“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. “
NO: What were your first thoughts when you found out you were going to be featured in our July issue?
CHRIS: My first thoughts when I found out that I would be featured in this month’s publication I was so flattered. I have worked hard to establish and make a name for myself and standout. I am looking forward to introducing myself to all that don’t know me.
NO: Tell our readers about yourself.
CHRIS: My Name is Christina Harley. I was born and raised in Bladensburg, MD. I have an identical twin sister named Catherine. She is also featured with me in this month’s publication. She is a full time cosmetologist and makeup artist. We also do make up together. In addition to my part time makeup artistry I handle the background logists for Catharley.com. For example I photograph, record, produce and edit visual content. I also arrange classroom set ups and set designs for photography and video shoots. You can say I am the tech geek of the company as well. LOL. As a young girl I have always loved all things hair, make-up, and fashion. I would sit and watch my mother get ready all the time. I remember thinking to myself that I cannot wait to be old enough to be able to wear her makeup. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s they were the addition of so many different hair styles, Blowouts, wraps, buns, finger waves, box braids, crimps, French rolls and many more. I would line up all my dolls and give each a different hairstyle. My sister and I loved going to the hair supply store. My favorite isle was the color Isle. It seemed like Dark and lovely, Jazing and Adore would come out with a new color every week. I would study all the latest music videos and even record them so that I could play them back and see what the latest trends were. In addition, I would practice different makeup looks on my sister. Since we are identical twins, I had a pretty good idea of how the looks would turn out on me. LOL. Kevyn Aucoin and Sam fine are my make up idols. I have admired their work since the early 90’s. They both have the unique and rare talent to be able to transform and enhance every face that their brushes touched. Even though Kevyn Aucoin has passed away his legacy lives on through his various books and current make up line. Fashion, where do I begin. As a child I would read fashion magazines and catalogs from cover to cover. Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazar, Mademoiselle, Speigals, FEMME, Seventeen, DETAILS, and ELLE just to name a few. I would also analyze my mother’s McCall pattern books. McCall’s is a company that makes patterns that seamstress would go by to create garments. My mother used to be a seamstress and would make her own clothes. I would study these books to understand how garments were structured as well as the different cuts, fabrics, textures and how they can be used.
NO: This July, we’re celebrating freedom of kurves. How important is it for women to embrace their kurves?
CHRIS: It is extremely important for women to embrace every feature that they possess. When you are comfortable and confident with yourself others can read that. This past year and a half I have lost 150lbs naturally through healthy eating and exercising with my personal trainer every day. My starting weight was 400lbs. I have been a plus size woman most of my life and I love my curves but it also more important to be healthy and curvy.
NO: What can we do more as an industry to advocate more women embracing their bodies and loving them without the pressure of the social media?
CHRIS: What we can do in this industry to advocate for women embracing their bodies and loving them without the pressures of social media. 1# and most important is to not compare yourself to social media!!!!! The images that you see on social media are very often altered. Even plus size women are getting surgery to obtain the ideal exaggerated curvaceous shape. Not to mentioned photoshop. Photoshop is used not only used to give the appearance of the ideal shape but also can be used to give skin and make up a flawless and perfect appearance. There is no such thing as perfect. If you are trying to obtain and image that is not even real you will never be satisfied with yourself. I feel that the industry has stepped up greatly in recent years to advocate for women embracing their bodies. Large companies such as Nike, Calvin Klein, Savage Fenty and Cover girl just to name a few are featuring models with different body shapes and skin tones/conditions. These companies are finally realizing the importance of representation through their brands.
NO: What are your personal qualities which distinguish you from others?
CHRIS: What distinguishes me from others is that I am a jack of all trades. I am a facilities Coordinator for a telecommunications company by day. During my 9-5 I am hanging TV’s, changing lights, replacing ceiling tiles, Patching and painting. You name I can do it. I maintain 6 different locations and they always say the same thing. “You are the only person that I know that can hang a Television with a beat face and long nails.” LOL. I have always loved working with my hands. In addition to fixing and repairing everything broken I love to cook. I also will be launching my bath and body care products early 2020.
NO: When did you begin to love your kurves?
CHRIS: I have always embraced my curves. I have been a plus woman most of my life and I accepted myself for who I was. I never thought of myself as less then because of my weight.
NO: The State of the Plus Size industry is ever changing. What are your views on the state of the plus size industry?
CHRIS: I feel that the current state of the plus size industry is moving in an upward trajectory. Several years ago when a curvy woman wanted to find an outfit for a day to day or a night look there were 2 stores Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart. Although those two stores have nice clothes you didn’t always find what you were looking for or the close did not fit you in the best way. Now you go to the mall and you have many stores to choose from with current and up-to-date fashion. Also there are so many online boutiques that offer amazing styles with great quality and pricing. The industry has recognized that there is a growing market for plus size fashion and we want to look and feel wonderful, sexy and on trend.
NO: What is the one thing you would tell a young girl looking in the mirror who is having a hard time loving her kurves?
CHRIS: What I would tell a young girl looking in the mirror who is having a hard time loving her curves is you have to embrace yourself and accept you for you. This goes back to one of the previous questions regarding embracing your body. The younger you are when you learn to love yourself the better. When you can say that you are truly happy and love yourself that is powerful.
NO: Can you give our readers one of your beauty secrets?
CHRIS: Mmmmmmm tell the readers one of my beauty secrets…Just one LOL. I would have to say having a great skin care routine. I cleanse, moisturize daily and exfoliate on a weekly basis. Also drink plenty of water. I had to slide that second one in. These two go hand and hand. You don’t always have to go super high end either. Play around with different brands and combinations. Also shop for your skin type. If you have oily/dry/sensitive skin make sure you are buying products specifically used for those skins types. Having a solid skin care routine and staying hydrated will maintain a healthy glow and even complexion. You don’t want to be that girl that looks totally different without her makeup because you are camouflaging imperfections that could be resolved through a proper skin care routine.
NO: What do you want your legacy to be?
CHRIS: What I want my legacy to be is that I have helped women break molds and tear down barriers. It is ok to go after jobs that have been traditionally been performed by men and kill it. Never Dull your light in fear of shining too bright. I am on male dominated sites and often underestimated due to my appearance. But once they see I am just as capable of my job if not better than my counterparts they have no choice but to show me my respect. Also it is ok to be multifacited.You can be a facilities Coordinator and love makeup, hair, and fashion. You don’t have to stay in the traditional role of a woman. Time is one of the most precious commodities that we have. Maximize the time that you have here and leave your mark. Do not be afraid to fail a time or two when chasing your dreams. Each fail is teaching moment to figure out the next step and how to improve. Persistence is the key to success. Simply put I want legacy to be known as the woman that can do it all and ss Damn god at it.
Connect with Chris @1stbornstylist