Mylène has a degree in sexology and a master’s diploma in addiction, and her career focus has been around the promotion of harm reduction. Her current role involves managing a community-based youth clinic that offers STI testing, among other services.
“My true passion is body empowerment, body positivity, fat positivity,” she says.
Mylène was drawn to this work because of a challenging childhood. Her younger years included bullying in elementary and high school.
“As I grew into my own skin, I was done with being seen as a doormat, or being seen as ‘less than’ because of fatness, because of otherness.”
This experience of being othered has informed the work she does today.
“I had a great mentor who taught me a lot about activism, about working with people who are marginalized. I found my footing. I found a home in activism. And I haven't looked back since.”
During her 18-year career, she has learned about the various reactions we have to our bodies. Often these reactions, she says, are dictated by what society thinks our body should be, or they are influenced by an illness that subsequently becomes an enforced identity. She encourages resistance from external forces.
“Grab the experiences you want to experience,” Mylène says, “Don't waste your time hating yourself.”