We’ve all become familiar with Somaya Reece, an aspiring artist & model, during the last two seasons of ‘Love & Hip Hop’ . From her outspoken personality to her ‘by any means necessary’ approach to her music career, Somaya quickly became a regular topic of conversation. At 5’10, and often dressed in unconventional clothing, it was hard to miss the Los Angeles native, however, after signing with a new agency, and doing some personal evaluation, Somaya decided it was time to make a change.
Last Fall, she quietly began undergoing a make-under. She toned down her style, changed her eating habits and then made headlines when she announced that she’d be undergoing a breast reduction. The results, revealed last week on her Instagram, were more than anyone could have ever imagined. Last week, Somaya spoke to us by phone from her LA home where she’s still recovering to talk about what she calls ‘the best decision she’s ever made’, and shared her diet plan for those who are interested in losing weight and getting fit.
Check out our interview below
When did you first start the weight loss plan?
I’d been trying to lose weight for a long time. I first started losing weight last Fall.
This was your first battle with your weight, right?
I’ve been dealing with weight issues for years. I used to be really super thin. When I first started modeling, I had a team of sharks around me, who didn’t have my best interest in mind. I had an agency that told me I had drop a lot of weight.
So you’ve felt the outside pressures to be thin, for a while now?
When I was on my MySpace, people didn’t understand I was starving to be thin. I wasn’t eating. At one point I was a size 0, and I’m 5’10. I had a lot of really bad people advising me and I got sick. I collapsed on a set of a commercial. I was rushed to the hospital and treated for malnutrition and low iron. Finally the doctor told me, if I continued to not eat, I would die.
And that’s when you started gaining weight. How did that make you feel?
It made me angry, and finally I just said if no one’s gonna love me as I am, then is this business really worth it. So I started eating normally and I got thick, which is how my body naturally is.
So cut to years later, and you’re on Love & Hip Hop. Did you start to feel pressure to lose weight again?
It’s funny because I actually felt resistance to being thin. Now I had a team that kept telling me ‘thick is in’. And coming to New York was a big piece of it, being in LA it’s hard to stay in shape out here. You’re in a car all day. Working on the show, I was always doing stuff and the hustle is so fast paced, I was struggling to keep up. I had to switch up what I was doing.
Where did you start?
With my diet. My schedule was so crazy that I wasn’t eating, and then by the time I did eat, I would just grab anything. And finally I realized I wasn’t getting enough calories to lose weight. So I had to start becoming super strict about what I was eating, and how often. I started setting a schedule, making sure I ate every three hours, which is harder than you might think.
And did you change what you were eating?
Absolutely. I started eating clean. No fried foods, no junk food. Lots of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins. And I had to get a hold of portion sizes. I started drinking protein shakes, especially in the morning because I’m not big on breakfast.
What type of working out did you do?
I started working out 3-5 times a week. I was walking, climbing stairs, taking classes in the gym, when I’m in LA I hike, that’s like my thing. I do a lot of weight training, multiple reps with low weights. I’ll do two to three sets of an exercise using no more than 3-5 lbs weights. It helps build lean muscle. And that burns fat.
And this was your lifestyle, everyday?
I would allow myself a cheat day every once and a while, where I would eat something that I’d been craving. We’re talking maybe a donut or burrito. That was important, so I didn’t feel like I couldn’t have the things I loved.
How soon did you start seeing results?
Right away. But there was always the issue with my breasts. They always made me appear bigger than I really was.
Was that the leading reason you started considering the breast reduction?
There were a bunch of reasons. I’d always had a flat stomach, no matter how big I got. But you didn’t know it, because of my breasts. And I’d hear people talking about how my blazers never closed, or how they couldn’t take me seriously because my boobs were always out. But I couldn’t help it. And the scarring from bras, that’s real. And it hurts. They were just too big.
How did the people around you react when you told them you were considering the surgery?
My old management was against it. He insisted that I would lose my fan base. My family, especially my mother, was very supportive. She was the one that encouraged me to speak out about it. She said that my story might inspire someone else.
What was the public feedback?
I had this one guy tweet to me ‘If you cut off your boobs, I’m unfollowing you.’ But even though I got a lot of negative feedback like that, I also got A LOT of support. It’s overwhelming how much support I got from other women. So that let me know that I did the right thing by speaking out.
How was the recovery after the surgery?
The first week was the hardest. For a second I had to ask myself, did I really do the right thing? Its hard not being able to do anything for yourself. My sister had to bathe me. And that’s…a humiliating feeling. The pain wasn’t constant but when it did hit? It was terrible. There were a couple of times where I bumped myself and that was the worst. And I had to sleep sitting up for five weeks. I just started laying down again last week.
How do you feel now?
Now, I feel like it’s the best thing I could’ve ever done. I’m so much happier. I feel better. My back feels better. My clothes fit. I’m more comfortable. I don’t feel like I’m gawked at. And it’s totally changed my shape.
In total, how much weight have you lost?
I’ve lost a little over 20 lbs. But it’s all fat. And I’ve developed some long, lean muscle. I was more concerned with being healthy. I have energy now. I can keep up with my schedule. And I feel so much better about myself.
What is your new bra size?
I went from a 40EE to a full D cup. I don’t know my exact measurement yet because my doctors appointment is next week. But I’m happy. The doctor told me they took about two pounds from each breast.
What’s next for you?
I’m continuing to work on my music. And I want to talk more about my weight loss and hopefully inspire others to reach their own goals.