Beauty and the Muse

Archive for June 2013


When I laid eyes on a picture of @better_not_bitter on Instagram it was through another person’s page. I thought she was Amber Rose at first glance. The caption read “The Plus-Size Amber Rose” too. I took a closer look and of course Aly is a person who stands solely alone.  I stalked her page (no, seriously, I did. Lol) and was blown away by her sheer confidence and sexuality that I searched photos of her and posted them on my page. I wanted every one to see how freakin’ confident she was…through her pictures. How she had impeccable style to the point that there was no style because she was just being herself. She’s the kind of person who everyone wants to sit with at school, aspired to be like, be friends with, and act foolish around. She’s curvy, confident, and so eloquent. I present to you an interview with Aly McKeen.


LV: How was it for you growing up?
AM: I had a wonderful childhood. My family is extremely supportive. I grew up in a very small town in Maine, where everybody knows your name. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I truly believe that it’s why I’m as humble and genuine as I am.

LV: How would you describe yourself?
AM: If I had to describe myself, I would say hardworking, outgoing, and creative. I use humor in nearly every aspect of my life and thank God everyday for my charisma. I’m a people person and extremely affected by the energy of those around me, so I always try to stay positive.

LV: Any mottos that you live by?
AM:  “Everything happens for a reason.” My forearm is tattooed with Hebrews 11:1 “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. I also feel you have to believe in things you can’t always see. You have to work for what you want but also have to put the positive energy out there, believing that it will happen. (Wow. I am soo loving the spirituality.)


LV: What made you want to cut all of your hair off? (By the way, it looks amazing.)
AM: Thank you! I guess being a hairstylist I’ve had everything under the sun. I had really long hair in high school and since then it’s just gotten shorter and shorter. I’ll give full credit of finally shaving it off to a coworker of mine, who since the day we met had been begging me to let him shave my head. So about a year and a half ago I finally let him do it. (Very spicy.)

LV: What’s your style?
AM: I get a kick out of that question. People always say they love my style. I can honestly say I have NEVER thought I had any! I wear what I feel comfortable in and what I think looks good on me. Props to the women (and men) who wear WHATEVER they want and don’t give a damn, but I feel foolish in a lot of things. I’m honestly very inspired by the women featured on @fashionforwardplus and @curvynstyle (if you’re not following them, I suggest you do so!) And I’m a thrift shopper; I see random pieces and buy them, usually not knowing what to pair them with. I don’t know if my style has a name! (Oh, it does girl. I see how you werk!)

LV: Where do you think the industry is headed with plus-size modeling divisions?
AM: Plus size fashion is a touchy subject as far as I’m concerned. You see all the things in the media (good and bad) and it’s something I try to steer clear of in giving my opinion. But I will say that as a plus size woman (18-22) I know there are things my body can wear and certain things it can’t, and I’m strictly speaking for myself. I look at a size “0” model wearing a dress and think “Oh my, she’s gorgeous! But I couldn’t wear that.” On the same note, I see things on a size 20 model and think the same exact thing! I’m not saying we as “big girls” should feel like we aren’t allowed to wear something, but we should also understand what looks best on us, it’s all about creating a positive image. If you feel good, you look good (and vice versa). I’m glad to see the clothing companies and designers starting to create custom lines, sorry I’m getting off topic! (No. I see where you are going and couldn’t agree more.)


LV: What campaigns have you been in?
AM: I’ve modeled for JIBRI online, Bien Roule, and Belk Southern Women’s Fashion show.

LV: What’s in the future for your modeling career?
AM: I kind of stumbled into modeling. I never considered doing it, but after receiving overwhelming support and seeing how much I can help women with their body image, I’m not stopping anytime soon. I love doing this. (You go girl!)

LV: What do you want women to know, i.e. body image, self-esteem, goals?
AM:  You’re beautiful. No matter what. Confidence is the most attractive thing any person can have. If you are uncomfortable with something, try to change it, but in the process, fall in love with yourself. In 25 years, what is driving your self esteem into the ground right now won’t matter anymore, but you’ll still have an amazing personality! Don’t focus on your flaws, and set small goals for yourself. And pleeeeease, please, please, STOP COMPARING YOUR BODY TO OTHER WOMEN!!! Its okay to say, “I would love have her abs” but don’t say, “ugh, her stomach is so much smaller than mine!” You never know what someone else has been through; what they’re going through or what they will go through. Sometimes that skinny girl whose body you envy is struggling just as hard to put on weight, battling an eating disorder… Just remember, it’s the only body you’ve got, treat it right, and what’s “right” for one person isn’t the same for another.



LV: Have you ever met any famous models?

AM: Fame to me equates to how much inspiration you bring a person by your presence. I idolize people who use their “fame” for good; people who give back and support us average Joes. Liris Crosse, Grisel Paula, Allie McGevna, Madeline Jones, Essie Golden, Ivory May Kalber to name a few, whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

LV: People keep referring to you as the plus size ‘Amber Rose’… What are your thoughts? Flattered? Not so much flattered?
AM: To be (I hate to say compared) “compared” to any beautiful woman is flattering, however, Amber Rose, and I simply have the same hairstyle. She’s absolutely gorgeous, but if I were to style my hair differently I don’t think anyone would say we looked alike.


You can see all of Aly McKeen’s amazing photos on her Instagram page @ better_not_bitter or at her model bio page @

June 21, 2013

Full Figured Fashion Week, NYC

ny16 The day began early in the morning. I had to take the subway all by myself to Manhattan.  I did great by the way.

securedownload  I played with patterns here. I started with a red blouse with white hearts on it from Forever 21. I tucked it into these crazy zig-zag harem pants I got from Rainbow Clothing. I matched it with a modern ‘MJ’ inspired jacket with a gold zipper (also from Forever 21) and added different colors from there.

ny17 The clothes that were available at this sample sale were making me drool times two. This sheer blouse from Evans in the UK is simple yet the collar is bedazzled for that pop of glam.

ny18 When I first laid eyes on this skirt from Serita Bell I thought it was sooo me. It is sexy and abstract. I’d look like a walking piece of plus-size art.

ny19 Earrings by Dean of Fashion. “Trust No Bitch”. Nuff’ said.

ny20 Style Star, Ashley, in all pink everything. And she was super sweet.

ny21 Another Stylistah in NYC. I love her white sleeveless blouse tucked into her lace peach skirt. She tops of the look with a thin brown belt and a wrist watch. Stunning for a day of shopping.

ny22 At the end of my trip I sat on the steps here and ate two hot-dogs. NYC loved me and I loved NYC. I’m coming back for ya’.



The day started out with a missed flight and a super late arrival to Bloomingdale’s in NYC. I almost gave up and didn’t go at all. I was discouraged because I missed the show. Then I saw some amazing pictures from several official bloggers from the Full Figured Fashion Week crew and got re-inspired.  I hoped on the bus and then the nearest subway with a friend I’d just met and we embarked on a fashion journey…

ny I did my makeup in like two seconds and hoped on the subway.

ny2 The show had just ended. I was so mad!

ny3 I sulked and ate a delicious lemon tart.

ny4 I did what made me feel better: posing 🙂

ny7 Things started to look up. I got to meet a wonderful photographer from Paris. Then I started to meet other cool Stylistahs as well. JOY.

ny5I met a cool gal named Amirah Taylor, the CEO of “Please Feed The Models” and she invited me to a show in NYC in July. Plus we have the same names. Coincidence? Or destiny.

ny8 I had to capture this retro Stylistah. Camelia is a model and a make-up artist. I love the way she mixed all my favorite colors in one. Rockin’ Retro is what I call it.

ny10 Paris is a writer, singer, and creative innovator. And her style is awesome.

ny12 Acting silly with Bumblebee from the Transformers.

ny13 As you can tell, we are engaged . He put a ring on it.

ny14 I told her to give me Fierce and look how the pic turned out. A little midriff and little leg never hurt anyone. NYC style star.

ny15 I found these two adorable young ladies in turbans and blouses. The best of combinations in my opinion. One is sporty, one is skirty. Love it!


And I just want to say for the record, the army fatigue shirt I am wearing in these pics has been lost while I was traveling from NYC to Pennsylvania. Tears. I only got to wear it once…


June 13, 2012

Dearborn, Michigan

Birthday Ice Cream “Stylistah-Style”


cC1  Waiting for the birthday girl, Madinah, to come. Always fashionably late. Smh.

C2C9 (Left) Madinah looking absolutely stunning in a white turban, electric blue blazer, and floral print wedges. Happy Birthday! (Right) Raushanah has on a striped sundress, lots of bangles on her arms, and a leopard print scarf to tie in the entire look. Edge at its best.

C6C7 Opening gifts. She over here looking like I love Lucy. LOL.

C8 Acting a mess outside.

C4C5 I bought this lime paisley sundress from Macy’s last summer. I paired it with a thin navy jacket and a hot yellow turban. Did it on em’.



Tess-Munster-for-SwakDesignBy Leah Vernon

I first laid eyes on this vivacious model on a blog on She had on a two-piece bathing suit; her hair and make-up was done flawlessly as she peered over her shoulder, slightly pouting for the camera by the pool. I saw her a few weeks later on I think she may have been in lingerie that time. Today, I read an article from entitled, Best Plus-Sized Models: Who Is Dominating The Industry Right Now. I wanted to know more.

I read down the list and at #8, Tess Munster was there holding rank. At first glance, Tess reminded me of a mix between Sara Rue and Katy Perry with a pinch of tats and a scoop of huge boobs. The structure of her face is amazing, vibrant. And I must say that I hate her for not having a double-chin. Her style is impeccable and her confidence is even more alluring. She looks like the kind of gal that can go out and just have fun.

Tess does everything. She blogs. She models. She does make-up. She’s an activist. And she may even be on a little screen near you, a reality show called “The Big Girl’s Club” which she explained during an interview with Plus Model Magazine. In the interview, she explained the hardships of being in the public eye and being plus-size. Not only are plus-size women in the media criticized by some straight sized audiences but by some of the plus-sized audiences as well: ” I got a lot of really hurtful things said to me by some Torrid fans because they didn’t think I was big enough to be a Torrid model. I remember thinking, “I’m an 18/20 and I don’t necessarily want to be!” [laughs] They would want to see their sizes of 26/28 and I told them that Torrid does pick real women.”

Can’t we all just get along? Gosh. This may be off topic but everyone needs to practice acceptance. Everything in the world does not fit into a certain mold. Plus-size can be any size that is curvy, voluptuous, thick, or whatever. All love here. But Tess is strong and perseveres in her quest to be all she can be…the fabulous woman she is.

Let’s hope she goes far in her endeavors.

Here are a few pics that I really enjoyed:

o-BEST-PLUS-SIZE-MODELS-570 60’s pinup look featured on

banner_7Sexiness to the max!

batcakes-couture-ears-01-650x585 Amazing editorial shot and I love the cat ears.

306819_178647392211714_100001993620204_379321_1646382553_n What’s not to love about this?! Just amazing and fun. I wish I could rock a pink wig and a candy bra 🙂


Check out all the plus-size models that made the top ten list including Tess @

Also check out Tess’s blog @





kelis-sunglasses-2013-promo-photo-600x450 By Leah Vernon

My friend went shopping and bought a huge bag of stuff. She pulled one piece out at a time, explaining each article of clothing as we ohhh’d and ahhh’d at every one of  her new closet treasures. She pulled out a pair of sunglasses. They were baaadddd. Jealousy crept on me as she tried them on and posed. They looked perfect on her face too. I wanted them. But I couldn’t have them, she’d got to them first. At that moment, I knew I had to step my sunglasses game up. And I did. I found three pairs that were going to be my staples for the entire summer.


3 (1)tumblr_lxamjrmWAe1r434bco1_500


I grabbed a pair of these “John Lennon” inspired shades when I saw Rihanna rocking them during her concert. I have a big forehead. She has a big forehead. Hey, why not? I thought I could rock them too. I bought them at Plato’s Closet for like ten bucks. They looked cute on me in the store (darn those store lights). But after I wore and took pictures in them, I thought it made my already long face appear even longer. These may be better on faces that are heart-shaped, round, and/or square.




Ok, much better. I fell in love with these “Heart-shaped” sunglasses when I first laid eyes on them sitting idle on a J.C.  Penney’s rack. For ten dollars, I had to have them. Peace. Love. And hearts.

cats-eye-sunglassestom-ford-eyewear-spring-2011securedownload (17)


I wore my 60’s inspired “Cat-Eye” sunglasses to an art show. I got them at Plato’s Closet as well, same price as the one above. I feel old-skool poet when I wear them. And they don’t make my face look like a banana either. 🙂

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Eid Mubarak. Happy Eid 🥳 Whew! We made it through another Ramadan. I honestly didn’t think that I’d be able to participate since the pandemic. We couldn’t go to the mosque or attend those lavish dinners. I wouldn’t be able to get my henna done or shop. At the beginning, I contemplated not participating at all. I had to drive back from Detroit to NYC because I was too scared to fly. I had to look for an apartment. I had a whole breakdown. Figuring out where my income was going to come. This Ramadan has been unique and challenging. I yearned for that spiritual connection. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. So, I took it day by day. I didn’t fast the entire Ramadan, but on the days that I did I felt empowered. Enlightened. I listened to lectures. Prayed. Meditated. Stretched. No, I wasn’t the model Muslimah who was on time for all the prayers, fasted everyday, or didn’t slip up and cuss 😂 But I’m proud I got some things done. As I said in the start of Ramadan, this was never a race. We don’t get brownie points for outdoing another person. Religion. Spirituality is personal journey. No, I didn’t get to walk down the Islamic red carper this Eid, but I was able to get fresh air and sun. Listen to the prayer on YouTube. And break necks 😜 Whether you’re Muslim or not, I want you to know that I’m so proud of you. Don’t be discouraged to be a better version of yourself. No matter how others tell you how you aren’t doing it right. I was discouraged from being Muslim many of times by others. But, guess what? I’m still Muslim. Still a Hijabi. *Tongue pop* What have you gotten out of this Ramadan? And, for my non-Muslims, did y’all attempt to fast? Lastly, feel free to gas me 😜 Let’s chat. P.S.S. I now have an Amazon Wishlist for my Virtual Housewarming. #newyorkblogger #psootd #plussize #instafashion #bodypositive #honormycurves #effyourbeautystandards #fatphobia #blackgirlswhoblog #fashion #londonblogger #psfashion #blackgirlmagic #muslimgirl #bodyconfidence #plusmodel #feminist #intersectionalfeminism #turbanista #bodydysmorphia #fatacceptance #selflove #goldenconfidence #modestfashion #ootd #womenempowerment #beautybloggers #eidmubarak #eid #blackouteid

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