ArtBeautyBody PoliticsLGBTQIA+

The Plus-sized Body Candles Honoring Black Women

April 20, 2022

While conversations about body positivity and inclusivity permeate all industries, we somehow still have a long way to go. Despite body-inclusive products flooding the market recently, society celebrates the “runway” body type. We’re bombarded with pictures of what the ‘ideal’ body should resemble daily. From billboards to magazines, we see photos of these runway figures. 

“Society surrounds us with the art of the ‘ideal’ body. I wanted to take my art to highlight the other bodies that are out there. Not the runway ones, but the regular day-to-day body,” Jodyann Morgan.

Thankfully, the market for body-inclusive products has increased in recent years. There are they’re embracing and coming to terms with other body types. 

Jodyann Morgan is on the move to redefine body-shaped candles. Morgan has one goal – to honor and celebrate Black women through the lens of plus-sized body-shaped candles. 

When COVID-19 hit the world, Morgan took candle-making as a hobby. What started as a passion became a lucrative business in 2021, giving birth to CTOAN Co.

Celebrating Black women’s bodies 

Photo via McKenna Patterson Photography 

The Black female body has been fetishized and dehumanized in all its shapes since slavery. For centuries, society dictated and defined the ideal body image for women, with the right body perceived as slim, with no curves. This made the Black woman lose confidence and feel like she didn’t belong. 

When someone reached out to Morgan, asking if she could make candles that looked more like their body, it was as if a light bulb had gone off in her head. From that moment, a new adventure began for Morgan, and she’s been on a mission to celebrate body positivity. She’s one of the female entrepreneurs celebrating not only the Black woman’s full body but all bodies. What makes her candles unique is the gender neutrality it promotes. 

Through the lens of a Black business owner

Photo via McKenna Patterson Photography 

Although society has made significant progress in queer acceptance and visibility, many people still find coming out a dangerous effort. Representation matters as it combats stereotypes and ignorance.

Despite being a successful businesswoman, Morgan wants people to know she’s a Black Jamaican queer woman. She’s very particular about letting people know she’s the face behind the name and the hand behind every candle. 

“It’s important because it’s who I am, and there’s not a lot of companies that give visibility to people like me,” she said. 

Morgan has earned the same amount of money as she would at her full-time work after 700 orders. On top of constantly incoming orders, she has wholesale orders for retailers in California and Oregon.

What Morgan believed was a side job has now turned into her full-time job. These candles add beauty to any room, whether it’s a bedside table or a window sill. They’re made from soy with fragrance oil to avoid overpowering the senses. Morgan, who’s been 100% self-employed for over a year now, is living her best life. She and her wife, Chaya Milchtein, also purchased a home to run their businesses. Chaya runs a mechanic shop Femme while Morgan owns CTOAN.

An excerpt of this article originally appeared in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A Milwaukee artist creates plus-sized body-shaped candles.