Signing with a modeling agency is huge for a new model. But I read you did a lot of research to decide which one would be best. What was your criteria?
I knew going into it that I was going to be a plus-sized or curved model just based on my overall size, and I really admired The Lions that they're not thinking about it so much in terms of segments. We are models, and we can be just as powerful in the industry as our straight-sized sisters. They were taking me on as a talent, as a model, and believed in my holistic approach to the fashion industry.
Totally. In the industry, it still seems a lot of people are on the fence about the term "plus size" itself. As someone entering the field, what do you think?
If you don't have any language about something, it's hard to talk about it and then it's hard to educate others about it. And so there needs to be a lot more equity and representation in the fashion industry when it comes to women of different shapes, sizes, colors, ages, ethnicities, and so on. And if helping to clarify plus-size modeling or curvy industry, if that is bringing more representation, then I am all for it. If it is only something to delegitimize models' power and beauty and put them off on the side and only centering fashion around straight-sized models, then I do not want it to be used in that way.
So many models today use their social media platform to share their voice and speak about what's important to them, in fashion and beyond. Now that you're reaching this major moment in your career, how do you think about this?
I feel I was put on the world to break stereotypes and help other people step out of the boxes they've been put in by other people. It seems, for some, incomprehensible that I can be both a Christian and a queer woman. For some, it's incomprehensible that I can be a curvy woman and embrace my size. I think that is something that a lot of people are still not used to. In living out that freedom, coming to terms with my identity, being proud of that, and not forcing that to make myself shrink into the world’s standards, I think that’s very translatable to fashion. I am a certain shape, I am a certain color, I am a certain gender orientation, and yet I want to just exist and live life fully and embrace fashion and wear what I can and help others to see that just because they are a size 18 doesn’t mean that they can’t look fabulous and wear couture and, you know, go out and slay the town.
This feels like such a pertinent message for the fashion industry. Especially now.
I think that we are going to see a lot of empowered people because we are all so different and the fashion industry has been about trends and been about conformity in the past. And I think that when we flip the switch, we realize that differences are powerful and differences are beautiful. We don’t need someone else to define our beauty. We get to define our own beauty.