Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim (Hardcover)
A searingly honest memoir of one young woman's journey toward self-acceptance as she comes to see her body as a symbol of rebellion and hope and chooses to live her life unapologetically.
Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn't any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn't have a missing father or a mother with mental illness. They didn't have fat bodies or grow up wishing they could be like the white characters they saw on TV. They didn't have husbands who abused and cheated on them. They certainly didn't have secret abortions. In Unashamed, Vernon takes to task the myth of the perfect Muslim woman with frank dispatches on her love-hate relationship with her hijab and her faith, race, weight, mental illness, domestic violence, sexuality, the millennial world of dating, and the process of finding her voice.
She opens up about her tumultuous adolescence living at the poverty line with her fiercely loving but troubled mother, her deadbeat dad, and her siblings, and the violent dissolution of her 10-year marriage. Tired of the constant policing of her clothing in the name of Islam and Western beauty standards, Vernon reflects on her experiences with hustling paycheck to paycheck, body-shaming, and redefining what it means to be a "good" Muslim.
Irreverent, youthful, and funny, Unashamed gives anyone who is marginalized permission to live unapologetic, confident lives.
About the Author
Leah Vernon is a style blogger, plus-size Muslim model, public speaker, and activist. She has been featured in BuzzFeed,Huffington Post, Elle,Seventeen,Cosmopolitan, the New York Times, Teen Vogue,MuslimGirl, and hundreds of combined podcasts, television appearances, radio spots, and other features. She's also worked with national and international brands such as Adidas Originals, Torrid, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Addition Elle, and Eloquii. She received a 2017 Gilda Snowden Award from the Kresge Arts Foundation and is a 2018 recipient of an Ariane De Rothschild Fellowship. She lives in New York, NY. Connect with her on Instagram (lvernon2000) and her blog (beautyandthemuse.net).
“Vernon’s determined advocacy for body positivity as a feminist and mental health issue, and her painful journey to self-acceptance, are moving and powerful, forcing readers to examine their own preconceptions about beauty standards and health.”
“This candid memoir will be of interest for those who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence, and who are seeking forceful encouragement toward self-empowerment and self-expression.”
“Vernon’s narration reads like an intimate heart-to-heart chat with a friend . . . Irreverent, vulnerable, and unapologetic in every sense.”
“I love the fierce, unflinching honesty and integrity in Unashamed. The courage and raw emotion grabs you from the start and demands you open your heart and mind without judgment or preconceptions. I laughed and cried and read this book in awe of Leah Vernon’s brave, bold, and beautiful voice.”
—Randa Abdel-Fattah, author of The Lines We Cross and Does My Head Look Big in This?
“Deeply powerful in its vulnerability, Unashamed invites us into the pain, beauty, and redemption that have shaped Leah Vernon. We are transformed through the act of witnessing. Yes, this is a book for Fat Studies and Critical Race scholars, but it’s also one of the most generous memoirs I’ve ever read. There’s not a moment in this book where Vernon doesn’t take risks. That’s rare and beautiful to see.”
—Virgie Tovar, author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat
“Unashamed is everything Leah Vernon embodies on a daily basis: authenticity, resiliency, and, most of all . . . unquestionable courage. Unashamed is exactly what this world needs, and I’m so thankful for Leah: the fantastically powerful force behind this literary triumph.”
—Jes Baker, author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls and Landwhale