Faith21 is definitely stepping their game up, and I'm loving some of their newerpieces. I was so happy to discover that they are extending their sizes, and will soon offer up to 3X. Even more exciting is the fact that they're having a "Most Stylish Gal" contest: To enter, submit your most stylish look (that includes a Faith21 item) to win a trip to LA, a F21 photo shoot, and best of all, a $500 shopping spree! And if you're wondering: yes, I will be entering. I'm also fully willing to admit that this contest is a hundred times better than the YFF one.
Ever since discovering Amber Riley, I have been totally enamored. Glee is definitely one of the best shows on television right now, and Amber's character, Mercedes Jones, is a big part of the reason why. She's confident, sassy, and best of all, girl can sing like no other. Her clothes are stylish yet daring, and I love the fact that the show hasn't made her size central to the storyline.
In this short and sweet interview with YFF, Amber talks about learning to love herself and tells us about her great style (I had a sneaking suspicion we wouldn't be able to get our hands on that amazing red leather jacket from the clip above).
How did you begin your acting and singing career? What was the casting process for Glee?
I started singing at age two and my mother noticed that gift and immediately started training me vocally. I heard about Glee at the end of the audition process, I went in initially thinking the role was more of a background gig and soon learned it was a co-starring role! Everything happened so fast and I'm blessed to be a part of something so influential to young people and to be having so much fun living a part of my dream!
Where is your favorite place to shop? I don't really have a favorite place to shop, I love exploring new stores and little boutiques. I am addicted to Target though, there is a one hundred dollar limit for Chris Colfer and me!
Describe your personal style. I like to describe my style as comfortable classy chic. I love to have clothes that I can mix and match to either dress up or dress down. I have expensive pieces in my closet but this girl does not turn a blind eye to the sales rack! I love a bargain! Fashion knows no price tag in my eyes!
What's your favorite item in your wardrobe? I have this spaghetti strapped colorful tank that I make sure is always packed when I'm traveling! It's comfortable and sexy!
Everyone wants to know: Where is that amazing red jacket from that you wore during the "Bust Your Windows" scene? That jacket was actually a vintage piece that our Wardrobe Department found. We have the best stylists in the biz.
Have you noticed any pressure in Hollywood regarding your size? I actually noticed it more when I was younger which is why I stopped, it was getting to my self-esteem. But once I learned I am not my dress size and to never let anyone put me in a box, I was more content with being myself and letting the world see my light shine.
What fall fashion trends are you currently loving? I haven't really noticed the fall fashion trends, but I have been noticing the fellas. I'm loving all the different hats the guys are wearing, love it!
What are the similarities and differences between you and your character, Mercedes, in terms of fashion and personality? I believe Mercedes and I share the same love of color! I love being bright and vibrant and colorful! I like to say I'm Mercedes all grown up, she's more hip hop than me for sure.
What can we expect from Glee this season? A lot more drama, lots of great music, a little more romance, and a whole lot of fun and touching moments.
Any fashion tips for your plus size fans? I would say make sure that what you wear makes you feel beautiful and comfortable, dress for your shape, and put a little color in your life, you'd be surprised how much it can brighten up your day!
It's getting chillier by the day and, at least in the Midwest, it's almost time to break out our winter coats. I already scored mine from a boutique in Chicago, but if you have yet to find yours, there are some great options around the web. (This includes LaDan's Closet, a new brand that has finally launched! This Thursday they're having a trunk show at the Monif C store in New York).
Meet the gorgeous new YFF Girl of the Moment, Oby. Her colorful style is completely refreshing since it seems like everyone (including me) has been permanently dressed in black lately. Strongly influenced by her Nigerian roots, she pairs fun (and sometimes traditional) prints with great accessories, always making sure to finish her look with the perfect bag.
Name: Oby Age: 28 Location: Washington, D.C. Size: 16-18 Favorite places to shop: I can pretty much shop anywhere, but I get immensely giddy when I step into Old Navy. Fashion Icons: I wouldn't consider her an icon, but I really do admire Gwen Stefani's fashion sense. She knows how to ROCK her outfits! You can never really pinpoint what she will do next, but when she does it, it's rarely a miss. Current Obsession: You mean, besides my love for Lost, Chuck and Modern Family? Sequins, sequins and more sequins. I am abso-freakin-lutely hooked. If I can find a legit sequin jacket to pair with some straight/skinny jeans, my life will be complete. Also, I just recently got into the genius that is Dorothy Perkins. I mean, where have I been?!! Advice to other YFF Girls: I'm not really good with this advice thing, but I'll give it a try. YFF girls, always know what works best for you. What may look great on your friends might look like a hot mess on you. Also, I feel an outfit is never, EVER complete without some sort of accessory--adding a little detail to an outfit can do wonders. Keep your head held up high (something I have to remind myself every single day). Being a YFF girl comes with a lot of criticism, it's like being fat automatically means that we should be confined to the basic colors of black & grey. Um, no. We are girls that love fashion and love to look good! And there is definitely NOTHING wrong with that.
Wanna be featured on YFF? Email me your pictures: firstname.lastname@example.org, you might be chosen next!
Sorry for the lack of updates last week! I've been working on a few things, including organizing my closet (which, in my world, is also known as playing dress-up for hours on end). I have an entire section dedicated solely to sequins and (faux) fur, which inspired me to post. I can't believe that just a year ago, I was asking about where to find sequin blazers and mini skirts. You can't step foot into any store these days without being bombarded by the stuff. Even if you aren't normally the sequin-wearing type, there's no better time than the holidays to indulge a little. I know it's only October, but I have a feeling the holiday parties will be starting in no time.
Nothing completes the glam look like a little fur; I've been dying for Rachel Zoe's faux fur vest from QVC in red fox, but I'm broke right now. (They're all sold out, but you can put yourself on a waitlist. If you're impatient, Torrid has a much less appealing version in brown).
Seriously, this list is far from exhaustive. If none of these things float your boat (or if you just want to see more), simply browse Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Next, and Asos, I promise you'll be swimming in sequins in seconds. And speaking of Asos, it looks like my wildest dreams are coming true: Asos is launching its plus-size line, Asos Curve, this January.
I have been having the most amazing thrift store luck lately. My favorite recent find is this incredible black studded mini that I wore to a house party on Saturday. I decided to wear a mesh cami underneath and finish the look with my black Zinc wedges.
I had so much fun in Chi-town, I can't wait to go back! (Hopefully next time Mekaila will show me some affection).
I'm spending the weekend in Chicago visiting friends (including Marisela, who was YFF's first ever Girl of the Moment!) Last night we went out for drinks and I wore a thrifted bodycon floral dress (as a skirt), along with an Old Navy burnout tee and the same leather jacket and Chinese Laundry boots as always. I love hanging out with fashionable friends! Marisela wore a top and skirt from H&M with Torrid boots (trust me, I've been trying to steal her clothes since I got here).
Today is a very special day! Watch this video of me to see why, and find out how you can win a hundred bucks! (I promise I don't normally wear sunglasses inside, I just looked super tired and didn't feel like putting on makeup).
Below is a list of things I'm currently loving (is anyone actually surprised to see more black, sequins, and leather? Didn't think so). Believe it or not, there's not too much online that I'm obsessing over--I think it's because I'm content with my recent thrift store purchases (outfits coming soon)! Finding great items like bright-colored blazers, studded dresses, and high-waisted rompers all for less than ten bucks a pop makes me never want to buy anything full price again. Nevertheless, when I saw the beige leather jacket from Faith21, I fell in love. I've always adored adding light pinks, creams and beiges to all black outfits for the perfect feminine touch.
A lot of people have been asking me about wide-width boots lately, and Evans definitely offers the best selection! If you don't have black flat knee-high boots, you must get your hands on some immediately--no wardrobe is complete without them.
I spent the majority of my weekend with Thaddeus Dixon and Charity Davis (above) from MTV's Making His Band. Friday night we went to a local lounge and I got all dolled up. Charity is such a sweetheart; she convinced me to wear red lipstick (something I usually avoid), and curled my hair like hers because I was envious. I am loving her ear chain!
I wore my leather bomber over my City Chic fringe chain top and F21 high-waisted skirt. I got the purple boots from Rainbow last winter (not exactly quality, but they're cute and definitely worth the twenty bucks).
I have to send a huge thank you to the wonderful people at City Chic! They saw my review of their runway show and offered to send me a package of freebies. I honestly didn't know what to expect in terms of quality, but I love everything I got! I would suggest ordering a size down if you're between sizes (my dress is too big and needs to be taken in). For what it's worth, my measurements are 44-38-51, and I fit their size small.
Last night I debuted two of the items in an outfit that I wore to watch the football game with friends. I paired their face print tunic with their amazing side-plait leggings. To top it off, I threw on my newly thrifted mustard blazer and Jeffrey Campbell studded booties. I'm used to wearing dresses and skirts, but the tunic-legging combo was a nice break for a casual evening out.
I had the pleasure of meeting the Brazilian bombshell, Fluvia Lacerda, while I was living in New York City. This gorgeous plus size model, whose popularity is consistently growing, is just as sweet as she is beautiful. She's hugely celebrated in her native country, but with tons of recent campaigns in the US and Europe, she's no longer just a hometown hero. In this interview with YFF, she talks about being born with self-esteem, where we'll see her next, and Brazil's need for change.
How would you describe your personal style? I'm a "mix and match" meets "hippie beach-y" type of person. I love vintage with new modern, structured pieces as well those unique, very beach/nature pieces you'll find during travels to places like Mexico or Vanuatu. So I guess in other words I don't have set rules, I have a very flexible mindset when it comes to most things, including fashion.
How did you start modeling? I was in a crosstown bus in Manhattan when a woman who worked for MODE Magazine approached me asking if I had ever considered working a plus size model. I thought it was a joke, for all I knew to be a model you had to be skin and bones and that was definitely not my body type. So she went on to explain to me that there were agencies out there with divisions dedicated to plus size models and it was a growing industry. A few months later I decided to start investigating and decided to give it a try.
What are the cultural differences between Brazil and the United States when it comes to body image? For starters, Brazil is ranked the number one country in plastic surgery procedures in the world. For many years we held the number one ranking in diet pill consumption as well, but we recently lost that position to the USA. I think that alone speaks volumes.
Although the whole Brazilian culture is aimed towards getting the so called perfect body, walking down the streets of Brazil you don't often see the "Gisele" types, if ever. I believe as a very mixed race people (Europeans, Africans and Native South Americans), we have wide hips, round butts, and round thighs. It doesn't mean we're meant to be overweight, but we're definitely not meant to be a size zero either. It's for the most part our genetic make up, and I think that's a hard thing to change. Nevertheless, people are obsessed with being super thin, and women I know back home will do absolutely anything to fit into a mold that they simply won't ever achieve with a healthy process. Sadly that is now perceived as acceptable, meaning it's okay to harm your health in the process of achieving the so-called "ideal body." Women go through surgical procedures to change their looks like they're going for a walk in the park, it's just insane how that's viewed as normal there.
Brazilians live in a complete denial about our genetic reality and the need for a more suitable fashion sizing for women there. I feel that in the US and Europe women voice their needs, likes and dislikes a lot more than they do back home (hopefully that will change) and that actually influences the fashion industry a great deal. I believe that is why here women have a lot more choices as far as sizing and fits than they do in Brazil.
Speaking of that, I have had so many Brazilian readers ask me about where to find plus size clothing that ships to Brazil! Do you have any shopping tips for them? Oh I get those emails too, by the hundreds! But that's the thing, there aren't too many labels and I think the few that have been created are still working on the aspects of quality, fit and so on. But the investment in that sector still falls short an incredible amount and believe me the demand exists, and that's really what I don't get. Women in Brazil who wear sizes 14 and above will pay absolutely anything for something that fits them half decently, yet the majority of the fashion industry turns a blind eye, lacking the understanding that one, they're losing millions of bucks and two, turning blind eye will never make us go away or suddenly disappear! In my opinion it's just a huge lack of business vision and I have said that on national television shows there as well. I've heard I started a revolution!
Since Brazil does not openly embrace plus sizes, how did you maintain a healthy self-esteem? It's a very double-edged situation to be honest. Although, as I said before, the majority of women in Brazil are much curvier than what is portrayed to the rest of the world, they live under that ridiculous pressure to become thin in order to be accepted or valued. I heard all those "do this diet, do that lipo" lines growing up, as if it were normal. Meanwhile, I was probably the healthiest out of all my friends. But in a way I believe I was kind of born immune to that whole lack of self-esteem or vulnerability to the pressure. I suppose it comes with growing up really poor, and not having much to begin with--I have always just been grateful for being healthy and alive. I'm very hyper, I'm always moving around and I could never picture how horrific it would be to be stuck in a wheelchair or laying on a bed suffering some hardcore illness. So I pretty much never gave a rat's ass about the comments, I lived my life and had fun, put my bikinis on with everything hanging out for the world to see, and while they were busy pointing the finger or giving me the looks, I was pretty busy living my life.
Which photo shoot/campaign was the most fun to work on? Oh that's a hard one! I have so much fun at shoots, especially the ones that allow me to be creative. And lately I have been lucking out with jobs that do allow me all the freedom to play around and work on more theatrical posing and movements, I really love that.
What are your future goals in modeling? I'm very grateful with what I've achieved so far. For a girl who came from such a poor background and worked hard to achieve a better life for myself and my family in America with jobs like housekeeping, cleaning restaurant floors and the likes, I'm just very thrilled to have had a chance in the modeling business. But I take one day at the time, no big plans, I just go where the wind takes me.
What are you currently working on? I'm working on a incredible project with Igigi, which I can't really disclose but it's pretty awesome and I hope everyone will like it. I'm also incredibly excited to have gained a great deal of exposure under the spotlight in my native land, Brazil. Being named "the plus size version of Gisele" isn't a small thing, and I'm using it very wisely towards new projects, the acceptance has been overwhelming! There will be some really fantastic major magazine shoots. I'm really just aiming to change people's perception in regards of diversity of beauty there and I've been working hard to achieve that.
So aside from your project with Igigi, where can we expect to see you in the coming months? I've been having a truly busy past few months. During these past 2 weeks, for example, I traveled to four different cities in 5 days and then went on to other countries! There is nothing too glamorous about being tired and sleeping on airport floors but it comes with the job.
You'll find me on the new Monif C. fall campaign, we shot amazingly hot and sexy images. I'm also the new face for Sydney's Closet, Biluzik, Kmart, Sears and a few German companies. Now I'm starting to shoot some campaigns for spring/summer in Europe. In Brazil, we just had an awesome short documentary featuring my work and lifestyle as the only Brazilian plus size model working out here so successfully, it was showcased on a major network channel. We filmed during a week period as the TV crew followed around showing my life as a model and I'm filming more of those TV segments over the next two months for different shows there.
What's the best part about your job? I would say traveling to many different locations is one of the coolest parts of being a model. You get to learn about different cultures, meet new people and learn new things. It's definitely a mind-opening experience.
What advice would you give to aspiring plus size models? First off, get the information straight in regards of what this business is about. Sometimes girls become hungry for an idea that actually isn't true. Modeling is hard work, takes determination, lots of focus, maturity and tough skin to take all the negative comments and feedback. You must have an open mind about what might happen, so it takes a lot of determination and certainty that that's what you really want.
Treat modeling as a business, never fail to be polite, courteous and polished. If you act negatively, you'll be always remembered by that. Look for a reputable agency, listen to your agent, be professional and punctual. You'll be judged by all those things as well as your abilities as a model. Work out to maintain a toned body, take care of your skin, teeth and hair. Don't focus on what everyone else is doing, not everyone is going to book all clients, so keep your eyes on your road, stay positive and upbeat, a smile goes a long way.