What made you decide that you wanted to be a model?
I have always been told that I should model and never really took it seriously until about 3 yrs ago. I literally woke up one day and decided I was going to give it a shot. I spent a whole year researching other models, plus size designers and agencies. Then I reached out to a model I knew who was already in the industry for advice. The 2nd year I started taking modeling classes (runway & posing) and going to industry events, networking and building my portfolio. The rest is history 😉
Being a curvy model, did you find that there were limitations when you first started modelling?
I am on the curvier side and also on the shorter side, so I did feel a lot of pressure to slim down just so that I could appear taller in print. I feel that as a curvier model some clothing lines will only use you for runway shows or e commerce but prefer to use taller and more slender models for campaigns. It’s a shame but I’ve learned that it’s the reality of this industry.
The fashion industry although making huge movement with plus size, is still prominently using slim models in print. Why do you think that the industry can still be reluctant towards publishing plus sized women?
I think that the fashion industry uses mostly slim models for print and campaigns because they feel that the clothing looks better and appeals to more people. I know as a size 16/18 woman, even before modeling I would look at a site like Fashion to Figure with models who are size 10/12 with no tummy and still not be able to judge how the outfit would look on me. Seeing the thin model wearing it is one step better than seeing it on a hanger, but I want to see how it looks on real curves. I believe most plus size consumers are feeling like this and most larger clothing brands have yet to understand this. Some of the smaller brands Monif C. have listened to public opinion and made the change to use larger size curvy models.
A debate that has surfaced this year: Keep or drop the plus?
Keep the plus!!! All day, every day… I probably use the term “Curvy Model” more often as in my Instagram name, but plus is positive to me. Plus is equal, although the title distinguishes us from other models as having “more” or “extra” we are still models just the same. I feel like we represent the average American woman and I wear the plus title proudly.
You are certainly an inspiration to me, but who are your plus fashion inspirations?
I would say that one of my biggest inspirations from the very beginning of my modeling career has been Jeannie Ferguson…she basically taught me how to walk and pose and gave me the reassurance I needed that I have what it takes to make it in this industry. Another inspiration of mine has been Naimah Terry who was the model I reached out to initially to get advice about how to get into the industry. Being signed to the same agency and having the honor of working with her on one of my first major shoots was an awesome feeling of accomplishment. She has managed to maintain a steady modeling career in both fit and print and I lucky to now call her a peer and very good friend of mine. I would say one of my other fav model inspirations is Christina Mendez, she made her own lane and continues to stay relevant and slay after years of being in this industry. She has always been encouraging, helpful and kept it real from day one and I respect that.
Have you always been confident in the skin you’re in?
Many girls these days experience feelings of low self-esteem because of the way they look and their size. As a successful model, do you have any advice for girls who lack confidence?