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MAY 2016

Super Role Model Edition


Healthiest Superfoods Fight Disease, Feel More Energetic And Even Lose Weight

Spoil Mom & Pamper



Body Image Advocate, Television Personality, Author Social Reformer, Entrepreneur, Lecturer, Mother Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 1

{SuperRol 2 Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com

leMODEL} Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 3


Model: Tamara Dennyse, Publisher Photog: Rainedrop Photography www.rainedrophoto.com Makeup: Love Faces by Nikki Hair: Tanesha Townsend Stylist: Effortless Fashions & Designs Resale Boutique

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» A Message from the Publisher My mother taught me so much. At a young age, I was inspired to do more. I remember my mother always telling me that I can do and be whatever I want. “Just put your mind to it and don’t let no one tell you that you can’t do something,” she would say. To this day, she still tells be the same thing and I apply these words of wisdom to my everyday life. Thank you mom for being my “Super Role Model.” So…what does it take to be a “Super Role Model?” Well, there is no exact formula to answer this question. But if I had to answer it, I would say it is the epitome of Curvy Connect’s Motto:

Confident Be confident in any and everything that you do. You never know who’s watching! Upbeat Stay motivated! Always remember what inspired you in the first place. Resilient Life will always present challenges, but know that you can always overcome these obstacles. Vivacious Allow your inner and outer beauty to show. You! Be yourself! You never know who “you” inspire. There’s nothing more beautiful than being C.U.R.V.Y! This issue is not only inspiring, but it shows dedication, self-love, and determination. If you can believe it, you can achieve it. Thank you to all of our “Super Role Models” for being apart of this “SUPER” Edition. Hope you enjoy reading about these “Super” talented “Role Models”! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mother’s. May your day be filled with unlimited joy and happiness.

Publisher/Model P.S. - Please share CCM with a friend today, and ask them to subscribe! It’s free! www.CurvyConnectMag.com Grow With Us! LIKE | SUBSCRIBE | FRIEND | FOLLOW u Facebook.com/TamaraDennyse u Twitter and Instagram @tamaradennyse u Facebook and Instagram @curvyconnect u Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+ @curvyconnectmag Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 5

Shop Now!

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Editor’s Pick: Mothers and Daughters 25+ Healthiest Superfoods The Gift of Ophilia Supermodel EMME® Spoil Mom and Pamper Yourself!

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Tamara Dennyse Editor-in-Chief/Staff Writer

Jennifer Amoako Creative Director

TEGA-Creative-Studio.com Contributing Editor/Photographer

Daniel Wilson Contributing Writers


Robert Skuja

Model: EMME® Photog: Shin Kishima


p36 We Want


Are your positive, upbeat, and love all things CURVY? Awesome... Join the team. Curvy Connect Magazine is seeking motivated individuals from all over. Become a Curvy Connect Ambassador! Submit your contact information and 1-2 paragraphs on why you want to be on our team. Visit www.curvyconnectmag.com for more information.


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© Copyright 2016 Curvy Connect Inc. Material may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form without prior written permission.

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Jennifer Amoako, Editor-in-Chief Photog: www.twentyone0six.com Hair & MUA: J’La D of Twentyone0six

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» A Message from the Editor When you hear the words “role model” who comes to mind? Maybe your favorite singer, athlete or movie star. In some cases celebrities are role models. You may recognize many of the ladies in this issue of Curvy Connect Magazine because they are well-known in the Fashion & Beauty industry. We’ve seen them on runways, in editorials, and even on TV, but these women have so much more to offer. It’s great to be pretty on the outside, but it’s even better when your beauty glows from within. You’ll meet Ophilia Alleyne. She is a motivational speaker, model, and philanthropist with a radiant smile. After being bullied for years and suffering from low self-esteem, she now mentors women of all ages on self-acceptance and body positivity. This issue would be incomplete without acknowledging one of my personal role models, Supermodel Emme. There are so many things I admire about her. Beyond being the world’s first plus-size super model, she has remained relevant for over three decades in this industry all while living her life authentically. She is a survivor, an activist, motivator, and mother. I was truly overcome with emotion when I had the opportunity to meet her. Now, I am fortunate enough to not only know her on a first name basis, but to have her support personally and professionally. I hope you’ll be inspired by all of the women in this issue. Women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s who have opened their hearts and minds to share their stories and keys to success with us. Last but certainly not least, I dedicate the “Super Role Model” theme of this issue of Curvy Connect Magazine to my mother. She became a single mother when I was about nine years old and always made sure that I knew that I was loved and worthy. I was a chubby little girl from a somewhat financially poor community, but I was taught to believe in myself. She worked long hours to provide for us, but was always available for me. My mom led by example and gave sound advice such as “leave something to the imagination” when I wanted to show too much skin, and “a little dab will do you” when it came to wearing perfume, ensuring that I became a lady. She also taught me how to be independent and take care of myself. Before I was teenager, I knew how to cook, clean, do laundry, pay household bills, basic car maintenance, and even drive. I had a great childhood with lots of wonderful memories. She is the best mother and a true friend. Who are the women that have had a positive influence on your life? Share your stories and photos using the hashtag #SuperRoleModel on social media. We’d love to hear from you!


Grow With Us! LIKE | SUBSCRIBE | FRIEND | FOLLOW www.CurvyConnectMag.com u Jennifer on Facebook.com/curvyconnectmag.eic u Jennifer on instagram @jennifer.amoako u Facebook and Instagram @curvyconnect u Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+ @curvyconnectmag

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Coming August 2016

“Royalty” Edition

Focus. Implement. Results.

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The Depth & Influence of the Written Word Writing words is easy. Writing great, convincing and memorable words takes insight and experience. Don’t trust your most important projects to chance. Sloppy writing doesn’t draw people to you - it turns them away in droves. With 25 years experience as a professional writer, editor and journalist, Daniel Wilson can be trusted to pen your bio, write your ad or tell your story in a way that makes people believe. As Contributing Editor and Photographer for Curvy Connect Magazine and mystery game designer for One More Story Games, words are his driving force. Services Offered • Ad copy • Personal bios • Ghost writing • General Interest articles of any length, on any topic • Blog posts • Narrative prose Competitive rates Quick turn around times

Daniel Wilson can be contacted through FB at www.facebook.com/danielwilsonwriter or by email at daniel@curvyconnectmag.com Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 11

EDITOR’S Mothers & Daughters By: Jennifer Amoako

There is a unique and often complex bond between mothers and daughters. It is such a blessing when your mother is also your friend, especially in adulthood. I don’t party with my mother as if she is my peer, but it is wonderful to know that I can count on her like a best friend. She was my first role model and still inspires me to this day. I am thankful for all that she provided and the lessons she taught me including independence, tolerance, compassion and a strong self-esteem. With all of that being said, there are times when my mom and I don’t see eye-to-eye. Not surprisingly, it began in my teenage years. I started to really assert myself trying to discover who I was becoming. I also had a lot of responsibility because my mom worked many hours as a Surgical Technologist and was often on-call for emergency procedures. So, I took care of things around our house and I worked after school. I knew she was “the mom” but I did feel somewhat like an adult even though I was still a kid. Luckily, we both made it out unscathed and we get along well most of the time now. I love her and enjoy spending time with her. Whether you have a great relationship with your mother and/or daughter or if there is room for improvement, here are a few tips for cultivating a stronger bond between the two of you. Make the first move. Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move, said Linda Mintle, Ph.D, marriage and family therapist and author of I Love My Mother, But… Practical Help to Get the Most Out of Your Relationship. Doing so inevitably leaves relationships stuck. “Think about how you feel in the relationship and what you can do to change.” Change yourself. Many think that the only way to improve a relationship is for the other person to change their ways. But you aren’t chained to their actions; you can change your own reactions and responses, Mintle said. Interestingly, this can still alter your relationship. Think of it as a dance, she said. When one person changes their steps, the dance inevitably changes. Talk about how you want to communicate. Younger women typically don’t want to talk on the

phone, said Cohen-Sandler, who often hears daughters complain that their “moms will call at the worst part of the day for them.” Instead of harshly dismissing your mom (or ignoring her calls), communicate what works best, such as: “If you want to talk on the phone, the best time is in the morning. But if you want to reach me during the day [with something] more urgent, just text me.” Be an active listener. Active listening is “reflecting back what the other person is saying,” instead of assuming you already know, Cohen-Sandler said. When you reflect back what your mom or daughter is saying, you’re telling her that she’s being heard and that you understand. Also, listen “to the feelings underlying the message,” which is often the real message, she said. If “mom says, ‘you’re acting like a doormat,’ the daughter hears that as being horribly critical [and that she’s not good enough], but what the mom is really saying is, ‘I feel so protective of you because you’re not protecting yourself.’” Set boundaries. Mintle commonly sees clients who regret not trying to repair their relationships with their moms after they’re gone. Even when the relationship is negative or unhealthy, there’s still a powerful bond, she said. One way to ease into reconnecting with your mom (or daughter) is by setting clear-cut boundaries. (Boundaries are key for any healthy relationship.) For instance, when visiting your mom or daughter for the holidays, stay at a hotel. Let her know your boundaries and the minute she starts crossing them, say that you’re going to leave. If you’re talking over the phone, Mintle gave this example of asserting yourself: “I want to talk to you and keep our relationship going but if you start to call me names or criticize me, I have to hang up the phone because that’s not healthy for me.” Asserting yourself with your mother or daughter can spill over into other relationships. If you can create and maintain boundaries with her, then you can do this with anyone else, such as your boss or partner, Mintle said. Tip excerpts via: http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-insights-onimproving-mother-daughter-relationships/

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Model: Jessica Likas Photog: Kathleen Kline Styled By: Jessica Likas

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I am incredibly proud and fortunate to make modeling my full time job. Many models (even the models you see in campaigns for the brands you love, and models rocking the runway at major events) have to continue working a “day job” to make enough money to pay the bills.

almost exclusively based on your appearance. So building up a thick skin and not letting critiques get you down is important for a model’s survival. You can only be the

I began modeling four years ago by chance, after an encounter with Jovanna Reyes, the woman behind Plus Night Out, Curvysta Magazine, and the designer for the plus fashion brand Curvysta. She approached me at a mall and inspired me to rethink my career direction and give my passion for fashion a chance to thrive. After meeting her, I sent some photos to a local model agency, and they signed me. I started working local fashion shows, modeling for independent fashion brands look books, and the rest is history! Since then, I have gone on to sign with agencies in other markets, including Philadelphia and New York, and have modeled throughout the country for major fashion brands, including Macy’s and Nordstrom, and model regularly as an on-air fashion and beauty model for QVC. At QVC, I have modeled for major designers including Isaac Mizrahi, Halston, Lori Goldstein, and Susan Graver, and beauty brands including Laura Geller, Koh Gen Doh, and Juice Beauty. I am one of a handful of models who wears a microphone and get to chat on air about fashion for the shows “Leah Loves Shoes” and “Inspired Style.” I have rocked the runway for Plus Night Out and Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC, Curves Rock Fashion Weekend in Baltimore and Curvy Closets fashion show in Philadelphia. I have modeled print and e-commerce for brands, including Zulily, Hank Panky, Destination Maternity, Notations, Curvy Girls Bridal, Chic at Heart, Tafford, Abbey Post, and many others. I have had several magazine covers, including Pretty Pear Pride, Harford Style, and Goddess Magazine. I have been featured in editorials for the digital magazines Curvysta Magazine, Pise Magazine, Skorch Magazine, and Plus Model Magazine. I have also been featured in In Style Magazine.  Much of what I do may look glamorous, but I assure you it is a lot of hard work, perseverance, long hours, travel, and I have had to build a thick skin.  Modeling is one of the few industries where it is acceptable and common practice to be judged

Photog: Stanley Desbas

ance to your photos the better, as clients don’t want to have to spend more money retouching photos; and for runway shows, there is not retouch, so what you are in the flesh is what will be walking down the runway! So, if you are presenting your best self to clients, combined with your sparkling personality, then that is really all you can do to book the job. If you are the type that the client is interested in, and if luck is in your favor, then you might book the job. If you don’t, then it was likely not the job for you. You can’t beat yourself up about not booking the job if you know you put yourself in top form to the client. It could be something as little as the client preferred the blonde, and was not interested in redheads this season. Perhaps next season it will be your chance. Keeping busy with non-modeling activities and pursuits will help keep you balanced. I enjoy spending time with my fiancé and family, and doting over my pups when I am not working. I am involved with many charities, and working with my local Animal Welfare League enriches my life in so many ways, as I am able to give back to my community and help animals who have been abandoned or neglected find a new loving home. I enjoy music and dance, and I perform with my sister as “The Wild Irish Roses,” where we perform Irish step dance and fiddling duets at Celtic festivals and events. Doing something physical, whether it is getting outside and taking a hike or going to the gym is very important for models to maintain their sanity. Eating healthy is also very important. Everything in moderation, including moderation!  If you are a passionate about modeling, and you understand that your image will be critiqued constantly, that you must prioritize health and fitness, and have balance in your life, and recognize that modeling is a job,  then modeling can be a wonderful job to be lucky enough to have! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my story with you!

Photog: Nicole LeBris

best you  that  you  can be, and presenting your best self to the world will help book and keep clients. Making sure your body and mind are in the best shape possible is important, not only for your clients, but for yourself! The closer your actual appear-

For booking inquiries: IPM Models - NY Reinhard Model and Talent - PA T.H.E. Artist Agency - DC Facebook Facebook.com/JessicaLikasPlusModel Instagram @JessicaLikas

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Healthiest Superfoods

These nutrient-packed foods can help you fight disease, feel more energetic and even lose weight.


Go ahead, fill up on these nutrient packed foods—they can help you fight disease, feel more energetic and even lose weight.

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Eggs Each egg has 6 grams of protein but just 72 calories. No wonder researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, found that eating eggs for breakfast (as part of a low-cal diet) helps you slim down. Tomato Sauce It’s loaded with lycopene, which makes your skin look younger and keeps your heart healthy. In fact, a Harvard study found that women with the most lycopene in their blood reduced their risk of a heart attack by 34%. Dried Plums (Prunes) They’re packed with polyphenols, plant chemicals that have been shown to boost bone density by stimulating your bone-building cells. Walnuts Just 14 walnut halves provide more than twice your daily dose of alphalinolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that’s been shown to improve memory and coordination. Brussels Sprouts They have more glucosinolates (compounds that combat cancer and detoxify our bodies) than any other vegetable. For a side dish that will make you wonder why you’ve been avoiding them, slice each one into quarters, then sauté in olive oil with chopped sweet Vidalia onions. Acai Juice A glass or two of this anthocyanin-rich berry juice can dramatically boost the amount of antioxidants in your blood, says Texas A&M University researchers. Apples They contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of lung cancer.

Bok choy This calcium-rich veggie can protect your bones and may even ward off PMS symptoms. Steel-cut oats Because they’re less processed than traditional oats, they’re digested more slowly—keeping you full all morning long. Salmon You’ll get all the heart-smart omega-3s you need in a day from just 3 oz. Spinach A half-cup provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and builds strong bones. Avocados Their healthy fat keeps you satisfied and helps you absorb other nutrients. For a new twist, brush a halved avocado (pit removed) with olive oil and grill 1 minute. Serve with red onion, sliced grapefruit and balsamic vinegar. Barley A top source of beta-glucan, a fiber that lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugar. Shiitake Mushrooms One serving (about 1/4 lb) provides as much vitamin D as you’d get from a glass of milk. Cauliflower White foods can be good for you! This one is packed with cancer-fighting glucosinolates. Peanut Butter This smart spread has arginine, an amino acid that helps keep blood vessels healthy. Tea: green and black tea They prevent hardening of the arteries,

according to researchers at the University of Scranton. Sweet potatoes Half of a large baked sweet potato delivers more than 450% of your daily dose of vitamin A, which protects your vision and your immune system. Black beans They’re loaded with protein, fiber, and flavonoids—antioxidants that help your arteries stay relaxed and pliable. Brown rice It’s a top source of magnesium, a mineral your body uses for more than 300 chemical reactions (such as building bones and converting food to energy). Oysters These keep your immune system strong. A 3-oz serving (about 6 oysters) dishes up a quarter of your daily iron, plus nearly twice the zinc and all the selenium you need in a day. Edamame One cup has a whopping 22 grams of plant protein, as well as lots of fiber, folate and cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. Canola Oil A Tbsp of this heart-healthy oil has all the alpha-linolenic acid you need in a day, plus two different forms of vitamin E. Turkey Breast It has 20 grams of satisfying protein but just 90 calories per 3-oz serving. Oranges One orange supplies more than 100% of the vitamin C you need in a day. It’s also a good source of calcium and folate.

For a list of all 52 superfoods, visit www.womansday.com Source: http://www.womansday.com

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Founder and President TRUE Model Management 18 Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com

{SuperRoleMODEL} As founder of TRUE Model Management, I am not only a successful, female entrepreneur, but an active philanthropist, certified Health Coach, wife, mother, and friend. Many times I am asked how I became who I am today. Without a doubt, my upbringing and experiences have molded me into the person I am today, and contributed to my successes. I come from a very close-knit family that shares old-world values, for example: a strong work ethic and integrity. By experiencing hardships and overcoming obstacles as a unit, and all with a positive attitude, my family has shaped me into an individual that never gives up, maintains optimism, has great empathy, is passionate about life, and always finds a reason to laugh. From pursing my Health Coach certification to ensuring my company, TRUE Model Management, is aligned with my altruistic visions, I always try to incorporate and apply the values that have influenced me into my personal and professional endeavors.


Aside from my upbringing, some of my personal experiences have been the most lifedefining. While I have always been a dynamic person and ready for action, being diagnosed with cancer during my pregnancy really tested my strength. Though this was one of the most difficult times in my life, I learned the most about myself and realized how important it is to focus on all of the positive aspects of every situation. Through this experience I became more efficient with my time and began to really embrace each day. Having clear goals and thoughtful, competent people by my side kept me inspired and driven, and ultimately impacted my vision for TRUE.

TRUE was only beginning to take shape during this time period, but as the company began to grow I really wanted to create a positive and productive environment that includes people who share a similar vision, are inspired, have a strong work ethic, and exude a positive spirit. The work culture you create in your business is a critical for setting yourself up for success and for ensuring long-term happiness. Today, TRUE’s continued growth and success is not only validation of my hard work, but a reminder that my determination, especially during such a trying time, was not in vain. This perspective drives me today and I am no longer intimidated by obstacles or challenges that come my way. While success is great, I think it is just as important to give back, which is why I try to incorporate philanthropy into my business model regularly. As someone who is passionate about enriching the lives of others, I find that the accomplishments I am proudest of are those that have supported and empowered families and friends in need, whether it is emotionally, physically, or financially. An example that comes to mind is when one of TRUE’s models was on the verge of losing her home and in major financial crisis when she started with TRUE, but we quickly helped her land several accounts. Within a year, she saved her marriage and her home as a result of her new income. This happened several years ago and I still receive thank you notes and gifts from her and her husband, expressing their gratitude. This instance is not only motivating, but it reaffirms my life’s work and continues to propel me.

Dale is an entrepreneur, mother, wife, health coach, teacher, philanthropist, cancer survivor, life enthusiast and adventurer whose primary residence is New York City. She thrives on opportunities within the Big Apple but is an ocean beach and country girl at heart. She travels extensively and lives part-time in Hermosa Beach, CA. Dale believes in win-win-win situations and has a passion for connecting, empowering and assisting others to make dreams become reality.

She is an eternal optimist who loves challenges and believes anything is possible. One of her mottos is: See it, then Be it! After obtaining degrees in business and marketing, she worked as a clothing production manager, sales representative, designer and owner of a sportswear company before finding her calling as a model and business owner. Dale was one of the fashion industry’s most successful Ford models for nearly two decades before she founded TRUE Model Management. During her career as a professional model, she worked with the most reputable fashion influencers including designers: Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Oleg Cassini, Ralph Lauren, Nicole Miller and many more. TRUE was originally created to manage her own modeling ca-

reer but has expanded into a full service management company representing fit, show and print models around the world. TRUE is a pioneer in the fashion industry honoring diversity in all ethnicities, sizes and genders. Dale holds a certification in Health Coaching and is an advocate for positive body images. She has experience in teaching yoga/fitness training and helps TRUE models meet their nutritional goals and stay fit. She is an advocate for healthy mindsets, eating habits and lifestyles and supports the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). She is an instructor at The Fashion Institute of Technology, a board member of the Women and Fashion Filmfest and creator of the organization’s Girls’ Empowerment Fashion Runway show. She is also working with New York organizations to bring more clothing manufacturing to America. She is a first generation, patriotic U.S. citizen who was recently nominated as an emerging leader on the board of The Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation. She brings her commitment to community support and a healthy lifestyle into the running of her company. Her passion for philanthropy is shared with many TRUE models and the company hosts and supports athletic and charity events each year. TRUE models are noted for their beauty but more importantly, are often referred to as “TRUE Model Citizens”.

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There is something so simple about the complexity of social places. I arrived early for the interview and found an empty table towards the back. As I watched the array of people come and go for their drinks and snacks of choice at this busy cafe in Toronto’s west end, I realized how different we all are and yet how similar we all are at the same time. We all have a story, we all love and are loved, we all worry too much about what we all think about each other. What we see of one other in brief observation is not the full story. I take my first sip of my coffee as she walks in for our appointment. Feeling warmed from the coffee and her smile, I sit back ready to hear the diverse yet simple story of the extraordinary, Ophilia Alleyne.

Model: Ophilia Alleyne Photog: Samantha Kidd Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 21

{SuperRoleMODEL} As many children who didn’t fit into the image Barbie dolls and the “pretty” girls on TV, Ophilia had her share of crushing abuse. “They used to call me fat and throw pop cans at me as I walked down the halls at school and when I would go to put my hood up on my jacket, I often found it had been filled with candy wrappers,” she explained. Regular name calling and bullying over her size just led her to keeping her head down and herself hidden from view. “A baggy Nike windbreaker was what I wore everyday no matter what kind of weather. It was my shell, my cover,” she said. At an impressionable age her confidence was shattered and her self-esteem squashed. We hear so many stories like this from people. Stories of bullying, name calling and hurtful memories seem so common place. One thing I have noticed, if you allow me to digress, is that I rarely hear these stories from yesteryear’s bullies. Only those who were bullied seem to share their experiences. It dawned on me that the most inspiring, strongest of people are those who were once considered the most vulnerable and weak. On a shopping trip to Penningtons one day with her mother, Ophelia was approached by the store manager and asked if she would like to model for them in an upcoming fashion show. When asked by her mother afterwards if she was going to do it, an unconfident Ophilia said, “hell no!” But her wise mom knew better. “Hell yes you are! It is time. You have to do this,” she replied. And so it was. A new beginning. Shed, were the baggy clothes and donned were the beautifully fitted, fashionable dresses and heels. Shed also, was the emotional cover of a frown and a down-turned outlook to be replaced with smile and some ‘chin-up’ pride. Ophilia shined. The crowd was inspired. “What the greatest thrill for me was after the show when a woman came up to me with tears in her eyes and thanked me, saying that she couldn’t believe that a woman the same size as her could wear such beautiful clothes and look so good,” Ophilia told me. She had found her place and herself. She

realized that what had helped and empowered her could also help and empower others and thus, shedding them of their shell too. As Ophilia continued on with many more modelling assignments, her experience both on the runway and behind the scenes at fashion shows began to mount. This wealth of knowledge and her desire for helping others achieve their goals laid the foundations for her future as a positive role model to aspiring models and the like. Soon enough she was teaching new models how to approach auditions, walk the runway and all related experiences to the modelling world. Developing her own fashion show, “Curves Are In” to give new models a stage to shine on and sharing her experiences, helped build confidence in others. This all set the foundations for the launch of her own company, Ophilia Enterprises which specializes in confidence based services and products and consists of three main streams: 1) Modelling, fashion show coordination and motivational speaking, 2) A charity, Ophilia & Friends Give Back, which is growing year on year and feeds families in need and, 3) A children’s fashion label which provides positive messaging and confidence building within its clothing line. This diverse venture, intertwined with her modelling contract with B&M Modelling Agency in Toronto, her modelling assignments, such as the Shopping Channel’s first size 2X model and the hosting of high profile events, such as Full Figure Fashion Week Toronto Casting keep her very busy in the pursuit of her dreams. While pausing to ponder the final interview question I could ask Ophilia I overheard the server behind the coffee bar politely ask the next customer, “what would you like” as she does to all the varied characters that custom the cafe. I decided to take that lead with my final question for Ophilia. With all the challenges and goals of your diverse and impressive career, what is it most you want? Her answer, although simple, struck me as profound. “To give back,” she stated.

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Model: Ophilia Alleyne Photog: Robert Skuja Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 23

{SuperRoleMODEL} This is a world where we all need to struggle and strive for what we want and, in many cases, for what we need. Basic needs such as dignity, respect and acceptance are often met with great strife. Ophilia from an early age learned that all too well and yet, in the process of the journey to achieving her desires she puts one desire above all others - to give back. She mentors, leads by example, fund raises for her charity, thinks and acts positively every day and yes, it isn’t easy I am sure. But it is what she wants most in life. To give. No wonder she is a role model to so many people and you can now include me in that list. I left that coffee shop in a different frame of mind and heart to when I entered it an hour or so earlier. The clatter and clanging, the crowded queue and the mix of unknown faces all disappeared into vagueness and it became very clear to me that we all want things. Our struggles to achieve our needs and desires is common. We are not alone in that, nor do we need to be. It also doesn’t need to be a struggle. If we all gave a little more in the process of trying to get, it could all come a little sooner, and perhaps easier for all of us. Thank you Ophilia for helping me to understand this in more clarity by sharing your story with me. #GiveBack

Model: Ophilia Alleyne Speaking Engagement

Model: Ophilia Alleyne The Shopping Channel Brand-XTwo

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Ophilia Alleyne is the founder of Ophilia Enterprises (www.ophiliaenterprises. com) which is a multi-faceted company specializing in confidence based services such as the speaker, the model (signed to B&M Models), and the philanthropist; Ophilia & Friends Giveback, and Confident Kidz Canada. Ophilia Alleyne is dedicated to the empowerment of the individual through motivational speaking and workshop facilitation examining various principles of building and maintaining self-confidence. Ophilia & Friends Giveback is an annual Christmas food drive dedicated to providing families in need with a beautiful Christmas dinner. Ophilia is also the creator of Confident Kidz Canada which is a new product line launching shortly dedicated to the empowerment of young girls and boys. Ophilia Enterprises plans to spread the word that “confidence is a compilation of many things.” In 2014, Ophilia received the Body Confidence Canada Award and in 2015, Ophilia was mentioned as one of “Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch” honouring her work as an advocate and motivational speaker in the plus-size community. With a background in social service work, brand ambassador, and survivor of abuse, Ophilia is no stranger to adversity! After being bullied by fellow classmates as a young girl then experiencing similar discrimination as a young woman, Ophilia is no “shrinking violet.” In fact, Ophilia has decided to defy the masses by redefining beauty. We want to know in your own words how you became who you are today. While in high school, I used to hide in a long sleeved windbreaker jacket because I was uncomfortable with my body. This came from being ridiculed by a few school mates that made me feel horrible about my weight gain (at the time, I was approximately 130-140lbs). It didn’t matter

the occasion, I lived in my student council/ Nike windbreaker jacket. As time went on I knew that it was time to stop hiding and time to starting accepting ME. The day that I shed the protection of my jacket I went shopping with my mother at Penningtons. I was asked to be a part of their in store fashion show. Before I could say no, my mother said, “Yes!” and I went on to become a model for Penningtons. After the show, a customer came up to me with tears in her eyes because she had never seen anyone that “looked like her” model. It was a pivotal moment which made me realize that “real” bodies need to be showcased and should never hide. This was the beginning of my advocacy and work in the plus-size community. The accomplishments that I am most proud of include: Being brave enough to stand up to myself and owning my curvy body; the unveiling of my jacket In 2004, I was nominated by my peers during the Miss Canada Plus pageant. I thought it was the highest honour to receive as it was a testament to how my peers viewed me as a leader. In 2014, I was awarded the Body Confidence Canada Award which spoke to my advocacy in the plus-size industry As a size 18-20 model, it was a huge accomplishment to be signed by a major modeling agency; B&M Models. That’s almost never heard of that a size 20 model receives such an opportunity. In 2015, I was noted as “100 Black Women to Watch in Canada.” I have an annual food drive entitled Ophilia & Friends Giveback. I am elated that this initiative has been well-received and supported by community members. To date, eight families and one soup kitchen have

received the benefits of this offering. I am excited for 2016, as Ophilia & Friends Giveback plans to feed twenty families this year! Pursuing the dream of becoming a motivational speaker. This year, I became the first size 2x model on The Shopping Channel. I pride myself on being a mentor to up and coming models and women of all ages. I pride myself on the solid friendships with amazing women- this is an accomplishment for me. Ophilia’s Keys to Success Having a good spiritual base; for me that spiritual base includes having a relationship with God. For without God nothing is possible. What is your spiritual base? Remember that it does not have to be perfect. I make it a point to understand my strengths and passion in order to remain in “my lane.” Money has never been my motivator. I believe in following your passion and money will follow. I ensure that my circle of support is filled with like-minded women that are honest and uplifting. Seek professional development through formal and non-formal education. What life lessons would you like to share with our readers? Celebrate other women. There is strength in our sisterhood that sometimes we neglect to see. We all have a purpose that is unique. There is no need to be intimated! Facts are, we can all shine. Stand up to your inner negative voice. Why? That voice causes procrastination and unfilled goals.

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Lisa Lieberman-Wang By Daniel Wilson

Tell us about your lowest point; describe your mental state at that time.

Not sure that I can pinpoint just one time that I would say was my lowest point there seemed to have been several. I was a very high functioning type “A” personality and a super achiever but in my spare time I had spent the better part of my days compulsively overeating, binging and purging and then working to get my electrolytes back to a level so I could function. It was insidious. I was in dis-ease with myself and my life had become unmanageable. My only escape was food, it was my confidant,

my friend, my ally and that was no longer serving its purpose and doing for me what it once did.

I remember before my conscious days of binging and purging, I was dealing with ulcers and my doctor told me to go home and not be stressed. I was an honor student, going into college and I wasn’t sure how to do that. Over a 30 day period I managed to lose 30lbs my stomach had become so acidic I couldn’t even keep water down. I was 18 years old and getting on the back of my father’s motorcycle when I fell off and was rushed to the

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hospital. It seems that my potassium went so low that I had a sudden heart attack. That was the beginning of a long journey after they told me in the hospital that I had control over keeping things in. I never tried to throw up, it became a gag reflex. I wasn’t aiming to be bulimic it became a byproduct and a tool to help me deal with my emotions. I would later use food to stuff my feelings and purge to get rid of them. This was the beginning of 5 more hospitals over a period of thirteen years, plus psychiatric care looking for the answer to the looming question, “What’s wrong with me?”

{SuperRoleMODEL} My memory around them today is only a blur for during that time I showed up almost always in an altered state. The food left me in a mental fog and I would have to replenish to restore my energy only to continue to deplete myself again and again. It was a vicious cycle. Intellectually I knew this was insanity, but emotionally I didn’t know how to stop. Did you truly - on a conscious level realize that you needed more help than you could give yourself? How long did it take for you to understand that? At the beginning I didn’t think I needed anyone’s help. I thought it was my problem and my responsibility to solve it. After all I started it on my own, I should be able to stop it too, right? What I didn’t know then was that my coping skills were medieval and were not working. I tried many times to stop the vicious cycle on my own, but to no avail. I didn’t have the right tools or resources and I couldn’t get out of my own way. After all I am smart, I should be able to figure this out. So I thought. I truly realized I needed help when I started taking money from my business to support my food habit. I was running a successful business that, I was bleeding dry to keep my secret. I learned secrets kill the people carrying them. I was open to get help, but after several hospitalizations in psychiatric units with people with far greater problems than me and having to fight my way out, eating disorders were new to them back then I they didn’t know what to do with me. Then finally eating disorder and sexual abuse units were available and I had a small time of abstinence, I was then introduced to OA, Overeaters Anonymous. I went almost daily for a period of time, but felt like I was white knuckling the whole experience of staying abstinent from binging and purging and never got any real time behind me. I felt like I was substituting one vehicle for another. I was using the meetings as my way to stay abstinent and wasn’t liking it, they kept rehashing the old stories. It wasn’t until a doctor friend of mine introduced me to a different approach to my situation did things begin to change for the better. We all get down on ourselves from time to time. How can we recognize when those feelings are normal parts of our day to day life or when they are bigger issues that need to be addressed?  Yes, it is normal to want more or to be more, but when your spending more time focused on yourself and what you don’t have, should have, could have, would have living in the

past and not in present or appreciating today it can become a bigger problem. If it perpetuates over a period of time and only gets worse you should seek help. People get a lot of pleasure from having problems believe it or not. I’m sure you heard the expression that “misery loves company” but the truth is “misery loves misery”. It becomes a means to connect to ourselves, when we can’t connect to others. It can become an addictive behavior, one that could have also been learned as a young child. If your parent or sibling found having problems as a means to getting attention, you may end up mirroring that behavior when you want to be seen and heard too. You talk about the decision to “do happy” in your book. What’s the first thing a person will notice if they make the conscious decision to do this? They’ll feel better immediately. An easy way to “do happy” is to put a smile on your face. It is difficult to feel sad with a “smile”. A smile sends signals from the cortex of your brain to the brainstem from there, the cranial muscle carries the signal further towards the smiling muscles in your face creating a crazy loop that reinforces your happiness. Test it out if you like. Put a smile on your face and try to think of something sad. You just can’t do it. It is physically impossible because smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanism and it loops back telling us we are happy and it puts a smile on your face. You can “do happy” just by smiling. Not good at smiling? Here’s a simple trick that works put a pen between your teeth lengthwise and it will create the same sensation. I found the assertion that we create our own memories fascinating. Can we program ourselves to remember events in a positive light as we live our lives? Is that even something we should be trying to do?  We create our own memories from the representation system of which we store them. We can all experience the same event but leave with a completely different story of the occurrence. That is because the filters by which we all see the world are different. Our perception is based on our past experiences and we put it all together to make sense of what is happening here and now. Yes, we can program ourselves to remember events in a more positive light, if we choose to. I had to do that in many areas

of my life. I had to do this by forgiving myself and others for what I felt was done wrong to me. I decided to look at the situations from a different perspective to see and realize what was really happening versus what I believed happened. I needed to do this to free myself from the bondage I had put myself through. I learned years ago “hate only hurts the person holding it”. For that reason I choose not to carry any ill will for anyone or anything in my life today. Eliminating judgement know, “It just is” and that is ok with me. Know that your beliefs consists of the “lies” we tell ourselves. None of them can be proven. Even the word “belief” has a “lie” in the middle. You get to choose what to believe today and you can update your program whenever you like. You seem to indicate that the power of our minds to influence how we feel physically is underestimated. Should we be using our thoughts and minds more to treat some illnesses? What do you think the results would be if we did that? I believe our thoughts are the most powerful influencers that we possess. You can choose to do happy or do depressed. I have chosen happy for the last 21 years and have not been depressed since. I was successful at getting off thirteen prescription drugs for depression, high blood pressure, ulcers, chemical imbalance, asthma to name a few. You can choose to do healthy or sick. Know that when your mind influences how you feel it also influences your choices. As I choose healthy it meant I will “do happy”, not overeat, nor indulge in cake or candy nor binge or purge, and eat foods that nourish my body. The results will be astounding if more people learned how to do that. We have been so conditioned to treat illness most people don’t even understand how to create wellness. It is a practice that needs to be taught today because it isn’t what most of us were raised on. Can you explain visualization and how we can use that to help ourselves?  Visualization is one of many tools to help begin to reprogram your thought processes and create new habits. It’s similar to building a muscle. Consistency and repetition is essential. Using positive thinking techniques, visualizations, and positive affirmations, it is possible to achieve whatever you want. At a personal level, it will transform your life, your health, and renew your joy and passion for life.

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{SuperRoleMODEL} Know that we operate through our senses whether it be visual, auditory or kinesthetic. More than half the population, 65 percent of us are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. For those visual learners visualization is an extraordinary tool to help see ourselves into the future for where we want to be and how we can get there now. We work with several modalities when it comes to visualization. Seeing things bigger than life will have a greater effect on moving towards it than if it is very small. Example see yourself in your favorite outfit on the billboards in Times Square NY will bring up more feelings than looking at a small picture. Many people are familiar with vision boards where you cut out pictures and words that you want in your life and daily visualizing having it all in your life now, how it will make you feel, what you would be saying to yourself as you achieved all your goals. This is an excellent way to bring in all the senses and make it your own. Talk a little about NAP, what it is and how we can use it to enhance our lives? Neuro-Associative Programming (NAP) is the culmination of years of research and application of proven principles of neuroscience relating to how human beings take in, sort, store, and access and utilize information and experiences. You can easily access the unconscious mind, address distorted or outdated beliefs, create a new self-image, and make lasting changes. In many ways, it is true that it’s all in the (unconscious) mind. We are being run by an operating system we didn’t know we programmed. I created NAP out of a need I had studying neurosciences and psychology realizing we can program a computer to do what people do why can’t we program ourselves to do what other successful people are doing. Just as we update our computers and operating systems we need to do that for ourselves and put more updated programs in to our system. To manifest something in the outside world, it helps to establish a good mental picture first. Imagination is key. So, sometimes you might be motivated to do something, and you don’t even know why you’re doing it. I was motivated to be successful. I didn’t know why at the time, except that my parents told me

in order to be successful, I had to make a certain amount of money and do specific things. Therefore, my preconscious was motivated and helped drive me toward success. Your conscience controls the actions you take and your external behavior. But the “why” you do something, as well as the attitudes, beliefs, and values behind your actions, were instilled in your preconscious and unconscious mind.

right track. Nothing ever happened perfectly in anyone’s life ever!!! Start living now or you’ll miss the chance later. What’s your favorite self-reward? What do you give yourself to celebrate a success?

People often say that in order to get to the unconscious, you need a psychoanalyst or psychologist. But as the founder of NAP, I can attest that you’re able to access your unconscious yourself. I teach people these skills every day.

I love celebrating my success with my friends and family. My joy comes from sharing. This is the opposite of how I used to reward myself with food which was really a self-punishment. Today it is not about me. My rewards are to be shared with everyone since I don’t believe I can do anything great without the help of those that I love and love me. Just being with them is my reward. Having wonderful people in my life is a gift every day.

You can learn some of the strategies in my book FINE to FAB to understand your subconscious mind. Once you apply them, it can take your life to a new level.

Who are the most memorable people who helped you on your journey to wellness and why were they important to you?

One of the most unexpected and refreshing statements you made in your book was “go out and make mistakes.” I love it! Tell us why it’s so important.

The first person was my Grandma Susan because without her I may have taken my life. I didn’t know how to deal with the emotional, verbal and physical abuse that I had withstood throughout my life and she was there with open arms and unconditional love and taking my life would have killed her. Then there was Dr. Debbie Turner my friend and chiropractor at the time who cared enough to direct me on the path I am on today. She saw me struggle for years and suggested I go to an Anthony Robbins event. I didn’t even know who he was at the time and how a fire walk could help me but I listened and went on faith. It was there that I personally met “Tony” Robbins and he worked with me on stage in front of 2,500 people. I have continued to work with him now for the past 21 years supporting his mission. I learned the fundamental tools that changed my life forever. He helped me see what I was doing and how I no longer needed to play the victim, which gave me the strength to rewrite my story.

Too often the perfectionist in the world wait until they can do it perfectly and miss out on numerous opportunities. Reprogram your mind for happy and stop waiting for those perfect conditions, they will never come. Avoid focusing on what you cannot do. Instead, focus on what you can do and accomplish without expecting approval and recognition from others. Accept yourself as you are right now. Welcome imperfections by focusing on what you have gained from the process of doing the best you can. Allow yourself to make mistakes, and forgive yourself for them. Failure is a necessary part of learning. Today, every time I make what others would call a mistake, I celebrate. It’s funny to see how others react to this. I mentor a group of women, and we have a weekly calls together. The first week, we had challenges with the phone line. When we finally all connected, I celebrated and shouted, “We did it! YEAH!!!” As you can imagine, they thought I was crazy. The old me would not have responded that way, but that person wasn’t a happy, healthy women like she is today. There will always be challenges, but it is how you deal with it that will make all the difference. See every mistake as a step forward and doing something. Celebrate your progress and know you are on the

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Then there was my friend and mentor Loren Slocum worked for Tony Robbins who continued to call me to be in the environment to serve and help others and who believed in me. She watched me over the twenty plus years and it was her that told me I needed to help more women and she planted the seed in my head that became what I do today with taking women from feeling FINE to being FAB. Dr. Richard Bandler was another great mentor in my journey as I wanted to

{SuperRoleMODEL} learn from everyone that Tony ever learned from, I decided to become a Licensed Master NLP Practitioner with the co-creator of NLP, so I could help others. It was through his teaching and mentorship that he opened my eyes to understand on a deeper level how easy it is to change old beliefs. Who are the most memorable people you’ve helped or influenced and why do they stick in your mind? One women in particular that comes to mind was my greatest challenge and biggest reward. She was a former judge who only lived by right and wrong but the challenge came when she would go home and take the gavel with her. She was hard on herself and others. She used food to feel better and tried everything to be happy. She even went so far as to have a bypass surgery only to gain it back because she never learned the most important lesson of all. It was in her later years that she came to me and I was able to teach her how to F.L.Y. First Love Your-

self. She ended the program and she said “I looked at this wanting to but a smile back in my heart, I now have a smile on my face and back in my heart and it didn’t take me that long at all thanks to Lisa”. She was amazing. I would talk to her about the rainbow and she would only see black and white. Her transformation was astounding to watch and many did. It was only a few years later that she got diagnosed with cancer and her bravery and demeanor taught me and so many others what it was to live. She was beautiful and my gift! Here’s something she shared after the program: “To any woman (or man) that has ever questioned their life; fine to FAB is the awakening, awareness and emotional connector to empower you to address those questions with true answers, real (easy) change, and zero blame. It’s a road map to success, discovery of where true love comes from, and the individual’s toolbox to happiness in whatever challenge(s) you face or don’t even know you have…THIS WORKS, and people will wonder why you’re smiling, constantly!” Gayle Elder.


Another amazing women came to me in her thirties with a few young children feeling hopeless and out of sorts. She was married to a wonderful man, smart and beautiful but didn’t know it. She struggled with just about everything. She was being haunted and reacting in her world to an unfortunate incident of sexual abuse that happened to her when she was younger and it was ruling her life as an adult. She had gained 30lbs to protect herself, not knowing the underlying reason at the time. The work we did together was transformative. Today she F.L.IES!!! She went from feeling of lack and fear to a life of abundance and choices. Down from a size 12 to a 6. “Today I am full of self-love and forever grateful” she said, she has transformed every area of her life from her relationship with her husband, her children and her career. As a survivor of depression, compulsive overeating, binge eating, bulimia, emotional and sexual abuse, Lisa Lieberman-Wang has experience struggling firsthand. She never felt worthy or good enough in anything she did. For years, Lisa replaced one bad habit with another all while searching for more through therapy and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in self-help books, classes and seminars. She eventually came to realize that many of the so-called coaches out there did not have the answers, despite claims otherwise. Even therapy with some of the best psychologists simply re-opened old wounds week after week, until she felt worn raw. Lisa decided that there had to be a better way. Twenty years ago she

There are so many people that I have been blessed to help and they all hold a special place in my heart because with each of them there goes a piece of me. God has given me the gift to serve those that need my help and I am forever grateful to have that honor and watch their lives flourish as a result. What will people enjoy most about “f.i.n.e. to FAB?” F.I.N.E. is how I used to feel. F*@%*d Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional…fine and I so much wanted to be F.A.B, Fabulous Awesome Beautiful! f.i.n.e. to FAB gives people a roadmap to be all they want to be and do it quickly without years of shame, blame or therapy. I created the tools I couldn’t find and the shortcut to happiness for anyone who wants it to follow. If you would like to learn more and watch a FREE Webinar go to www.7SecretstoFAB. com and learn my 7 Secrets to Overcoming Self-Sabotage Now or get a copy of my #1 Bestseller FINE to FAB, 7 Secrets of a Successful Women’s Journey Away from Depression, Disordered Eating and Self-Sabotage. Where do you go from here? What’s next?  My big mission is to touch millions of lives by helping you and then you go off to help others. I want everyone to learn to F.L.Y. First Love Yourself and given the right tools and resources we can change the world by changing ourselves. I was just offered my own show on Time Warner so watch for The Lisa LiebermanWang Show and tune in to real live transformations that you can learn from and apply to your own life. Follow me on www.finetofab.com for more details. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, congratulations on all you’ve accomplished - and good luck with all your endeavors in the future! 

developed the FINE to FAB process of going from feeling F.I.N.E. (F’d Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional) to being F.A.B. (Fabulous, Awesome, Beautiful) without blame, shame, or years of therapy. The process is based on the best strategies that she learned and used it to heal herself. With the creation of the 7 Secrets to FAB and a supportive network of women experiencing the same struggles. Lisa discovered what it meant to truly feel fulfilled. Since that time, she has dedicated her life to helping other women find that same inner peace, happiness and freedom by sharing this process. When you dedicate yourself to becoming FAB, you have the opportunity to finally root out the source of your unhappiness and get rid of it.

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YONA Love Photog: Nancy Anteby

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{SuperRoleMODEL} We want to know in your own words how you became who you are today. I managed real responsibilities from a young age. As the eldest daughter in a single parent home, I understood that it was my job to help my mother in any way that I could.  That included cooking and cleaning while she was out trying to earn a meager living.  There were no luxuries. We sometimes went without basic necessities.  Designing became my escape.  I would picture myself in the beautiful clothing that I sketched onto paper.  It became a part of me that nothing and nobody else could take away from me.  It provided the freedom I needed to keep a clear head, so I could be there for my brothers and sisters, and for my mother. What accomplishments are you most proud of?


I am most proud of my children. Each one of them is a superstar.  They are fluent in multiple languages, they all play musical instruments, and they are active in their respective communities, and in the blogosphere.  They feel independent and empowered to take their lives in any direction they choose.  I always tell them, “If you are going to be a loser, be the BEST loser.”  Anything else I accomplish in my life will pale in significance. That said, I am proud to have built a construction consulting firm with one of the best reputations in New York City.  That is what allows me the freedom to run Yona New York without the pressures of having to make a living from my dream.  That is the secret of how I can manufacture in NYC and remain competitive with cheaper foreign labor.  I am doing this for me, and for women like me, who want to look amazing and feel confident.

What has been the key to your success? Yona New York is a family business. Everyone here is committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed. I lead my design team in our studio which is located on a different floor in the same building as my consulting firm. My husband spent the majority of his career in high fashion information technology, and he runs the day to day operations.  Our daughter, who is studying marketing and communication, manages our showroom and sources our fabric.  My son-in-law, who is studying law, is in charge of production.  I have a rich support network of siblings, extended family, and friends, who all live nearby.  They have all been amazing. I could not do it without them. What life lessons would you like to share with our readers? With help from above, everyone has the potential and the power to pursue their dreams and to make a real difference.  While it does take a tremendous amount of effort, the key is to stay focused and upbeat.  There will always be people who tell you it won’t work, and why you can’t succeed.   Don’t let them affect your belief in yourself.  You can do it, and it will be worth it.  This is not about proving everyone wrong.  This is only about you - because you know you are right.  When you do succeed, remember the people who helped you along the way.  Express your gratitude.  The best way to do that is to be generous with your time and experience to those who are just beginning their journey.  When they earn their wings and can repay the next generation in kind, you can effectively touch the lives of countless others.

Her fashion might be effortless, but Yona’s path to become the designer of a new line of sophisticated, classic, and comfortable apparel for plus size women has been laden with challenges. Yona’s love of fashion began as a child, with a beautiful dress she received as a birthday gift. She loved that dress and wore it over and over again. Once of school age, Yona would constantly sketch her drawings during classes. Her talent and passion were evident from a young age, but her path to become a fashion designer was not direct. While still in high school, Yona’s help was needed in her mother’s construction consulting business. Despite working full-time in the family business, Yona continued to pursue her dream. She kept sketching and attended night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Even as she got married, had a family, and founded her own consulting business, Yona continued to work on her designs. Because she was constantly searching for clothes in which she could feel confident and comfortable, she chose to design her own wardrobe.

Central to her designs was the versatility and style that would match the demands of her hectic day, including presenting plans and attending meetings in some of the city’s most influential corporate boardrooms and governmental agencies. Her clothing also had to work well at her many evening events, as PTA president, event coordinator, at charity functions, and with family get-togethers. When friends, neighbors, and even strangers on the street would ask where she shopped, she knew it was time to bring her designs to the plus size community, to help other women feel comfortable and confident while looking great. Yona New York is Yona’s dream come true - a line of well-made, well-fit, professional, classic, timeless, colorful, and fabulous clothing for plus size women. Yona describes her clothing as effortless. The pieces in her collection take women from morning through night in comfort, style, and fashion. “When a woman wears my designs, she can tackle the world. They will empower her and she will feel great and look great,” says Yona. “My clothing helps women feel professional, fun, sexy, fierce, confident and comfortable... all at the same time!”

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I am a role model, because everything I do is for the benefit of others. I am a currently a Junior at Texas Southern University that constantly promotes confidence, education and community service. I have learned that a true leader motivates and encourages those who sometimes cannot motivate and encourage themselves. I learned these habits from someone who found greatness in me when I thought I was worth nothing.

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How did I become who I am today? I’ve never given up!  I still have a long way to go but I am proof that hard work pays off.

Accomplishments I’m proud of… I am proud of facing each new day with relentless determination and passion while pursuing the entertainment industry. It’s not easy to endure the daily struggles that come with rejection and let downs, but when good things do happen the success is so much sweeter!

Key to my success… The key to my success: Depends on how one defines success? Stay positive and persistent, always. I also make a point to stay grounded and humbled especially when success does trickle in. I do my best to display the most authentic side of me as I can because I want people to know that what they see is what they get. 

Life Lessons… 1) Life lesson to anyone dealing with naysayers: With every single bully who did something to me, all the negative and shaming comments that have been said and the masses of mean girls I have encountered, it only pushed me to work even harder so that someday I could show all the haters that I never defined myself by needing their approval. They saw someone skilled and talented. Someone who wasn’t thin but was happy with herself; who looked different but wasn’t trying to fit in. Someone who loves and accepts herself for who she is and is unapologetic about it. Someone who loves and supports everyone regardless of color, gender, age, special needs or differences.  Keep steady on your path to whatever goals you have and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do something or be somebody. Your destiny is in your hands.  2) If you want to make a name for yourself in the industry you have to work hard for it. There are no shortcuts or magic spells. Don’t expect to achieve lifelong fame or respect from an Instagram account or a spot on a reality show. When you receive an opportunity make sure you represent yourself well and your reputation as a professional will carry you far.  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DellanyTownePeace/ Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/dellanypeaceoriginal/ Twitter:  https://twitter.com/IAmDellanyPeace IMDB:  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4560283/ Ms In The Biz:  http://msinthebiz.com/author/dellany-peace/ One of the films I am producing: http://www.schizothemovie.com/#!dellany-towne-peace-producer/cpi8m

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Model: Dellany Peace Photog: Hanna Nielson Hair/Makeup: Aurora Sotelo Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 35


Photo Credit: Nitsan Tal Hair by: Ayfer

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Super Role Model Body Image Advocate Television Personality Social Reformer Entrepreneur Lecturer Author Mother


EMME Named One of

People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, in 1994 & 1999

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{FeaturedSuperRoleMODEL} Meeting you was a huge moment for me… truly unforgettable. Of all the people you’ve met, who has had the most influence on you, or made the biggest impact on you personally? I remember how hard we hugged, you really opened your heart to me and touched me. Thank you for that.  It just seemed right after the night with the fashion show being so much fun, you guys were on fire!  So thank you for that moment.  OK, I was graced with meeting Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers early early in my career.  I was an NBC page in LA and was assigned to him for the day of his Tonight Show appearance.  Every one he spoke to, he introduced me “I’d like you to meet my friend Melissa” (Melissa is my birth name, Emme a nickname).  I was supposed to be in the background, in my blue uniform, there to help and absolutely not interacting with him and keeping my distance.  I even told him so, that he didn’t have to introduce me to every single person he came across.  He didn’t listen and was just a really amazing man who knew I was in the lowest of the low within the hierarchy of NBC and was being kind.  Huge impact on how a celebrity can handle their light, or not(which I saw a lot more of ). You focus a lot of your energies on green living and healthy eating. What’s your best advice for someone looking to pursue a healthier lifestyle? Start with the water you drink, make sure it’s Ph balanced and more alkaline than acidic.  A good filter will do that for you. Cancer lives in acidic environments (high sugar and high stress) so make sure what you drink is working for you, not against you.  I know organic foods are more expensive.  I figure buying organic meats, produce, eggs, cheese and fruit are not only much better for my overall health and somewhat an insurance for vibrant health.  It certainly costs less than bills that can pile up from the hospital so I’ll take the insurance and support good health with good wholesome food, the best I can buy, top line item in my budget, because I feel it’s worth it.   

Curvy Connect Mag Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Amoako and Supermodel EMME

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you? You know OWN’s Where Are They Now? asked me this question and I drew a blank.  I’m so glad you asked me this one again!  I couldn’t believe I couldn’t answer the producers... so I’ve had some time to think about a few answers.  People might not know I’m dyslexic.  Not fun, but something I’ve dealt with my entire life.  No I really don’t know my left from right!  Next! And my close friends know that I love love the snow and will take anyone wanting to learn how to snow shoe on a tour in Central Park, next major snow fall, just get a pair, dress warm and let me know. My pleasure.    Not everyone gets to be named one of the “Most Important Women in America”. What is it about you or Curvy Connect Mag Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Amoako and Supermodel EMME

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{FeaturedSuperRoleMODEL} your attitude toward work and life that have helped you achieve your goals? I credit my work ethic to my being an athlete, especially a rower.  To be a rower you have to be a little crazy to work out so hard, through sleet, rain, snow and the heat of the summer, but that dedication and team work has shown me that with hard work, patience, joy in what you do, and perseverance, ANYTHING is possible and every once in an while you win a race, land the job of your life, get the guy, and win the lottery of friends.  Never ever give up, but do not kid yourself, without the hard consistent work, nothing good ever comes easy.  AND, always offer kudos to those working hard like you, it just counts.  What makes you a Super Role Model?  Thank you for saying this, but I just keep plugging along and allowing my creativity to take me where it does.  I strive to work with incredibly gifted people in business to create an ecosystem of like-minded souls striving and reaching for a better day, week, and over all big picture of what “a good life” can look like. I feel what each of us envision, or allow ourselves to envision, is possible while learning life lessons along the way and while working hard, staying open and allowing time to laugh a lot (mostly at myself ) celebrate, and support those around me.  Above all, my most important production is my 14 year old daughter who is one great young woman and in her, I am most proud. What can we look forward to from you in the near future?  So glad you asked! I will be launching my EMME active and athleisure line in stores in January 2017, and preorders will take place on my new EMME app that you can download from the Apple store, May 15, 2016. If anyone wants to be an EMME app Ambassador and join the challenge for how many friends, family or community members you get to download the app, I have some fun things to offer, like a channel on my new network, web card for business or more.  For more information, contact: contact@emmenation.com. I have my 5th book coming out January 2017: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy and Confident 101 Stories of Loving yourself and Loving Your Body. I would love you and your friends to submit a story for the book, please go to http:// www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/submit-yourstory fill out the  form and at the BOOK TITLE pull down, choose Curvy & Confident, then off you go!  I can’t wait to read what everyone has submitted, thousands of stories are coming in from all over the world and choosing just 101 is going to be tough! Follow Supermodel EMME! emmenation.com @supermodelEMME: facebook / twitter / instagram / pinterest Cover Photographer: Shin Kishima

Curvy Connect Mag Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Amoako and Supermodel EMME Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 39

Supermodel EMME and daughter Toby Cole


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Photo Credit: Š Getty Images North America Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 41


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Photo Credit: Nitsan Tal


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Model: Del Woods Plus Model Photog: Kaptured Wright Photography MUA: Sauveli Brock Hair: Dustin Moultrie

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When asked to be featured as one of the “Super Role Models” for Curvy Connect Magazine’s May 2016 Issue, I was elated and humbled to have such opportunity presented to me. The words SUPER and then MODEL stood out. I began to put the definition of those two words together. “First, the definition of a role model is someone others look to as a good example. A person who is worthy of imitation is a role model. Someone who is a leader and rules or guides or inspires others. Second, ‘Super” means very good or pleasant; excellent.” I said to myself as tears came to my eyes. You never know who is watching. My life story is a long one, but I would like to give you the short-version of who Delma Woods is. I was born in Chicago, IL in 1978, and later found out I was adopted by my parents. My father was an Internist- Immunologist, and my mother was a Child Psychologist. From birth I was brought to Charleston, SC and raised with two older brothers. We had no idea as children that we were adopted, and you couldn’t tell, because my parents did a great job at grooming us. Piano lessons, voice lessons, ballet, acting lessons; even modeling. I spent my childhood trying to find who I was, and having a low selfesteem made it extremely hard. I enjoyed modeling with my mother, and even decided to run for Miss McCormick High when I was a senior. I spent my whole life around a beautiful, elegant, woman from NY who dressed in very high fashion; which was not something you would see every day. She would get on me about how I dressed as a young lady. I always wore jeans, or as she would say I dressed like a boy. Little did I know back then I would be where I am now; almost like my mom. After graduating High school I had no idea who I was or where I was going. I went to Wilberforce University in Ohio and flunked out after my freshman year. Back to South Carolina I had to go, but not before I became a slight nomad. I lived in D.C., Buffalo, NY, MD, and AL; all during this time I had no

idea I was sick with Hodgkin’s disease. All of that moving really got to the point where my body had enough and my Immune system was almost nonexistent. At the age of 21 I was going to a Physician to have a biopsy to my lymph node to see what was wrong. I was shortly thereafter diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The cancer had spread above and below my diaphragm. I immediately started rigorous chemo and radiation. Eight months later I was told I was in remission. The fight of my life was over, so I thought. At 23 I became a mom to my daughter and two years later my son. The life of a working mom with no college education became a hard one. My parents where all about tough love so I was on my own. My life was a normal everyday “robbing Peter to pay Paul” as I served tables and bartended at different local restaurants. I was thinking this was going to be my life in food and beverage, and struggling to make ends meet. Tired could not describe how I felt in 2010, and stomach pain for a week was horrific. I finally went to the emergency room. Almost immediately after they gave me a CT scan the doctor was telling me this cancer was back, and it was pretty bad. I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma it had spread to my bone marrow, all of my lymph nodes, and was spreading quickly. My fight had come back again, but I vowed to never give up. After six months of chemo my physician spoke with me about trying a Stem Cell Transplant; hoping this will allow me to live a normal life with a 40% chance of never getting Hodgkin’s again. It was a small percentage, but I have two children I had to fight for. Fall of 2010 I went into the hospital for a month to receive the Stem Cell Transplant, and it went so well I was released a day early. January of 2011 I was getting ready to try to repair my life for the better and for my children. I went back to work full time in April 2011 and worked my way up to management of the restaurant, but they

wanted me to move to Florence, SC. Only a few days passed, and I was trying to make a decision if I wanted to go; my father passed away. My life changed completely, but I wanted to make sure it was for the better not worse. I turned down the job offer to move, and began going to college to pursue getting my degree and being a Surgical Technologist. Having chemo it does a number to your brain and memory, but I did not let that stop me from graduating with honors. Nor did I let my age keep me from going back to college, and being the keynote speaker of my graduation. These last two years I have been on a whirlwind of what God left me here to do. I got crowned January 2015 as Ms. Charleston Plus America which my platform was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Being chosen opened the door and gave me a larger playing field to keep my late mothers health fair going. The Delma Woods Aleta McLeod Bryant Health and Wellness Fair has been going on for 26 years in Charleston, SC. I am working with the TriCounty Black Nurses Association, which I am a new member, to keep the fair going. I embarked on my childhood dream of being a model, and have soared from the day I got started. Working side by side with very seasoned models in fashion shows, doing photoshoots for boutiques, and now I am a Feature Model for Classy Queen Custom Handbag Boutique. The sky is not the limit for me I would love to go higher than that. Fighting to live twice in my life has given me drive that only God can explain. The journey I am on has been an outstanding experience which I am learning along the way. Staying true to myself and why I was put here is a battle I have won, because I took control of my life. All days are not good ones, and what keeps me going is knowing I am doing all I can do; nothing I am doing will go in vein. God has allowed me to see who I was when I was at my lowest. Once I figured that out there was no stopping me.

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{SuperRoleMODEL} Hello my name is Eloisa Garcia. My motto in life has been to be happy and humble. Being a curvy model has allowed me to be both and to be an encouraging role model. Being a role model to me is someone that one looks up to and can relate to on a personal level. I want to show that loving fashion, and being body positive can be accomplished as a curvy woman. We are blessed with these beautiful curves, therefore we must embrace them. Right? That is why I can relate 100% with Curvy Connect’s acronym. It is ironic because my Instagram name is CURVY_ELO. I have incorporated Curvy Connect’s acronym and added the last three words to make it my own. Confident, self-assured, but always HUMBLE. Upbeat, spreading positivity wherever I go. Resilient, minor setbacks will not keep me down. Vivacious, I am lovely outward and within. You are proud of who YOU are and I am always looking for opportunities to grow. Encouraging, I am always encouraging those around me to never give up and to follow their dreams. Leader, I inspire confidence in other people and move them to action. Open-minded, I am always open to new ideas.

Therefore, it is clear to see why I am a

“Super Role Model”.

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Model: Eloisa Garcia Photog: Andrea Mattis Hair & MUA: Ana Kama Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 47


Jacqueline Goodwater is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and has lived in Houston, Texas since 2008. Since 2008, Jacqueline has been a Community Advocate for the Houston Parks & Recreation Department. Her background and focus on community collaboration has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities, community leadership roles and recognition accolades from the State Representative, Councilman and various organizations. Jacqueline Goodwater was selected as the cover model of author Jay Barnett book, Letters to a Young Queen, published in 2015. Jacqueline received her Bachelor of Science in Recreation & Health; minor in Business Administration from Central State University and a Masters in Human Resources Business Management from Keller Graduate School. Jacqueline Goodwater is a member of Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Jacqueline Motto is “Community Development, Rooted In service is true servitude.� Jacqueline is a true representation of what a Role Model should be; off and on the runway!

Photog: Rainedropphotography MUA: Faces By Luv Model: Jacqueline Goodwater |Curvy Model JackieRed| www.jackiered.guru

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G oodwate r

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{SuperRoleMODEL} Model: Sheila Lopez Photog: Solight Photography Styling: Solight Photography MUA: Karen Armadillo

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Beauty is limitless. There is such an emphasis on labels and vast amount of criticism for the terms ‘curvy’ or ‘plus-size’. I hear the criticism, it is very evident. But the more it comes at me, the more I want to do it. I didn’t see the celebration of a woman like myself as a young Latina growing up. I want to see the celebration of a full-figured Latina. I embody that representation and my goal is for you to see that. I want you to see a beauty like mine and, in turn, see your own beauty and story unfold. Everything from my boudoir and fantasy photos illustrates various parts of my artistic expression as a model. The larger than life hair and vibrant make-up tells a story unlike no other, it’s otherworldly and I love that. I am nothing but average, I am larger than life. What the industry has failed to do is represent women like myself. I embody that woman you want to see in the magazines, online, and on the runway strutting because that’s the very same woman with confidence and strength strutting into work, shopping at that department store, the everyday beautiful woman holding her own. And, if I had to pinpoint my proudest moment it would be the very day I started loving my body, loving myself. Every step from my blog, my first photo shoot, making the cover of Curvy Connect Magazine, has propelled me further into the direction of my goals. There is no clear road map to accomplishing your dreams and doing what you love. When I have readers message me about my modeling page, it is often about “how do I get into plus-size modeling” or “I wish I had your confidence.” I am completely honest with them with this simple but effective method...start taking pictures. Everything from selfies to professional photos is a form of self-love and an investment in becoming a model. It reminds you that you are beautiful in your everyday life and completely stunning and striking, like a work of art. In imparting any life lesson I would say start loving yourself. I spent the greater part of my 28 years of life hating the woman in the mirror, hating this body, when all it ever tried to do was take care of me. It is essential to your well-being to love, nurture, and embrace your body. 

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Kerri Davis

My name is Kerri Davis and I am a SUPER ROLE MODEL! I feel that being a model simply means that you are a “representation of the possibility”. It is a lifestyle, not just an assignment or task. Adding the term “plus”, encompasses every area of living, not just products and services. My divinely assigned movement is “The Purple Passage”, which focuses on transitioning victims of domestic violence and abuse, into their divine purpose by passionately “living” their lives and shaking off the “survival” mentality. Having survived abuse, and several years in a life of mediocrity, I now proudly display in thoughts and deeds, what is the potential for greatness. Now I am EMPOWERED to pursue goals and dreams that drive my passion, and ultimately the fulfillment of my destiny. For the last two ​​years, I have represented the globally recognized Full Figured Fierce,  ​​​​​​(A positive plus size organization which promotes confidence, empowerment and healthy living in the plus community), as a Brand Ambassador. I have (in recent years) entered into the realm of plus size modeling, and I am a member of The Runway Killers modeling team. I am also a pageant queen, having carried the dual titles of Ms. Madison County Plus America 2015, and Ms. Nevada Plus America 2015. Leading by example, I aspire to inspire empowered greatness in everyone I meet, and I align my personal brand with others in the industry striving to do the same.

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Model: Kerri Davis Photog: Ojay Rice MUA: Bronzed Nightingale Hairstylist: Orlando Petty Wardrobe: Shauntana Buchanan (Belk)

Lynnette Jackson


I existed but I wasn’t living. Those were the words I saw in my head. I was in my forties, overweight and I suffered from depression. I was not happy, so something had to change. Taking a chance I decided to move to Alabama. I was a single mother with a teenage daughter, making a drastic change to be happy. Deep down though, I knew if I didn’t do this, I may not be here. In Alabama, I slowly made changes, starting with eating healthier and exercising. My health still wasn’t what it should be, and I still wasn’t happy. Depression lingered, right along the cusp of my existence. I decided to go through gastric by-pass. This choice was hard to explain to people, as I believed they thought I was taking the easy way out.  It was not an easy decision. It was however, the right choice for me. With my healthy eating habits in place and my consistent exercise regimen, I could see me begin to emerge. I was starting to live, not just exist. For the first time in years, the phrases I had buried reappeared. “I want to be a model.”  “I want to be the girl on the magazine cover.”  “I want to be the next Iman or Beverly Johnson.” So when the opportunity to become a runway model came, I took a chance. My family thought I was crazy. I was too old and I wouldn’t get paid. It didn’t matter to me, I was happy! Don’t get me wrong, doubt lingered, then fear would rear its ugly head, but I persevered.  With every show I realized I could do this!  I began to believe in me! I realized at this point in my life I wanted to make a difference in others as well.  I wanted to show them how not to allow fear to dictate their dreams. Acknowledging the fear it could lead to amazing things. The fear can be used to make them successful.  My goal now, is to show others what it is like to be someone who wants live, and not just exist.  

Model: Lynnette Jackson Photog: Joseph Merrell MUA: Brittany Shantell Mixon Stylist: D’an Harrold Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 53


By: Tamara Edwards, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant


You can’t go wrong with anything you do with mom this Mother’s Day. Whether that’s spending quality time, a beautiful brunch at her favorite restaurant, or just simply relaxing with family and friends. However, if you’re not sure what to do or what to buy mom this Mother’s Day, let me help you make it extra special. Below, I have listed a few products that will not only make her smile, but make her glow!

TimeWise Repair® Volu-Firm® Set Restore what was lost and lift away the years with this scientifically innovative regimen that proves it’s never too late to help rescue skin from the damage of the past and recapture a vision of youthfulness. 3 The look of deep lines and wrinkles is reduced. 3 Lifted facial contours appear restored. 3 Youthful volume is recaptured. 3 Even skin tone is revealed. 3 Vital moisture is replenished.

Satin Lips® Set Treat your lips to the ultimate two-step system that gently exfoliates and moisturizes your lips. 3 Satin Lips® Lip Mask effectively exfoliates dead surface skin cells. 3 Satin Lips® Lip Balm moisturizes lips for at least six hours. 3 Fragrance-free. 54 Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com


Special-Edition† TimeWise Body™ Smooth-Action™ Cellulite Gel Cream and Smooth-Action™ Body Massager Set A cellulite solution so effective, 9 out of 10 women liked what they saw in the mirror.* 3 After 2 weeks, 9 out of 10 women said their skin felt smoother.* 3 After 3 weeks, this product was clinically shown to improve the appearance of cellulite and skin firmness.** 3 After 9 weeks, 87% of women said it dramatically reduced the look of cellulite.*

*Results reflect the percentage of women who agreed with the statements during a nine-week independent consumer study in which 136 women used the product morning and night. **Results based on assessment of perceived improvement by an independent skin measurement expert during a 12-week independent clinical study in which 41 women used the product morning and night.

Lash Love® Lengthening Mascara Long, strong, seriously separated lashes. What’s not to love? 3 Creates bold, instantly intensified length of lashes. 3 Lifts, curls and perfectly separates lashes. 3 Conditions and strengthens lashes. 3 Nonclumping, flake-free formula wears all day for over 10 hours.

LOVE what you see? Get it for FREE!* Do you love having fun? When you host a Mary Kay ® party with me, I can give you customized product recommendations and FREE* products for playing hostess! Contact me to get started.

*Available through participating Independent Beauty Consultants only and with $200 in retail sales

Tamara Edwards Independent Beauty Consultant www.UncoverYourBeauty.com


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iris Crosse


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Model: Liris Crosse Photog: Mirza Babic Makeup: Christopher Michael Hair: Yancey Edwards



What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my overall career to be honest! To start in this industry as a teen and still be doing it on a high level is just amazing to me! I am blessed. I’m very excited that I was able to be a part of Project Runway’s first designer finale that used plus size models & designer Ashley Nell Tipton won! I was also the only black model who made it so I honored to represent for my culture. I am also proud of my Life of a Working Model boot camp which is two years old now. We have empowered women to follow their dreams and have success stories of women signing with agencies and walking in major fashion shows.

Photo: Frazier Harris for Getty Images

What has been the key to your success?

NEVER GIVING UP & REINVENTION!! I have a spirit of resiliency. Because I know this is part of my divine purpose, I just keep going no matter the odds. I also have been told I have great professionalism and I go the extra mile so those are added keys to my success. As far as reinvention, you have to stay up with the current times in the fashion & beauty industry so I experiment with my hair, makeup and photography. I also try new ways of overall business.  

What life lessons would you like to share with our readers?

One of my bigger life lessons I have learned is how important your mindset is to your success. God wants to bless us and for us to be successful but we must believe we deserve it. We must be positive with our thoughts and words. My mom always says “words are spirits and we can create life or death with them.” That means we must speak and think positively because our thoughts and words create our lives. We don’t realize how much we hurt our own destinies by what we think and say. I feed myself positive videos, books, and people in my life to keep me focused. Then I just go out there and do the work! Another lesson I learned is that we truly are only in competition with ourselves. What’s meant for me is meant for me, period point blank. I can’t get caught up in another person’s journey because that’s THEIRS. Sometimes as models and entertainers, we can look at someone else’s life and get jealous of how they are being blessed when truly we don’t even know the private moments of all they have gone through to receive it. We just have to work hard, do our best and let God handle the rest! And lastly I would say, “When people show you who they are, BELIEVE THEM!!” Thanks, Life Of A Working Model Boot Camp

Liris Crosse, dubbed “The “Body” & “The Naomi Campbell of Plus” is an model/actress & pioneer in the fashion industry for full-figured women & African American women  known for pushing curvy women into mainstream fashion! She’s graced magazines from American Vogue, Essence, British Cosmopolitan to Vibe as well as done in store campaigns for Lane Bryant& Ashley Stewart.  Vibe Vixen Magazine named Liris in the “Top Ten Plus Models” in the industry, Huffington Post named her to the “Top Ten Most Popular Plus Models” &  Dose. com  named her to the “Top 20 Models Destroying Traditional Beauty Standards”!  All of her hard work is paying off as she won the 2013 Plus Print Model of The Year Award at the Fashion Awards MD in her home state of Maryland.  She’s also made her mark in the video vixen market& has been hailed as 1 of the Eye Candy Models of the decade by XXL Magazine. Liris has appeared in the films “The Best Man”, “Baby Boy”& on tv shows”The Wire”,  Law & Order SVU.  She also graced the 1stBlack issue of Plus Model Magazine for Feb.2014!! Liris has sashayed the runway shows for NY’s Full Figured Fashion Week & took her runway reign to British Plus Size Fashion Weekend  in the UK & Plus Size Fashion Days in Germany where she was well received! She has graced the covers of Daily Venus Diva, Plus Model & Volup2 magazines!! In 2014 Liris created her Life Of A Working Model BootCamp which offers numerous classes to educate the new generation of models with quality knowledge on how to break into the model industry & also how to maintain & better their craft. It has been successful as women have gone on to sign with major agencies, walk in major runway shows & gain great confidence under her instruction.  She’s currently signed to IPM Models in NY, Dorothy Combs Models in Miami & Hughes Models in the UK. We’re proud to announce that Liris will be one of the signature curvy models for the promo commercial for BET/ Centric’s new show “Curvy Style With Timothy Snell”. Liris can currently be seen in the in-store campaign for midwest retailer, Maijer & also walked the runway for reality tv competition “Project Runway’s” first ever plus size collection for New York Fashion Week! She also just became the 1st black model to grace the Goddess Lingerie campaign out now! Ms.Crosse continues to prove that anything is possible! Her website is www.LirisC.com With Liris’ career continuing its steady climb, she hopes that her story will provide the motivation needed to fuel other people’s hopes and dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. Her motto, “If you can think it, you can do it ,” is more than just a motto. Liris has proven that she can make her own dreams come true. As her career continues to move forward, whether model, actress or host Liris Crosse is definitely hot and the one to watch!


Facebook.com/LirisC Facebook.com/LirisCrosse Facebook.com/LifeOfAWorkingModelBootCamp Instagram.com/LirisC Twitter.com/LirisC Snapchat: LirisC Youtube.com/LC78 Youtube.com/LOAWModel

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{SuperRoleMODEL} Model: Shontee McMillan Photog: Andre Dunston MUA: Trina Taylor Stylist: Ivory Hankins

ShonteeMcMillan “I love the person I’ve become because I fought to become her!” -Author Unknown

My dream was always to become a teacher. Thus, in 2000 I moved to Baltimore to pursue that dream. I taught 6th-10th graders for ten years prior to transitioning into higher education. During my tenure with public schools I also graduated Magna Cum Lade, was named Teacher of the Year, and became a therapeutic foster parent. In August of 2012, just three months after accepting a position at the college working with an accelerated program for Black males, I was diagnosed Adenocarcinoma- Stage III Rectal Cancer. Even though I emerged from two rounds of chemo, radiation, and surgery cancer free, I was left permanently dependent

on a colostomy. As hard as the cancer treatment was, recovery was harder. After undergoing surgery in January 2013 I fell into a very dark place. I sank into a deep depression and became suicidal. I vividly recall waking up on March 24, 2013 after blacking out from consuming over 100 pain and sleeping pills. I eventually ended up seeing a psychiatrist for a few months, was admitted to a psyche ward, and completed outpatient therapy for three and a half weeks. Finally, after nine months of “living hell,” I made a conscious decision to accept my new normal. I realized that my work here on earth was not yet done. I decided to continue my passion of work-

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ing with students by once again teaching high school. I am also a 2nd year doctoral student. Additionally, I used my platform of Ostomy Awareness when I competed in the Maryland and DC Plus America Pageant in April 2015. I attribute my acceptance of my colostomy bag to becoming a member of the Osto Beauties. Consequently, I am now a patient UMbassador at UMMC as well as interim president of the Greater Baltimore Ostomy Association. I am committed to fulfill God’s promise to me in Jeremiah 29:11. I am a “Super Role Model” to many women in Baltimore in addition to being: Confident, Upbeat, Resilient, Vivacious, and proud!

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{SuperRoleMODEL} Image Expert, Author and Speaker Sarah Shah, cuts through ordinary fashion and “dress for success” advice. She assists professionals, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders wear the clothes they love it in a way that is flattering, practical and expresses who they are. Sarah offers practical strategies for making clothes, grooming, hair and makeup work for the real world - from business image in the corporate world, individual advice for interviews or auditions, technical expertise for dressing for the camera, or even creating a “better” body just by choosing the right clothes. Sarah’s work style is encouraging, real and revolutionary. She has shared her image wisdom on TV more 90 times, helped hundreds of clients find their style, and written the definitive book on looking good in your own body, Dress Yourself Skinny: Dressing The Body You Have, To Look Like The Body You Want. For more about Sarah, please visit SarahShah.com/blog. Find her on Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and Facebook at @SarahShahTV.

Answers to your questions… We want to know in your own words how you became who you are today?

even an old-fashioned switchboard with plugs and wires.

The term #SuperRoleModel freaks me out! I’m just me, doing my thing and working to be a positive influence on my corner of the world.

All these experiences exercised my whole brain so I’m analytical and creative. I am comfortable just about anywhere and see people from the inside out. Because of this, I’ve been able to determine the geometry of different body types, deconstruct the way people judge each other, and create ways to use wardrobe, grooming and makeup to express a persons skills, talents and character traits as well as create the illusion of a great figure/physique.

As I look back, I see how my parents laid the foundation for who I am today. I’m naturally joyful, a trait I get from my dad who is always full of mischief. My dad used to play numbers games with me that I later realized were algebra, geometry and calculus. For toys my mom gave me the most wonderful kid-size real tool set (with a working miter saw, drill, clamps, etc.), art supplies, a doll house she made from scratch and broken appliances to take apart so I could see how they worked. They took me and my sister around the neighborhood, city and world so we got exposed to lots of different people, food, places, languages and cultures. I was expected to work for any money I got. I started at age 5, polishing silver for the architects who lived next door for a nickel a piece. Ever since, I’ve worked in lots of different environments and businesses - commercial flower shop, bar, restaurant, chemical plant, industrial facilities, gas stations, research laboratory, hotel, antique shop, consulting firms and

What accomplishments are you most proud of? I LOVE showing people how beautiful they really are. Most people look in the mirror and feel bad about the body of face that they see. Those feelings can hold them back and keep them from standing in their power.

their clothes and do their grooming so it’s more authentic and flattering. When they look at themselves in the mirror and see how beautiful/handsome they really are for the first time, it can be earth-shattering for them. Often, it changes what they believe about themselves which opens new doors and ways of living for them. That is the most rewarding thing I do. What has been the key to your success? I have two keys. First I started working with Business Coach Mattison Grey in 2005. She has helped me create a business around all the things I love to do. I’ve built my image business on a foundation of coaching instead of telling. I help people get clear about what they want and assist them in getting that. I apply my expertise in the direction they want to go instead of pushing them to conform to my opinions. This allows people to grow at their own pace and direction and get the results they want. What life lessons would you like to share with our readers? Compromise leads to misery. With creativity, commitment and honesty, it’s possible for everyone to get what they want and be happy.

I help people change the way they wear

Sarah Shah, Image Expert, Speaker & Author of Dress Yourself Skinny SarahShah.com and SarahShah.com/blog | Youtube, Instagram,Snapchat and Facebook - @SarahShahTV | Twitter, Periscope - @SarahShah Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 61


Photog: Jerry Zhang 62 Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com


Natasha Nurse

We want to know in your own words how you became who you are today. There was a lot of sacrifice, love, and support that went behind making me the woman I am today. To name some influential people in my life, my father has been my #1 supporter and the main reason that I strive to be the best at everything I do. When I was young, I would get a 98 on a test and the first words out of his mouth were, “why didn’t you get a 100?” He never said congratulations or good work. This might sound grueling for a kid, but it was his belief that I could be perfect that pushed me to strive for more. I am eternally grateful for his love and strict parenting approach because I wouldn’t have it any other way. My mother, who is the hardest working woman I know, showed me at a young age that you have to do whatever it takes to achieve your dreams and aspirations. My husband aka best friend has been holding me down since I was 18 years old. The minute I saw him in my freshman year of college, I knew I needed to have him in my life. I am so glad that I was bold enough to introduce myself because my life would be so incomplete without him. His love, support, guidance, and patience help me run my business and have the strength to take on everything I do. My business partner helps motivate me both personally and professionally! Camille, my old time friend from Junior High School is my confidant and soul sister. She just gets me without having to explain who I am. Lastly, my pets give me the daily comfort that every girl needs and wants :)

What accomplishments are you most proud of? Becoming the Lifestyle Editor for Plus Model Magazine has been my greatest achievement yet. Being a part of such an amazing team that affects millions of people is such an incredible honor! I am so excited and grateful to inspire and motivate women to live the fulfilling and prosperous lives they deserve.

What has been the key to your success? Dedication and a strong worth ethic have been the keys to my success. I am committed to doing whatever I need to achieve my goals in life. I always aim to work smarter and not harder, but also look to push myself with each new endeavor. Surrounding myself with the right people has also helped me tap into the necessary resources that fill my own gaps in knowledge, and has enabled me to increase my own knowledge and skill sets.

What life lessons would you like to share with our readers? We all possess a level of strength that we are oftentimes not aware of. Many people are constantly doubting themselves before they even make an attempt. You have to believe that you can achieve your dreams; sometimes the road to success is filled with failures, but each failure is a lesson that propels you onto the next level towards your goal. Remember that you are an incredible force of nature!

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Sherry Lee Meredith is a successful entrepreneur, body positive activist, and the host and creator of Go Curvy. In the late 2000s, Sherry Lee left her native Canada and moved to California to expand her rapidly growing business empire and pursue the American dream. It was then, at the pinnacle of her career, that she suffered a debilitating stroke, leaving half of her body paralyzed. Through months of rehabilitation and reflection, Sherry Lee’s outlook on life changed and so did her career path. She realized she had a greater calling and needed to share her message of positivity and self-acceptance with others. Sherry Lee decided to create the talk show Go Curvy as a platform to share her life experiences, to spread a positive message and to inspire other women to feel confident and love their bodies. Go Curvy is an empowering talk show for women of all shapes, sizes and lifestyles. Now entering its fourth season, Go Curvy has more than 6 million views and Sherry Lee has quickly become the go-to resource for curvy women around the world. The show covers everything from hard hitting issues like cardiovascular disease in women and fat shaming to beauty and fashion tips. Go Curvy also brings viewers behind the velvet ropes at highend fashion events in Los Angeles and around the world. The show has featured a wide range of influential guests including, Marissa Jaret Winokur (DWTS), Whitney Way Thore (TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”), Emme (Model), Hayley Hasselhoff and Katrina Parker (“The Voice”). In 2015/16 Sherry Lee (and her production company Go Curvy Productions) took on a new role as creator, writer and executive producer of two new shows, Go Ccurvy Beverly Hills and Date’EM. Sherry Lee encourages everyone to remember her daily motto “You’re smart, you’re beautiful, you are more than numbers on a scale! Live for today, love your body and let’s Go Curvy!” Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 65


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Sabrina Servance I have always been plus-size. Even when I was younger, I was taller and bigger than everyone. Or at least that is what everyone around me had me think! I was never the popular, pretty girl. I was always the nerd in the corner trying, unsuccessfully, not to get picked on. I had a time period where it didn’t matter what anyone said, I wore whatever I wanted! Somehow along the way, I lost that girl. Gone was feeling fearless. And here to stay was the anxiety and pressure to fit in. In my late 20s, it hit me that I wasted a LOT of time not loving myself. I promised to love myself no matter what. When I got the opportunity to film Big Women: Big Love, I knew it was my chance for America to meet me in all of my glory. I was in such an amazing place and knew that, through my journey, I could help so many women. Growing up people told me that I could never model…that I wouldn’t accomplish anything. While it feels great to exceed anyone’s expectations, it’s even better to do it for YOU. I knew that I was heading in the right direction when I was asked to speak at middle school. Talking to young kids about confidence was very important to me. I let them know that they should always be true to themselves and it is okay to be different! I’m being the person I needed when I was younger. I encourage everyone to follow your dreams. The things you want may not happen when you want it to, but they happen when they NEED to.

Pictured Left

Model: Sabrina Servance Bra: Ambrielle (JCPenney) Pictured Right

Photog: Jessica Neal Styled by: Sabrina Servance Dress & Necklace: Decree (JCPenney) Shoes: Ashley Stewart Pictured Far Right

Top & Pants: Bisou Bisou & Worthington (JCPenney) Shoes: Torrid Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com 67

Confident. Upbeat. Resilient. Vivacious. You! curvyconnectmag.com 68 Curvy Connect Mag :: May 2016 Super Role Model Edition :: curvyconnectmag.com


Profile for Curvy Connect Mag

CCM May 2016 Super Role Model Edition  

CCM May 2016 Super Role Model Edition

CCM May 2016 Super Role Model Edition  

CCM May 2016 Super Role Model Edition


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