Plus-size blogger Anna O’Brien has recently spoken out against being told to “cover up” her body at a prearranged photoshoot in a Las Vegas hotel. Booked through the location’s public relations team, O’Brien organized a swimwear shoot at the Sin City hotel on April 10. She explicitly confirmed she would be shooting swimsuits for her fashion and lifestyle blog, Glitter and Lazers.
The hotel reportedly replied that she “was welcome to shoot anywhere in the hotel except the casino floor, provided [she] had no large equipment” — meaning the gold lobby where O’Brien went to pose in her Curvy Beach bikini was free to use and approved by the facility.
Almost immediately after hitting the marble floor and beginning to pose, O’Brien says she and her photographer were approached by security and told to put on clothing, as she “wasn’t allowed to wear a swimsuit.” Defeated, she returned to her room, Yahoo Style reports, but decided to try again an hour later. The same scene played out — O’Brien says she was told she needed to put on clothes over her one-piece or leave.
This time, O’Brien tried to argue: She explained her agreement with the hotel’s PR team and showed security personnel their email correspondence. Still, she was forced to leave. And though this could have been a misunderstanding between hotel staff, O’Brien took to Instagram on Wednesday to discuss the larger social implication of the incident.
“I find it ironic that I’ve taken photos in swimsuits all over the world and the one place I was told to cover up was Las Vegas,” she captioned her photo. “Sure, thin girls in thοngs and pasties are A-OK but a plus girl in a full coverage suit, trying to take an epic editorial shot — now that’s just too much. Jokes on them though, I’d already gotten the perfect photo. They can’t erase this happened. I’m learning as I push myself to do more editorial type concepts, the push back is greater. But that’s why I push. It’s more than just a girl in the city of sin in a bikini, it’s a statement. We will be seen. We’re not hiding anymore. And we’re going to wear whatever we want, wherever we want. Not just in Vegas. EVERYWHERE. Change is coming; the question is are you going to stand in the way or help us push through?”
By being told to cover up while others wore the same amount of clothing, O’Brien was not only left out of pocket for the cost of her trip — which she made specifically to shoot in the hotel — but also belittled for being in swimwear in a city that seemingly lets women be as naked as they want — as long they’re thin, of course. And as O’Brien put it, this is emblematic of a society-wide problem.