Below are answers to my most frequently asked questions. If I miss something, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
1.) What size are you?
-My size fluctuates from anywhere to a 14 to a 20.
2.) Do you wear shapewear?
-Yes! I'm a huge advocate of wearing shapewear, but I don't wear any of the fancy garments with zippers and snaps and corsets etc, so I wouldn't be the best at answering if that is the type you are looking for. There are fabulous blogs for that, including Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust.
My personal favorite is the basic bike short power panty from Spanx. I haven't tried Body Magic, but other brands I would recommend are Maidenform and Flexees. You can buy these anywhere really, but I usually get mine from Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Ashley Stewart or Lane Bryant.
See my shapewear series with Gok Wan for Simply Be here:
3.) Where do you shop?
-I shop anywhere and everywhere, from plus size stores to standard ones and in the Jrs, Missy and Women's dept. You can always find hidden gems anywhere you go. I also love thrifting, but here are my favorite retailers:
Lane Bryant (Cacique is the bomb)
New York and Company
Fashion to Figure
Bloomingdales (they have an AWESOME plus section)
Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack
Lord & Taylor
Miss Guided (UK)
Stores that don't necessarily carry plus sizes but are among my faves:
(Don't limit yourself if you are above a size 14. When I was wearing an 18/20, I was still shopping at these stores and finding gems. It's all about fit and materials)
Miss Selfridge (UK)
Jane Norman (UK)
H&M (I know they technically carry plus, but I am consistently horrified by the plus dept. See here)
4.) Where do you thrift?
-I'm a sucker for pretty much any thrift store, but my favorites are The Salvation Army and Goodwill. NYC has tons of boutique stores, but they are not thrift, they are consignment and the price tags are much steeper. My favorite is Luxe Perpetua.
5.)How do I become a plus size model?
-Research, research, research!! The best place to start is with Plus Model Magazine, where the editor, Madeline Jones, has a section called "Maddy's Guide to Plus Size Modeling." If you send me pictures, there isn't much I can do for you, as I'm not an agency and I can't really recommend you to retailers. It does not work this way.
Next, be prepared, practice and build your portfolio, which is your resume! Success is opportunity meeting preparation!
It should go without saying that when you don't have an agent, it's on you to get business cards or comp cards printed. You should not show up to any event without them. Ever.
Also, be aware of your social media presence. You may be tempted to release sexy photos and lingerie etc from your cameraphone or some low budget shoot. But unless that is the specific kind of modeling you are looking to do, it is not going to do you any favors if your goal is to be a commercial model. Save it for your boo. Plus books (your portfolio) are very commercial -- soft and pretty.
Finally, silly questions that can be easily found on google can be tedious and excessive, so be careful of how you ask them to people. Look it up first, or ask advice in person or in an appropriate venue (ie an info session or when someone in the industry says they are willing to answer). It is absolutely no one else's responsibility to be your mentor or answer these questions for you, especially if you ask it on an instagram picture of them with their family or a photo of their dog or a cup of coffee. Act like a professional if you want to be one. This may sound harsh but if you think someone is going to hold your hand through this process, you're not cut out for it.
For info on top agencies and top models, check out Plus Model Mag's section "How to Be a Plus Size Model" by clicking here.
6.) How did you build up your confidence? I'm feeling down and I want to feel better about myself.
Confidence and feeling better about yourself as a woman is a daily struggle and something that takes a lot of time and effort. The way I see it, you can either believe the good about yourself or believe the bad. Either way, you are making a choice, so why not believe the good things about yourself?
For me, the turning point in my life was my faith. I believe that we are made in the image of the creator and therefore no matter what people choose to say about me or my looks or my body is irrelevant because all of us are modeled after God, the most beautiful entity of all. When I'm feeling down, I don't pray for confidence, I ask God first to forgive me for my weak faith and then to help me be strong. I ask Him to help me remember that the body that I have is merely a vessel for my soul and my spirit and so it's most important to work on the kind of person I want to be first and that eventually, the outward appearance will reflect the beauty within. Kindness, generosity, empathy -- these are the true definitions of beautiful.
Of course, I'm a girl and I love makeup and hair and shoes and clothes, but none of these things matter if I have an ugliness in my spirit or a darkness in my heart. Those things cannot be covered up. The only way to fix them, in my experience, is through a nurtured relationship with God.
If you aren't happy with your body, the good news is that physically, you can always change it with diet and exercise. I believe all women should strive to be the healthiest they can be. I'm certainly not where I want to be, but I am a work in progress. And I love and forgive myself every step of that process.
I know the emotional end of changing your body and your habits is not as easy as it seems. So start small. Working out, even just walking around the block, boosts your endorphins and your mood. Then look at what things you need to let go of to feel better. I find that things like diet soda, for example, are hard for me to kick, so I start with cutting back and eventually try to let those changes stick. I fall -- a lot -- but I always get back up.
Remember that we are not all meant to look the same and that ultimately, true beauty comes from within. In addition, think of the worlds most beautiful people and how they are not thought of as attractive to everyone. Beauty is relative and is entirely in the eye of the beholder. So even if you don't feel beautiful, smile, because God thinks you are and that is ultimately all that matters.
So what are some things you can do in the meantime?
-Pray and meditate
-Talk to a therapist, counselor or pastor
-Tell yourself in the mirror that you're beautiful. If you don't see the whole package, focus on your fave feature and build from there
-Surround yourself with positive people, always, no matter what. No one is more beautiful than when they're laughing and enjoying the company of loved ones
-Put on a fabulous outfit and a bit of lipstick and watch your mood improve instantly.
-Keep yourself motivated. How? Well, maybe it's an upcoming event that you have a countdown running for. Maybe you have a fitness goal that you want to reach that you can remind yourself of daily. Or maybe there's a photo of a body type or shape you want that you can post up somewhere. I change my phone background to reflect positive scriptures and quotes constantly. I also love following fitness pages and blogs on Instagram and YouTube because I find a lot of motivation from people living a healthy lifestyle.
-Get a hobby. Seriously, find something you're good at and devote even just a few minutes to it each day. We all have work and families and responsibilities, but having something you love that's just yours will make a world of difference.
**** Obviously I am not a therapist, psychologist, life coach or pastor. Please speak to your doctor or a professional if you are experiencing serious emotional distress. ****
7. Are you single?
No. This is a fashion site, not a dating one. I do not share my outfits looking for a date, it is for women for fashion inspiration or advice. I am married to a man I have been with for nearly a decade. Therefore, gentlemen, let the word go forth that I won't ever respond to your inquiries or notes beyond a thank you or the answer to a fashion question for your wife, sister or daughter. You would not want your wife or life partner to inappropriately speak to other men on Facebook, so please respect the man in my life. Thank you so much!
8. Where can I buy your clothing line, TwentyFour20 and are you looking for models?
At this time, I am not currently looking for models, but there will definitely be opportunities for that in the future. We are currently sold out of our stock but we will be returning in the coming months. Items from the previous collection MAY be restocked, but it's not 100 percent certain.
Our official website is : http://www.twentyfourtwenty.com/
If you have any questions about something you would like me to add here, email firstname.lastname@example.org