Unashamed (Hardcover)

Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim

By Leah Vernon

Beacon Press, 9780807012628, 240pp.

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A searingly honest memoir of one young woman's journey toward self-acceptance as she comes to see her body as a symbol of rebellion and hope and chooses to live her life unapologetically.

Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn't any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn't have a missing father or a mother with mental illness. They didn't have fat bodies or grow up wishing they could be like the white characters they saw on TV. They didn't have husbands who abused and cheated on them. They certainly didn't have secret abortions. In Unashamed, Vernon takes to task the myth of the perfect Muslim woman with frank dispatches on her love-hate relationship with her hijab and her faith, race, weight, mental illness, domestic violence, sexuality, the millennial world of dating, and the process of finding her voice.

She opens up about her tumultuous adolescence living at the poverty line with her fiercely loving but troubled mother, her deadbeat dad, and her siblings, and the violent dissolution of her 10-year marriage. Tired of the constant policing of her clothing in the name of Islam and Western beauty standards, Vernon reflects on her experiences with hustling paycheck to paycheck, body-shaming, and redefining what it means to be a "good" Muslim.

Irreverent, youthful, and funny, Unashamed gives anyone who is marginalized permission to live unapologetic, confident lives.

About the Author

Leah Vernon is a style blogger, plus-size Muslim model, public speaker, and activist. She has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Elle, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, the New York Times, Teen Vogue, MuslimGirl, and hundreds of combined podcasts, television appearances, radio spots, and other features. She's also worked with national and international brands such as Adidas Originals, Torrid, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Addition Elle, and Eloquii. She received a 2017 Gilda Snowden Award from the Kresge Arts Foundation and is a 2018 recipient of an Ariane De Rothschild Fellowship. She lives in Detroit, Michigan. Connect with her on Instagram (lvernon2000) and her blog (beautyandthemuse.net).