodkind

Video Edited by Adaeze Elechi.

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