Someone who really inspired me is Francie, of Miss Diva Kurves. A strong and beautiful woman, Francie has made a stamp on the fashion industry with her amazing style and success, giving us a realistic and d0wn to earth role model, and a true asset to the curve industry. I chat to Francie about her begingings as a model, her inspirations and her clothing collection that I want every single piece from!
What made you decide to become a model?
I jump started my modeling career at the early age of 5 years old. I started walking the runway as a child hair model in local hair shows. I knew then that being in front of the camera and having lights all around me in shows was something I loved to do. At the age of 18, I was a freshman in college and I wanted to further my modeling career as an adult. I networked with other models that happened to not be plus size models but they were able to introduce me to photographers and other models around the Atlanta area. I created modeling profiles on sites such as model mayhem and from there, photographers from all over began to reach out to me and offer me photo shoots, some paid and some TFP. From there, I was able to build up my professional modeling portfolio. I began going to castings and doing promotional modeling just to get my name out. I made sure I jumped on every opportunity that was presented. Any fashion show or event that included plus size models, I was there. I never became tired of going to events or waking up early mornings or staying up late nights doing shoots. This is when I knew that this field was definitely for me!
You have your own clothing line: Diva Kurves Collection. Can you tell us the ethos behind your collection?
I am a curvy woman and my measurements are a little different from the average woman, making it so hard to walk into a store and find the perfect fitting outfit. I noticed that there are a lot of women out there that struggle with the same issue, so I decided to design a line that is not only designed to fit the average plus size woman but also women who do not necessarily have the average measurements. It can be difficult for women with very small top proportions and bottom heavy to find an outfit that fits her curves just right. The Diva Kurves collection was the perfect solution for this! The plus size fashion industry has expanded greatly over the past few years and plus size women are now excited to show off their curves in a variety of designs. The Diva Kurves collection gives plus women all around the world the opportunity to come out of that shell even more. My line allows plus women to feel even sexier yet still maintaining class. My brand states that confidence is everything and my vision for that includes designing a line that before you even try the design on, you know then and there you are about to own this piece!
You’ve created a calendar featuring some curvy models. What do you look for in a model?
When choosing models to be featured in the annual Kurves calendar publication, the main thing that I look for is confidence! In the application, I always ask the ladies to give me one word to describe them because beauty is a combination of qualities, not just looks. Having confidence is surely a quality that all of the Diva Kurves calendar models should possess. They own their kurves! I do not require candidates to submit a professional headshot or full body picture when submitting but I do look to see if the camera loves them. I don’t need pictures that are too sexy. I also look for candidates that can follow directions. If a person is unable to read and follow directions in the submission process, they will not be prepared to work and prepare for the creation of the calendar.
You keep your Instagram followers in the know about your gym routine. How often do you workout and how do you maintain that beautiful shape?
Thank you for the compliment! I workout anywhere between 3-5 days per week. If I am having a busy week, I try to get in the gym at least 3 times a week. I don’t really like the term “diet.” It confuses your mental. I simply changed what I buy at the grocery store and how I eat. It’s ok to eat out with friends every now and then, don’t punish yourself! You have to switch up your workout routines. I do make sure to eat only things that are good for the body, lots of fruits, vegetables, etc. I consume plenty of water daily, cutting juices and sodas completely out of the diet. When you have done it for so long, it becomes automatic, a lifestyle!
You inspire and many other women, but who inspired you to model and create a fashion brand?
My mother always pushed me to see my true beauty and always told me how I belonged in front of the camera. Watching America’s Next Top Model gave me so many great ideas and I always watched the show and thought how awesome it would be to do the same type of shoots as a plus model. I started sketching designs at the early age of 11. I would sit in my room and draw fashionable pieces that I wish were made in plus size, as I was plus sized as a child. I remember seeing a movie called “Phat Girlz” that featured actress Mo’Nique who happened to be a famous plus size public figure at the time. In the movie, she launched her own clothing line and after dedication, her line went international in stores everywhere. This gave me so much hope that one day I could do the same thing. After seeing that so many plus designers were launching their lines and becoming successful, I decided to launch my own.
Confidence oozes out of you. But have you always been so confident?
As a child, up until middle school, I was teased for being overweight. I was also very tall for a girl so I was teased about that as well. Of course, this made my self-esteem very low and it was hard for me to accept myself at times. When I learned to accept that I am who God designed me to be, nothing that anyone said mattered.
You seem to have a big heart and love to help others. Do you have any advice for women struggling to love their bodies?
When it comes to your body, you have to accept and love it for what it is. If God wanted everyone in the world to look the same he would have created us to look all exactly the same, which in my opinion would be very boring! Don’t let social media and television make you feel that you should look a certain way in order to be beautiful. Once you accept the person that you are and the skin that you were designed to be in then nothing but happiness will fill your life, in every aspect. Confidence is everything. Your body is yours, own it!
And what about aspiring plus models, any tips?
For anyone aspiring to be a plus model, I first must say that nothing in life comes easy. Even being plus size and finding plus model work can be difficult. Signing with agencies does not happen overnight. I recommend building your portfolio on your own and investing in yourself. Networking with other aspiring models in your community and photographers in your area can take you a long way. Professional development classes and modeling workshops are a plus. Don’t be afraid to travel to castings, have faith in your own abilities. There will be some people who tell you No but this does not mean stop. Keep going and if modeling is for you, great opportunities will certainly come your way eventually.
Follow Miss Diva Kurves for more curvy fashion and lifestyle:
Miss Diva Kurves