Beauty and the Muse

Posts Tagged ‘Plus-size model

VDA1

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.

VDA2

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.

VDA3

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.

VDA5

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.

VDA4

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.

VDA6

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.

VDA

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.

VDA8

(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.

VDA7

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/

 

 

NB Launch

Nina Bitton is a chic fashion line created in Canada that was just launched this year by sisters, Muriel and Hanna Amar (Above).

“We believe that a woman, no matter the size, is only as beautiful as she feels.” – NinaBitton.com

image (4)

LV: You both are obvious bombshells. How was it growing up for you? Were you always confident or was it something you had to learn as you matured?

Hanna: I personally always had a weight problem, and I only started embracing my curves when this line came out. It taught me to be more bold and confident.

Muriel: I had self-esteem issues growing up, but I’ve worked really hard on loving myself the way I am.

 

LV: What were your individual styles growing up?

Hanna: Growing up, I was a jeans and t-shirt girl. I wore my hair in a ponytail most of the time but always loved fashion and girly dresses.

Muriel: Growing up, I always stuck to classic pieces but always added something that was in style at the time.

image (2)imageimage (1)

LV: Can you explain your Spring/Summer 2014 line and how you guys started it?

Both: My sister and I decided to launch a plus size clothing line after seeing how much curvy girls struggled with finding sexy and fashionable clothing.

 

LV: How would you describe your individual styles now?

Both: Muriel has a more classic, clean cut yet femme fatal look and I (Hanna) have more of a rocker chic look with a pinch of baby doll.

 

LV: How and when did you two decide you wanted to start a plus-size clothing line?

Both: We decided about a year ago that we wanted to mix our styles together and create a fabulous line.

 

LV: What types of setbacks have you two faced as curvy women?

Hanna: I’ve always been very creative and would always want to wear clothes that I couldn’t find in stores. It’s very tough because to me fashion is expression.

 

LV: What are some big projects you guys are working on currently?

Both: Right now, we are in the process of getting our line into stores, and working on our next season.

image (3)

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

Both: Go for it because it’s so worth it in the end, it’s a lot of work and stress but when you see someone wearing your dress proudly, that’s the best feeling in the world.

 

LV: Leave us with an awesome quote.

Both: Dream it. Wish it. Do it.

 

To see the full Spring/Summer 2014 collection of Nina Bitton go to http://www.ninabitton.com

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.

Christina Mendez - Black Lace

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.

Christina - NEW(2)

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.

Christina Mendez - Outside Shot

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/

Christina Mendez- Natural (1)

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

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’.

 

ny1

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…

 

images “The World of Velvet d’ Amour” By Leah Vernon

I was looking up different plus-size fashion models and stumbled upon this crazy B! I looked up some pictures of her. I saw some amazing stuff that I’d never seen before. I kept gasping and saying to myself, “Oh, no, she didn’t!” Let me tell you. This chick is bad! And it’s not even a “plus-size” or a “skinny” model thing, it’s a healthy and confident thing. Not only does she take amazing shots, but they are artistic and fierce.

Velvet d’ Amour is from New York and first came on the scene in 2006 making a grand catwalk entrance in John Galliano’s “Everybody is Beautiful” show. She was 5’8 and 300 pounds.

D’Amour is a fashion photographer (Velvetography.com) and has started her own magazine ( Vol-Up-2) showcasing lots of plus-size models and photographers.

She has big hair, even bigger boobs, and a huge fan base. Take a look at some of my favorite shots below:

tumblr_me722px1P31rlzmq0o1_400I love this!!! Look at the facial expression. She has that ‘idgaf’ face!

velvetdamour Big hair+big thighs+a bustier=Success

120209SA_LOFF00926final Gosh. Speechless. Beautiful.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 896 other followers

Follow Me On Instagram

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

Blog Stats

  • 49,210 hits

FashDet