Celebrating the Career, Mission, and Power of Maui Bigelow

Maui Bigelow is the super dope as f creator and producer of Life Styled, an annual tribute event that honors and celebrates notable female trailblazers in fashion, entertainment, activism, and empowerment. Past honorees include Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, and Project Runway’s model competition winner, Liris Crosse.

Maui is beloved and celebrated across social media, and in any space that she enters, but most importantly, in real life. She is on a mission of writing and speaking the truth, as well as empowering and energizing women.

From humble, yet troubled beginnings, born in Iron City, Georgia, Maui knew that her purpose was to be a teacher and a writer since the age of 10. While discovering her purpose, she also experienced the trauma of being molested by her uncle, in her home, for three years. At times she had to throw herself in the line of fire with her uncle just to prevent him from inflicting the same trauma upon Maui’s sister and cousin. This first traumatic ordeal in her life sparked a revelation that anything Maui would encounter in her life would not just be about her, but also about other girls and women.

Maui Bigelow says that her mission in life is pretty simple. She creates paths for bold, beautiful women to shine, grow, and glow in both personal and professional brilliance. The curator of PHAT Girl Fresh, a digital platform that blends feminism with social, fashion, and beauty culture, Maui is known for bringing progressive, authentic conversations with a southern charm only she can provide. A rising public figure, she draws hundreds of thousands of yearly readers through her experiences in healing and personal transformations, social change work, and Plus style and beauty.

Media Career

In 2010, Maui wanted to do a blog at the time when blogs started to pop off. She shared with us that people would always ask her questions because she always has an opinion about some shit, and is always talking shit. So she started writing a blog which was called the Maui Logs.

Then she wanted to get into fashion, Maui has always been into fashion and started to see these other plus-size girls popping up and doing different things. The plan was for her to start the blog and open a plus-size fashion boutique. PHAT Girl Fresh was going to be one of the slogans on shirts at the boutique, but everyone Maui wanted to partner with didn’t see her vision.

Fast forward to April 20th, 2013, while being (PHAT) Passionate, Happy, Appreciative, and True, she launched her own blog and had her first PHAT Girl Fresh event for the launch of the blog. Her media career exploded to great heights from there. Writing for Curvy Fashionista, as well as managing social media and blogs for Full Figured Fashion Week.

She just kept going, building relationships and even doing freelance work. Now Maui Bigelow is highly known for lending her voice on notable media platforms such as MadameNoire, HelloBeautiful, and Fashionista and she has been featured in Associated Press, Buzzfeed, Yahoo, Ebony, and Seventeen Magazine.

Powerful Moments

Maui Bigelow went viral a couple of times, but in particular, her first viral post was about PHAT Girls and crop tops which was inspired by Maui’s experience at a party where she felt a woman pulling on her clothes. Maui’s reaction to the woman was confusion. She asked the woman “what are you doing”? The woman replied that she was fixing Maui’s shirt (crop top) because Maui’s stomach was showing and then continued to express to Maui that big girls can’t show that.

Maui’s response to the woman was “No! YOU, can’t show that! I meant for my shirt to be like that. Leave me alone”. That post went super viral. It got picked up by the Daily Mail, Allure, Cosmopolitan, and more!

When Maui hosted the Curvy Noire event during New York Fashion Week she ended up in Vogue, and InStyle Magazine. Maui says that she will never discount any of the spaces that she has been able to be in. She is a Black woman from rural Georgia, raised by a single mother on welfare, her father was sharecropped and only went to the 3rd grade. When Maui graduated from high school she was sleeping in the back of her mother’s car. They were homeless, twice. Adversity has greeted her so many times, she has been through a lot. The abuse and sexual assault she has overcome allow her to inspire and give back to others who may come from similar walks of life. The setbacks, struggles, and pain are now turned into blessings, accomplishments, and God’s favor. She knows it’s bigger than her and says there’s a little girl out there that wants to do some shit, but may not see anyone that looks like them doing it. Maui wants those girls to see her, relate, and know they can do it too.

Maui’s energy is anointed and powerful. Anyone who listens to her speak will be moved, motivated, and empowered.

Legacy in Action

Life Styled Honors, created by Maui started in 2013 and now is in its 9th year. PHAT Girl Fresh was the first event and it evolved into Life Styled Honors. She created the event because she knows that her purpose is tied to women and girls. Also, she wanted the event to be a safe space for women to be celebrated. Initially, it was more plus size based because that is a community she was in that has women that are underserved. Since the launch of Life Styled Honors, it went from one day to expanding to 5 days. The event is no longer plus size specific, but now it’s beauty, it’s fashion, as well as the power and brilliance of Black women.

Women and Men come from all over the world to attend Life Styled Honors. What Maui is most proud of is the safe space that is created, and the people that attend who match her energy. When we asked Maui to describe the feeling of Life Styled Honors she mentioned that everyone shows each other love, they meet one another and build relationships. She shared stories about people meeting at the event who have now been friends for many years. Quite a few influencers have been honored at the event including Actress Nzinga Imani, and Nsé Ufot who is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Georgia Project. She and her organization were very vital in flipping Georgia during the Presidential Election, and Bella Rene CEO Kenyatta Jones to name a few.

Maui is currently on the board of the Breonna Taylor Foundation. You can stay tuned for upcoming events that will energize women and girls. She is approaching her 45th Birthday knowing her purpose and will continue to be a leading example for women of color.

We honor, salute, and thank Maui Bigelow for all that she does as Our Black Woman Who Inspires.

Keep up to date on social media @mauibigelow

Photo Credit: Will B Shots

Tammy Reese

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