Archive for the Ford + Category

Alison Hamata Says, “Be comfortable in your own skin, love what you have, and work it!”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Ford +, Inspiration, Models, New York, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by Liz

Alison Hamata is a plus model from Canada who is signed with Liz Bell in Vancouver, Canada and Ford + in New York.

Tell us how you felt when you signed with Ford NY!

Signing with Ford was an awesome experience. I was definitely a little nervous, but so excited to start this new chapter in my life. When I first walked into their office, I was a little intimidated, but everyone there was so welcoming and enthusiastic so it was definitely a cool experience.

What has your experience been like so far… being a Ford + Model and living in NYC!!!

Being a Ford + Model has been a really great experience. Living in NYC and being a Ford Model has been really cool. I think it has matured me and made me a stronger and more confident person.

How do you define the term ‘plus’ model?  What is the reaction you get when you tell others you are a ‘plus’ model?

Well technically, it’s someone above size 6. But I define it as a healthy, beautiful, and confident girl. The reaction I get is always a positive one. Mainly the reaction I get is that they say we are such great role models, and that makes me proud.

What do your friends think of your modeling career?

I have the best friends; they are all incredibly supportive.

What did your parents say when you told them that you wanted to be a model?

I first got approached when I was 11; actually by Ford NY. Of course, my parents said no way because I was far too young. But later on when I was about 16, I was approached again by Liz Bell Agency, an Agency in Vancouver, and they were much more comfortable with the idea.

What are your goals for your future?

I would love to go to University get a degree as well as play volleyball on the University team, go to cooking school, travel the world, get really good at hockey, learn to play the drums, oh, and world domination.

In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing for fun?

I really love cooking. I watch the Food Network way too much for my own good. I also love playing any type of sports, especially volleyball, soccer, and field hockey. I read a lot and of course hanging out with my friends and boyfriend.

What would be your ideal date?

My ideal date would be doing something spontaneous like going on an adventure or doing something out of the ordinary. However, it should always end with lounging on the couch with popcorn and a movie. I think you can get to know someone best when you take them out of the everyday routine.

What 5 items are in your handbag that you couldn’t live without?

Gum, hand lotion, iPod, a novel, and lip balm.

What’s playing on your iPod?

The new Chromeo album, Miike Snow, The Strokes, The Black Keys, Counting Crows, Cut Copy… too much to name!

How do you stay fit and healthy?

I usually go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. My routine is 40 minutes cardio, 20 minutes strength, and 20 minutes core. As far as eating, I think you can have everything as long as it’s in moderation. I’m a vegetarian too, so I think that helps with being healthy.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as edgy but with feminine accents.

What is your go-to outfit?

Right now my go-to outfit would be my black skinny jeans, my dark grey suede combat boots, white and navy striped t-shirt, my military green style belted anorak, and because it’s freezing out, a scarf and slouchy pompom toque.

Favorite jeans…

I just bought a pair of black Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans from Anthropology and they are crazy soft!! I love them.

Style Icon…
I love Zooey Deschanel’s style. Her outfits always have classic cuts with a 1940’s girly style, but with a cool twist.

Signature Scent…

Mark Jacobs Daisy

How do you define beauty?

Well, my Mom always says “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. And that’s so true. Beauty to me is not only what’s outside, but mainly what is on the inside. Outer beauty will fade with age, but what you are like as a person will always remain.

What is the best beauty advice you have ever been given?

Be comfortable in your own skin, love what you have, and work it!

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Lip Gloss. My very favourite is Smith’s Rosebud Salve. It’s not sticky and it makes my lips so soft.

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I think I am a genuine person, I try to always be kind and caring.

What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

Spaghetti Fridays with my family. Also learning to cook and bake with my Grandma Karen.

What do you miss most about your homeland, Canada?

I miss everything! The mountains, beaches, and all its beauty. My family, friends, and boyfriend of course. Oh, and poutine. Which I’m 98% sure you don’t know what that is. Let me tell you. Fries covered in gravy covered in cheese curds. Yes, genius.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m obsessed with the TV show The Office. Jim is amazing. I will marry him one day.

What is your philosophy?

Do what makes you happy, treat others as you’d like to be treated, stay true to yourself no matter what, and no regrets.

Thank you, Alison!

About these ads

The Women Behind Madison Plus

Posted in Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Ford +, Hobbies, Lane Bryant, Media, Models, Music, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by Plus-Size Models Unite

Aimee Cheshire

MadisonPlus.com is the premiere fashion website for the modern plus size woman. Created by Aimee Cheshire and Erica Young, fashion professionals, who were frustrated with the lack of excitement and choice in the plus market. In 2008, Aimee and Erica, who are based in New York City, started brainstorming what is now MadisonPlus.com.

Kari Hansbarger, Aimee Cheshire, and Erica Young  photographed by Myung Choi

How did you and your business partner Erica meet and come together to form Madison Plus?

Erica and I were both students at LIM College in NYC. We would chat in class and that’s when I told her about my internship at Roaman’s, a plus-size catalog, and how much I enjoyed working there. I gave her a brief introduction to the world of plus and all the amazing untapped opportunities. She signed up for an internship soon after. Before we knew it, we were sitting next to each other in the office and working on the same sportswear team. We did not expect to be put on the same team together, and our working relationship grew from there. Very quickly, we were both promoted to managerial positions at a new brand within the company, but we started to grow tired of fighting the system in regards to the lack of cool and exciting plus clothing options. So, we decided to build it ourselves.

Where did the name Madison Plus come from?

Coming up with a name for a business can be a fun challenge. We had baby name books that we found ourselves browsing through to find the “name” for us to run with. We had temporary names that we would sit with for a period of time and practice saying it, to see if we would get sick of it. One day when Erica and I were doing research at the SIBL library on Madison Avenue, we had a light bulb moment and the Madison Plus name was born.

What is the most frequently asked questions you receive from your viewers?

Many women want to be plus models, and that is definitely the number one question that we receive. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a plus model. What I really interpret from the “plus model” question is that they actually want to be in some way involved with the development of the plus-size industry. There are so many ways to bring your view and your expertise to the plus industry and there is so much room to grow.

What has been one of the most unforgettable moments Madison Plus has experienced, one that you will never forget?

We have worked so hard to develop a brand that we can confidently stand behind and feel that fully represents what the plus industry was craving. There are two amazing moments that mean a lot to me and to MP. The first being when we teamed up with Ford+ Models to launch the “All Ashley” issue that broke just before the ‘boobgate’ controversy with Lane Bryant’s commercial, which featured the talented Ashley and allowed everyone to get to know her. Before we knew it, we saw “MadisonPlus.com” up on Entertainment Tonight. To see that type of recognition made all the work worthwhile and helped fuel the fire to continue with what we are doing, which was relaunching Madison Plus.

Before the holidays and after a year of building the brand Erica, Kari (our creative director), and I re-launched the new Madison Plus. We wanted to create a shopping website that was curated by us. We wanted to expand beyond our blog, bring the best of plus clothing to you wrapped up like your favorite fashion magazine. A day after we relaunched, I went to Mexico. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on the beach, but what I enjoyed most was knowing that the new MP was live.

Plus-Size Models Unite is ultimately about inspiring others to love their own unique self. What do you love about yourself and why?

Perseverance! My whole life I knew that I would be involved in the plus industry, that there was no reason for it to lack the same attention that the straight size industry gets. Growing up plus size and having to experience the common situations that plus girls find themselves. Every summer for many years, I would go to weight loss camp in California and I remember sitting on the steps of the stage with the owner asking her if I could come back when I was older and put on a plus-size fashion show. I had this bug hit me at a young age and it stayed with me though all my experiences of growing up. It was my way of making the struggles worth it. This feeling of perseverance that I always had to push through, knowing that it may be pretty crappy now, but when I make it, it will be worth it. What an amazing reward it has been.

Your site covers everything from fashion to beauty tips to celebrity news–you name it! Please tell us what your favorite beauty products or must-haves are?

I have never been a huge product girl until recently. The flood gates were open when I discovered dry shampoo. Whenever I would read about people washing their hair every other day, I could never grasp how they could do that, well dry shampoo is the answer. I use Rene Futerer Naturia Dray Shampoo, when I use it my hair immediately becomes voluminous and holds whatever styling I need it to. The days I do wash my hair I add some Sam Brocato Beach Spray, and it gives me that texture I crave. I keep an easy routine of Cetaphil to wash my face, Nars moisturizer, and Nars skin brightening serum, which I am addicted to, it just brings my skin to life. Also, I cannot leave my apartment without a spritz of Bond no9 perfume called Nuit De Noho, it’s just part of my personality now. I may freshen it up a little for spring by layering on some Highline another fave from Bond.

I love when the girls stop by and talk about their favorite outfits!!  What are your go-to outfits?

We do too! It’s amazing how much inspiration you can find from the lovely ladies that stop by our office. Each season, I tend to switch up my trendy pieces but I do have some go-to pieces that are season-less. Right now, it is my bondage skirt from Topshop, black ponte sheath dress, and last but not least, my Paige denim skinny jeans.

What is your definition of beauty?

I like pure, non-fussy beauty. I want the real nose, the real boobs, and real bum, which allows for the real you to shine through.

What are you listening to right now?

Music is my escape, and I love being surrounded by amazing bands and live shows in Brooklyn. I try to see a show at least once a month. The bands that have been getting the most play on my ipod have been The Constellations, Gogol Bordello, The Black Keys, and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

Favorite books?

My lovely husband just bought me a Kindle and I have been reading nonstop since I opened it. When you own your own business, sometimes the only way you can relax and unplug is by keeping it occupied with books. If you were shopping my bookshelf I would insist on these books; The Girls, Rush Home Road, Chesapeake, Dominion, The Glass Castle, Cutting For Stone, and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Favorite places to shop online?

It is a very rare thing to see me actually shop in person. I have been shopping online since the beginning, originally it was due to my size. I was a size 20 and then when you layer on a 35″ inseam, and size 11 shoe your selection becomes limited. So quickly, I was trained to go online for my shopping. Right now, I am shopping The Outnet, Net-A-Porter, JCrew, and Anthropologie. When I go shopping in the city, I love to hit up Topshop and DVF.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am obsessed with card and board games. I am in the process of learning bridge with my husband and some friends. I figure by the time I’m in an old age home, I will be an expert. When my husband and I started dating we would play games for money, and I bought some kitschy piggy banks from Vegas, and whoever had the most amount of money in the end of the year won. I never won, my husband always took home the pot and the winnings were definitely not big enough for a trip back to Vegas.

Favorite restaurant?

I am truly spoiled with amazing restaurants living in NYC and being surrounded by so many delicious restaurants which have lead to a discerning palette.  I love it when you go for a meal and you leave with an experience. The best dining experience is at the Kabob Café in Queens. It seats no more than 12 people and the kitchen is right next to you while you eat. The amazing owner/chef Ali keeps you entertained for hours! When my evening out demands a little more “fancy” you can find me at Junoon, Marlow & Sons and Dresslers. To compliment, I enjoy pairing my meal with a nice cocktaiI or bottle of wine.

What are you excited about right now?

I am so excited for the year ahead, 2010 was so good to me and the MP team. So many personal and professional goals were accomplished. It really gives me so much momentum into this new year. Stay tuned…we have more exciting developments at Madison Plus.

Best,

Aimee Cheshire
Co-Founder & Co-Owner
www.MadisonPlus.com
Your Style Discovered
facebook.com/MadisonPlus
twitter.com/MadisonPlus

Video Link

http://www.vimeo.com/19135791

*Thank you, Aimee!

Model Danielle Redman Says, “Beauty is in your character. It’s about your knowledge, your humor, how you deal with daily situations, and how you carry yourself.”

Posted in Art, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Ford +, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Travel, TV, Unique Beauty, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2011 by Liz

Danielle Redman is a plus model with FORD Models. She is from a small farm in Iowa. Danielle has an older sister, two older brothers, two half sisters, and two half brothers. She grew up riding horses and playing with any kind of animal that she could find from a snake or lizard in the garden to cows in the pasture.

How did you start your career as a model?

When I was fourteen and shopping in a mall, I was scouted by Mother Model Management who asked me if I ever thought about modeling. They put on a modeling contest and I got runner-up.

What advice would you give to aspiring models?

Be confident and believe in who you are whoever you are. It’s about being yourself.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m doing what I always dreamed of, which is travel the world meeting new and interesting people while it’s getting documented.

In terms of your career, what has been the best advice you have ever been given?

A photographer at a job once told me to be myself because no one else can be that.

Out of all of the places your modeling career has taken you, where has been the most memorable?

My favorite place is South Africa. We had a shoot at a cheetah ranch and we were able to go in and pet the baby cheetahs.

Have you ever struggled from self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?

I’ve had and am still working on self-esteem issues. Do what makes you feel good and happy. Really get to know yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and adore you but who will also tell you the truth. Good friends are irreplaceable. Also, if you eat a box of Oreos, like I do sometimes, don’t feel bad about it. I’m not saying do it all the time, just don’t tell yourself that you won’t have something, life is too short for limitations; just keep it balanced.

What do you love about yourself?

My big ass and my big lips.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is in your character. It’s about your knowledge, your humor, how you deal with daily situations, and how you carry yourself.

What is a fun fact about you?

I was raised on a small farm and grew up riding horses.

How do you stay fit and healthy?

I run and do yoga on occasion. I have two dogs that I walk on a regular basis. As a child, I was always active and constantly on the move so I think the muscle memory helps, but what it really comes down to is the food. I love fresh smoothies and salads. I’m a big fan of anything fresh and raw. The more the better.

What would we find in your make-up bag?

Cococare lip balm, YSL mascara, and Cargo concealer right next to my own personal hand cream concoction.

Do you have any quick make-up tips to share with us?

Keep it simple and show your skin. I think all skin is beautiful so don’t cover it up. If you do a lip, go light on the eye and vice versa.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My mama. She raised four kids on her own.

Style Icon?

I love older classy gentleman’s style. Really simple clean lines.

What is your go-to outfit?

Mens oversized button down, skinny jeans, and oxfords with my arm full of bracelets.

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I like to mix it up between thrift shops and small shops wherever they may be.

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

Besides Plus-Size Models Unite, I love tumblr blogs. There are a few good ones: my blog~ http://www.horsewithwings.tumblr.com .  Also, http://www.thesweetdreamer.tumblr.com and http://www.hummingbirdlovegorilla.tumblr.com.

What are some of your favorite books?

Just Kids and all of Chelsea Handler’s books.

Who do you have on speed dial?
My mama.

What is your signature scent?

I love Bvgaria Jasmin Noir. It’s a clean musky scent.

 

On a day off, what would your perfect day consist of?

Riding horses in the forest.

What music is on at home?

Florence And The Machine is on repeat at the moment, along with one of my good friends Theophilus London. Also big fan of Mark Ronson, Kanye West, Edward Sharpe, The Magnetic Zeros, and Phoenix.

What do you enjoy most about living in NYC?

It’s amazing how you really can do anything in NYC. There’s so much talent and history here. Live music, poetry, someone’s painting, someone’s crunching numbers…in every cube of space there is someone.

What do you miss most about home?

I miss the fresh air and all the green open spaces. I love seeing my family and my two little nephews. Also, I left my horse Oscar at my mom’s farm, so I always love going home and seeing him and going for a ride.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

I would love to see myself on the big screen. That’s what I’m striving for.

What is one of your most favorite childhood memories?

Riding my horse around the farm with my older brother. We would make our own trail rides and be gone all day.

What are you excited about right now?

It’s exciting seeing the industry changing–adding more diversity in the girls between race, size, and age. It’s amazing seeing all types of women. We are all beautiful.

*Thank you, Danielle!

Plus Model and Embody Denim Designer Natalie Wakeling Shares Her Story and Offers a 15% Discount to You For One Week! Her Jeans Are Awesome and For Women of ALL Sizes!

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Entertainment, Fashion, Ford +, Media, Models, News, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Unique Beauty, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2010 by Liz

Photographed by Anna Bertalli

Natalie Wakeling is a plus-size model and clothing designer from New South Whales, Australia. Natalie is the youngest of four daughters. She grew up surrounded by a strong influence of fashion and a desire to be a model. In 1999, Natalie was one of Australia’s first plus-size models to appear in consecutive editorials for Cosmopolitan magazine. She helped to break the stereotype that only straight models should appear in mainstream magazines. In 2006, Natalie Wakeling created EMBODY DENIM, which is a denim line for every women of every size who has ever struggled to find a perfect pair of jeans.

First plus model used for Australia’s Cosmopolitan magazine.

How did you begin your career as a model?

I was quite athletic, had a solid build as a teenager, and had secret aspirations of being a model. I just happened to be too big for straight size modelling so I pretty much gave up the thought of ever being a model. When I left school, I trained as a photographer and make-up artist. One day, I was working on a shoot as the make- up artist, when the photographer said that I should try plus-size modeling and that the best agency was BGM Models. I met with Darrianne Donnelly, the agency director, and she signed me immediately. I have been with her since I was eighteen years of age.

Was it hard for you to make the transition from straight to plus modeling?

Letting go of all the fears that you harbour about putting on weight was hard, but I soon relaxed and enjoyed being the size that I was, which allowed me to be a model. It was a little scary to decide that I was no longer going to skip meals and exercise like a maniac to remain thinner than I was supposed to be. As soon as I started to land some major photographic campaigns, I found that my inner confidence grew and I started to understand more about myself.

Photographed by Anna Bertalli

Do you feel that plus-sized models are becoming more widely accepted by today’s media?

The change has been quite phenomenal over the past two years. My agency, BGM Models, has been slowly chipping away at the mainstream fashion Industry for over a decade now, and I’m glad to say that things have moved forward quite dramatically here in Australia in the past twelve months. We now see plus-size models included in main fashion festivals, along with magazines using bigger models in every issue.

I was honoured when asked to be the face of ‘Every Body Counts’ Fashion Festival in Perth, Western Australia. To have reached a point in my career where I stay in five star hotels, be met at the airport with a limousine, and to treated like a queen is awesome. Whilst in Perth, I had the privilege of meeting other well-known fashion designers and attending VIP events. I even managed to deliver a speech to a full house, which included Jerry Hall. The ‘Every Body’ parade featured fifteen women of all shapes and sizes. It was a huge success and was special for the fact that it was included on the main programme.

Here is another article about The Perth Fashion Festival:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/lifestyle/7919319/fashion-launch-for-every-body/

What inspired you the most when creating Embody Denim?

Beside the natural desire to exceed in something you love, I desperately wanted to wear an amazing pair of jeans designed for my shape. The concept of my brand was very different. My jeans are made for different body shapes without focusing on the size.

Photographed by Marvin Joseph. The group shot includes BGM models Kate Hislop, Natalie in front,Laura Wells, and Kiralee Martin.

What was the first pair of jeans you created?

For my first collection, I designed four styles – Babe, Body Love, CHIC, and Ice Queen. Since then I have expanded my range to include twelve fabulous styles.  I have also designed a jacket and skirt to add to the collection. I’m currently working on my fashion range, which I hope to launch in 2011.

Do you have a favorite cut from Embody?

I love the ‘Bella’ style, as it is just so glamorous and holds everything in the right place.

I love that you created jeans for every body type…brilliant!  Was that difficult to achieve?

The sampling process is tiresome, but once I had the measurements figured out for certain body types,  it all just fell into place.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Every style I have ever made in every colour–maybe around 20 + pairs.

Photographed by Marvin Joseph. Natalie modeling her Embody Denim. Natalie is the designer and she is constantly updating the styles (for all sizes) to correspond with the current fashion trends.

What Embody cut has been the most popular?

Everybody loves the ‘Bebe’ and ‘Tempt’ narrow styles. These two styles are totally different, being the Bebe more suited to apple body shapes and the tempt narrow being perfect for pear shaped ladies that struggle with gapping waistbands.

Are there any trends coming out next season that we should be keeping an eye out for?

I will be releasing a brand new crop style jean with lots of detailed panels. It is the perfect jean that manages to make everyone look a size smaller. We are still love the holes and rips and even the acid wash, denim is so varied now that you can pretty much wear whatever you want. I definitely recommend dressing for your shape rather than trying to wear the hottest look of the moment. Confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear.

We all love denim, but what makes denim so important to you?

I guess denim is like a third child to me. To be able to create something and make it work has been a challenge and it has been wonderful to be able to make so many women feel good about themselves whilst wearing Denim that I have designed.

What do you love to pair your embody denim with?

I love a bit of a rock chic feel.  Something sexy under a blazer always looks hot.

Natalie had just been signed with Ford and was able to wear a high end designer Sass and Bide for this photo shoot.

What has been your favorite memory since creating Embody?

I have so many. I guess the day I was able to do my own photographic campaign was really exciting. It was so much fun to direct from behind the camera and to be the boss for the day.

Who would you love to see wear a pair of your jeans?

I have a very long list, but if it was a celebrity, I would love to see a pair on Beyonce.

Where can Plus-Size Models Unite readers find Embody Denim?

It is very easy you can buy direct from http://www.embodydenim.com.au/. I also offer free international shipping.  I would also like to offer your readers a special 15% off for one week.

**To redeem, please email sales@embodydenim.com.au with plusmodelsunite in the subject line. Please mention the size and style that you wish, and Natalie will email you a discount link.

This photograph is from Natalie’s very first shoot with Cosmopolitan ten years ago.  It was eight pages long and made Natalie’s career what it is today.

Have you ever struggled with body image or self esteem issues?

I think every time my body has gone through a radical change, such as the teenage years and after having babies, I start to think about how I can improve my body.

What advice would you give to young girls and women who are struggling?

I think you need to ask yourself– is it really your body your unhappy with or is it another problem?

Talk to your best friend or parents about your issues.  Sometimes it’s as simple as going for a walk to make you feel more at ease with yourself and your body. Check out all the gorgeous curvy women that are really doing well for themselves by just being the way that they were meant to be.

What do you love about yourself?

I’m a pretty approachable person and always laugh very easily (sometimes too loud).

The Men’s Style magazine shoot was a first for a plus size model.

What are you excited about right now?

The possibilities of the future. Not knowing what’s around the corner from one week to the next.

*Thank you, Natalie!

Abby Valdes Talks About Fashion, Motherhood, Beauty, New York Fashion Week, Modeling Tips, Not Feeling Perfect Enough, and The Best Advice She’s Ever Been Given!

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Ford +, Inspiration, Models, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, TV, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by Liz

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

Abby Valdes is a plus model from Australia, who currently lives in New York City. She is signed with FORD NY and Bella Model Management. Abby has six sisters and one brother. She has lived many places throughout Australia. As a child, she spent her time with her “mum,” siblings, and cousins in mud baths, water holes, water fountains, and under a Chai Tent.

Ford + NY lured Abby to sign with them two years ago, which she says, “was an easy decision to make as I’m still a bit of a gypsy. I’d rather sit on the floor than sit on my couch!” She travels to Europe and Australia often for work. She most frequently travels to South Africa, Spain, Germany, and Australia.

She loves reading books on subjects such as esoteric philosophy, world religions, art, metaphysics, and critical mass; and she reads a million fashion magazines, which are piled up all over her apartment.

Abby is a single woman, which she says, “is not good because I want to have eight kids! So, I need to get a move on! Well, maybe six kids… or I could settle for four, but that’s the lowest!”

How did you get started in the plus modeling industry?

I guess how I got started is an age-old models tale. My best friend always said that I should model, but I was busy working in finance in Australia. One day, on a TV show called “Today Tonight”, she saw a competition for Bella Model Management. They were searching for ‘plus size’ models. She sent in a picture of me for the competition and was contacted by Bella Model Management soon after. She was told that I had made it to the televised finals in Sydney. This is when she told me the news! But I was convinced that my finance career was the way to go so I contacted Chelsea Bonner of Bella Model Management and told her that although I was very flattered that I had made it to the finals, I actually had a different career and couldn’t come to Sydney! Chelsea was so lovely that she offered me a contract on the spot! So, I decided to do some modeling on the side and see if I could make some extra cash. And that I did! So much so that after about six months or so, I had to make some decisions about which career I wanted to pursue because I couldn’t continue to do both as they were both very time consuming. I decided to move to Sydney to see where modeling could take me. It wasn’t long before I was traveling around the world for work and then finally moved to New York City! I’ll always be grateful to Chelsea for having the foresight and faith in me! :)

Who are some of the clients you have worked with?

In Oz (Australia) I did all the brands that we know and love like Berlie/Platex, Bonds, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Cleo, Womans Weekly, Maggie T, Sara, Freewoman, Mysize, David Jones, Myers, and I could I could go on…

In New York, I have amazing clients such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Marina Rinaldi, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. I have worked extensively throughout Europe, in particular London and Germany. I have just recently finished shooting in Berlin for Otto and in Istanbul, Turkey for a client called Faik Sonmez.

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

What advice do you have for aspiring plus models?

I would tell any aspiring plus-size model that they have made a good choice! The plus-size industry is the best of both worlds! You are encouraged to be healthy, which means that you are allowed to eat, ladies! You must eat a balanced diet and not be too skinny! Thank the lord!

You should approach several agencies in your state. See what advice they have for you and try to follow their constructive ‘advice’. Do remember that ‘plus size’ models, in general, are required to fit the same modeling criteria as straight-size models but without the ‘skinny part’. You should be tall and attractive (not necessarily Claudia Schiffer beauty) and attractive girl next door works too!

Everyone starts out somewhere, so learn your craft. Study magazines and how models move. What expressions they show on their face and practice, practice, practice! Before you know it, you will be a pro!

How do you prepare for a shoot?

I make sure I get plenty of rest so that I look fresh and relaxed. I make sure my hair and nails are perfectly maintained, and that my skin is moisturized and hydrated with loads of water and vitamin C powder. Then I show up to the shoot with heaps of my usual morning energy that usually make everyone wonder what special little pills I’m on! Which are vitamins, honey!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice do you have to girls and women currently struggling?

Gosh, all the time and every day! For me, I have always struggled with the idea that I was not perfect enough. And, although I love my curves, they meant I was always going to be considered a ‘big’ girl. When in reality, I grew up surrounded by women who had hips and shape that had taught me otherwise!

So every day, or on the days I am not feeling my true worth, I counsel myself. I tell myself what every mother should tell their child. That I am valuable and, that like all people in this world, I am acceptable and valid. I am beautiful because I am woman. No matter what society tries to trick you into believing, my body is healthy, sexy, and womanly! And I will not change it for anyone else’s preferences.

What has been the best advice you have been given?

Well, I advise myself to always follow my own heart no matter what. You are bound to make mistakes, but when you follow your own heart, you learn what you need to know!

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

How would you describe New York City.

Is nothing like Oz! New York City is a melting pot of some of the most creative and inspiring people I have met. NYC is a buzz with chaotic energy, which is what I love. There are a million amazing people and things to do, and the people are all from somewhere else, but living in New York!

How do you define beauty?

I define beauty as a feeling! Do you feel beautiful? You should! We ALL have beautiful qualities both spiritually and physically. If someone else fails to recognize this, then they are shortsighted and victims of a fast becoming archaic society of one standard of beauty!

What are some of your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

Hmmm…Well typically, I try not to be a big product kind of girl. However, I do have a cupboard filled with all sorts of products that I never use! But my must haves are: Strawberry Chap stick that I massage onto my lips for a plumping effect, Dove Essential Nutrients Protective Tinted Moisturizer for the face in a honey tint for both protection from the sun and a refreshing natural moisturizer, Maybelline New York Define-a-Brow eyebrow pencil to fill in my gaps, and also Maybelline Volume Express to pump up my eye lashes. I love my mascara! Other than that, I use Frederic Fekkai Ageless Creme Luxe Hair Treatment to help my hair recover from all of the hot tools used to torture it daily.

Marina Rinaldi Campaign

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I love ‘Opp Shopping’ and I can’t seem to pass one by without popping in quickly! ‘Opp shopping’ is what Australians call a ‘Thrift Shop’. It stands for ‘Opportunity;’ someone else’s trash is another person’s opportunity… Something like that. I just went to the Garage with a friend and found two of the most amazing 1930’s dresses! I can’t wait to find somewhere to wear them!  At the moment, I am obsessed with lace. I buy vintage and new lace tops and wear my strapless black bra underneath! Love it! That’s what you’ll see me wearing every other day right now, with my dark grey fedora from Sydney. :)

But, I also love me some online shopping at the moment as it is easy to do from anywhere in the world.  I shop online at www.style.com, www.planetblue.com, www.freepeople.com, and www.singer.com. I also love a new and awesome Australian store that opened recently in Darlinghurst called ‘Desordre’ –they have the hottest new trends! I also love House of Harlow for vintage inspired accessories and clothes.

Who are your favorite clothing designers?

Ooohhh, if I had an unlimited budget I would cover myself in Balmain and Balenciaga boots! I also Herve Leger dresses when you want to show off your ample curves! In Oz, I love Sass & Bide. Romance Was Born is making some cool stuff. I like Paul & Joe. I also like Karen Walker for her mix of streamline and eclectic fashion.

What is your go-to outfit?

My go-to outfit is a pair of skinny grey jeans, t-shirt, and a Bolero.

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

What do you like to do in your down time?

In my down time, I am either reading about Quantum Physics (yes, really!), The Power of the Subconscious Mind, or something obscure. I also LOVE markets, especially flea markets, and I like hanging with my mates.

What do you love most about motherhood?

I love everything about motherhood! Even when it’s tough and heart breaking. I couldn’t imagine anything known to man who is more rewarding and magical that growing a human being inside of you! We are amazing beings! Plus, the kisses and cuddles are the best – when you can get them!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

The OneStopPlus.Com Fashion Show  was the first plus-size show held during New York Fashion Week. Please tell us about it.

OneStopPlus.com Fashion Show was awesome! There were eighteen of us plus-size girls and it was held in the Lincoln Centre, smack bang in the middle of Fashion Week. We didn’t realize what a big deal it would be but, it turns out that it was news worldwide! About bloody time!

I’m happy to say, I made it into the New York Post (see below)! The energy was so amazing, and you could just feel how excited everyone was to see the show! It was a fun show and well received. Let’s hope this is just one of many more to come! In truth, I would love to see all the fashion shows have a couple of plus-size models in each and every show and not even making a big deal out of it because its ‘normal’ and not a big production based on a ‘new trend’ or about being ‘diverse,’ but rather because they are showing that they represent all women! That would be awesome!

Picture from New York Post. Abby (in middle) during New York Fashion Week at the OneStopPlus.com’s Fashion Show.

Of all of the places your modeling has taken you, which is your favorite destination thus far?

It has to be all the islands of the coast of Italy and France! That’s the life! I dream of island living! Sun, good food, water, friends, and family are my idea of heaven.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about life! You never know what is waiting for you around the corner. I love to be surprised! But, specifically I am looking forward to starting my own business and hopefully finding love! :)

*Thank you, Abby!

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