Dana Suchow’s #earthgirlstory

Our new featured Earthgirl is Dana Suchow (@DoTheHotpants)! Dana’s #earthgirlstory dives into her journey with body image in the fashion industry, to her blog becoming a safe space, and now a voice for feminism and ending band-aid solutions. We get real talking about why she’s angry and awake, and how she came into her true calling. This has catapulted her to become “real” and share her shame with the world so she could start talking about controversial topics. No, shouting them from the rooftops! We touch upon what brings out insecurities with Dana still, despite her unstoppable attitude, and how to fight those inner demons on a rollercoaster. Let’s talk about the history, this #earthgirlstory, and help build Dana’s dreams for the future.

 

I’m also really happiest is when I can yell something controversial from the roof tops….  I like pushing the buttons, I like saying those things that I think a lot of women are terrified to say. That doesn’t mean I’m better than them, that doesn’t mean anything. All the means is just that I have a different type of personality and that I have listened to other women and I’m happy to speak for women who are to scared to do so or too traumatized to do so. Just in situations where they can’t really speak up and that makes me happiest.”
-Dana Suchow


Check out the #earthgirlstory Interview with Dana Suchow on Youtube. Be sure to subscribe for all the #earthgirlstories and connect with us on instagram (@DoTheHotpants and me; @earthgirlakadeanne, and @earthgirlstories for all #earthgirlstories and quotes) with what you thought and share this out to any fellow earthgirls!
 

DANA IS WORTHY. AND LOVED. SHE IS INCREDIBLY BRAVE BECAUSE OF – NOT IN SPITE OF – EVERYTHING SHE’S BEEN THROUGH AND EMPOWERED BY HER #EARTHGIRLSTORY!

Deanne Vincent: Hello Dana, I’m so excited to have you on and learn more about you. I want to just start you off by giving you the chance to introduce yourself to the women and all the listeners out there. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been doing and what you’ve been up to lately?
Dana Suchow:

[00:00:30]

Yeah, hi. Well first off all thank you for having me on here, I really appreciate it. My name is Dana Suchow, I run the blog, Do The Hot Pants. I also started the hashtag, my body story, that’s been used by thousands of men and women, actually across the world. Basically, we’ll start it off as a fashion blog and then through getting a eating disorder and trying to navigate how fashion and body positivity went together. I ended up creating, Do The Hot Pants which is now just a body positive hub and a body positive website that I feature other women’s body stories actually on it. I’m trying to do social media campaigns and definitely trying to spark fire and bring people together.
[00:01:00]

Deanne Vincent:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) and I think you’re good at the voice that you have. You’re super passionate about everything.
Dana Suchow: Yeah.
Deanne Vincent: One on Instagram that totally comes across which I love.
Dana Suchow: I’m super passionate and I’m super angry-
Deanne Vincent: Yeah-
Dana Suchow:

[00:01:30]

I think it’s hard not to be angry right now as a woman. Sometimes I talk to people and it’s like, they just, you go about their day to day. There’s this phrase that’s it’s like, “Once you’re woke, you can’t go back to sleep,” and I think that a lot of women walk around a certain heaviness, that they carry with them day to day, a certain amount of anger. We wish we could back to sleep and we wish we could just go back to the times when we didn’t realize sexism and racism and violence against women. Yeah, now that I have that and I’m just angry that I’m trying to put my passions into things that will help others.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dana Suchow: Help myself.
Deanne Vincent:

[00:02:00]

Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s like you said, “Ignorance is bliss,” in a certain way but now that you’re awake, it’s like you’re channeling and funneling everything-
Dana Suchow: Yeah-
Deanne Vincent: In a positive way.
Dana Suchow:

[00:02:30]

Absolutely. I mean, ignorance really is bliss. It’s funny though, even when I was ignorant, I still was suffering. I just didn’t didn’t realize where I was suffering from. I didn’t realize that patriarchy really was affecting me and my body image issues. When I would go into stores, that, that’s why I felt bad about myself and my looks. Now that I know, it’s like walking around is just so infuriating sometimes. I feel my job now is to just wake people up.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dana Suchow: To find the best way for us, all to get together and work towards a common good or fight a common evil.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I love that, how did it all start for you?
Dana Suchow:

[00:03:00]

I think I’ve always just been passionate. I think I’ve always been an angry person. I was called a bitch a lot when I was younger which I now embrace but it’s been a big insecurity of mine for a long time. I’m being a bitch or I’m being too forceful or too angry. I think that because I have this attitude about it, that getting into body positivity and coming to terms with my eating disorder, wasn’t as difficult for me as for some other women.
[00:03:30]

[00:04:00]

Basically, I started a fashion blog about five years ago due to Hot Pants. I was dating a fashion photographer at the time, it seemed like the perfect match. I would go to fashion weeks with him. I had these great photographs. I was like, “I want to become a famous fashion blogger.” At the time I was also dealing with bulimia, but it was not manageable but it was my own secret. I felt like I could still work and I could still do the blog and I could still do all these things while secretly excising five hours a day. As I was doing the blog and as the pressure to be beautiful and to be thin and to be perfect, to have this online image, kept growing. It became harder and harder to hide my eating disorder and it also started, adding to it. The pressures of all of these things really made it feel like I … Not only was I living this dichotomy but it also felt like I was going to explode.
[00:04:30]

[00:05:00]

I ended up slowly coming to terms with my readers, little by little I would start adding body positivity into the writing or into the things that I was doing. I finally I think what catapult it really into body positivity was, I released un-photoshoped versions of photos that had been previously photoshoped. It was an article and I called it, “Photos I Wish I Didn’t Photoshop.” It went completely viral and it basically was just photos that I had previously done, where it was covering my acne or under eye bags or I was slimming my waste and my hips a little bit. It yeah, like I said, it went completely viral. It was picked up by BuzzFeed, by Elle, by Yahoo, by ABC News. It was really overwhelming.
Deanne Vincent: How long ago was that?
Dana Suchow: That was about two years ago.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah.
Dana Suchow:

[00:05:30]

[00:06:00]

Yeah, that was about two years ago and that really was, once that happened and once it really started connecting and resonating with people. I was like, “I know my true calling,” and I’ve done a lot of work. I really think I’m over the eating disorder. I do have certain episodes where I’m like, “I feel like I’m regressing.” It’s always two steps forward, one step back and I also, now I share everything with my readers. I don’t hide anything, I’m not a fashion blog anymore. I actually very uncomfortable sharing fashion or beautiful photos of myself online because I feel that they make other people feel bad about themselves. I really have to be careful about this safe space that I created now for men and women.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dana Suchow: That I have to stay true to that.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dana Suchow: That’s the story in a nutshell.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah.
Dana Suchow: There’s a lot of here and there and ups and down that have happened in between. Basically it was, started as a fashion blog, came to terms with my eating disorder, released those photos. Since then I really created this online community of people who feel that my blog is a safe space.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s amazing how you’ve transformed over the years absolutely.
[00:06:30]

Dana Suchow:

Yeah-
Deanne Vincent: How did the bulimia start? How did that happen for you?
Dana Suchow:

[00:07:00]

[00:07:30]

It’s interesting because I like to think that my body image issues all started when I moved to New York seven years ago. I moved to New York, I didn’t have really any friends. My family was all in California, I had just gone through a break up. I moved in the dead of winter, it was really a traumatic move for me. I did it just because I had a friend that moved here, I was ready for some change. When I moved to New York, I think because I didn’t have that support system. I started eating a lot and I started becoming really obsessed with my weight. For awhile I even thought I was pregnant and that was why I was eating a lot. I just didn’t know what was going on. Then after six months of me putting on a tremendous amount of weight, I started looking into eating disorders and I realized that I had bulimia or binge eating disorder. I had no idea about any of that stuff before. It was all totally new, I decided to find a therapist after a year of being in New York.
[00:08:00]

[00:08:30]

It was a lot of, figuring out what what was going on with my body, what was going on with my mind. I liked to say that, that’s when it started but it’s not actually. Over the years as I’ve done more work, when I was at my worst of my eating disorder, I kept being like, “I just wish I was the weight I was a couple years ago or I wish I could just deal with food the way I was a couple years ago.” While I didn’t have issues with food per say, I still hated my body. I had a deep, deep hatred for my body and it actually took its life in my skin, was what I hated. I’ve always been self conscious of my acne, I grew up with acne, my mom had really, really bad acne. She had cystic acne growing up, she was really bullied and made fun of when she grew up. That fear of being scared that I was going to be cast as other or made fun of, followed me throughout my life.
[00:09:00]

[00:09:30]

Having my skin put under a microscope by my family and by a dermatologist throughout, literally throughout growing up, really affected my self esteem and the way I viewed myself in society. While the bulimia happened and the eating disorder happened seven years ago when I moved to New York, a lot of other things, were building blocks to get to that point. That’s why, while I talk about body positivity as well as eating disorder awareness, I think we have to view it all in a, higher pyramid that’s under the umbrella of feminism. Underneath feminism we have all of these things and anytime you start to hyper sexualize women, you shame women for their bodies, you tell black women that their not good enough, you tell fat women that their not good enough. While that is body shaming, that all has to do with patriarchy and marketing and living in a society that is gaining financial benefits off of us hating each other.
[00:10:00] That’s the direction I moved towards. I was really focused on eating disorders but now I’m like, the umbrella that it’s under is so overwhelming, that I think there’s a lot we need to attack because attacking just eating disorders is a band-aid on the bigger issue.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, the bigger picture going on for sure.
Dana Suchow: Exactly.
Deanne Vincent: When did you start fashion blogging and doing that within this whole story of things?
[00:10:30]

Dana Suchow:

It was the beginning of 2012, which was 11. Yeah, it was awhile ago, it was awhile ago. I wasn’t fashion blogging for very long. Actually you know what, since I started the blog I was extremely insecure about my body. I can look back at the very first fashion post and my like, “Wow, I hated myself,” or “Wow, I ran five miles before this post,” because I was terrified of how I looked in front of the camera.
[00:11:00]

[00:11:30]

That’s what’s sad about it too, I go through the blog and while there’s a lot of great stuff on it, a lot of its sad to me to. A lot of it, steeped in trauma and steeped in really negative thoughts about myself because it really reminds me of a time that, I was really out of control. I really had so much self hatred. I would eat food, I’d eat a bag of crackers and I would throw them in the trash and I would have to spray them with 409, so I wouldn’t go back and eat them. These are just memories that, going through the blog invoke but it’s also healthy for me too, to keep it up and remember that.
  It’s interesting because in the post I’ll be like, “Oh my God, I had the best day ever. I’m going to get cupcakes and blah, blah, blah” It’s like, oh man if only my readers knew just what I was going through. I’m glad I was able to come to terms with it and be honest now.
Deanne Vincent: I think now that, you are so open and vulnerable and totally honest on your Instagram-
Dana Suchow: Yeah-
[00:12:00]

Deanne Vincent:

It’s totally changed because when you started it, it wasn’t necessarily the whole picture of things either, right?
Dana Suchow:

[00:12:30]

[00:13:00]

Exactly, exactly. I think if people can take away anything, it’s that nothing you see is real. My Instagram wasn’t real, I still and I’m trying to fix it but I still have days where I don’t very good but I don’t also feel like sharing it with anybody. It’s very scary to put yourself out there and I’ve never put myself out there and people been like, “This is stupid,” or “She’s ugly,” or anything. It still is just society tells us that we’re suppose to be perfect and a hundred percent all the time. Whenever we are flawed or we are real, we are made not to feel good about ourselves. What I’m trying to work on is, for everyone to understand when they come to my page that they leave knowing that nothing is real. That magazines aren’t real, that billboards aren’t real, that ads aren’t real, the only thing that’s real, is what your experiencing right now.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think it must be hard, correct me if I’m wrong, is it hard for you because you have such a large following now, that you feel the desire to be perfect within the scheme of imperfection and honesty and vulnerability? What’s that like?
Dana Suchow:

[00:13:30]

[00:14:00]

Yes, that’s such a good point. I had posted a picture, just a fashion picture of myself a couple weeks ago. I didn’t post anything underneath, being like, “Oh when I took this picture I was feeling really bad about myself.” I just posted it and I was like, “Oh, it was a really nice photo.” I thought it added to the aesthetic of my Instagram and I thought the fashion looked cool. I started sitting there and I was like, “This isn’t adding anything to anyone. If anyone sees this photo, they’re going to see a beautiful white women who’s thin and able bodied, looking fashionable. I’m not learning anything from it and all that people are going to do is read it and maybe feel bad about themselves.” I was like, “Why do I need to post it?”
[00:14:30] I sat thinking for a day and I was like, “I think that I needed to post it because I was having a moment where I just wanted to be told that I was pretty, that I was valued, that my feelings were valid.” I think I just needed some compliments and that really made me … I’ve actually been thinking about that for the past couple weeks being like, “When I want to post a picture that’s just a pretty picture, that’s just a pretty selfie or something.” I need to sit and think about why I want to post that. It’s not helping my followers and for it to be helping me, I can be doing that on my own. I can validate myself on my own, I don’t need my 13,000 followers or whatever to validate me.
[00:15:00]

[00:15:30]

They already validate me by following me and trusting me. It’s interesting because when you create a safe space like this, there are rules to it. There are rules, me as an admin, there are rules to it and I have to respect those rules. Those rules mean, that I’m learning all the time, I’m learning to correct terminology for people. I’ve learned Latinx and I learned why it’s the X at the end, so it’s non gender specific. A friend taught me that a couple months ago, it’s all of these things where I have to be respectful to people and I have to remember that as a woman with privilege, I don’t know everything. I have to allow people a seat at the table, in this space that I’ve created. It’s tough, I’m a human being and sometimes I just want to feel good and I just want to be shallow and I just want to be this and that.
[00:16:00] Everyone is trying to navigate this world in the best way that they can. There certainly are no pre existing rules for spaces like this. It’s definitely been a learning experience on what I can do and what I can’t do and what will gain peoples trust and what will make people be like, “I don’t know, I came for a safe space and this doesn’t make me feel very safe.” I mean, I will never be a hundred percent but it’s definitely been learning.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative) and I appreciate your honesty for that.
Dana Suchow: Yeah.
Deanne Vincent:

[00:16:30]

Said that, I mean posting something like that, it’s so easy to get the external validation. How do you find it within yourself to find your own self worth? How would you help someone through that or how do you do it yourself?
Dana Suchow:

[00:17:00]

I mean, look if I didn’t have a therapist, I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last couple years. If I didn’t have a therapist, I really wouldn’t be where I’m at, at all. There’s only so many mantras you can do and meditation you can do. Where I actually think that women as a whole, need someone to talk too. We need a feminist support group, we need somebody to speak to, to get our issues out. While I can give people advice on what I’ve been doing and the things that I do, unless you’re really seeking help and you’re really … You’re doing a therapist, you’re going to a meditation group or something. I don’t think that you’re fully going to grasp it but when I have the moment that I have, I do a couple things.
[00:17:30]

[00:18:00]

One, is I’ll have therapy and I’ll speak to my therapist. Two, is I’ll reach out to friends and I’ll just be honest with a group of friends or with one friends. I’ll have a one on one, we’ll go get coffee and I’ll just, “I’m not feeling great about myself.” The other thing is that I share it on social media and it really makes me feel so much better. It really, my community really validates my feeling and they also make me feel like I’m not alone. I think that’s really the big picture, is that’s the big problem about women and our body image issue, is that we all feel like we’re the only ones that hate our thighs. We’re the only ones that have this ugly stomach, we’re the only ones with this weird nose. It’s like we all hate almost everything about our bodies and we’re not alone.
[00:18:30] It’s just becoming a part of a community. I’m not perfect, it’s hard for me to say, “Well this is what you can do to fix yourself.” Definitely finding a community where you can share your experiences and feel less alone, is one of the best things that you can do. There’s only so many Pinterest positive boards that you can read, where you actually have to speak about your experience and you have to relate to someone. I think that, that touch is on human nature in general of not feeling alone, our tribal nature of feeling that we have these shared experiences and that we’re in it together.
Deanne Vincent: Mm-hmm (affirmative) and the connections that you make on the basis of the imperfections is huge.
Dana Suchow:

[00:19:00]

Oh my gosh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I was at a coffee shop the other day talking to a friend and we were just having a body positive talk and a girl overheard us and she’s turns around and she’s was like, “I wasn’t going to say anything. I just want to tell you, I love this conversation.” It turns out she was recovering from an eating disorder, her and I met for coffee a couple weeks ago. She emailed me and it was like, just talking about it you never know who you’re going to affect or who you’re going to meet. It’s incredible because it doesn’t matter who you speak to, somebody’s going to relate on that level. You’re going to have a connection with somebody.
Deanne Vincent:

[00:19:30]

Yeah and by not talking about it, that would never would’ve reached out to you or you never would’ve been able to help her connect or feel worthy of what you’re going through either.
Dana Suchow: Exactly.
Deanne Vincent: What’s it been like for people who have known you throughout this whole process?
Dana Suchow:

[00:20:00]

[00:20:30]

Well, I think it’s been interesting for them because I think that they didn’t really know anything was wrong with me. Especially family, I think that it was … I never went to my family being like, “I have a eating disorder, I need help, I need treatment, I need this.” I fixed myself, all by myself. Found a therapist all on my own, I was living in New York by myself, I was paying my own rent. I did it all alone but I think me being so vocal about it now, I think there’s a lot of, “Wow, we could’ve done better, we could’ve done more.” I think trying to figure out where it all steamed from. I think about my body image issues I had as a child and I think it can be tough for a parent to hear those things and be like, “Well as a parent, I tried my best. I tried to protect my child and this is the end result.”
  I think everybody has handled it extremely well, there’s been no issues. I think it’s a tough topic in general. It’s a taboo topic and for somebody like me to be open and not proud of it but proud to talk about it and proud to say, “Look I struggled, I don’t want you to struggle, let me learn from my mistakes.” Then I think friends have been completely supportive.
[00:21:00]

[00:21:30]

Dating is interesting because, everyone I’ve dated has been completely supportive and totally fine about it. I think me, I’m like, “Oh I’m so flawed and my flaws are visible in the public sphere.” It’s scary to meet new people because right off the bat it’s like, “Hi I’m Dana, I have bulimia and I talk about vaginas and I do this. I’m a total feminist.” It can be really off putting to some people and granted those are not the people that I want to be dating or I want to be associating with. It still is scary and it still doesn’t feel good to have somebody be like, “Well she’s too intense for me,” or “She’s too much for.”
  That brushes up against insecurities I’ve had since a child of being too much, or being a bitch, being to yay, just in your face-
Deanne Vincent: Yeah-
[00:22:00]

Dana Suchow:

It’s all just a learning, it’s learning and it’s learning how much information to give someone upfront. Sometimes I meet people and I’m like, “Hi I’m Dana and this is my entire story.” Other times I’ll meet friends or whatever and I’m, “It’s too much,” It’s to overwhelming to this person, yeah.
Deanne Vincent: Everyone has a story, it’s just yours is out there from the beginning. It’s like you don’t need to figure it out for some guys, they know it from the beginning.
Dana Suchow: Exactly-
Deanne Vincent:

[00:22:30]

It’s funny because I think men as much as women are embracing this and becoming more feminist. I find personally that some men in particular are very intimidated by the strength of women sometimes.
Dana Suchow: Absolutely, absolutely.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, yeah.
Dana Suchow:

[00:23:00]

[00:23:30]

No, I mean men hate the word feminist. They’ve even come out with the response of meninist. I mean, it is, empowered women are terrifying to some men and I want to say to most men actually. There are men who are total allies and are totally doing it correctly but almost ever man that I have met with, there’s education that needs to happen. There’s a dialogue that needs to happen and I’m not saying that men don’t struggle, oh my God, look at the cover of GQ, look at all of these body … Look at the body images that men now have to, strive for. I’m just saying look, women struggle, give us some empathy, give us some understanding, you’re not a woman, you don’t know what I go through. You don’t know the fear and anxiety I face everyday when I leave my apartment and I walk by construction workers. I mean, it’s just the weight that women carry, you can’t understand it unless you’re a woman.
  I think we need more male allies that are just … All an ally is, is just saying teach me. I don’t understand, teach me, how can I help? If helping is just lending a shoulder then that’s okay. I don’t think that should be something you’re scared of.
Deanne Vincent:

[00:24:00]

I think the conversation about this for men and women is very different within our society. That’s is something, when talking to men, do you find, are very men open to talking about this and admitting that they want to embrace this or are they more shy’d away? What’s your experience with that?
Dana Suchow:

[00:24:30]

It’s all over the place, a lot of times I talk with men and they’re very, just open. They’re just very all about learning and want to be educated. A lot of them know a lot about feminism too. What bothers me though is when I speak with men, who talk about how much of a feminist they are and then they start bringing things up that are body shaming. They start talking, slut shaming someone or they’re saying, “I have no empathy for this type of woman,” and they’re still pitting women against each other, without knowing that their doing it. It sucks because we have a lot of people who say that their allies and I think they just say that their allies to say that their allies, instead of really understanding what an ally is.
[00:25:00]

[00:25:30]

An ally really is, a person who’s on your side and a person who, it’s okay to be wrong. I’m not going to bite your head off if you’re wrong, just say, “Look I was wrong,” apologize and learn. An ally is somebody that is open to being taught and without having preconceived notions or without having a chip on their shoulder or too much pride. I think a big fear that men have too is that there losing power. They are and that should be okay but it’s not. We have white-cist men who are at the top of the table or at the top of the totem pole. We have to make room for everybody and that means equality for all.
[00:26:00]

[00:26:30]

Equality for all, if this is the space that white men are at, equality for all means that they have to scrunch up a little bit and make more space. It’s like Solange’s album, A Seat At The Table. We all deserve space at this table that is totally occupied by old white-cist men at the moment. There has to be more room. It’s interesting because a lot of times people will, they say they understand and they don’t. Look, I’m not saying that I’m immune to it because there’s been thousands of times I thought I understood and I didn’t. I’m not fat, I’m a woman of color, I’m not trans, I’m not gay. I mean there’s all these things I’m not, where I have to go, “Okay, this notion that I had about this may not be correct. Let me be quiet and listen.” Let me use the platform that I have made, that has all these followers and say, “Okay, here you go. Here’s this platform, you have a voice in here now.”
[00:27:00] We just need more spaces like that. I think spaces like that also help educate men. It’s interesting, on my Instagram I can see who my followers are, I can see what percent is men, what percent is women. I have twenty percent male followers and I think that, that’s really good. While I’d love fifty, fifty. It’s incredible that I have a twenty percent of men followers, that aren’t fighting me on stuff and that are listening and learning. I think that, that’s amazing and I think that’s just a trend to come.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, that is amazing. I didn’t that number would be that high actually.
Dana Suchow: Right?
[00:27:30]

Deanne Vincent:

Impressed, yeah. Hopefully it’ll keep rising a little bit more.
Dana Suchow: Exactly, exactly.
Deanne Vincent: Why did you choose, Do The Hot Pants, where did that name come from?
Dana Suchow:

[00:28:00]

Yeah, it’s funny. I, back in San Francisco I use to go to 60’s soul nights all the time and I Deejay-ed sometimes. One of my favorite songs was the song, Do The Hot Pants. I use to wear short shorts all the time to go out dancing and I use to dance on bars. I mean, this was in college but I had a lot of fun doing it. The nickname Hot Pants stuck around, when I was starting my blog. I was thinking what’s a good name and I was like, “Oh, Do The Hot Pants,” because not only is it my nickname, it’s like a throw back to San Francisco but it also has something to do with fashion. It’s like short shorts, it’s like Do The Hot Pants, it just sounds fun.
[00:28:30] As I got the eating disorder and I as the blog became more body positive and less about fashion. Do The Hot Pants has really taken on its own name and it means, do you, you want to wear those hot pants, wear those hot pants. If you want to wear whatever you want, where what you want. It really has become like a phrase of empowerment and body empowerment. It’s like are you ready to do the hot pants? Do the hot pants. I’ve had people ask me, I love the evolution from start to where its gone to now.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah and the meaning behind it all now as its transformed is just amazing-
Dana Suchow: Yeah.
[00:29:00]

Deanne Vincent:

Where did My Body Story start? How did you start that in terms of sharing all those?
Dana Suchow:

[00:29:30]

[00:30:00]

I had gotten to a point where I had done so much on the blog and I really felt like as far as advancing where I was in my eating disorder. The blog didn’t need to be all about me anymore. While I love that I have a space that I can talk and I can share all of my stuff on. It didn’t need to be Dana, Dana, Dana, Dana, Dana, Dana and I was like, “What can I do?” I thought, “Let me ask readers to submit pieces for the blog.” It started taking off and people were really, really interested in it. I just thought, “Well, what’s a good hashtag?” I thought, “My Body Story was great.” I’m not looking for eating disorder stuff. I’m not looking for anything specific, I just want to know the story that you’ve had with your body. The relationship you’ve had with your body and it doesn’t have to end with, “I love my body, things are perfect,” because you know what? Until we fight the system like I said, until we really change the whole society. You’re not going to fully love your body, you just can’t unless you sequester yourself in the woods there’s no possible way because you are bombarded with negativity constantly.
[00:30:30] We can at least get to a point where we say, “This is the story that I’ve had with my body. This is the history I’ve had with it and this is where I’m at now.” I just want people to read it and feel like they’re not alone and feel like there’s a story on there that they can relate to. I started featuring short forms on my Instagram and I featured longer articles on the blog and it’s been so rewarding. Just allowing people a space to speak.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, what have you learned from My Body Stories?
Dana Suchow:

[00:31:00]

Oh my God, I mean, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that, I’ve had some men write in and I was like, it really made me understand what men go through. It also has made me realize I’m not alone, in what I’ve been going through. It also made me realize that I don’t have it that bad. Yeah, okay look, I’ve had a rough life, I’ve had a lot of things happen. I’ve had traumas, I’ve this and that but some of the things that women have written. I’ve been very blessed, I’ve been very blessed that I don’t experience that.
[00:31:30] To allow women to release the shame the shame that they’re holding onto with those stories. It’s like doing free, not free work. What is it where you go and you give your time, like a donation or something-
Deanne Vincent: Yeah.
Dana Suchow: Yeah, that’s what it feels like. It feels like I’m donating my blog for women to feel better about themselves. If I have to pay for hosting and email and all that, it’s so worth it, its been so rewarding.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, yeah, no it is amazing. What are you most grateful about today?
[00:32:00]

Dana Suchow:

[00:32:30]

Today, oh my goodness. It’s interesting you ask because I actually had not a great eating day today. I have been busy and planning an event in New York and I’ve been so busy just working on that, that I haven’t been able to exercise like I usually do. I’m still very tied into my weight and my body and while I’ve gotten so much better. I have moments where I look in the mirror and I’m like, “Ugh, what is going on with all of this?” I haven’t been able to exercise in the past couple couple days and it has brought out bingey feelings. Craving sweets when I really should be eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I know you asked me what I’m grateful for. I know I’m giving you a long run around answer.
[00:33:00]

[00:33:30]

I’ve very grateful for my body and I’m very grateful that, while I can’t exercise for these couple days, while I ate to much peanut butter today, I’m still able to go run around and put together this event and meet with people. I’m able to have this conversation with you, my mind works, everything is functioning correctly whether I hit the gym today or not. I’m very grateful of that. I’m also grateful that people trust me and that people have, opted to be a part of the community that I’ve created because I know that I can be really intense. I can say some crazy things that may not always be correct but I will beat my followers either correct me politely or they will just go along with it and be like, “We know her, the grand scheme of her messages is on point.” I’m very blessed to have the community that I have, created a community that trusts me because there’s so many moments that I really need them.
  Even today I’ll probably post something and be like, “I’m not feeling great about my body,” and I know that they’ll come out in droves in support of me and also letting me know that I’m not alone, that’s invaluable.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, that’s a game changer, it changes everything-
Dana Suchow: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:34:00]

Deanne Vincent:

When are happiest nowadays? When do you really come alive in of your life?
Dana Suchow:

[00:34:30]

I really come alive when I’m working on projects to bring women together. I’ve been doing a lot of networking lately with entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs in New York City especially working with women. I’ve been working with lingerie brands as well as some condom brands, to promote women’s health and women’s sexuality. I feel really alive when I’m taking or really happy when I’m taking what I’ve learned and helping other women, apply it to grander things like condoms and women’s sexual health. Which are huge because that’s all about body positivity. If you-
Deanne Vincent: Yeah. It’s something that we’ve never been able to talk about really before.
Dana Suchow: Exactly, exactly. I’m also really happiest is when I can yell something controversial from the roof tops.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah.
[00:35:00]

Dana Suchow:

I like pushing the buttons, I like saying those things that I think a lot of women are terrified to say. That doesn’t mean I’m better than them, that doesn’t mean anything. All the means is just that I have a different type of personality and that I have listened to other women and I’m happy to speak for women who are to scared to do so or too traumatized to do so. Just in situations where they can’t really speak up and that makes me happiest.
Deanne Vincent: I’m so excited. What’s your definition of perfectly imperfect?
[00:35:30]

Dana Suchow:

Perfectly imperfect, I’d say me right now.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah.
Dana Suchow:

[00:36:00]

[00:36:30]

I think my definition, if somebody was like, “What’s perfectly imperfect?” I would be like, “Everyone”. You, me, it would mean every single person is the reason behind it. I am so far from perfect. I mean last night I was feeling really down about this event. I had asked somebody to be a sponsor and they were unable to do it and I just like well, there it goes, the whole events cancelled, I can’t do it. It’s like that is a perfectly imperfect world. I’m putting together this perfect event, not everything’s going to fall into place. My body, I’m trying to have it be as perfect as possible but it’s totally not perfect. I’m broken out, I just ate a bunch of peanut butter. There’s things that are never going to be perfect. I think it’s just understanding that, I don’t know, I just think that there really perfect, perfection doesn’t exist. I don’t know where we got this notion that, something can even be perfect because nothing is perfect, oh just peel back a single layer.
Deanne Vincent: I think that’s perfection is, what you just said mostly.
Dana Suchow: Perfectly perfect what I had just said.
Deanne Vincent: Yes, beautiful. What’s your definition of powerfully passionate?
[00:37:00]

Dana Suchow:

[00:37:30]

Powerfully passionate, well I think everybody is passionate about something. I think to have the power and the confidence to do it and go forward with it. I said earlier, exposing yourself, it’s scary. You’re not going to be there in the beginning but it’s going to take steps to get to that point. I think that, that can be a goal that we all have, is to be there to where we can really be passionate about our projects but powerful enough to speak up about them and have people hear us. Which is where I’m getting now which is when I started the blog, I was totally not there but a goal of mine was to be like, “I don’t want to live with these secrets anymore and this shame anymore.” Yeah, I think we’re all powerful and I don’t think anybody gives themselves enough credit.
Deanne Vincent: What would Dana from seven years ago think of Dana today?
Dana Suchow: I think she’d be so proud of me.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah?
[00:38:00]

Dana Suchow:

[00:38:30]

[00:39:00]

I really do, awe, yeah I really do. Yeah, a couple days ago I was sitting at home, actually it was this weekend I was sitting at home and I was just was like, “I’m really proud of myself. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and I know that tomorrow I’m not going to feeling this way.” The fact that I can be open about my insecurities when I use to stay home from school when my skin was broken out. I use to cry, I remember my first boyfriend in middle school broke up with me because of my acne. The fact that I can talk about this and I’m not ashamed about it anymore. I I mean, I don’t know, I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve done so much work on myself, I’ve done so much self help, I’ve done so much therapy, I’ve done so much reading, so much community based stuff. That it’s like, I deserve where I am and I deserve to be happy and I’m really proud of myself for doing all this hard work. I mean the hard work is so not done, it is so far away from where I want to be. I think that will be a goal I’m always going to be chasing.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, and I think it’s only going to get better from here is basically [crosstalk 00:39:07]-
Dana Suchow:

[00:39:30]

Yeah, yeah but you know, two steps forward, one step back. I think it’s going to get really good and then I think the step back is it’s brushing up with my insecurities. I think it’s always fighting those inner demons and that inner voice that says, “You’re not good enough. Your too bitchy, you’re too all these things.” That’s where I get the one step back but even at one step back, I’m still more advanced than I was a year ago. I just always have to hold onto where I am now compared to where I use to be.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, it’s going to be a roller coaster, right?
Dana Suchow: Yeah, I mean it’s been a roller coaster and it doesn’t feel like it’s slowing down at all.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah. What’s next for you? What’s [crosstalk 00:39:45]. Yeah what’s the dreams or what does Dana want to do? I know short term but long term even.
Dana Suchow:

[00:40:00]

[00:40:30]

The short term I’m doing this event and definitely creating, the safe space I have online, I want to create it in person for women in New York and hopefully beyond. I was thinking about doing chapters in different cities. I’m getting way ahead, I’m still just trying to plan the first event. I would really like to do something where I go to schools and I speak to girls and boys too, about body image, about feminism. Almost kind of like an intro 101 to why you hate your body. I wish that somebody came to my school when I was younger and said, “Let’s talk about zits and I know you all have them even though every single one of you is going, oh my God don’t talk about me, I’m so ashamed.” … Everything I wish that I had when I was going through the worst of my things.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah-
Dana Suchow:

[00:41:00]

Whether it’s speaking to children at schools, whether it’s creating a women’s empowerment group. Whether it’s speaking to someone else that has an eating disorder, whether it’s learning about racism issues and sexism issues and feminism issues. I just want to do what I wish I had and I want to create the tools I wish I had for other women who need them. I think that’s the best you can do with all the knowledge that you gained, is to somehow pass it on.
Deanne Vincent: Yeah, yeah. I think everything you’ve been through, it’s for a reason and now you’re doing all the things because of what you’ve been through. If you can there for one person who was like the old Dana.
Dana Suchow: Yeah.
Deanne Vincent: That can change their world, right?
[00:41:30]

Dana Suchow:

Absolutely, absolutely. It’s crazy because there are, I think there might’ve been millions of women in the world who are like the old Dana. It’s heartbreaking but it’s also like, “Okay, all right, there’s change to be done. There’s work to do.”
Deanne Vincent: I have a couple of wrap up questions, one being of course, what’s the best way for listeners to get in touch with you? I know your Instagram platform is huge. Yeah, can you tell us where you hang out?
Dana Suchow:

[00:42:00]

[00:42:30]

Yeah, well where I hang out. I hang out in front of my computer at home, in bed, on my phone, checking my email. If anybody wants to reach me, I love speaking with people, I love emailing people, I love having coffee with people and learning. You can reach me, my Instagram is @DoTheHotPants. The website is www.DoTheHotPants.Com. All of my social media is @DoTheHotPants. My email is HP@DoTheHotPants.Com. I mean, it literally is like, it’s a overwhelming amount of hot pants. If you live in New York, reach out to me. I’d love to meet up, I’d love to meet for coffee. I love to email with people, give us a story. I want to share your story on the blog, I want to feature you on my Instagram. I want everyone to feel like their stories are valid and their stories are normal, as they are.
Deanne Vincent: There’s no such thing as too much hot pants.
Dana Suchow: Yeah, exactly! Hot pants to the max!
Deanne Vincent: Hot pants, everything hot pants, Google hot pants and it’s all over there.
Dana Suchow:

[00:43:00]

I mean really, actually funny enough. When I fist started my blog, my dad he works, he’s a real estate agent. His company was blocking my website as like a porn site. He had to email the management of HR and be like, “Can you unblock, DoTheHotPants. Com. It’s my daughters blog.” That’s not the first person that’s had to do it.
Deanne Vincent:

[00:43:30]

Oh my God, that’s hilarious, that’s amazing. We’ll have all the links for all the listeners on my website and on under the Instagram and everything for people to get in touch with you. Before I ask the last question, I want to take a second and acknowledge you and thank you Dana for being the voice that you are for so many women. For being so angry and shouting from the roof tops and being so fiery and passionate. You’re refusing to settle and refusing to stop and for being the outlet and the platform and the voice for so many women who are struggling what you’ve gone through-
Dana Suchow: Stop you’re making me cry.
Deanne Vincent:

[00:44:00]

I’m serious because I love how passionate you are and how much you’re going to change this world and how you’re refusing to accept no in all that you’re doing. I’m so excited for you.
Dana Suchow: Oh my God, I’m literally, I don’t know if you guys can see. [inaudible 00:44:07], I just, I really needed to hear that today. That really means a lot, thank you-
Deanne Vincent: No, no, well thank you for sharing your story and I know it’s … You’re more comfortable obviously now than when you started. It is very inspiring for people and for women like me or anyone whose been struggled through things to hear what you’ve been through.
Dana Suchow: Thank you.
[00:44:30]

Deanne Vincent:

Yeah and the last question I want to ask you is, for anyone who’s an Earth-girl and has someones who’s struggling through something or finding things difficult or feeling like they’re alone. What do you want women to take away from your story and what you’ve been through?
Dana Suchow:

[00:45:00]

[00:45:30]

Oh my God, that you’re not alone. Look, I know what it feels like to hate your body. I know what it feels like to feel like nobody loves you and to feel totally unworthy and that you just, you don’t deserve the things that you have in life. I know what it feel like. I have been there, I have lived it but I’m also not the only one whose lived it. Talk to your friend, she has lived it too. Talk to your mom, she has lived it too. Talk to anyone you know and they have lived that same experience. What I want is for women to realize, we all feel like shit all the time. How can we not feel like shit all the time because once I think, if every woman woke up to this feeling and one morning said, “I’m not going to feel like shit and neither should any other women,” can you imagine how much we would change the world. Can you imagine what the world would look like if we all on one day decided we’re not going to buy magazines, we’re not going to buy beauty parts anymore, we’re not going to wax our legs.
[00:46:00]

[00:46:30]

I know it sounds like, “Oh, it’s too feminists,” but really if you look at the history of these things, they all stem from patriarchy, they all stem for capitalism. If we all just woke up one day and we’re like, “We’re not going to do this,” the amount of brain space that we would have to change the world, would be infinite. I mean, and that’s what I want, that’s my ideal society and that’s what I’m going work for until the day I die. I’m going to work for that society and all I want is for your readers to join me in it. Look, I’m not asking you to stop shaving your legs because the society we live in, tells us to do these things. I know you’re just one person but anything you can do, even if its just being more awake about it. Learning the history of things, I mean is not only going to help you but it’s going to help the next generation.
Deanne Vincent: Thank you so much Dana, you’ve given me butterflies and chills. You’re so passionate and you’re so powerful, thank you so much for sharing your story and of you.
Dana Suchow: Thank you.
Deanne Vincent: Don’t stop.
Dana Suchow: All right, I hope I hear from you guys.

Check out the #earthgirlstory Interview with Dana Suchow on Youtube. Be sure to subscribe for all the #earthgirlstories and connect with us on instagram (@DoTheHotpants and me; @earthgirlakadeanne, and @earthgirlstories for all #earthgirlstories and quotes) with what you thought and share this out to any fellow earthgirls!

 

Let us know what you think and share this out to any fellow earthgirls!