Photo Credit: Courtesy of Darneshia King
Meet The Plus-Sized Influencer Behind Everyone's Favorite Viral PTO Video
Meet Darneshia King, the 31-year-old plus-sized influencer behind the Black travel world’s favorite comical PTO video. A native of Florida, she is a mother of three who works in banking and has her own fashion styling company, The Neshia K Experience.
Darneshia is also an avid traveler, who enjoys exploring new destinations. In her viral video, which has been watched, liked, and reshared hundreds of thousands of times, Darneshia joyfully dances down the jet bridge to board her flight. The captions read:
Job: Your vacation time was not approved
Me: PTO…prepare the others cuz I’m still going
Darneshia was on her way to Cancun, Mexico. She says the video was recorded just for laughs. In fact, her grandmother, who she was traveling with, was the one who recorded the video.
“I was so excited about going on vacation because I was long overdue for a break,” the plus-sized influencer said. “I was TikToking while waiting to board the plane and also while boarding. My grandmother was in a wheelchair recording as she was being pushed down the ramp to the plane. I was shocked when I previewed the video to see if she recorded correctly. To my surprise, it was perfect!”
Although the video was made purely for fun and entertainment, the sentiments expressed in it are very real. One of the reasons it became so popular was because so many people could relate to it. Along with the familiar joy one experiences while boarding a flight, many of us also know the feeling of having a vacation request denied only to kindly let our employers know, we are going regardless.
One of the things many people discovered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and even before, is just how essential travel is to them. Whether you consider travel self-care, therapy, or just a necessary reset from chaotic everyday life, diehard travelholics simply can’t do without it. It’s so important that yes, people are willing to risk losing their jobs for it.
“Traveling is refreshing and therapeutic. To me, to travel is to live. I started traveling in 2014 when my aunt and my cousin decided to start Wo-men on Deck. It’s a travel club for women who want to let their hair down, need a break from reality, or just simply want to travel the world and need someone to travel with. There is so much to see, so many walks of life. I have enjoyed my share of traveling since I joined the club; it’s one of the best decisions I have made.”
On her trip with the club to Cancun, Darneshia was part of a large group of 50 people who had a ball sightseeing, eating great food, exploring Downtown Cancun’s nightlife, and enjoying fun and exciting water activities like snorkeling and driving mini speed boats.
Since joining the club, Darneshia said she has actually has had to miss a few trips due to not having her vacation request approved by her job.
“There have also been a few times when I’ve said ‘Prepare the others, because I’m still going’ and thankfully, I have not yet lost a job after doing so.”
Darneshia has received so much positive feedback from people who could relate to her video and who found joy in watching it. Quite surprised by the response it garnered, she says she never imagined the outpouring of love would be so robust.
“I did not expect the video to go viral like it did. I was ecstatic to see the amount of views and shares I received. It actually feels amazing to make so many people laugh and to see the amount of people who could relate.”
“I’ve also received some hateful comments here and there. But in the words of seven-year-old chubby me, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words will never hurt me!’ There are always those people who feel being a heavyset person is unhealthy and think the only thing we should be doing is dieting and exercising. But I have never been one to let negativity control my energy.”
As a plus-sized influencer, Darneshia is on a mission to encourage other plus-sized individuals. This is something very important to her, which today is necessary more than ever considering the current social media culture full of trolls who set out to shame others and make them feel bad about themselves.
“I do this for other pleasantly plump women and even men that need that extra push. Not loving yourself can have traumatic outcomes, and can even lead to suicide. Sometimes it takes people like me to help pull others out of depression or grey areas in their lives. You never know who you may be encouraging. And in my experience, I have helped so many.”
Whether dancing in TikTok videos or posing for photos on a tropical beach, when Darneshia steps in front of the camera, she does so with the utmost confidence. Always fashionable and ready to shine, she aims to inspire and uplift.
“As a plus-sized influencer, my confidence can help someone with low self-esteem begin to feel better about themselves. I’ve been told by many that seeing me be so comfortable in my own skin has helped them come out of their shell. I love to help people feel good, and to do so while traveling has become a passion for me. Inspiring others brings me so much joy because not only am I putting smiles on faces, I’m also encouraging the next person to do the same.”
Darneshia has a word of advice for plus-sized women who may be dealing with self-esteem issues:
“The first step to fixing that low self-esteem is to accept yourself as you are right now. Stop criticizing yourself. You are beautiful inside and out. Find that beauty inside of you and let her out! It’s a curvy girl’s world and a curvy girl’s way. Let’s travel and enjoy life today!”
You can follow Darneisha at @therealneshiak.