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Body Positive Mermaid Magick
By Ghia Vitale
Jude Valentin (also known as @MermaidQueenJude) is a latinx fat influencer and content creator in NYC. She’s also a mermaid who blesses your social media feed with body positive magic.
Mermaids can be radical and Jude Valentin is living proof of this. She’s a self-identified mermaid who embraces body positivity, queerness, social justice, and self-love. According to her YouTube channel’s “about” section, Jude Valentin strives to “lead discussions based on social justice, body positivity, and work towards combating homophobia and other dangerous media stereotypes.”
I recently discovered Jude Valentin on Twitter. (For the record: She’s also on Instagram.) First, I took notice of her tweets. Soon afterwards, I started watching her YouTube channel. Since then, I’ve become a member of the mermaid kingdom, the name Jude uses to describe her community of fans. I highly recommend subscribing to her channel.
Valentin’s YouTube videos are full of insight, ideas, honesty, emotion, and inspiration. She also speaks candidly about eating disorders, mental health, self-care, her opinions regarding fat representation in the media, and more. Watching her videos has helped me process my own emotions and experiences related to the subjects she discusses. Plus, when it comes to community drama, she serves the tea super hot.
In this interview, you’ll learn more about Valentin. Enjoy!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! What would you like the world to know about you?
I am a content creator, photographer, cat mom, and general loud mouth on the internet. I am composed of mostly empathy, compassion, and screeching about my favorite fandom things. I make videos on the internet about body positivity, mental health, queer stuff, and media representation. And one of my greatest joys is my online community, the mermaid kingdom.
2. What inspired you to start creating content related to fat liberation and fat positivity?
I’ve always been fat, so I started originally making body positive content, but the really watered down version of body positivity. Over time, I began to learn more about fat activism. The fat positive community literally saved my life. I was struggling really bad with an eating disorder. I was trapped in diet culture and didn’t exactly have a way out. I figured that if the community did that for me, I could do it for someone else. It kind of just fell into my lap. The Insatiable trailer premiered last summer. I went on a tweet thread about how angry I was and my internet community just tripled in size seemingly overnight.
3. When did you realize you're a mermaid? How does one go about activating their mermaid powers?
When I was really little! My mother took me to Puerto Rico when I was six months and I learned how to swim instantly. If it was hot enough, you would always find me in the water. You activate your mermaid powers by realizing you’re magical and powerful and the ocean is beautiful and dangerous, so why can’t you be the same thing? It’s such a beautiful gift to focus on water and how beautiful and terrifying it can be, ya know?
4. Are there any changes you'd like to see in the body positive movement at large?
I would love for us to go back to the roots of fat activism. Body positivity has to be more than just self-love. It is a movement that pushes for justice for marginalized bodies. Right now, there is this focus on thin/cis/white bodies and I would love for us to give the space for bigger bodies, for people of color, for disabled bodies. For bodies that are usually not accepted. I would love for us to stop selling diet products in the body positive tag and posting before/after photos because they’re proven to be systematically damaging and oppressive.
5. In one of your YouTube videos, you mentioned that you practice magick. What kind of magick do you usually practice? Do you gravitate towards a particular kind of magick and if so, what kind?
I love crystal healing. I wrap all kinds of crystals and use them in my daily practices. I’ve now started journaling in the morning and pulling a daily tarot card to tell me about my day. I am also getting back into bath and shower magic. My meditative powers and practices are so much stronger when I’m around water. It’s actually really wild. I once manifested two jobs and two acting opportunities because of a strong bath ritual I did.
6. I heard you were included in a fat acceptance "cringe compilation" recently. My heart goes out to you. Do you have any advice for other people who find themselves facing online harassment?
Get back up. It’s so hard to know that people don’t like you, but if they don’t like you, you’re doing something right. If you’re telling truths that people don’t want to hear or aren’t ready to listen to, they’re going to be mad about it. Other people’s opinions of us often have nothing to do with us. It was hard for me when I first started this work, but there was a point where I realized that other people’s ideas of me and my work often come from their own projections. They are taking from the work what they are ready to take from it. I can be hateful in their eyes if it makes it easier for them to stomach me. But that has nothing to do with me. You have to keep doing the work because you’re touching and helping people.
7. You talk about why diet culture is toxic. Is there any information in particular that has helped you dismantle diet culture and its influence on your life?
Absolutely! Cultivating my feeds on Instagram changed my life. Follow fat activists and creatives. Follow body positive blogs. Listen to podcasts. Find YouTubers. YrFatFriend is an anonymous essayist and she was one of the first people who helped me realize that I was still stuck in diet culture. She’s All Fat Pod is another good listen, and so is the Trust Your Body Project. There are so many of us out here doing this work. As long as you’re out here and ready to listen and learn, the changing of your life is right in front of you.
If Jude Valentin fascinates you, visit her channel or social media accounts. Also, please consider donating to her Patreon. Donating to her Patreon gives you access to the exclusive content she creates just for patrons. Thanks for reading!
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