Hey! How cool was it for WeWomen.Com to include me in this "10 Lessons in Self-Confidence from Plus Size Models" article??? I love that they did this. Thank you WeWomenUSA for all the love and inspiration. Check out the full article HERE.
So...people always ask me why I started modeling or what made me decide to model. Long story short, the image below.
Growing up I didn't have many images or role models in the mainstream to look up to for body confidence. There were not many relatable images that made me think I was accepted. I grew up in the Cindy Crawford era, where the All-American girl next door was the desired one. So, in 2006, when I was flipping through channels, I saw Velvet (shown above) on a major fashion runway in Paris. THIS was an image I could relate to and she felt familiar. And not only did she seem relatable but she was celebrated for who she was. In awe of this moment and of the fire in my belly I decided I would create the change I wanted to see. Fast forward 7 years, a few protests, and hundreds of emails later...I got the attention of a designer named Alhassan Toure who agreed to put me on his runway during New York Fashion Week. It wasn't in the tents or in Lincoln Center but that didn't matter. The moment of acceptance and the opportunity to be in a position to offer something different and what inclusion could look like was all that mattered to me. I invested time, gained his trust, pitched my ideas on why it was so important to put me on his runway and a miracle happened. He listened. He agreed. He helped. And after a year of planting seeds...it happened. I'm beyond thankful Toure Designs and his team gave me the opportunity to give someone else that same belly fire that Velvet gave me. This mission had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the next generation of girls/teens and women who need something to relate to. I did it for them. I've been told "no" SOOO many times, especially this past year, and this is what happens when you keep saying. I went and showed you what "YES" looks like. THANK YOU to everyone who posted about it, who showed love at the show and sent all the encouraging messages. I'm glad you liked it. #keepgoing #push #justkeepswimming
Click on the on the image below to see the behind-the-scenes video of the show and a little of my sass on the runway ;) Couldn't help myself!
My perfect world is a place where all sizes, shapes, ages and backgrounds are represented in the mainstream and there was no "us vs them" mentality. Ideally any commercial, billboard, or magazine would have all types so that the younger generation wouldn't be able to define insecurity. As a size 18 woman I want to be included into the mainstream's infrastructure and I'm honored that Kontrol Magazine took a chance on me and chose me as their first ever plus size model to have an editorial in their magazine. We are on step closer...and I couldn't be more thrilled! You can purchase the magazine at any Barnes and Noble nationwide with Elle Varner and Tamar Braxton on the cover. Special thanks to the team! Julian, Jeremy, Allen, Cynthia and Chris!
As you may or may not know I've been a contributor for Plus Model Magazine for 3 years now. I get to feeature and interview models on the rise in the industry and love helping models get an opportunity to shine through our mag. I'm lucky enough to have a great support system at PLUS and Maddy, my editor, has always been so great about hepling me promote my projects and including me in the magazine from time to time. This time, she called to say she wanted to feature me in her I Am Plus campaign and I couldn't be more honored :) What's super special about this campaign is that these photos were all unretouched and just had color correction. It was a unique opportunity to do something natural and I loved it! See the full feature here. :) Special hugs to Maddy, those featured, the yummy supporters and the team :) xoxo
Hey yummies! How lovely is this?! Vibe Magazine named me Vixen of the Day this week :) It's so awesome to be recongnized and included! I love me some Vibe Vixen! You can see the full feature here. :)
Hey sugar loves! I hope all of you are smiling and enjoying today. SO much has been going on the past month and I had to update you with the latest. I shot an episode of 30 ROCK with Sherri Shepherd, Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. It was SUCH an amazing experience to watch the pros in action. I learned a lot being on set with the all-star cast. I did a super funny scene with Sherri but unfortunately it got cut. The experience was awesome and I'm so glad I get to say I was a part of it. I also got to check out the off-Broadway show Fuerza Bruta (which I had seen twice before) with Usher! (shout-out to my girl Cat Peoples for the hook-up!) It was a great way to promote his new album and he did a great job!! It's hard to explain his character in the show but lets just say it invloves lots of running, flying and rain. Ya, I know.
I've also been busy with photoshoots and have a few new fun things to show you this summer! I recently got back from Atlanta and excited to share the editorial I shot which comes out in August. I've been meeting and working with such amazing people that I admire in the industry and feel super blessed to be having all this fun.
And p.s. I had the opportunity to go to my first ever basketball game a week or so ago and it just so happened to be a playoffs game between the Miami Heat and the NY Knicks. I also took a pretty cool shot of Lebron himself :) Words can't express how cool it was! And, you know, being that close to the basketball players was totes fine with me ;) p.p.s. Kanye West and I may or may not have locked eyes a few times but that's a different story for a different day ;)
A very special shout-out to everyone in Germany who got to watch BIG SEXY for the first time. I'm getting lots of fan mail and I so appreciate the support!
I feel like sometimes my life is a movie and I'm so enjoying the ride. I wanted to share a few snapshots from the past month including the game, behind-the-scenes shots of my shoots, people I've met, 30 ROCK, my trip to Atlanta and the collage from PLUS Model Magazine that my mom and I are in.
Love you boos. Take good care of you.
Hi babyloves. I just got back from Atlantic City where I attended New Jersey Full-Figured Fashion Week and can I tell you...I did not want to leave!!! It was such a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends, hang out with my model girls and make new connections! The models and fashions were gorgeous this year and celebrity stylist Susan Moses DID HER THING! We were treated to 2 parties after the fashion events with performances by Melanie Fiona, Musiq Soulchild, Eric Benet and Miguel. I did not get a chance to see Melanie Fiona (sadface) but Musiq, Eric and Miguel were amazeballs and I so loved hearing them up close and live. It was sort of like a private concert for all of us and I was thrilled. In addition to all the festivities I was asked to judge the model search with host Toccara from America's Next Top Model. Cutie Lamman Rucker was also there to share hosting duties and the judging panel with me. He was definitely the fan favorite along with yummy actor/choreographer Darrin Henson (Stomp The Yard) who MC'd and hosted a few of the weekends' events. Probably one of my favorite things about this weekend was being able to meet some of my BIG SEXY fans and connecting with them. I was honored by all the love they showed for me and the stories they shared with me about what the show meant for them. True Love. It was the perfect getaway and an experience I will truly never forget. I love my life :)
Being glammed up and fabulolus is fun...don't get me wrong. But I'm the happiest when I get opportunities to connect with young women and share my experiences with the intention of inspiring anyone who needs it. Speaking at Barnard College was a dream come true for me. The evening started with me speaking about my background and what I struggled with as an aspiring model and plus-size woman in a skinny girl society. The evening ended with the girls asking me to show them how to runway and let me tell you that was FUN. My overall goal with any work that I do is to be someone that younger girls and women can look up to and represent in a positive and realistic light. Thank you, Barnard College, for letting me share.
Hi sugarpies! I'm thrilled to announce that I will be a guest judge during New Jersey Full Figured Fashion Week's model search with Toccara from America's Next Top Model. It's a weekend full of star-studded yummyness including performances by Eric Benet, Miguel, Melanie Fiona and more! There is also a host of great events like fashion shows, panels and expo's catered specifically for the curvy chicks. How awesome is that?! I hope to meet some of you there! It's going to be a blast :) xoxo
Hey boos! I will be speaking at Barnard College on March 8 for their Body Balance Week! Before I came to NYC to pursue modeling/acting I was a guest lecturer at San Francisco State University for 2 years in the Human Sexuality department and emceed quite a few events on and off campus so public speaking is something that holds a special place in my heart. Whether it's a runway, stage or panel I love interacting with people. I look forward to meeting with the students at Barnard where we will discuss body image, sexuality, weight bias and more. This is the stuff I *truly* love (I have many loves *wink*) and I'm super excited to be a part of the experience!
The NYC life of a Cali girl.