Happy October. It's the 1st of October and you know that means it's time for a new Model Spotlight. And this chick right here is my BOOOOO!! (ha get it Boo...Halloween...no? ok lol) But this young lady has grown to be one of my closet friends in the industry and is just a wonderful person all around. And no matter whether she's a live model in the window at the Ashley Stewart in Harlem or walking the runway at PNO this young woman brings it. Ladies meet Vanessa Mays.
Name: Vanessa Mays
Clothing Size: 18
Agency: TRUE model management
Bicoastal Fitting Models
What made you want to become a model?
I wanted to become a model because I feel it is important to showcase the fact that women are beautiful at all sizes. Women are wonderfully different and unique and that should be celebrated. What better way than through fashion!
What are some of the brands that you have worked with?
I have been blessed to be able to work with many notable brands in the plus industry. I have done print or Eddyandbri.com Everythingcurvyandchic.com KurvaciousK.com and Senseofstyleboutique.com. I have also had the pleasure to walk for designers and retailers such as Ashley Stewart, JustRaymona, Qrystal Frasier, Serita Bell, Chocolate Sushi Couture, Onoz, Tru Diva, and a host of others.
How long have you been working?
I have been a plus model for a little over a year.
So many girls want to become a model what advice would give them? What should they expect?
For those women looking to become models should really do their research regarding the plus size industry. Familiarize yourself with the key players. Know who the retailers are and who the Indie designers are. Submit your images to reputable modeling agencies. It's all about doing your research. Expect to invest in your craft, both time and money. Most people do not become successful overnight. It will take a lot of determination, perseverance, and patience to get where you want to be.
A common misconception is that plus size/curvy/thick models live unhealthy life styles. What do you say to people who think like that?
Plus models being unhealthy due to their size is a common misconception. Many of us are a part of #teamhealthycurves, meaning we must still eat well and exercise to maintain our curves in all the right places. We also have to maintain healthy nails, skin, hair, and teeth. To succeed in this business you have to take care of yourself so you can always look your best.
Was this your dream career? How did you get to this point in your career?
Modeling was always something that I wanted to do but wasn't sure if it was for me. Once I decided to give it a try I completely fell in love with it! The industry has embraced me with such love, it's incredible! Even more rewarding, is that through my modeling journey you can inspire other plus size women to feel good about themselves.
If you could be doing anything else other than modeling, what would it be?
Not only am I a model but I am a full time preschool teacher. I absolutely love touching the lives of my kids everyday.
Where do you get your confidence from? How do you stay in a positive frame of mind?
Confidence didn't always come easy to me. At my heaviest, I was a size 24. I wasn't the healthiest that I could be, therefore I wasn't the happiest I could be. After I introduced myself to a better diet and exercise I started to slowly gain self confidence. It's definitely something that you have to find within yourself. No one can give it to you. Don't get me wrong, we often times are our worst critic, so some days will be better than others. But we are all a work in progress and as long as we can remember that we are beautiful, unique, and have a purpose, our confidence in ourselves will always be there.
Why do you think it so important for plus size/curvy/thick models to have the same respect as straight size models?
People always get hung up in dividing the plus size industry from the straight size industry. We should be recognized just as people and not just our size. People come in all shapes and sizes and slowly but surely the world is catching on. The fact that Eden Miller was able to showcase her plus line in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was definitely a step in the right direction. I hope to see more plus size designers sharing the same runway in the near future.
So many girls grow with such low self esteem. Were you ever like that? If so what advice would you give young girls struggling with her self esteem?
Sure, growing up I wasn't the thinnest or prettiest of my friends. Finding where you fit in is never easy. It takes some time to figure out who you are and what your purpose is. Enjoy the lessons you will learn along the way. The day that you decide to be comfortable in your own skin is a beautiful one. Trust me, that day will come sooner than later if you really want it to. You have to decide when that day is.
The last couple questions are just to have fun with….
Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry? Haagen Daz.
Favorite tv show growing up? Full House
Favorite Halloween costume? Cowgirl! Yee Haw!
Louis Vitton or Hermes? Hermes
Buying your boyfriend his favorite video game or those new pair of shoes? Definitely, his favorite video game.