Beauty and the Muse

Queen City’s Bombshell: Aly McKeen

Posted on: June 29, 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 @


2 Responses to "Queen City’s Bombshell: Aly McKeen"

Aly is a beautiful person inside and our! Thank you for sharing her with the world!! She deserves to be recognized for her confidence, optimism and inpiration!

Definitely. I loved getting to know Aly and if I ever go to NC I will have to pay her a special visit.

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Over pizza, a friend and I talked openly about hijab and sexism we’d experienced around it. 
Many people assumed that because I wear hijab it means I’m married. Hence, the idea of a woman wears hijab for a man and not herself or for God. 
She shared a story about going to a club with her hijab and being told that she shouldn’t be there by random Muslim men because she was hijabi. She bluntly replied, “Neither you or I should be in the club as Muslims.” Her story triggered me because I too had been through the same scenario. In addition to that I remember when my ex used to constantly tell me that I didn’t love God enough or I wasn’t Muslim because I doubted wearing hijab. But the chick he ended up going out with, during our marriage, was a non-hijabi 🤔 
My friend said something that resonated with me. “If it’s so easy to wear hijab, then why don’t men do it? They won’t. Because it makes them visible.” Being visibly Muslim, for some of us, isn’t easy. To wear or continue to wear hijab isn’t always easy. So, why are we so harsh on non-hijabis? 
When I went to California this summer, I decided that I was going to wear a bathing suit and ditch my hijab. For so long, I always wondered what it’d be like. Although, I felt guilty for showing my body as a Muslim I also felt empowered because I had the choice. And that I was very much so still Muslim whether I was covered or not. 
As a Muslim woman, I applaud you for wearing hijab, but I also understand if you aren’t there yet. Not all Muslims come in one size fits all. 
What are some common misconceptions about Muslim women that you’ve heard? What’s your take on hijabi vs non-hijabi? And anyone can chime in on this discussion ☕️
Photo: @funlens 
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