You’ve been working in the modeling industry since 2008, in what ways have you seen the industry change, and where do you think it is heading?
Years ago, before becoming a model, I remember plus models looking fuller, like size 16 and 18…then they started to be smaller….size 12’s and even smaller sizes were used and they were padded to look curvier. Then there was a resurgence of size 18 models over the past few years, and now when I do my on- line shopping i see a nice mix of sizes from some retailers.
Since you began your modeling career, do you feel that the industry has gradually embraced plus-size more?
Yes, I definitely see a gradual growth of acceptance. I attribute that not just to the models and retailers, but also to the bloggers who have shown how fashions look on a variety of body types, not just the hourglass. Women who are larger in size, like a size 24 would also like to see representation and deserve to see it.
Speaking of the term ‘plus size’, do you take any issue with it?
I don’t take any issue to Plus Size or Full Figured, or even Fat. It’s just a way to describe what is already obvious and as long as its not used in a derogatory way, I’m fine with all of them. I take more issue with “Real Women” or “Women’s Sizes” because women come in all different sizes and we are all real.
Do you find it difficult finding work or is it becoming easier?
Of course I’m at a bit of a disadvantage some times because castings may be asking for smaller sizes or use the term “fit”. A plus size woman can work out and be ‘fit” but I know that’s not what they mean, they mean “athletic” or thin. I believe I find the work that is meant for me, as I am.
Do you think there is more of a push these days to accommodate women of all sizes?
Absolutely! Women need to see other women of all ages, ethnicity’s, and body types represented in a positive way. We need to end this homogeneous ideal of what beauty looks like. We are definitely seeing some change, but we’re not “there” yet.
Why do you think people are so obsessed with size and image anyway?
Because that’s what TV, Film, Magazines advertisements etc etc etc want. That’s how various companies get paid, playing on any insecurities we have, or they create for some of us to have. This is why the confident plus sized movement is SO IMPORTANT. I often say, “There is an alternate universe where plus sized women are confident, dress well, date, and are happy with their lives”. The problem is some people in charge don’t want to show that; I think they are afraid to deal with the critics who say they are promoting obesity. What about under-representing viewers and readers? Some people are fat-phobic. There is no reason why a brand of Shampoo for instance, can’t have a gorgeous plus sized model with a glorious mane representing their brand; shampoo isn’t going to make you fat.
Was becoming confident in your body a progression?
I was actually thin and curvy as a size 6 and 8 before becoming full figured. As I started to gain weight, I maintained the confidence I had at a smaller size. Its STILL ME, just more of me. My weight doesn’t define the type of woman I am, and as long as I carry myself with confidence, grace and a sense of humor, that’s what defines me.
Are there specific women who have inspired you to embrace your curves?
When I was growing up, one of my best friends was always curvier than the rest of us and she always carried herself with great confidence from head to toe. She always had good looking boyfriends and was never caught up in not being as thin as her other friends…she dressed appropriately for her curves and always exuded sex appeal. When I transitioned from straight sizes to plus sizes, I did so seamlessly because of the example she had set. Additionally, growing up seeing Emme modeling in magazines and then hosting Fashion Emergency on tv made a lasting impression on me too. Emme was NOT hosting a show for the plus sized market, she was mainstream, the emphasis of the show was not about her size. I LOVE that, and want to have that type of career.
So, what’s next for you?
I’m just going to carry on doing what I am doing and what I love. I want to make an impact on as many people as I can and continue to promote plus sizes in the public eye. I want to make more TV and print appearances and hope that one day maybe there will be no “plus size” models, just models.