Beauty and the Muse

Posts Tagged ‘magazine

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The first photo I saw of Velvet D’ Amour was last summer when I searched for plus size models. Initially, I wrote a small post about Velvet just showcasing a few of her editorial shots. I sent it to her. She posted it on all of her media pages.

I was officially a blogger.

We played email tag for a few days, and then finally she called me all the way from Paris. We spoke for over an hour about fashion, life, traveling, and even Islam! She’s so down to earth, bodacious, and truly an honest soul.

Originally born in Rochester, New York, Velvet has graced the runways of Paris, strutting in Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s 2007 Spring/Summer collection and has been featured in French Vogue. Velvet was even in a French film, AVIDA, in 2006 that was selected to participate in Cannes International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. She is currently working on Vol-Up2, a voluptuous magazine that celebrates not just curvy bodies but all beautiful bodies.

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LV: What was fashion like for you growing up?

VDA: When I was growing up I was a fat kid. My mom took me to stores for husky children. My parents were much older, so when other kids wore Levis, I wore like nerdy clothes.

In high-school we didn’t have uniforms, and I took a sewing class. So I made a lot of my pieces. I got into more angular, edgy looks, while my mom on the other hand liked Ralph Lauren, preppy and conservative. She wouldn’t allow me to leave the house wearing certain things, so I’d just sneak and change when I left. I think style is a personal thing, and while she wanted a certain look, I wanted to be sexy.

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LV: What about when you were in New York during college?

VDA: I was pretty much known for being the “Lady Gaga” on campus; this was before Lady Gaga was even out. I loved lace, leather, and super sexy stuff.

When I lived in New York it was great. They appreciated someone who was daring in fashion. Primarily we were just Club Kids, where the whole point was to dress as crazy as possible. Fashion played a large role in my life and from a photographic and modeling standpoint I was drawn into the whole world of fashion.

Fashion drew me in because I loved drama. I liked to be as bizarre as I wanted to be.

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LV: How did you get started earlier in your career?

VDA: During high-school people would always ask if I was a model. But on the other hand, I would go to Macy’s and things wouldn’t fit. So when I was 21, I got down to 140 pounds in order for a modeling agency to sign me. I did crazy diets and got to 117 pounds, and they still called me fat. Afterwards, I just started gaining and gaining. I did all the crash diets, and still gained.

After that I began to start a revolution. I would take high fashion concepts and use myself as the model.

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LV: When did you decide that you wanted to be a plus model?

VDA: I hadn’t really planned on becoming a plus model. I just saw a need. Every time there was a plus size shoot available no photographers wanted to do it. So I said, “I’m fat and it would be cool to shoot these models that no one else wanted to shoot.” I got to shoot a lot of well-known plus models at the time.

But I sent a picture to a new Parisian plus modeling agency, basically telling them that plus women felt more comfortable with a plus woman to shoot them. They told me to come in. When I went in they said that they wanted to sign me. I had killed myself to be signed with an agency before in my 20’s and now they wanted me. I was 38 and 300 pounds, the very last thing in my mind was modeling. I couldn’t believe it.

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LV: Amazing story, Velvet. Now let’s get into some of the films and television shows you’ve done.

VDA:  I did a film in 2006 called Avida. (Spoiler Alert: She does get butt naked in the movie!) The film made it to Cannes and The Tribeca Film Festival. I was like Ohmigod! when I found out.

I have been on a reality show called Celebrity Farm. They sent us to a nature reserve in South Africa. I got bit by a snake! And all you do is take care of animals like baby cheetahs and lions. It was an amazing experience. It was funny though because I don’t drink or smoke, and they wanted you to be dramatic, but that’s not my personality, so I was like I am going to bed y’all!

Brooke Burke from Dancing with the Stars visited. Bridgette Nelson was on the show too. I was dying to speak to her because she dated Sylvester Stallone. I didn’t win, but I stayed until the end of the show. I thought I was going to get kicked off in the first week.

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LV:  Sounds like a super experience. Now let’s talk about obstacles you’ve faced in your career.

VDA: Fitting into the clothes would be the main obstacle. In some ways, I don’t perceive it as an obstacle though. I see not fitting into clothes, in a weird way, as good because if I could fit into everything I would probably be homeless, I’d just buy it all. I can always fit into lingerie though; I have a massive amount of it. But, for me, it forces you to create a different kind of style, and it stops you from being materialistic too.

 

LV: What about your individual style as of today?

VDA: I love corsets custom-made by Underground Aristocracy. With all the responsibilities of the magazine, I have kind of stepped back from the whole fashion scene, but if I go somewhere I will buy clothes from ASOS.

 

LV: So what were your inspirations for starting a magazine? What’s your goals?

VDA: Vol-Up 2, which is a spin off from the French word Voluptoo, was inspired by my need as a photographer to be more edgy, more editorial when I shot. Some of the problems with the magazines at the time were that they never incorporated editorial shots for people who looked like me. The mainstream models were a lot younger, under 30, and proportionate. Women who were older, who looked like me had no place in fashion. I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen at my age and weight by wonderful people to be involved in mainstream high-end fashion.

Vol-Up 2 is a departure from the “norm” and it showcases all sizes of plus. What makes it more bizarre is that I will put a size zero agency model next to a lady who is plus-size and never modeled before in her life then I’ll place her next to a paraplegic who is next to a women who has suffered from cancer. I have a plethora of curves in my magazine, but it has an emphasis on plus-size because of the lack thereof in the industry. Many people are left behind in the fashion world. The way I showcase my images is a democratized way of showing fashion.

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(Photo: Velvet D’ Amour, Model: Liris Crosse)

LV: What would like to do next?

VDA: I would love to do an editorial for Muslim women. It’s nice to see that our audience is so wide, complete conservative people to older swingers.

LV: What advice would you give to others that would like to be in your position?

VDA: People are drawn to be being known, or wanting to be famous. They are not acting because they have the desire to act, but to be in the spotlight. There are people who want to model just to get that stamp of approval. People want to be accepted and loved, those attributes are highly valued. But at the same time, if you want to model and you get in front of the camera and you’re not posing, and you want to post the pictures ten minutes later just to put them on your FB page then I’m not sure what to tell you.

You have to have real passion behind whatever it is that you do. If you want to be a model, you have to invest in yourself, and know the industry.

The power of photography is strong, but helping others is stronger, getting out of yourself and getting away from self-absorption. I get so much more out of helping others. That is the true liberty of getting rid of that obsession.

The real beauty is in inspiring others.

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LV: Leave us with a quote:

VDA: “You’re only as happy as you let yourself be” -Abe Lincoln

Check out her websites to see her awesome collection of photos:

http://www.velvetography.com/

http://www.volup2.com/

 

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Mark England “Fashion Fights Cancer” Fashion Show

Detroit, MI

The Detroit Opera House

September 28, 2013

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My OOTD as I helped behind the scenes styling the models.

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I always have time to search for fashionistas in the audience.

(Left) A vintage flapper look with pearls.

(Right) Urban chic. She pairs her a metallic micro mini with a bold outlined heel.

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Our models behind the scenes.

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The ladies (and gents) did an awesome job at the Mark England Fashion Show.

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(Left) Robere Lett, stylist, editor of Hauteis Magazine, and modeling agent.

(Right) Diamond, she was the head lady in charge backstage. She’s a sweetie pie.

 

 

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And last but not least, my favorite gown of the entire show… Details, the bodice. This gown is everything.

This curvy Latina is not only a bodacious plus-size model, but she is also a T.V. personality. Her modeling projects go far and wide, but here are a few: Source Magazine, Essence, Apple Bottoms, Baby Phat, Ashley Sterwart, and BET’s “Rip The Runway”. During the interview process, Christina was actually gearing up and prepping to model for a list of shows, one of which is for New York Fashion Week. We definitely wish you the best of luck. Christina is down to earth, drop-dead gorgeous, and her charisma alone will take her far.

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LV: Since you are a bombshell now. How was it growing up for you? Were you always this confident? Or was it something you had to learn as you matured?

CM: I grew up around strong minded women who were (and still are) stylish. The women in my family are a spectrum of sizes, so they instilled in me at an early age to embrace my style and celebrate my curves. When I got older, I definitely learned how to accentuate my curves to their fullest potential 🙂

LV: What was your style growing up?

CM: My style growing up varied in stages because growing up around women I had a lot of girlie clothing (ex: dress, frilly skirts, etc) as a child, but my teen years….LOL that’s another story. It was the era of everything hip hop, so I blended my style of femininity from my family and edginess of hip hop music and home of New York. 

LV: How would you describe your style now?

CM: I’m a chameleon when it comes to style so I don’t have a set style per say. My style changes on my mood definitely…there are sometimes I want to have just a classic look for a red carpet or event, but then there are sometime where I want to be glamorous in a classy way.

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LV: How and when did you decide you wanted to become a model and a T.V personality?

CM: I dabbled in modeling during high school and college, but embraced plus size modeling in 2006. My big break came in 2008 when BET had an open call for “Rip The Runway” and I was selected to walk the catwalk that year.  As a model, many people think that you just stand and smile, but you need to have a personality as well. I am naturally talkative and want to get to know people, so I’ve been fortunate early in my career to have opportunities to meet producers who wanted me to be a correspondent for various projects.

LV: What type of setbacks or obstacles have you faced as a curvy, or woman who is a minority?

CM: Sadly “curvy” models are not viewed the same as a model that’s a 2 or 4, but it’s slowly changing. In the beginning of my modeling career I had someone suggest that I try surgery to fit into the smaller division of models that were in demand constantly versus the division I was in at the time. I made it a point that day that if I wanted to lose weight I would do it in a healthy way.

***Note: I think I’m doing okay at the size I am ;)***

LV: What’s the best campaign you worked for/on?

CM: I’m grateful for all the campaigns I’ve worked for and will work for in the future so it’s really difficult to just pinpoint one campaign in particular. Each campaign holds a special to me because each campaign trusted what I would be able to bring to set and their overall vision.

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LV: What are some big projects you’ve worked on and are working on currently?

CM: Actually, I just finished 2 clothing campaigns:  1) “Nostalgia” Collection for designer Qristyl Frazier, and 2) Ann Nahari’s latest lingerie collection. For August, I was honored to be in the pages of Tropics Magazine’s Curves Issue ( as cover model and featured story) and my Q & A Interviews with MSN Latino and Latina.com should be hitting the internet very soon.

 Also, I am prepping to model during New York Fashion Week S/S 14 for a major brand, and I will be in a few upcoming magazine editorials coming out in October / November.

 **I am proud to say this is the second season, I am involved in either a runway show or showcase during NYFW**

LV: What advice would you give other women (or dudes) who are in your position or want to get to your position?

CM: Practice your craft and ALWAYS be prepared. There are aspiring models that attend casting calls in sneakers and flip flops (which is great on the way to the audition), but casting directors and clients want to make sure you are comfortable in heels and able to walk the runway. Other tips:

  • Network but we aware of what you post and where you post. Many girls are eager to give all their information out without thinking about the repercussions. In this day and age, your safety is priority #1
  • Start modeling locally in some shows to get a feel of the runway and how you feel in front of the camera
  • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH to familiarize yourself with the brand or organization you are working
  • Please know excessive partying can show in your face and performance as a model (clients always notice)
  • Research different options of modeling, many women just see runway and print. Besides runway and print there are opportunities to be a fit models (depending on measurements) and Commercial / TV models as well

I share a lot of industry tips on my blog “Happy Curvy You”- http://happycurvyyou.blogspot.com/

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LV: Leave us with an awesome quote.

CM: I’ll leave you with 2 quotes:

“Don’t look at how far you have to go, thank God for how far he brought you”

-and-

“Work your plan and plan your work!!”

Social Media Links:

Official Sitehttp://www.christinamendez.com

Happy Curvy You (blog) http://happycurvyyou.blogspot.com

Twitter – @ChristinaMendez

Instagram – modelchristinamendez

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I don’t know if anyone noticed but I am trying to take over the world. All my life I have been bursting with creative energy and never allowed to explore it. I just turned 26, I have all types of issues ranging from my job and etc. etc. etc. But I am on a mission. I have seen too many things that I must attempt to have. I have three goals. To be a happy and good person. To be a writer. To be in the fashion industry. This is my journey…

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These are photos taken with a cell phone. No edits. Yes, I am that fine. And yes, Madinah beat my face to a pulp. The theme for this shoot was “Color Explosion”.

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Behind the scenes. Davide took some really nice pics.

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I’m reading InStyle Magazine!

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The Mastermind behind the makeup. MUA: Madinah

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Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. Cover Girl.

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The orange turban scarf, the paisley scarf around my neck, and blouse are from Forever 21. The jewelry is from Dots Fashions. The yellow blazer is from Torrid. The blue pants are from Rainbow. The wedges are from Cato’s.

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After shoot bloopers.

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The International Fuller Woman Expo

Yonge Dundas Sqaure

Toronto

July 14, 2013

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This is the flyer that set my whole fashionable mind into motion. I said to myself, “you gotta’ get here”.

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The show began with a belly dance show. Aye aye aye. Fantastico!

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(left) The show’s host, Nikki Clarke, brought up several audience members to win prizes!!!

(Right) The buxom beauty who works with the founder of the Fuller Woman Expo, Georgia Greenwood, and is the director of U.S. operations, Cassandra Jones-McBryde.  She is also feature editor of Daily Venus Diva Magazine. Werk it diva. 

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This lady is the sweetest lady ever. She brought me on stage and I ended up winning a $250 shopping spree to SexyPlus Clothing in Toronto. Shout out to Stefanie Augusteijn the owner of the lovely boutique and her saleswoman, Sabrina.

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The oh-so-sexy, fierce, and up and coming plus size model, Tierra Sedgemore

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(Left) We have a motivational speaker, Liz McCallum of Big, Beautiful Wellness, telling us to love ourselves and our bodies. (Right) All the way from Nova Scotia we got a Stylistah in the audience. Shantia Upshaw is the owner/CEO of the Weight is Over Revolution. Several of her models were in the show as well. I stopped her because she is fab with her bright floral print dress. Can you say “showstopper”?

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The models came out fierce

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Were now going into the actual show which showcased a few Toronto based boutiques. These are my favorite pieces.

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The long Asian inspired dress gives me life. I wanted to go on stage and rip it off of her. Opps. Sorry. I get a little excited when I see a piece of art work in the form of a dress.

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I love the colors here. The models were just too gorgeous.

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Ladies, all I have to say is WERK! Sex kittens for real.

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Simple, elegant colors never looked so good.

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It took me some time to think about it, but this is my all-time favorite dress. I wish I had a picture of the back. Fashion at its best. And look how the model flirts with the fabric and the audience.

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This was the end of the first half of the show. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay to see Whitney Thompson, winner of America’s Next Top Model season ten, host. I had to snap this last pic of the models and photographers. Aint’ they adorable?


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It’s another celebration 🎉 I hope y’all aren’t tired of me sharing my wins. Sometimes I think like am I doing too much by sharing these things? Am I making other people feel bad? But, at the same time, I don’t only share my wins, my accomplishments. I share my heartbreaks and my failures, too. I’ve had a lot of them. I’m not on here trying to make you feel like you can’t. I’m on here to show you that you most certainly can. And I hope by sharing, you get the jolt to do what you thought or were told that you could never do. If you aren’t a hater then just roll with me on this wave, because who knows, maybe next month I won’t be hot shit anymore 🤷🏽‍♀️😂 It has been a month since my book baby has dropped in bookstores across the U.S. and y’all have shared your copies and attended events and told friends about it. Some of y’all even wrote some reviews—if you haven’t then get to it! Amazon, Goodreads, whateva. Pretty please. *Tongue pop* My friend sent me this article from @theoaklandpress and guess the fuck what?!? Ya girl is #3 on the Michigan Independent Bookseller Best Sellers List for the month of October 😭 I may not be number 1 or even number 2 on the list but I am number 3! A damn list! Like each and every one of y’all who has bought my book and promoted it have directly caused a chain link reaction. Every book counts. Every share. Review. Every time you tag me, like something on my page, or shout me out, directly goes into boosting this platform. This may be the only list I ever get on, maybe. I may not sell not one more book. Either way, I’m grateful and I’m honored. Do you feel the need to share every accomplishment? Or are you one to hide your wins from people? What’s the thin line between boasting? Let’s chat. 📸 @alexis.devaney #newyorkblogger #psootd #plussize #instafashion #bodypositive #bgki #honormycurves #effyourbeautystandards #pizzasisters4lyfe #blackgirlswhoblog #fashion #londonblogger #psfashion #blackgirlmagic #muslimgirl #bodyconfidence #plusmodel #feminist #wiw #intersectionalfeminism #turbanista #bodydysmorphia #fatacceptance #selflove #unashamedleahv #streetstyle #queen #ootd #animalprint

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