Annoula Dritsas is a plus model, a media consultant and a philanthropist hailing from New Jersey, US. With gorgeous curves and a beautiful, exotic Greek look, Annoula is a favourite plus model of mine who has modelled for Bicoastal and many more. Here, Annoula answers some questions for me about her life as a plus model and some inspirational tips for us to learn from!
How did you get into the plus modelling industry? As an aspiring plus model myself I would love some tips!
I got into the industry four years ago. Modeling was always something that I was interested in doing, but didn’t fully pursue until after finishing college. I had a window of opportunity back in the spring of 2010 after I decided to get out of a toxic relationship and committed myself to the gym and dropped an initial 45 pounds. Then while pursuing modeling and researching agencies, photographers etc, I lost another 20 pounds and felt super confident about myself and felt like myself again to actually push forward and be immerse into the industry. At first, it was hard; many times you will hear no, but if this is something you want, then you have to stick to it! I worked very hard and you have to really put yourself out there and go to networking events, fashion shows, and talk to people. The more people know you and your name, the more you’ll get recognized. It’s also important to research what type of modeling you want to do, what type of agency should represent [if you decide that route] you, and what type of shows and press will be there. I always say that Google is your best friend and it’s helped me a lot into booking work and reaching out to people!
What kind of shoots do you like to do best and why?
I love doing editorial shoots, because of the concepts. I love being able to express myself through creative looks. I think that just because you’re “plus size,” doesn’t mean you cannot do edgy or high fashion editorials! It’s all about mastering your angles and poses; the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be in front of the camera. It’s always fun to dress up in funky clothing with vibrant make-up and having amazing hair. The more creative the shoot, the more on board I am with it!
How do you keep yourself in shape? As a curvy girl myself I can struggle with weight management.
I am highly dedicated to the gym. I love going to the gym and am there about 4-5 days a week. I also play volleyball 3-4 days a week, twice at my gym and in other leagues that I am a part of. I think it’s important to exercise and be active, but going to the gym shouldn’t feel like a chore, but an escape! I enjoy taking zumba classes and relaxing after an intense workout by sitting in the sauna then taking a dip in the hot tub. I also eat right and pretty much have everything in moderation. I don’t have a crazy, special diet, but I don’t drink soda or eat fast food. Also, one thing that is SO important, is to drink LOTS of water! Always remember to stay hydrated and drink as much as you can- I always like to put a lemon in my water for an added flavour!
Have you got a favourite trend/style at the moment? If so, what?
At the moment now that it’s Fall here in NYC, I love getting to wear my jeans or jeggings with an oversized sweater or top with some really cute booties and my leather jacket. It’s simply chic and casual, but you can dress it up as well at night. It’s such a go-to outfit going from work to a date night outing.
What style do you think suits your body shape best?
Being that my body is hourglass, I tend to buy clothing that is either high waisted or bodycon. I feel those clothing options really accentuate my curves.
Have you always loved your body, or have you struggled?
Growing up, I did struggle with my weight and body, but I think that happens to everyone when they go through puberty. I always felt a little out of place from everyone else growing up being that I was tall, but it wasn’t until I went to college where I realized that people don’t like you based upon your looks, but on your personality and how you treat others. I used to fluctuate with my weight, but in college, I learned to love myself and know that if I feel good and love me, then I look good and am confident.
Do you have any advice for girls struggling to love their bodies?
I would say that you have to be yourself and love yourself. Don’t listen to other peoples’ criticism about how you should look like. Never allow yourself to feel inferior to others. ONLY change something about yourself because YOU want to! I always tell people that you should embrace what you have and really understand that you only have one body; you need to take of it and nourish it well. We all go through struggles, but the ones who come on top are the real winners. You have to be strong and be your own cheerleader! The more people say I can’t, the more I try to prove them wrong. When you love yourself, your outer aura shines. When you feel good, you look good. Be confident in everything that you do and accomplish whatever it may be! It might be hard in the beginning, but know you’re not alone!
How do you feel about the lack of plus size models in the fashion industry?
I feel that it is slowly changing, but at a “slow” pace. I think that when it comes to fashion shows at MBFW, there shouldn’t be an exclusion. I would love to see more designers incorporate plus size models in their collections on the runway. I know that there were 2 designers that included girls this past week, but it’d be great to get national brands to include us as well.
Who are your model inspirations and why?
I admire Denise Bidot. I love that she has done so much and has affected so many people in a positive way that it has opened lots of doors for her. I admire her work ethic and constant hustle while inspiring others to never give up and fight for their dreams.
And finally, what are your plans for your modelling future?
For the future, I’d love to get into more print work and travel internationally. Being that I am Greek, I’d love to start some sort of movement in Greece and make it acceptable to be who you are and rock what you have! I am in talks with a few brands in Europe, and hopefully by winter/spring time, I’ll be able to get over there! Also, I am plan to design my own fitness line of athletic sportswear, titled “Be You – Be Fabulous”, which also my brand and tagline on Instagram, where I’ll be making anything from tote bags to cell phone cases. I think it’s important to always be yourself and to be fabulous!
If you’d like to find out more about Annoula, check out her website and follow her social media sites!