PCOS manifests differently for everyone, which is why we sat down with Thalia LeBlanc - a PCOS advocate and content creator, based out of Dallas - to discuss her approach to body positivity, how she manages stress associated with PCOS, and how she found community online early in her PCOS diagnosis.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Thalia LeBlanc, a content creator, creative director, actor, singer, and model. I’ve struggled with PCOS symptoms since I was 17, when for months at a time I would go without periods, experience excess facial and body hair, and gain weight for no apparent reason. I brought the possibility up to doctors at the time, but I was brushed off. It took a decade of advocating for myself before I finally received a positive diagnosis.
What do you wish you could tell yourself if you could go back in time?
Hair is completely normal, and we all have it. It’s easy to feel un-feminine thanks to how we’ve been socialized to think of body hair as ‘bad’ and something worth hiding, shaving, getting rid of. The thing is, it’s completely natural: some of us have more, some of us have less. Never be ashamed of ‘extra’ hair, or weight gain either: I recently posted a fitness video where I said “your dream body weighs more than you think,” and I truly believe that. Why should being small equate to ‘better’? Why should weight gain always be ‘bad’? I question those kinds of assumptions.
Ultimately, though, I believe PCOS doesn’t have to affect how we feel about ourselves and what we think we can and cannot do. We can all understand ourselves and our bodies through our diagnosis, while living our lives as so much more than our diagnosis.
Has sharing your PCOS diagnosis online made a difference to how you cope with PCOS?
For me, I found that sharing my struggles with PCOS made me feel so much less alone. I used to feel so isolated, like other girls didn’t have to worry about shaving their face, or they didn’t struggle to lose weight like me. But putting myself out there and documenting my PCOS journey - because it is something that is ongoing - has made me feel way more confident. It also gives me a sense of purpose: I want to empower other women who once felt how I did.
Is there a daily activity that helps you manage your PCOS?
For me, going on a brisk way everyday makes all the difference - both mentally and physically.
I take it as ‘me’ time, where I listen to podcasts and other content that is interesting and empowering, and where I feel like I’m learning something. It feels good to move my body, while also knowing that I’m benefitting my future self from taking in new information everyday!