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Reclaiming Ugly!

Reclaiming Ugly!

A Radically Joyful Guide to Unlearn Oppression and Uplift, Glorify, and Love Yourself

Vanessa Rochelle Lewis
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Flip the script on how you think about UGLY--what it means, what it is, and how to reclaim it to Uplift, Glorify, and Love Yourself in an uglified world.


Blending joyful self-help magic with incisive social analysis and personal narrative, Vanessa Rochelle Lewis empowers readers to heal, connect, and revolt against uglification.


Uglification is "ugly" weaponized: a tool, ideology, and type of oppression that designates some bodies as more or less worthy of love, respect, access, and dignity. It defines who's accepted in what spaces, which identities are marginalized, and how we all move through the world--and is part and parcel of systems like white supremacy, ableism, sizeism, sexism, and queer- and transphobia. Here, Lewis takes on uglification, showing us how reclaiming UGLY is a subversive act that roars an unapologetic "yes!" to joy, healing, and community-building in a world that's engineered to hold us back.


Lewis asks us to go beyond analysis, inviting us to boldly perform UGLY as an act of rebellion, liberation, and radical self-love. Through self-help exercises, reflective meditations, and lesson plans, Lewis moves us closer to a collective liberation that takes back what society tells us is ugly and taboo...and teaches us to deconstruct what we've told ourselves is ugly and taboo. In sharing her analysis, personal journey, and activity toolkit, Lewis offers a warm embrace and compassionately guides us toward lives of radical self-acceptance, joyful community-centered healing, and unfiltered self-love.


Vanessa Rochelle Lewis, MFA, is a Queer, Fat, Black, Femme performer, facilitator, educator, writer, activist, healer, and joyful weirdo.


Lewis has been a writer and managing editor for Everyday Feminism and Black Girl Dangerous; an instructor at multiple Bay Area community colleagues; the Artist-Facilitator In Residence for the Young Women Freedom Center; and a core team member for Creating Freedom Movements. She is currently the Director of Programming for the Positive Results Center, an organization that addresses trauma and prevents violence within marginalized communities.


Lewis founded Reclaim UGLY: Uplift Glorify Love Yourself - And Create A World Where Others Can As Well, which has hosted conferences, teach-ins, and healing workshops. Please visit to learn more.


You can find Lewis on Instagram @Black.Woman.Blooming or


  • Publisher: ‎North Atlantic Books (January 23, 2024)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Paperback: ‎352 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎1623175860
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781623175863
  • Item Weight: ‎13 ounces
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