- We are so excited to have you as our May Cover Model for the third time! How does it feel to be back on the cover?
I am very grateful for the opportunity to grace your cover for the third time. It is a beautiful feeling to be able to be represented through your magazine, Luxe Kurves, because I love the positivity of your magazine. Your magazine is a true definition of bringing light and love to beautiful, successful, curvy individuals worldwide. Just as you represent your magazine with class and beauty, it has been a true definition of grace, class, and quality (Luxe). Additionally, I am grateful that you have continuously supported me throughout the years and that you reached out for me to grace your cover once again. Thank you.
- Please tell our readers, how did you get your start with acting and modeling?
I started modeling at the young age of 15 years old. I began modeling in San Francisco, California. I began by taking Bay Area Rapid Transit (B.A.R.T.) to San Francisco every single weekend for classes on posing and how to walk the runway. Eventually, I began booking a lot of runway shows, which started my career. When I got older, I promised my parents that I would finish my education prior to taking modeling further. When selecting schools, I had a few softball scholarships. I narrowed it down between going to Southern California (California Baptist University) or Florida (Florida A&M University). In the end, I chose to go to school in Southern California because not only would I still be not too far away from home, but I would also be close to Los Angeles, where I could further pursue my modeling career.
My road to acting was slightly different. When I moved to Hollywood in 2006, I got word of a modeling convention happening in Las Vegas, where agents from around the world would be present, looking for models to sign. I signed up for the convention, walked the runway for the agents, and was selected. Upon conversing with the agency that selected me, they gave me a quick script that they asked me to memorize in a few minutes and perform for them on the spot. I was slightly confused, but I went with it. I memorized the script, and I performed it for the agents. To my surprise, they told me that they wanted to sign me with their agency for commercial acting. I responded with, “Acting? I am not an actress.” They said they loved my look and how I had memorized and performed the piece. They further stated that they would sign me for a few acting classes. I attended the acting classes, and I loved them! That was the start of my new journey with acting.
- Tell me about a challenge you faced when modeling.
The modeling industry poses many challenges. Being a woman of color and a plus-size woman of color additionally poses challenges in the industry. Many people have fought hard for there to be more diversity in the world of modeling. The industry has made many improvements, but there is still a long road ahead. I began modeling in 1995. There were not many opportunities for plus-size models at the time. So, one of the challenges I faced was having the courage to get out there and put my foot in the door for opportunities. I had confidence that I would be successful, and I am not one to give up. Overall, beginning my modeling career when the industry was not as size-inclusive as it is now was a challenge in itself.
- What are your thoughts on how we can grow the modeling industry overall for curvy/plus-size models?
I have always been a true believer in networking and support. Through my years of modeling, networking with others, sharing opportunities, and supporting others have always been ways that I have seen the industry grow. There are many opportunities out there now for plus-size models. It is important that we are happy for our fellow plus-size models to shine and represent for the rest of us. Collaboration is also vital. When my modeling sister wins, I am proud and supportive of her. Overall, I believe in networking, support, collaboration, and being vicariously happy for my fellow plus-size models.
- In your opinion, do you feel there is still a shadow over the industry?
In my opinion, I do not feel like there is a shadow over plus-size models by the industry. I am proud to see the growth in the variety of opportunities and representation of plus-size models on television in commercials, on television shows, in magazines, in music videos, and being represented on runways all over the world by an array of designers who have become open to being more inclusive.
The shadow that I feel is present is by individuals who are seeing the change of having more plus-size models in the industry in ads on social media sites, commercials, magazines, on the runway, and more. Many individuals continue to have size-discriminatory statements and comments. These actions validate the importance of having more representation in the industry. Changes have been occurring, and I see more positive changes to continue to arise.
- You have been in the industry for years. Do you feel there is still a difference in the treatment of race in our industry?
When I initially began modeling, I did experience a few situations regarding being the only African American on set, stylists not knowing how to work with your hair, or make-up artists not knowing how to match your skin color. However, with time, I have seen the industry flourish. Although there continues to be issues with race in the industry, there has been a lot of growth. Hopefully, the industry can one day get to the place where there is representation amongst various cultures, a diverse amount of looks, and where people feel as if they are truly being represented. More models of color are represented in the industry, and that is a win in itself.
- Our “Beauty” issue focuses more on a person’s inner beauty; what inner beauty qualities should a person have?
Inner beauty is what truly defines an individual’s soul. The essential qualities of inner beauty that I believe an individual should carry include humility, being loving, caring, genuine, and honest. Outer beauty is simply an exterior image that can always change.
- What is your beauty routine?
First, I drink a lot of water. That is an essential part of my beauty routine. Additionally, I wash my face with a cleanser and astringent daily. I also use wipes to exfoliate and cleanse my pores. Every few weeks, I may wear a different facial mask. Each one helps with different skin cleansing features. At the end of the day, I use make-up remover wipes and wash my face. Finally, I use Ponds and Cocoa Butter Lotion for moisturizer (Grandma taught me this 😊).
- What is the one piece of advice you would give an up-and-coming model?
The first thing that I always tell up-and-coming models is for them to do their research. Research the different types of modeling (runway, print, fit-modeling, part modeling, etc.). I additionally advise them to look in a magazine or research plus size models and find one who has a similar body type as theirs. Study their poses. Practice the poses in the mirror. Take pictures of yourself doing those poses and practice your angles. Study your body and know what angles and poses work best for you. Next, if you are interested in runway modeling, practice your walk. Study runway models and research how to walk the runway. Which side of the runway do you walk on? How long should you pose at the end of the runway? These are a few questions that someone interested in runway modeling should research. For print modeling, it is always best to do a few practice test shoots with a photographer. Practice your poses. Most photographers love when a model can pose without taking too much direction. Start a portfolio with various looks (athletic, casual, dressy, swim, etc.) and try not to over-accessorize. Finally, research agencies and put your foot in the door and audition. Overall, an up-and-coming model must do their research.
- What do you want your legacy to be?
My legacy…. I want my legacy to be known as someone who continued to strive for the best. As someone who started at the age of 15, I would like to be remembered as someone who worked hard in this industry to represent plus-size individuals, whether on the runway, on a magazine cover, in a print or commercial ad, or on a television program. I have always been proud to be one who represents for other full-figured women and, additionally, women of color. I would love to be remembered as someone who helped the industry grow for there to be more opportunities for those who came after me.