I ALWAYS have so much fun visiting the Monif C. showroom and working with the team there. Monif was one of the first designers I ever did runway for and she always has a special place in my heart. Curvy girls, go visit her if you are in NYC or visit her site! monifc.com (tell her I sent you ;)
This year was, without a doubt, a year FULL of gifts (triumphs, challenges, lessons, and all). I wanted to share some of my top fave moments of 2012. It was, indeed, a blessed one. My 2012 Highlights include:
Modeling Monif C. Designs for BET's Rip The Runway with the yummy Robin Thicke, filming NBC's 30 Rock, speaking at Barnard College in addition to signing on as a consultant for Columbia University, and hosting an event at Alex & Ani in Soho, NYC...
Joining a panel for New Jersey Full-Figured Fashion Week, landing my first ever print cover including a 7-page editorial for the Beaute Book magazine, shooting a beautiful campaign for My Girlfriends Closet Boutique with recording artist Briana Collette, radio personality Angela Yee, psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig and international model Carissa Rosario, and being chosen as Vibe Magazine's Vibe Vixen...
Shooting an editorial for Pose Magazine, being honored in Plus Model Magazines IAMPlus feature, shooting a campaign for 2013 with my 2 best girls, shooting my promo video for my site, booking my 2nd My Girlfriend's Closet Boutique campaign and being the first ever plus size model featured in Kontrol Magazine (currently at Barnes&Noble)...
Having the pleasure of shooting with some of my fave dream photographers including Allen Cooley, Toni Smailagic, Dallas Logan, Inez Lewis, and Gregory Prescott...
My travels! I went to London and attended London Fashion Week, went to Paris and shot an editorial with my mentor Velvet D'Amour, saw good friends and family in Belgium and took a special solo trip to Barcelona...
Overall, the places I was able to see, the people I was able to meet and spend it with, the special events I was able to attend and celebrating 6 years in NYC pursuing my dreams has been the highlight. I run so fast that I rarely stop myself to look at where I've been and I'm so thankful at the opportunities I've received. I'm looking forward to what 2013 has in store for all of us. I'm one day stronger and my heart and mind are open to the journey ahead. Wishing you a safe, happy and healthy year...let go and let God. xo
PFS (Pretty Face Syndrome)
PFS has affected many curvy girls out there and unfortunately it’s spreading at a rapid pace. I, too, have suffered from this awful disease and I am trying very hard to find a cure. As a matter of fact, over 60% of our nations women are suffering from PFS and all I know is that the spread of this must STOP.
When reminiscing about my personal struggle with body image and self esteem I realize that my issues started very early. A little too early if you ask me. It seems as though my PFS kicked in around Junior High. I wasn’t the most attractive thing in the bunch but in my defense I was pre-pubescent and finding my way! There was no need for anyone to tell me in the 7th grade that I was fat when I was nowhere near being overweight. I just had hips in my early years and wished someone would have told me that having hips were ok. The ironic thing about my PFS is that it was inflicted by my own family members who kept telling me in that I had to watch what I ate and that I needed to exercise. There is nothing bad with keeping your kids active but my family would constantly tell me that I was too chubby and that I would never find love being at my size.
By the time I hit high school I was a size 12 and 5″7, which is pretty darn normal and perfect if you ask me. I think that if it wasn’t for the constant pressure to be super thin at such a young age my overall mentality towards my weight would have been totally different. If only at a size 12 my family and friends would have encouraged me and given me positive reinforcement I would have never felt the need to rebel.
At my heaviest, I was tipping the scales at 270 pounds and my PFS had reached its highest numbers. My PFS ended up being my crutch and I actually found comfort in people telling me that I had such a beautiful face for a big girl. I thought that it was ok to be nearly 300 pounds because my cute face would carry me through life. I ignored everyone’s warnings and kept the pounds on and felt pretty confident.
Unfortunately, I am 45 pounds lighter now and my PFS is still in effect and decided to not be comfortable with hearing about my pretty face any longer. “If only you lost 20 more pounds you would be THE most beautiful girl in the world, not just one of them. ” “You are really so pretty for a big girl.” “It’s such a shame to have such a pretty face when the rest of you is so big.” Yes, I have heard it all.
As a survivor of PFS, do me a favor and let the thick chick in front of you know that not only does she have a gorgeous face but everything else that goes a long with it is amazing just the same. “You have a gorgeous face AND you carry those curves so damn well.” Thank you for helping me win the fight against PFS.
*I wrote this an online lifestyle magazine
The reality is I have been in these curves for quite some time now. In fact, I can say confidently that I am a 10-year veteran. I had been rejected by men in the past because of my curves but I eventually learned to love them. One of the greatest days of my life was the day I woke up and looked at myself naked in my mirror and thought, “You know what, my dear, you ain’t lookin’ half-bad. In fact, you are a whole lotta good *ish* wrapped up in a tasty package.” (Yes, these conversations happen often) And this is what brings us here today.
I’m here to promote curves by raising my hands to the sky and yelling out to the world “GO BIG!!!!!” I know, I know. We all have different tastes and some of you just don’t prefer big chicks. That’s cool. I don’t prefer okra. It’s fair to have a difference in opinions and its totally fair to like what you like. I get it. But if you are a man who has never experienced the warmth of a woman’s ‘fullness’ then I personally feel that you really haven’t lived yet.
There is something very endearing about a woman with extra love around her legs, hips, tummy and, of course, her bum. At the risk of sounding very weird, I believe that every stretch mark, scar and imperfection is meant to tell a story and gives the body some character which, to me, ends up looking pretty perfect (on anybody for that matter). Curvy women who do it right and carry themselves with grace offer a unique confidence and sexy way about them that is truly irreplaceable by those less fortunate of the yummy goodness. We thick chicks have been through some difficult things which specifically have made us more in tune with the human form, the zones and the spots. We have had to explore outside of our measure on purpose, both physically and mentally, just to find a way to be comfortable in our skin. We have been tossed to the side and have had to find strength within ourselves to somehow manifest negative energy into something positive.
Having that said, don’t you think that a woman who comes with that sort of struggle and triumph may just be the most interesting and exciting partner you have ever had, mentally and physically? Go ahead and ask your boys who are fans of the rolls all about their experiences and see if they don’t already have a membership card. I am here speaking from experience and I have many a time been the first big girl that men were attracted to or at least interested in. And really, its about confidence...the walk and the talk. I'm not perfect and I definitely have insecurities but I introduce them to something new and different and offer a different perspective on life. I’ve been told that men acquire a taste for the thickness after spending time with me. *justsayin*
I think the moral of the story is that I have met some dudes recently who have never ever been with a thick chick, both emotionally and/or physically and I am simply here to say, “What are you waiting for?” Not only is it ok to look but if you ever felt self-conscious about what your friends might think of your reputation by having us on your arm, well, news flash boo…they love them a ‘thickie’ just as much as you do. If you still feel insecure about going big then just stick with what you like because your insecurities won’t be a good match for our confidence. We are grown folks and usually grown folks don’t let much get in the way. You will never know if you hate or love something in case you really try it and I’m a huge advocate for change in this day and age. Do me and my yummy friends a huge favor and take us out for a spin and report back to me on how that trip made you feel. I guarantee you will learn something about yourself you never knew and you may even unleash a side of you that you were just itching to let loose. We may be an acquired taste but you will be so very glad your palette was cleansed. I know this all to be true because I have lived it and see it every day. That's all I have to say about that.
*I wrote this for an online lifestyle magazine
Like any typical high school sitcom or TV drama, there is a cast of characters representative of those we all remember well back in our highly pubescent years. My own personal cast included the jock, the” A” group, the ballers, the thin, the freckled and the pimpled. As for me, I would have been cast as the chubby chick in the corner with the pretty face or the girl with the big personality and best friend in the time of need. My size 12, 5”7 frame was considered to be not only undesired amongst the size 4 gals but also the butt of all fat jokes. I was bullied, cheated on, mocked, bruised and broken by the time I graduated. That’s when this fatty’s life in curves truly began.
This story isn’t an invitation to Tiff’s Pity Party but instead this is simply a message to those gorgeous thick chicks out there who share the same history as I. I am of a representative of you and I carry you with me each and every single time I walk into a room chock full of conformity and social regularities which have made us the “lesser than” or the beauty minority. I’m here to offer any inspiration to those yummy gals who were always told that they “had a pretty face for a big girl.” Its up to us to realize within ourselves that everything below our necks is just as beautiful and desired so that the rest of society can start re-arranging their lens. It sounds cliché, but I personally taught myself how to love everything my mama gave me, starting from the inside out. Walking confidently in your curves may not happen overnight but achieving it is very simple. The secret to it is simply finding ways to FEEL good. Once your insides are in that ‘feel-good’ state of mind believe me that your outside will look just as fine. Another trick is to ACT brave even when you don’t feel brave because 9 times out of 10, NO ONE can tell the difference. Don’t just wear what fits but instead get creative and put together something that is reflective of the current trends but hugs your curves in the right spots too. Think sexy and you inevitably will be.
I left my mental weight back in California and flew out to NYC with a one-way ticket and a duffle bag hoping to be the victor in my never-ending game of hide and seek with my dreams. I am now a plus-size model and have had the extreme pleasure and honor of working with some of the best folks in the plus industry. I have modeled for designers such as Ashley Stewart, Lane Bryant, Monif C., Qristyl Frasier, Douglas Says and Robert Knight. My modeling goals now are to try and target the more commercial audience and fulfill my future endeavors as an actress. I am open to whatever God brings my way and will show and prove through my hard work and determination that I am deserving of that one open door.
I am now the product of a strange yet perfect recipe, ingredients including years of ridicule mixed and stirred with struggle, ownership, individuality and confidence. Big girls, tell me what you have been through, what your desires are and ways we can turn our sexy inside-out. I am by no means perfect or claim to have all the answers but I am, in the end, a fellow thick chick with a “pretty face” determined to make all of these chubbs, handles and lovin’ look good and help others realize their inner strengths. This is my life in curves.
*I wrote this for an online lifestyle magazine