Chubby Vogue Diva #34

It’s funny how it still stings a little when one calls me FAT. I’ve heard that all my life and was nurtured and groomed to dress for my body, of which I’m grateful for.

This is my story…

My name is Phaello Matitoane but known as Phaello Rain Tshabalala on social media. – that’s another story for another day. Nonetheless, I was born in Pretoria and raised in a small awesome town called Welkom in the Free State, Thabong, next to Shopong tsa Kgale. Home.

My father is a business man and mother in sales but raised by my grandmother, the queen herself. Funny thing is she always used to tell me to wear a belt for my tummy or dress properly from a very young age, this being the stage I learned to always “breath in” in an effort to make my tummy appear smaller. So with her it didn’t bother me at all because I knew she was looking out for me…she knew, she knew how cruel people can be, how words can bring a person down.

I attended primary school at Welkom Islamic school. Like being fat wasn’t bad enough, I now was in a

Muslim school which uniform added 5kg extra with all the fabric. I made it through though and actually gained good friends whom are amazing people by the way….

And then there was high school… Boy oh Boy!!!

Now I was amongst all sorts of kids, it was difficult at first to fit in as I’ve always really been a loner, and didn’t think I’d  fit in anywhere. All I was, was that “white fat girl that stays at that big white house” haha pretty funny actually. It was difficult at first because I was laughed at a lot. If it’s not my ugly head it’s my weight or my overly pale skin. But again, life has a way of throwing things at you, I made it through all of that. I later decided to be freer, confident, that’s when I joint the school choir, netball and eventually was a Deputy Head RCL at the school. Since then I developed a sense of love for myself because happiness has no size really, it’s needed and you are responsible for it. No one else.

My advice….. It’s not easy to say you love your body especially when society describes beauty as the opposite of you. I’ve come to be at peace with my body and accepted it as it is.  Yes I still breath in and yes I wear my vest to keep everything in its place.

 If you are not HAPPY with yours then change it so that you become happy.

 Im happy. Are you?






Buhle and Lizo Mjempu’s Wedding day

Second Session processions

with Family and bridesmaids (abakhaphi)


when the husbands family exchange gifts with the brides family

Families now celebrate the union between families

and do a parade on the street rejoicing  together as one family

Thank you to the Buthelezi’s and the Mjempu’s for allowing me to be part of this beautiful day

Thank you.

Chubby Vogue Diva#14

My name is Buhle Buthelezi

©Charmain Carrol Photography (60 of 86)

I am Bold and Beautiful and I am a size 38.

I was never that ‘fat child” but neither have I ever been described as skinny.

I started to put on weight after varsity and having never been weight conscious before I just never took the time to really work on my weight.

After having being a mom, I now realize the importance of being healthy and looking after myself. I love life and I want to live a happy life. A happy life to me means living without limiting myself to society expectations and frowns.

Yes I’m chubby but I’m also Beautiful, Strong, Smart and Loving.

I had lots of fun doing the shoot.

Its initiatives like these that remind us of our own worth. I felt like a true Diva for the day the outfit changes, make up and had two assistants to help me put my looks together. It really was special. I felt like the most Gorgeous Girl in the World. I am not defined by what I look like; I am a mom, wife, sister, daughter and career woman and all those things are what truly define who I am.

©Charmain Carrol Photography (86 of 86)

I am a proud Chubby Vogue Diva.

©Charmain Carrol Photography (42 of 86)  ©Charmain Carrol Photography (44 of 86)   ©Charmain Carrol Photography (45 of 86)

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©Charmain Carrol Photography (83 of 86)   ©Charmain Carrol Photography (63 of 86) ©Charmain Carrol Photography (76 of 86)

©Charmain Carrol Photography (55 of 86)  ©Charmain Carrol Photography (80 of 86)  ©Charmain Carrol Photography (61 of 86)

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Images taken: In Florida North, Johannesburg

Clothing: by Model

Chubby Vogue Divas #11


I’m a 23 year old Diva by the name of Mpho Tshikalange from Shayandima  a small town in Thohoyandou in Venda.

I believe a Diva is a lady who completes, accepts herself for who she really is instead of what she is told to be. Being a chubby diva is an experience of a lifetime.

From a young age I’ve always been big , amongst my peers it was a tough experience. I used to be teased a lot and being called names that were insulting. as a result at time  I would try out some some exercises that would make me loose weight fast, so that I could fit in amongst my peers.

I never rejected anything about my chubbiness ,  I had accepted  the fact that I am big & beautiful,  there wouldn’t be anything no one can do about my chubbiness as from my self confidence. People started to accept  me for who I am instead of what I looked like.

Being a diva takes hard work, to implement yourself, knowing your personality and  to accepting yourself.

My parents always told me “you beautiful and you should work hard to reach your goals, it’s not always going to be about your weight, it has to be  about accepting yourself and have a major self-confidence about your chubbiness”.

Being big basically runs in the ‘family my nanas’ most of them are big boned African women, why shouldn’t I encourage Full Figured Women.

I agreed to be part of the Chubby Vogue Divas because I want  to influence  all other Divas out there, that you must love yourself and embrace your Diverseness as you are.

Charmain the photographer and her team gave me a chance to be a High Profile Model. I was nervous at first, didn’t know if i was posing the right way, but the clothes looked really great.

I felt like a  Star

I eventually warmed up to being photographed.

Eating and exercising well’ keeps your body healthy and going, but what is a beauty from the physical appearance only, women should learn to accept their inner natural beauty, to accept who they are.

Who said only thin people can  do it!!! 

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A Place called (home)

©Charmain Carrol_ Market Photo Workshop_ FC 14-01_South African Photographer (3)

©Charmain Carrol_ Market Photo Workshop_ FC 14-01_South African Photographer

©Charmain Carrol_ Market Photo Workshop_ FC 14-01_South African Photographer (2)

©Charmain Carrol, Market Photo Workshop, FC 14-01, Own Choice (2)


©Charmain Carrol_FC 14-01_ South African Photographer081 

©Charmain Carrol_ Market Photo Workshop_ FC 14-01_South African Photographer (1)

As I explore the buildings in the city of Johannesburg, I come across places where women live in a room smaller than a 4 by 3 square meter rooms with their families.

They come from different arrears, such as Limpopo, Eastern Cape and  KwaZulu Natal to come and work  in the City Of Gold.

inspired by Sabelo Mlangeni’s series called Men Only

Family Portraits (behind the scenes)


behind the scene!

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© Charmain Carrol 2014_Family


I am currently working on a project called family Portraits in 2014.

Questioning what constitutes a family?

Does blood relation the only thing that ties family?

Who belongs in a family portrait?

Does the nuclear family still exist?

Can one be family with his or her companion e.g. (dog, cat,parrot)?

My Friend and colleague Mandisa Mchiza took the images of me doing what I do Best.

Thank you so much to Smangele Hegeni who is the best Assistant one can ever ask for.

To the wonderful families who allowed me to their homes Ngiyabonga! Thank you!