Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. For her latest edition of Style Dossier, Gabrielle is celebrating the style of Lovia, a 23 year old Haitian American living in the big apple! Lovia is nurse working with diverse populations from the very young to the very old. She plans on working toward possibly becoming a nurse anesthetist. Aside from work taking majority of her time, she also enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, going to the gym, playing tennis and quality time with herself.
Gabby: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?
Lovia: I believe everyone should have Kanye West in the back of their mind. This guy is just brilliant; He truly excels in any and everything he puts his mind into. From his music, to his clothing line, and now to his anticipated Adidas shoes, he did the impossible when no one, including myself, took him seriously. He not only set trends but he also inspires us to be relentless, to be ourselves and most importantly to be confident enough until the world can accept us even when others are not agreeing with our ideals. Now look at him! He is one of my favorite music artists and is now a notable fashion icon with clothing and shoe lines.
Gabby: How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?
Lovia: Growing up, I always used to admire the outfits my dad would create with his loafers. In the back of my mind I thought, “That’s one hell of an outfit!” Ever since, my love for loafers and dress shoes with jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer or button-up continued to evolve. I don’t feel that my style, per se, influenced my identity. I try to keep a balance between my feminine and masculine characteristics because, at the end of the day, I embrace being a woman and being able to feel and look good in both “men’s” as well as “women’s” clothes. If you all would like more insight into issues regarding identity, style and stereotypes within our community, I’d encourage you to check out the documentary film The Same Difference. I was featured in the production of the film. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be a projection of society, I’m just me, simply Lovia.
Gabby: Why is queer visibility important and how does fashion help create space for members of our community?
Lovia: Queer visibility is very important in this conservative world! The way we choose to dress ourselves plays a major role in our journey into acceptance. I know many of us are viewed as question marks to many others in our immediate environment. It is important that our way of self-expression is seen as a movement; a force for change and acceptance; and, most importantly, a voice for those still figuring things out. Even though many barriers have been brought down from legalizing same sex marriages, we still have a long way to society’s acceptance. It is probably the hardest for me especially coming from a strict Haitian culture where queer visibility is almost unseen. Can you imagine, my coming out story? It was turmoil! Despite many consequences, I chose to be me and to be free of pain, the fear of not being able to love who I wanted or to wear what I felt comfortable in.
Gabby: What challenges do you face in your profession, if any, as an LGBTQ person?
Lovia: Fortunately, in the health profession, I don’t face as many challenges as I thought I would in other careers. Here and there I get asked many questions about my identity and intimate life. Every once in a while my patients might slur or whisper something offensive, but I don’t let it bother me because change is a process. I just hope that I can influence others and set a positive image for the community.
Gabby: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!
Lovia: Growing up in Haiti as a child, I didn’t feel like I was fashionable partly due to resources. Not to sound cruel, but collectively, memories of how my mom would want her little girl to dress are my early recollections of outfits that I greatly disliked. This went on into my teens when I permanently resided in Florida. Mentally, I was weak and not confident in myself nor the way I dressed. I wasn’t mixing the right colors nor wearing the proper shoes. Now, I’m mentally stronger. I grew confidence in myself and that is truly reflected in how I dress and present myself currently.
Gabby: What advice would you give our readership? What advice can you offer to people who fit outside of society’s understanding of traditionally masculine and feminine styles?
Lovia: Just be you! Sometimes we get stuck in a chapter of our lives where we feel trapped no matter which directions we take. I’ve actually made many mistakes growing up and was once stuck in this chapter of my life because society couldn’t understand me. I just wanted to fit in with the other girls that were “girlier” than me and be liked by someone. The toughest part was changing myself to please others. I used to get teased for being too sporty, too tall, too muscular, lips too big, hair not long enough and the list goes on! Once I stopped working to please others or conforming to be what others wanted me to be, I finally started living. I was no longer afraid to make decisions about my appearance nor my personal life. Over the years. I grew confident and was able to surround myself with friends and family that were accepting of me. Ever since then, I was no longer at a halt. I was finally able to turn to the next page, informing the next chapters of my life.
Gabby: Tell us something unique about you!
Lovia: When I was 15, I had my first job as a balloon artist. I always love to mention that even at work interviews. I just think it’s different. People are always intrigued about it because at first sight, one would never perceive me as a person that once got paid to sculpt balloons! I had a great time then, wouldn’t change it for nothing. Basically, the moral of this is, we are truly limitless. We can excel in everything we put our mind into and should dare to be different.
Gabby: How did you hear about dapperQ? Why were you interested in a feature?
Lovia: I first learned of the Style Dossier column through your publications in dapperQ, a truly an amazing spirit. I was told of the opportunity to be an active member of this community by showcasing some of my style, so I went for it!
Stay connected with Lovia:
Instagram : nomadkreyol1
Snapchat : Ldelva