On day 2 of Full Figured Fashion week(end) in L.A. we attended three Panel Discussions which addressed the Plus Side of Business, the Aspiring Model Panel and the State of the Curvy Community.
(Note: This a long post. I would have broke it up in to three, but we are long over due with this information, so I made one big, fat inspiring post!)
First we attended the Plus Side of Business Panel discussion:
Gwen Devoe was the moderator of the panel who consisted of plus side industry giants:
- Tina Sanchez, CEO, MoxieManagement, LLC Tina Sanchez is more than just CEO and Founder of MoxieManagement, LLC. She is a widely acclaimed fashionista with a flair for personalized fashion and a business-savvy personality to go with it. Tina founded MoxieManagement LLC., a premier public relations bilingual boutique marketing agency “specializing in fashion, music, culinary arts, entertainment, and lifestyle brands” while creating an outlet for her to harness her ten plus years of fashion and public relations/marketing knowledge and expertise.
- Yuliya Raquel, Founder and Designer, IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel For Yuliya Raquel, the artistic environment in which she was raised served as the perfect backdrop for her creative talents. Plus size clothing designer, IGIGI, is synonymous with fashion-forward plus size dresses, career wear, bridal gowns, and separates. Founded by designer Yuliya Raquel in 2000, IGIGI’s mission is to transform the world’s view of beauty. IGIGI creates smart, stylish, and sophisticated plus size clothing collections for fashion-loving women in sizes 12-32. IGIGI designs accentuate and celebrate the beauty of the curvaceous female figure. IGIGI strives to provide clothing with the highest quality fabrics and workmanship, and all of the apparel is manufactured locally in San Francisco.
- Glen L. Johnson, President, Full Figure Network, Inc. Glen is a full time blogger making a decent living from a medium that he did not know existed before October of 2004. You may be wondering as a man why he would associate himself with something that is normally viewed as an area dominated by women. It’s simple. Glen is a plus size man married to a plus size woman and from a plus size family, so he is very much qualified to write about things related to the plus size fashion industry. Full Figure Plus a blog dedicated to plus size fashion and serves over 60,000 visitors a month.
- Marie Denee, Owner of The Curvy Fashionista, The Curvy Fashionista is a fashion lifestyle blog catering to the Curvy.Confident.Chic. plus size woman. Determined to show the fashion world and fellow plus size women that we CAN don the latest and greatest of trends, fashions and styles, The Curvy Fashionista delivers the goods to fashion your curves covering the latest in fashion, news, trends, interviews, tips, entertainment, and the Plus-Size community. (Excerpt from The Curvy Fashionista)
I really enjoyed this panel because there were familiar faces (We met Tina at The Viva Fat Vegas Conference) and people that have inspired us (Marie Denee, Gwen Devoe) and new faces (Glen and Yulia) who presented us with a plethora of great information on blogging, marketing to the plus community, business ethics, advertising and social media!
Here are some of my favorite quotes and advice from the panelists:
“Love what you do” –Yulia Raquel
“Network to increase your networth” – Gwen Devoe
“You need to be SEO optimized.” – Marie Denee
“Be careful being unprofessional on social networking sites.” – Glen L. Johnson
“Practice discretion on Face-book and Twitter.” -Tina Sanchez
Note: We didn’t get a good picture of the panelists because our camera was not doing well with the lighting in the venue unfortunately, but here is what we wore!
Jasmine is wearing a lace top, boots, accessories and leggings from Torrid
Micaela is wearing Torrid Military jacket, black camisole, studded flats and owl necklace, jeans from B&Lu (she switched out of her heels from rainbow)
Dannika is wearing Blazer and jeans from Torrid, Top and earrings from Dots, Boots from Rainbow, necklace from Ashley Stewart
The next Panel we attended was the Aspiring Models Panel Discussion. Now, alot of people don’t know this, but when we decided to start Fashion Plus 3, all three of us were, (gasp) aspiring models! In fact, in our earlier posts on our first site (which was on wordpress.com) we did photo-shoots and OOTD’s as modeling practice! So we were delighted to attend this panel and learn first hand knowledge from industry experts and veterans.
The panelists were:
- Fluvia Lacerda (Plus Model – “The Brazilian Bombshell”)
Plus-size Brazilian model Fluvia Lacerda, is the star of “16”, a short film that challenges the stereotypes of beauty currently set by the film, fashion and advertising industries. She was discovered by a magazine editor on a Manhattan cross-town bus and has not stopped working since. The only Brazilian working as a plus size model overseas; she has been called the “plus version of Gisele Bundchen”. Fluvia is one of the most known faces within the plus size industry and has been featured in ads for Fashion Bug, Torrid, Igigi & Monif C. and in Latina & Glamour Magazines.
- Madeline Figueroa-Jones (Editor-in-Chief, Plus Model Magazine)
Madeline Figueroa-Jones is a NY native and former plus size model. After appearing in several magazines, working for numerous designers she began reaching out to the plus size community by serving as a moderator for VenusDivas.com and Empowerment Editor for AmazeMag.com. As Editor for PLUS Model Magazine, Madeline has been producing issues which push the envelope with both exclusive interviews with some of today’s top models and edgy fashion editorials aimed at featuring today’s plus size modeling industry in it’s truest light.
- Vernetta Jenkins-Collins (Reality TV Producer, Mo’Nique’s FAT Chance)
A prolific reality/talk television producer, Vernetta has added her talents to a steady stream of engaging and provocative content for network shows including 4 seasons of BIG BROTHER for CBS. Vernetta completed her second run as Supervising Show Producer of MO’NIQUE’S F.A.T. CHANCE, the first Plus Sized Beauty Competition/Reality show hosted and executive produced by actress/comedienne/writer, Mo’Nique for the Oxygen Network.
- Michael Anthony Hermogeno – (Former Head Photographer, Torrid!)
Michael Anthony Hermogeno began working in nightclubs back in 1996 part time. In 2002, he signed on with Shooting Star Agency in Hollywood photographing red carpet events, and in 2004, got picked up by Torrid.com, the plus size retailer owned by Hot Topic Inc as Head Photographer. Michael Anthony is currently the owner operator of his own photography company 8X10 Proofs Inc.
- Alana Chandler – (Plus Model/Actress, The Janice Dickinson
Modeling Agency): Alana Chandler, a plus-size fashion model, reality star, and lawyer. Born in Gary, Indiana. Alana got her big break when, in 2008, she appeared on Oxygen’s hit series The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. Alana has also appeared on various television broadcasts which include: Tyra Banks Show, MTV’S G’s to Gents, Judge Penny Family Court, BET’S Played By Fame, ABC’S Crash Course, The CW’s Farmer Wants a Wife, and most recently The Dr. Phil Show.
The panel was also moderated by Sharon Quinn, The ORIGINAL Runway Diva (Plus Model/Singer/Actress/Writer) Star of Mo’Nique’s FAT Chance, MTV’s MADE, Cash Cab & Throwdown With Bobby Flay and most recently seen on The Style Network’s “Ruby.”
This discussion was a complete eye opener for us! We learned so much information about the industry that it’s no way I can cover it all in this post. (I will be posting a more in depth version soon). But the basics were, first determining if you have what it takes. You will have to invest in yourself, because your body becomes your business. It is important to be healthy, whether you are a straight size model or not and knowing where you fit in the industry. Once you figure this out, then you are well on your way to being a model. If you haven’t, you must determine it first, because this business will cost you money and time, so be prepared and do your research!
Sharon Quinn The Original Runway Diva
Alana Chandler, Madeline Figueroa- Jones, Michael Anthony-Hermogeno
The final panel of the day was The State of The Curvy Community panel, which I was so excited to attend because I couldn’t wait to hear certain issues tackled and see the Curvy Collective in action.
The panelists were:
- Sharon Quinn – The Original Runway Diva
The 6 foot tall, shaved head beauty is most recently recognized from her appearances on all three seasons of the Oxygen Network’s popular “MoNique’s F.A.T. Chance,” and also starred in national television commercials for Weight Watchers and Just My Size and frequently modeling on ABC-TV’s acclaimed morning show, “The View” and on BET’s “Rip The Runway.” As a model, Sharon Quinn’s career featured a client list that included The Avenue, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Bloomingdales and Nordstroms. Currently, Sharon Quinn shares her astute knowledge of the plus modeling industry to coach plus size models wither column: “The Runway Diva Says…”
- Reah Norman – Photo Stylist and Fashion Director of PLUS Model Magazine
Reah’s education, along with over 10 years professional experience, has refined her eye for detail, clean lines, flattering silhouettes, and has sharpened her personal style as a visual artist all of which she brings to the plus size community. Her work has been featured in print ad campaigns, company catalogs, and newspaper advertisements. Reah Norman brings her expertise as an in demand plus size stylist and as the Fashion Director for PLUS Model Magazine..
- Heinrich Saint-Germain – of Judgment of Paris
Heinrich Saint-Germain owns and manages the Judgment of Paris. Online since 1998, the site features images of many popular plus-size models, as well as an online art gallery, illustrated essays, video clips, and a discussion forum. The site views the shift from the traditional preference for curves to the androgynous, contemporary standard as being part of a century-long suppression of Classical beauty in all of the arts. By comparing images of plus-size models with historical depictions of femininity, the Judgment of Paris is devoted to restoring timeless ideals of beauty.
- Kelly Price – R&B Artist
Since 1998, R&B singer Kelly Price splashed onto the scene with the release of her double-platinum debut, Soul of a Woman, which featured the record-breaking single, “Friend of Mine.” She returned to center stage three years later with the platinum-plus seller, Mirror, Mirror, led by her remake of the R&B classic, “As We Lay,” and followed up with the gold-selling holiday collection, One Family: A Christmas Album in 2001. Kelly returns with the 2010 self titled album, Kelly; with the lead single “Tired,” the song sheds light on the social ills that not only cause her distress, but also seem to be plaguing our world community.
- Judge Karen Mills-Francis – Judge Karen’s Court
Judge Karen Mills-Francis is a television personality and published author with a colorful and engaging style that is as distinctive as her bold burgundy robe and her bright blonde hair. As quick to aid the helpless as she is to dismiss the harebrained, Judge Karen confidently dishes out justice before a television audience with her nationally syndicated courtroom series, JUDGE KAREN’S COURT. With the same compassion and razor-sharp wit she brings to the bench, the retired Florida State court judge has written her newly released book, “Stay in Your Lane: Judge Karen’s Guide to Living Your Best Life” guaranteed to inspire, delight, and motivate.
Born and raised in Miami, FL Judge Karen was the oldest of five ambitious children and she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class. Judge Karen completed her undergraduate education at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine on a full scholarship and she spent summers studying at the University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota. After graduation, she worked in the public welfare sector training and helping welfare recipients to gain employment. She graduated from the Levin School of Law at the University of Florida in 1987.
This panel was moderated by Chenese Lewis, who is a popular actress, motivational speaker, media spokesperson, plus model and President of the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women. In addition, the Curvy Collective submitted questions to be discussed by the panelists and the audience.
FP3 and Chenese Lewis
I absolutely loved this panel! It was the most fiery discussion of the night with topics discussed such as the Marie Claire debacle, whether the curvy community should support shows just because curvy actors are involved, the lack of respect for our community, the curvy woman’s diminished expectations with clothing in general, boutique shopping, online shopping and the curvy shopping experience and whether we should have a pro curvy aesthetic and shun straight size community.
All the hot topics were brought up, discussed and debated leading the panel to come up with a list of “call to action” statements that the curvy community should enact in the future. They are:
The State of the Curvy Community Panel Action Items
- Don’t settle for less. We should not blithely celebrate the appearance of mere size-8 models on the runway as being a victory for plus-size women, as that is not anywhere near a plus size. Accepting this tokenism can also do more harm than good, as it signals to the fashion industry that full-figured women will be content with a model of any size, however thin, so long as she is merely labeled plus size. Our loyalty must be to the plus-size body, not merely to the plus-size label. If the label is falsely applied, this must be changed. Plus-size models should at least be the size of the clothing that they’re modeling — and without padding. Plus-size fashion begins at size 14W and up.
- Don’t believe the hype. Do not buy into the excuses that the fashion industry offers for its size-discriminatory practices. For example, do not accept the myth that smaller models sell products better than larger models. No one knows which models were compared in such surveys, how they were styled etc. All real-life feedback proves the opposite — that women do want to see true plus-size models.
- Industry professionals stand your ground. When working on mutual projects (e.g. lookbooks, editorials) and the agencies wish to promote their barely full-figured models, tell them that you would much rather work with the larger plus-size models whom the agencies represent, because this is what the public wishes to see. Engage in a give-and-take. Nudge your professional partners in a more size-positive direction.
- Bloggers use your power for good! When participating in blogger conferences organized by plus-size companies or labels, encourage these labels to use larger plus-size models. Encourage the industry professionals to get into a more size-positive mindset. When discussing a fashion item that a plus-size retailer or label is promoting on a smaller model, give an honest appraisal of the piece, but also always include a firm and unambiguous statement that you would prefer to see it on larger plus-size models in the company’s advertising, and express disappointment that the advert didn’t include a larger model in the first place. Present this to the company as an easy opportunity for improvement. Encourage these labels to use their power to feature the larger plus-size models whom the blogger and her readers want to see.
- Focus your primary efforts on the plus-size fashion industry, not the straight-size fashion industry. Stop focusing on the straight-size industry, which is anti-plus, and which always demands compromises and concessions (e.g., diminishing the size of plus-size models until they’re not plus-size at all). Rather, we should focus all of our efforts on improving the plus-specific, full-figured fashion industry. Do not be concerned that this is fashion “segregation.” Rather, think of it as fashion independence. Even the most powerful plus-size bloggers will only ever have a limited influence on straight-size fashion, because that industry can always write off such criticism as coming from a voice that is “not their constituency.” But plus-size fashion bloggers do have an influence on plus-size fashion. Therefore they can combat size discrimination within the plus-size segment of the industry.
- More media platforms for plus size women! Currently there are no print publications for plus size women and very few positive roles in film and television – if any. We must continue to create new opportunities as well as support the platforms that do exist and help them grow (online magazines, podcast, blogs, etc) by helping to bring exposure to the various outlets that cater to us.
- Celebrate the companies that “get it”! Loudly praise retailers or labels that do feature fuller-figured models, use positive imagery in advertising, and provide quality products and services. Don’t forget to write positive letters to companies and networks when you see something you like!
- Don’t support companies that don’t support you! Money talks, bottom line. If you do not feel that a company is up to your standards for any reason, rather it be the marketing and advertising, or the quality of the product, simply don’t patronize them. Once the company notices a decline in profits they will be force to make changes.
- Be Positive! There is an old saying that goes “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Always let your voice be heard when you are not pleased with an advertising campaign or company, however a company is more likely to respond to constructive criticism rather than angry rants.
- Self loathing has to stop! Love your body! There must be no line separating plus-size fashion and size advocacy. The industry is an advocacy industry by its very nature. (If it weren’t, it wouldn’t exist at all, and everyone would simply discuss straight-size fashion.) Moreover, advocacy sells, because plus-size women who feel better about themselves will spend money on fashion to beautifully dress the full-figured body that they have right now, rather than skimping on mere “temporary/disposable” clothing and spending the bulk of their money on diet-starvation or gym-torture to diminish their figures.
(From Cid’s Style File, a member of the Curvy Collective)
We want to give a special thanks to all the panelists for sharing excellent information, and being supporters of the curvy community! Fashion Plus 3 is so grateful to have been apart of it!
All information on the celebrity panelists from FFFWeek.com