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June 2013

MELISSA ODABASH

ISSUE 9


Beautiful fashion for our Beautiful cu

www.stylekorner.com


urves


EDITORS NOTE

June 2013 Hi Evolvers!! We are here again with a brand new issue of YOUR magazine Evolve!! This issue means a lot to me as I wanted us to look at ‘why’ we do things and what we hope to gain from doing these things especially for entrepreneurial women. I wanted us to talk to inspirational women in their own field and find out what inspires them. For me I started Evolve with no real knowledge of the magazine industry but bubbling over with passion to help other women just like me feel better about themselves - and i am still extremely passionate about doing that. I Aspire to Inspire another woman or girl to help someone else and carry the journey forward..... We interviewed inspiring women such as the charismatic Marcy Guevara and miss fashionista herself Marie Denee. checkout who inspires them as well BBC’s Nadia Swalihia sits down with us and tells us how she loves her food and her curves. We have introduced 2 new great regular features ‘Coco’s Corner’ and ‘Beauty With Plus’ we are so glad to have both ladies on the team, hopefully you love them as much as we do. Our fashion editor shares all the latest fashion tips trends and wedding season outfits as well the exclusive announcement about our soon to be launched clothing online store STYLE KORNER! A packed issue and we hope you enjoy this issue from page to page... Until next time dont forget OUR motto ‘Be Proud Be You’ Rianne xx

FRONT COVER Photographer: Michael Obasohan at Studio 52 London Stylist: Sarah Potter Hair & MUA: Clare Cherry Creative Director: Rianne Ward Model: Mie Anderson from Models 1

EDITOR IN CHIEF Rianne Ward ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Sylwia Szyszka http://szyszki0.wix.com/szyszka FASHION EDITOR Sarah Potter FEATURES EDITOR Olga Crosse BEAUTY EDITOR Clare Cherry CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jane Britton Billie Bhatia Bethany Brown Coco Zsuzsanna Szkiba Lauren Beard PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael Obasohan

Join the MOVEMENT and make a CHANGE!! www.curvynfit.com

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WEBSITE Jinnat Hassan


Have you met the team?

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Contents 10 14 18 26 36 44 46 48 56 60

FASHION

Wedding Outfits Sex and the City Fashion Sexy Holiday Style Around the World PASTEL HEAVEN High Summer Trends Shoes Jewellery Bags Swimwear Lingerie ans Shapewear

6 8 16 24 40 50 54 62 66 68

FEATURES

The Clements Ribeiro Beauty wit Plus Syreta Badu Marcy Guevara Marie Denee Coco’s Corner Melissa Odabash Nadia Sawalha Nana Churchen Vula Malinga

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THE CLEMENTS RIBEIRO Swan Collection SS13 for Evans by Sarah Potter

F

un, kitsch and ever so sweet. The latest installment from Clements Ribeiro’s Swan range for Evans is all of that, and much more. With perfectly executed marketing, featuring some of the most influential, and not to mention gorgeous plus size bloggers out there at the moment, the designer duo have got it spot on. The collection is filled with lively colourful lobsters, zebras and kissable lip printed onto casual, slouchy silhouettes, perfect for daytime or on the beach! Each item is like an iconic piece of outwork, indeed Arcadia have stated that ‘There is a nod to Surrealism and has been inspired by their travels, in particular a visit to the Prada/Schiappareli exhibition in New York.’ Clements Ribeiro wanted to move away from the evening wear for a collection and produce some playful clothing that is super easy to wear, comfortable and memorable. We think they’ve achieved their mission! The Clements Ribeiro Swan SS13 collection is available to buy at selected stores aswell as online internationally in sizes 12-32(UK) The brilliant plus size bloggers involved are;

Bethany Rutter - archedeyebrow.com/ Georgina Horne - fullerfigurefullerbust.wordpress.com/ Callie Thorpe - fromthecornersofthecurve.blogspot.co.uk/ Marie Denee - thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com/ Nicolette Mason - nicolettemason.com

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BEAUTY WITH PLUS M

irror, mirror on the wall – who’s the fairest of them all? The answer is You, dear reader. I’m about to take you to a journey where the reflection in the mirror will show how truly beautiful you are, inside-out. A journey which you don’t take alone – beside my support, such prominent ladies of plus size industry like Velvet D’Amour, Rianne Ward, Remi Ray, Samantha Lebbie, Denise Bidot and many more will hold your hand. Let me reveal that certain plus which all these women have while you can discover your distinguished values which make you beautiful! Beauty With Plus is a movement which was born at the same time as I posted my first blog entry back in August 2012. My positive attitude, my wish to help others and my fall for fashion lead me to start my virtual diary called Cupcake&Pearls: sweet, chic, curvy and plus! As I am always attracted to „different” than average things, my goal was a plus size fashion blog with some certain extra which gives advice not only for outfits but most importantly to your inner self. Beauty With Plus is a result of a conversation I had last year with a lovely, curvy lady. She opened up for me, told her story of self-acceptance which journey was full of tears and really touched me while I listened. Later I wrote a blog entry about her and added my view on her personality which again resulted in tears but this time she

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had the tears of happiness how beautiful I saw her in my article. And she was not the only who could associate with the lines and steps of the journey – I received many positive and encouraging emails from my readers right after the blog post. This experience gave me the idea – why not share other stories? Why not meet other Beauties who all have that certain plus within which I can search while having a girlie conversation with them? So I started the movement with this central idea: your plus within is way bigger than the number on the scale! First I conducted interviews with everyday (but extraordinary!) women and soon well-known icons of the plus size industry showed their support for me and the movement. What is the point of these interviews? Beside gaining information on the surface, I always look behind the faces to see emotions, empathy, humour, humbleness, confidence which values


are meant to be proud of! My readers then easily associate with these stories, they can discover their own pluses which help them to see a different woman in the mirror. A woman who is powerful, who is ready to help others, who is blessed to take care about her family, who is fragile but strong at the same time...who is beautiful! It is time to look behind the labels society gave us: skinny, fat, slim or curvy – what really matters is far beyond these! I’m honoured to have my upcoming articles in Evolve magazine to empower and to inspire more women via stories of plus size models, designers, plus size activists just as curvy moms and sisters! They all have that plus which surely you can relate to, dear reader – their stories are motivations to take another step on the journey towards your happy relation to the most important person in your life: your own self! Cupcake&Pearls blog http://cupcakeandpearls.blogspot.hu/ Instagram: http://instagram.com/cupcakeandpearls/# Twitter: @cupcakeandpearl

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wedding Outfits

by Janie Britton

U

nless you’re going to a naturalist wedding you are going to need clothes right!. So here are five great styles that will make you look and feel fabulous. They’re suitable for any wedding event, whether it is a summer church wedding or a trendy spring garden party. Styles and trends we particularly love this season are floral prints, pretty summer hats coupled with fabulous wedge /stiletto style shoes and super feminine accessories. Be individual, be daring and take a chance on color and fabric to maximise your assets! Be body proud.

Asos

24 Fantasia Asos

Anna Scholz

Light in the box

Grape

Asos

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Summer Loving Wedding Guest

Asos

Dance the night away in this amazing jersey digital dress from Anna Scholz. Add a Pashmina, the perfect cover up for the arm conscious lady. Couple the outfit with a vintage bag and some great heels and you’re ready to go.


Debenhams

Spring Wedding Mother of the Bride Hot Mamma

M&S

This amazing dress from Evans is so versatile and is suitable for Spring right through to Autumn. Add a splash of colour with this cute cardie, some gorgeous bluey green jewellery to make the outfit pop and pair it all with these fab nude heels. You’ll look and feel like one hot mamma! M&S

Debenhams

Evans

Evans

Evans Evans

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wedding Outfits

by Janie Britton

Summer Wedding Brides Best Friend

Flo Su Pa

This sexy, chic off the shoulder number from Dea London is just perfect for a Summer wedding. Enhance the outfit by adding hot pink accessories and don’t forget those ubiquitous nude heels!

Fun f uberoff th foreh M&S

Dea London

Simply Be M&S

Simply Be M&S

Disty about you Garden Party

Ditsy and fun is the name of the game with this outfit. Be bold; add a cute statement necklace and stilettos to really make this really outfit stand out.

Debenhams Jasper Conran

Next

M&S

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Simply Be


oral Harmony ummer Garden arty

John Lewis

funky and free, pair this outfit with an -chic statement bag from Mulberry. Finish he look with a hair chain, draped across the head Art-Deco style

Next

John Lewis

Alex Monroe

Alex Monroe Evans

Next Asos

Hair Chain

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Sex and The City Fashion

by

RIVER ISLAND

Sexy, sultry and super confident, Samantha Jones could write a book on how to power dress like a pro. A fan of body con, shoulder pads, loud accessories and revealing necklines, Samantha’s look is unashamedly brash in a fun way. Channel your inner Samantha and have some fun with your wardrobe.

RIVER ISLAND

SAMANTHA

RIVER ISLAND

CARRIE

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Stylish, headstrong, quirky and individual are words conjured when thinking of the iconic Carrie Bradshaw. Contrasting fabrics, textures and patterns makes for an interesting background to work with, and allows you to layer on the fabulous accessories- don’t forget the shoes! Be brave, be bold, be Bradshaw!

Fifteen years ago this Summer, a TV that would change the way women l relationships and New York forever. T and The City. The show inspired m dream careers, their dream partner ( and anything else they desired. Whe show, you cannot deny the cultural


Sarah Potter Prim, proper, sweet and ultra feminine, Charlotte York is the epitome of pretty prep. Twin sets, pearls, fitted peplums and clean lines are the founding elements in Charlotte’s wardrobe. A little bit posh with a sexy streak, think peekaboo lace and figure hugging skirts.

S

NHAM

DEBE

MIRANDA

Sleek, chic, professional and powerful, Miranda may be the less showy of the four, but by no means does that equal dull. Think crisp tailoring, perfect pencil skirts and bang on trend court shoes. The statement is in the accessories so dress up a few staple pieces with a little frivolity.

RIVER ISLAND

V programme was first aired looked at fashion, friendship, The show was, of course, Sex many women to pursue their (or not, in Samantha’s case!) ether you loved or hated the impact that it had.

CHARLOTTE

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designer spotlight

SYREETA BADU by Sarah Potter

H

i Syreeta! So, what’s your story? I’m from Edmonton in North London. My parents are from Montserrat (West Indies) and Ghana. I have been sewing since I was 18 years old and I studied Art and Design in both college and university. When I graduated I worked in housing as a resident liaison officer, then I worked as a customer service advisor for an insurance company before I left and started to pursue my dream. I went on to intern for an amazing designer, Henrietta Ludgate. What drew you to plus size fashion as a whole? Why did you decide to market to plus size women?  I was growing so tired of the limited collections available for myself so while I was showing my aunt sketches so she could make them for me, I started to teach myself to sew my designs. I

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was receiving good feedback from family and friends and I wanted to share my designs and not keep them to myself which is when I decided to set up my website to ensure they’re available to everyone. Describe the ethos of Syreeta Badu designs, what does it represent/ what do you want it to represent? Syreeta Badu represents pieces for the women who want to be pushed out of their comfort zone, as well as the girls who want to glow, and show off what they are proud of. I  would like my collection be the one that women turn to in time of need for any occasion, without panicking about the limited options. Describe your latest collection. What/ who inspires you? My first ever collection ‘Concrete Rose’ consists of 10 pieces. Each piece’s names are descriptions of what I wish for all women to feel like when wearing my clothing. The majority of the pieces have an African influence, with colourful panelling to emphasize your curves. My inspiration is my Mum,


who inspired the confidence and the drive I have by showing me that it is possible to do what I do. Which celebrity would you like to see in your designs? I would love to see Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, Adele, Amber Patrice Riley, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, MoNique and Beth Ditto. What are your favourite colours and fabrics to work with? I love bright vibrant colours; my personal favourite is purple, but I also love colours like scarlet red, teal and white. Colours that make you look like you’re glowing.

If you could describe your designs in six words, what would they be?   Confident, Exciting, Fresh, Vibrant, Comfortable, HOT! Who are your favourite High Street stores?  I love Asos Curve! I also like NewLook SimplyBe and H&M. Who are your favourite Designers? My favourite designers are Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta; there are so many more! I really admire Monif Clarke and her collections.

What are your favourite trends for S/S13 and why? My favourite trend this season is monochrome. I love how colour itself can simply make a piece look amazing. Loving the neon colours as well, especially in suits. They look fun and playful for something that is meant to be so formal. What’s your favourite piece you’ve designed? My favourite piece I have designed so far is the Volume Dress. It’s eye catching and makes you glow confidence. What’s next for Syreeta Badu? I wish to spread the word that Syreeta Badu is here. I am also bringing out some bespoke casual pieces for us curvy chickahs for spring summer 2013. I’d love to showcase at FFF week 2014 too. Thanks so much Syreeta, we wish you so much luck, and just carry on being fabulous. It’s working! www.syretabadu.com

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Sexy Holiday Style Around The W New York

Whether you’re shopping on 5th Avenue, taking a carriage ride through Central Park, or catching the latest Broadway show, we’ve got the look for you. By day it’s all about skinny jeans, funky tee’s and flats. By night you’ll be sipping cosmopolitans wearing peplum monochrome.

Asos

Forever 21 Asos Asos

Forever 21

New Look

Asos

18

Asos


World

by Lauren Beard

Asos

As

os

Next Asos

Faith Asos

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Sexy Holiday Style Around The W Paris

Forever 21

Wander around the ancient streets of the birth place of chic. Stand out at the top of the Eiffel Tower and out shine the Mona Lisa at the Louvre with this summers beautiful trends. It’s all about the candy stripes, cute polka dots and flats by day. At night you’ll slip into something more sophisticated for dinner overlooking the river Seine.

Next

New Look Forever 21 Forever 21

Sam Edelman Reagan Asos

Monochrome

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World

by Lauren Beard

Kenya

Forever 21 Forever 21

With its amazing beach resorts and breath taking Safaris, Kenya has something for everyone. And what better place could there be to show case this seasons tribal prints. It’s all about maxi dresses whilst hanging out at the pool bar and fabulous khaki’s, with gladiator flats when you’re animal watching.

Forever 21

Forever 21

Aldo

Next

NL

r 21

eve

For NL Next Tribal Maxi Dress

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Sexy Holiday Style Around The W

Sydney

The ever funky global city of Sydney offers everything from a night at the opera, to climbing to the top of the harbour bridge. As they are now heading into their winter down under you may experience rain; but you’ll still look amazing in one of this spring/summers must have Mac’s. Think eclectic boho chic by day and jump suits by night.

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New look

Asos

Asos

Next

Lovedrobe

Steve Madden

Tassel Bag

Asos

Asos


World

by Lauren Beard Forever 21

Dubai

New

look

Designsix

Designsix

Forever 21

As the temperature rises in Dubai to sizzling, you can hide out in one of the city’s many amazing shopping malls, have lunch in one of the sheltered restaurants overlooking the Burij Khalifa and when the sun sets, head to one of the fabulous out door night spots to dance under the desert moon. Stand out in Neon skinny jeans by day and glam it up with sexy lace dresses at night.

John Lewis

Necklace Dorothy Steve Maddedn

Asos

Asos

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MARCY GUEVARA by Olga Crosse

M

arcy Guevara was over in London to check out the very first London Plus Size Fashion Week hosted by Evolve. Marcy hosts “Big Girl in a Skinny World” the You Tube series from the US version of Marie Claire magazine. She has also appeared in VH1’s second season of “You’re Cut Off” as the resident plus-sized princess. She currently runs various web shows including, The Marcy Minute and is also a stylist for the Rachael Ray show one of the biggest day time shows in the US.

above a US size 10 (UK 14), then I got asked to do a segment for Rachael Ray as a stylist.

Welcome to London, and the first PSFW, what do you think? I am very excited about it. Its great to support the plus size industry, we are better together. This is the 1st one and it’s a wonderful encouragement for plus size. Tell me about Big Girl in a Skinny World? I first started doing a video on You Tube talking about things in my life. Cali from Skorch found me there and asked me if I was interested in doing videos for the Plus Size World. I really credit Cali for everything and helping me build a presence. Then Marie Claire US took notice and asked me to do a You Tube video for “Big Girl in a Skinny World”. In terms of experience MC does a great job of being fashion forward for women

What’s the one style rule you live by? Look the part when it comes to shopping. Its hard shopping, especially if you are not made up and you are looking in mirrors. Do your hair and make up, wear shape-wear, and it will be a more peaceful experience.

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Tell me about Rachael Ray? Rachael Ray (CBS) is one of the largest talk shows in the US. Viewers feel they can identify with it. I assist with the style segment, lingerie, swimsuits, and the human lab to test products and clothes. The favourite segment which I do is ‘Get the celeb look’ according to your size and budget’.

Who are your fashion icons? Sex and the City is such a staple. My favourite is Carrie – that girl is the girl you want to be!


What is your SS13 ‘must have’? I am loving the leather trend, leather panelling can make clothes look expensive. I also like the hologram and all white look this season. What’s your perfect outfit ? I love dresses, I love to get a beautiful dress, add jewellery and then run out the door in 10 minutes. Great dress, great necklace look a million dollarsdone. What advice would you give women with body confidence issues? The biggest thing is to love the skin you are in. If you want to change go for it. We all have a lot of issues and insecurities and that is human. Actively curate a closet you feel good in. We all have outfits we feel crap in. If dressing in maternity sections is subconsciously affecting you, then stop wearing clothes that you beat yourself up in, bolster your self confidence, get a new hair cut, walk, take time for yourself and feel important, you will feel better then everything improves. Where do you shop? ASOS, Cult of California, Igigi, SWALK (great for basics), and Black Listed Couture which is a new US label. What’s next ? I am in talks with a large retailer about a new series online, I’ll be doing more Rachael Ray and I have just shot a reality show with a new designer. Evolve’s motto is Be Proud...Be You. What makes you proud to be you? I am proud that I have accepted my body, flaws and my fears, and I am working daily to conquer them. I am proud when women send me messages on Face-book that they found a dress I recommended, proud when teenagers tweet me and tell me I am a role model. I have the guts to do it and the gumption despite being Plus Size which isn’t the easiest thing to be. Marcy is a great inspirational role model for curvier women everywhere, she is doing really well career wise on one of the main T.V. talk shows in the US advising on mainstream fashion for everyone, not just plus size and is a great ambassador for the curvy cause. If anyone embodies this issue’s ‘Aspire to Inspire’ theme it is Marcy and we are delighted she chose to cross the pond to support London’s first Plus Size Fashion Week and share her expertise and experiences with us. www.marcyguevara.com

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LOOK1- PURPLE PEPLUM AND ROSE HEADBAND Whole Lotta Rosie ‘Icecream’ Headband by Crown & Glory Pale Violet Lace Peplum Blouse by SimplyBe Beige Bow Belt by Primark


White and Yellow Maxi Dress by Asos Curve Ossi Silver Iridescent Shoes by Miista Bracelets are Stylist’s Own Pompoms from 2Clear


White cut-out blouse by So Fabulous Peach Jacquard Trousers by SimplyBe Lilac Popsocks by Jonathan Aston at Tightsplease Zoe Neptune Brogue Shoes by Miista Pompoms from 2Clear Necklaces are Stylist’s Own


WITH THANKS TO ASOS CURVE http://www.asos. com/Women/Curve-Inspire-Size/Cat/ pgecategory.aspx?cid=9577&via=top MISSTA SHOES www.miista.com SIMPLYBE www.simplybe.co.uk TIGHTSPLEASE www.tightsplease.co.uk CROWN & GLORY www.crownandglory. bigcartel.com/ 2CLEAR www.facebook.com/2clearleicester SO FABULOUS http://www.littlewoods. com/women/so-fabulous/e/b/1589,5722. end


White cut-out blouse by So Fabulous Peach Jacquard Trousers by SimplyBe Lilac Popsocks by Jonathan Aston at Tightsplease Zoe Neptune Brogue Shoes by Miista Pompoms from 2Clear Necklaces are Stylist’s Own


White and Yellow Maxi Dress by Asos Curve Ossi Silver Iridescent Shoes by Miista Bracelets are Stylist’s Own Pompoms from 2Clear


White cut-out blouse by So Fabulous Peach Jacquard Trousers by SimplyBe Lilac Popsocks by Jonathan Aston at Tightsplease Zoe Neptune Brogue Shoes by Miista Pompoms from 2Clear Necklaces are Stylist’s Own


by Billie Bha

Asos

High Summer Trends Asos

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Asos

Stella McCartney has been championing this look for years and it explains her collaboration with Adidas. Sports luxe means keeping it clean, sharp and relaxed. It also means you can ditch the stilettos!

Stella McCartney

SPORTS LUXE

Elie Saab

Asos

Gracing the catwalks at Marchesa and Elie Saab was lace, lace and more lace. Effortlessly elegant whilst still being fun and flirty, a lace anything will carry you through the sunny days and nights. For extra zing try a neon lace piece; a sure way to tick two trend boxes!

Next

FAIRTYALE LACE


atia KALEIDOSCOPE KRAZY

Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou

Peter Pilottot

Asos

The jazzier the better! This is the best trend to ditch those winter blues and get into the summer spirit. Imagine a dress made out of multiple Hermes scarves and you’ve cracked the trend. Whilst you’re there through, add in a bit of baroque for good measure.

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High Summer Trends

by B

COBALT COOL

Matthew Williamson

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Matthew Williamson

Michael Kors

As

os

Electric, androgynous and bold – if there is one colour that you need to be rocking ,it’s cobalt. It looks fab on every skin tone and was the coolest colour on the catwalk. Nude accessories and a slick of red lipstick and you are a cool kid.


Billie Bhatia PRETTY LITTLE PASTELS

Mulberry

Marc Jacobs

H&M

Asos

MONOCHROME

Valentino

Mulberry

A staple through all spring/summer months, the pastel has made it’s return to our wardrobe, but this year it comes with no frills (quite literally). Sharp lines, origami shapes, and a clean palette. Grownup pastels some may say – we’re in!

Not just encompassing the basic black and white, monochrome has branched out to include stripes, spots and plenty of other geometric shapes. Think humbugs on legs and you’re on to a winner. Flattering and classy, this trend will still be kicking for years to come.

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INTERVIEW

Plus size fashion and style expert Marie runs a successful blog, contributing to publications such as Vogue Curvy, Seventeen Magazine and many, many more. by Sarah Potter

A

spire to Inspire. There are many women in this world who are inspiring in their own rights and for many different and varied reasons. To fill the world with not only inspirational activities, but ones in which build up a woman’s confidence or allow somebody, even just for a day, to be proud of themselves is more than just inspiring. It takes a special kind of somebody to incite this movement, even more so when that person is beautiful, humble and extremely talented. One such wonder, is the gorgeous Marie Denee aka The Curvy Fashionista. Plus size fashion and style expert Marie runs a successful blog, contributing to publications such as Vogue Curvy, Seventeen Magazine and many, many more. She offers some excellent advice on TCF, aswell as highlighting the latest news in the plus size industry, adding in a sassy dash of style with her enviable outfit of the day ‘My Style’ posts. She truly is an inspiration to plus size women, and we were truly honoured when she agreed to be interviewed. Hi Marie! Thanks so much for this. First of all, an introduction for our readers. Can you give us a little background? SP-A bit of background? I grew up all over the world! From California to Hawaii, to Japan, MD-England, Virginia, and back to California, I am quite blessed to have seen the world at a young age. As far as work goes, I have worked in retail for as early as I could legally do so. Nanna kept me

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busy! My first jobs were in retail and I stayed in it through college; I held various roles while I went to school I have a passion for helping others and I found great ease at doing it through customer service. As far as my education, I have my undergrad in Business Admin Entertainment and Tourism and my Masters in Marketing. I started The Curvy Fashionista in the winter of 2008 as a random toy... hobby, and a place to share my finds and wares. From there it has evolved into what it is today!  SP-So your blog, The Curvy Fashionista, how did it begin? MD- I started the blog as an outlet for me to share what I had found in the world of plus size fashion, completely unaware of its possibilities. Once I lost my job on Friday the 13th of March 2009, I dove in full force to make it something. Having a marketing background, I knew something was here, but I did not know to what extent! Through many hiccups, soul searches, and years of dedication, I  have  figured out my path and place!  SP-Your site inspires many women, but who inspires you, and why? MD-Who inspires me? You know what? As I get older, my mother inspires me more and more. As a single mother, my mom raised my sister and I while she was in the Navy. She took on a second job to make ends meet and ruled with


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INTERVIEW

an iron fist. I may have hated it while growing up- but man am I thankful! Especially as I grow up and learn the whys behind her actions and realize her sacrifices. My mother is an amazing source of inspiration! My grandmother also inspires me, she is the nerd and matriarch and my sister inspires me also; they continually motivate me to do my best and to keep pushing forward! SP- Your site is not only great for plus size women but retailers too! Who are the best retailers you’ve worked with, and why? MD- Oh? Why thank you ma’am! Actually, I have worked with amazing retailers and only those who I believe in and who I am an absolute fan of! I could not name ONE over the other, but I do make sure that when I do work with brands, that they reflect my passions!  SP-If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why? MD- Ooohhhh you have good questions! One job? You know, they way I am wired, I do not think that I could have one job. My mind is always racing, thinking, challenging, to

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go further,  do more, and inspire change!  SP- Talk us through your view of body image in the industry. What would you change if you could? MD- You know what, I think as we have successes, we need more in order for THIS question to no longer be one to ask. There is and will always be changes to makeaffecting the way that media affects the way that women and men see themselves through the eyes of the media. I think if I had the power to, I would automatically inject more diversity into the media. An accurate representation, a diverse representation, and an engaging representation. There needs to be more variation, and while social media is democratizing this view, the few have the most control and hold that power... A continual push and conversation is what is needed and I think (me being optimistic) change will come. Slowly and Surely.  SP- Plus size fashion shows, events and retailers are steadily growing momentum, how do you feel about this? Do you think they’re an important part of the fashion industry.


MD- I love it and it is needed. Giving the plus size woman a voice, an outlet, and a platform to create, inspire, and motivate others is quite divine! Social media gave her a voice and these fashion shows and events give her the platform to showcase and experience this!  SP- What is your idea of beauty. Who is beautiful to you? MD- A woman who is humble and confident that radiates this from the inside out. Who is beautiful to me? Ashley Graham. GOD she is of course beautiful but her personality and sass tops it off for me. I am smitten by her. Denise Bidot? A friend, sweetheart, and one who is ambitious- yet humble. I love her. Chenese Lewis? I literally can go on and on here...  SP- If you could work with any celebrity, styling them, who would it be and why? MD- Well, I have a huge admiration for Jill Scott. One day she and I will sit and have amazing conversation. Although I have met her... BUT also Queen Latifah. I mean. She is the QUEEN! NOW, she is someone who radiates, shows poise, and who is amazingly gorge!  SP- Who are your favourite designers/high street brands? MD- I have many! BUT, I adore Rachel pally, Monif C., Jibri, and Carmakoma! There are quite a few retailers as well that I adore and am always checking out and stalking! Like ASOS, Simply Be, Evans, and Nordstrom! 

SP- If you could design your perfect dress, what would it look like? What colour would it be, and where would you wear it? MD- To be honest, it would have to depend on my mood! I love the ease of fashion and I must be comfortable in it! BUT. I am thinking black. Leather. Midi. something in this combo I am sure would give me life! SP- How did you become involved in the latest Clements Ribeiro range for Evans? What did you think of the day and the range? MD- They had approached myself along with a few other bloggers and it was divine! The shoot was a whirlwind of cold and snow and fun! Great times with the team and the designers who hung out with us all day. It was a trip I will positively remember forever. Quite grateful for the ask and excited about the collection! SP- Finally, what’s next for you? Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline? MD- I am always working on something! Let’s see, I am working on readying the next TCF Reader’s Choice Awards! This year I turn FIVE, so I have to do something fabulous for this. I am always thinking of new ways to work into a new project. Keep your eyes open!  We here at Evolve just want to say a big thank you to Marie, and wish her so much luck. She is most definitely one of our biggest inspirations. Check out her website at http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com/

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shoes

by Sarah Potter Bonessi Ballerinas http://www.bonessiballerinas.co.uk/ The ballet pump is the epitome of chic and comfort. Style and practicality comes together in a sublime mix, echoing the vintage style of the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Bonessi are bringing back the glamour to the humble ballet pump and have given the shoe a serious style makeover!

BONESSI BALLERINA

BONESSI BALLERINA

BONESSI BALLERINA

MIISTA £145

Miista

http://miista.com/ Have you ever discovered a brand that produces pieces that can only be described as lust-worthy pieces of art? So unbelievably covetable, ridiculously on trend, and just darn amazing? No? Well, it’s ok, because I’ve found such a brand. Enter, Miista. so even better.

MIISTA £140

MIISTA £170

MIISTA £140 MIISTA £170

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KAREN K £725


KAREN K £695

KAREN K £895

karen k

KAREN K £695

http://www.karenkboutique.com/ Ultra glam and ultra fabulous, Karen K is loved by many a celeb, and we definitely get why. You will never need to look anywhere else for a special occasion shoe. From ruffled heels to furry boots, these are statement shoes with extra pow.

KAREN K £495

KAREN K £575

KAREN K £715

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Jewellery

by Sarah Potter Watches

http://www.watchwarehouse.co.uk/ Traditional, vintage, modern or sporty, a timepiece tells so much about you. This season, there are so many to choose from, but here are some of our favourites, and there are some fantastic discounts at Watch Warehouse so even better.

SOUR CHERRY £5.95 AND MARY £25

Sour Cherry

http://www.sourcherry.co.uk/ Quirky- cool and fantastically fun, this handmade jewellery kicks other jewellery’s butts in the fashionable stakes. It’s costume jewellery at it’s finest, and with super reasonable prices, Sour Cherry will become a cult brand in no time! From the Wizard of Oz, to sweets and plastic fruit, what’s not to love???

AND MARY £18

AND MARY £25

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MARC JACOBS

GUESS

DIESEL

http://and-mary.myshopify.com/ What is cuter than a ceramic pug necklace, or maybe a lucky white rabbit ring? And Mary is a vintage inspired jewellery brand. Hand painted porcelain animals on rings, necklaces, bracelets and even doorknobs, yes, doorknobs, these are some of the sweetest creatures in the jewellery world.

TOY

And Mary


DIESEL SOUR CHERRY £6.95 DIESEL

SOUR CHERRY £12.95

SOUR CHERRY £6.95

SOUR CHERRY £19.95

CURVED ROSE £60

CURVED ROSE £95 CURVED ROSE £60

Curved Rose

http://www.curvedrose.com/ Have you ever found the most gorgeous ring, or bracelet, only to find that it’s just too small? Well, at Curved Rose, they have the answer! They stock all of their stunning pieces in larger sizes, meaning you won’t have to wait to get one ordered in especially. Perfection.

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bags

by Sarah Potter asos

http://www.asos.com Clutches vs Buckets. Which will you choose this season from ASOS?

ASOS £35

ASOS £35

Lazy Oaf

http://www.lazyoaf.co.uk/ All your quirky desires under one brand, Lazy Oaf is for the coolest of kids. ASOS £38

LAZYOAF £55

ASOS £38

PRECIOUS £26,99

LAZYOAF £55

ASOS £40

LAZYOAF £55

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LAZYOAF £55


PRE

CIO

US

£25

.99

ASOS £40

PRECIOUS

PRE

CIO

US

£24

£22

.99

PRECIOUS £32 PRECIOUS

PRECIOUS £32

ASOS £40

Precious Bags

PRECIOUS

£21

£23.99

http://www.preciousbags.co.uk/ Designer inspired bags at a fraction of the price? Gimme!

0

ASOS £40

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Instagram - @cococurveboutique

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Twitter - @Cococurve2012


Facebook – Chelsea Frances Duarte

MANNEQUINS are plus size too??

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ouldn’t it be refreshing to walk into a department store and see the plastic representation of the female structure vary a little? Instead, we are faced to stare at the outfits we most desire wrapped around an unrealistic 5ft, 10 inch model with a size 8 waistline. Most generic clothing companies supply plus sizes -some going up to a size 16, others raising the bar and providing up to a size 22. After that -Evans and online stores are the only places for fashionable, plus size clothing.  Although these stores provide plus sizes -they won’t promote above a size 10. Companies won’t publicise a healthy size 12-14 mannequin to show the other side of the spectrum for their customers who hold a curvy frame.  Why won’t these companies promote curves through mannequins? I ask myself -is it the accusation of promoting obesity? Or the lack of respect for body shape diversity? Or is it simply because the media’s perception of the perfect shape wouldn’t deem this act acceptable. I feel it’s important to promote diversity -as women vary in weight, shape and height.  A large department store in Sweden caused controversy back in 2010 when they decided to set up a range of curvy mannequins in the lingerie section of the store -this caused an outrage as the public were concerned at the company for promoting obesity and a distorted image of how a woman should look. The photograph went viral and received over one million likes –the supporting public were saying “Isn’t that just so cool –go Sweden”! Therèse Johnsson Sundberg, head of information for Åhléns, says the company has been using a range of mannequins for about 10 years. “Our customers are all different shapes so we need to reflect that in our stores. Initially they were brought in because we were starting a plus-size range, for sizes large to XXL, so we needed mannequins in different sizes. The appreciation from the customers was great, which is why we carried on.” The average women in the UK today is 5ft 4 inches and a size 16 –so isn’t it time for UK clothing stores to wise up and begin to target their majority market.

Email – coco@evolve-magazine.com As a plus size female -I would not only feel happy to see generic stores open up to the plus size industry, but to feel accepted as a plus size buyer. Clothing companies need to cater for this ever growing market with effort, respect and good resources. Nobody wants to go to the back of the rail or into a dingy corner for the plus size clothing they need -they want to have a happy experience shopping for on trend, in season, plus size items that are promoted just as effectively as the smaller sized garments –which in turn, makes them desire the clothing in a way that can often be difficult for a plus size woman whilst shopping. The plus size market is expanding by the second – more stores are introducing plus size ranges –plus size designers are teaming with companies to provide trendy size 12+ clothing, so I feel it’s very important to show a variety of body shapes. No size is perfect. A positive role model in my

WHO’S YOUR ROLE MODEL.

life has always been my sister, Jade. She’s warm, kind and motivating. I think it’s vital for a girl to be led by a female inspiration into womanhood –it helps to mould morals and reasoning within a person. Jade has always helped me to see the best in the worst situations.

Instagram answers: @monroefinest says “Marilyn Monroe –she was beautiful, smart and strong in many ways”! @reginap3 says “My Aunty Marion Degraffenried Johnson. Why, because she is strong, beautiful, intelligent and a go getter”! @harzlebee says “Demi Lovato –she’s overcome so much and uses her past struggles to help girls in the present and future”!

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ESSIE GOLDEN

Plus Size Model For RUE107 clothing brand located in NYC.

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ow do you prepare yourself for summer? I really don’t prepare too much. I buy shorts, sundresses, crop tops and swimsuits like crazy. I plan vacations with friends and I attempt to work out twice a week. Are you confident in swimwear? I’m pretty confident in swimwear. This may come as a shock to some but I love the shape of my body. I try to accentuate it as much as I can. I do have some insecurities but in general I wear bright two pieces and enjoy shopping for swimsuits. 3. What do you feel builds confidence? As cheesy as it sounds I would say learning to love your flaws and hanging around other like-minded confident people. On a bad day I stare at myself in the mirror and say nice things about myself until I feel better. I think sometimes we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We think because we are too big or too small that everyone is staring at us and talking about us. Most of the time it’s all in our head. You’ve got to learn to live a little and dive right in to fashion!

swimsuits flatter most figures and only show a strip of skin. The one piece swimsuit has come a long way with fringes and mesh fronts and sides only showing a little skin. If you still are uncomfortable, try a bright colour or crazy print, maybe a sexy sheer cover-up to wear at the beach. Swimwear should be a fun shopping experience for women of all sizes!

Who inspires you? I’m so inspired by strong independent women. Women who create their own paths and rebel against the norm. Essie Golden Instagram - @goldenlady25 Essie Golden Swimsuit Picture – www.rue107.com Indulge – BBW night life events – www.bbwnightclub.co.uk The next event is on the 25th May at The Gable www.thegable.co.uk

4. What advice would you give to women who don’t feel brave enough to wear revealing swimwear? I think most women are uncomfortable with swimwear because of what’s advertised to us. None of us look like the swimsuit models. Hell, the swimsuit models don’t look like the picture in real life. At some point you have to forget those voices in your head telling you not to wear this or that because society says its “inappropriate”. Go shopping with friends and try on swimsuits until you’re comfortable in seeing yourself in swimwear. High waisted

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INTERVIEW

Her beautiful creations have graced some of the most famous bodies on the planet on some of the world’s most exclusive beaches and now she is sharing her amazing swimwear designs with us mere mortals. by Olga Crosse

I

had the pleasure recently of speaking to Melissa Odabash one of the worlds most celebrated beach wear designers. Her beautiful creations have graced some of the most famous bodies on the planet on some of the world’s most exclusive beaches and now she is sharing her amazing swimwear designs with us mere mortals. You decided to collaborate with Marisota which goes up to a UK 32. Why? As my own collection is quite limited, working with Marisota gave me the opportunity to broaden my design range (goes up to a size 26) and making it more accessible and at a much better price. What’s the difference in designing for curvier figures ? I think it’s down to support, even small sized women,  we all have  the same issues no matter what size  and we all need a bit of nip   and tuck  or support! Anything that will make our bodies look a bit   better, especially  in swimwear, when we are at our most vulnerable. While designing I tried to think of all the problem areas,   contouring the waist line and pushing seamless finishes so it  doesn’t dig in. A key to this is by placing accessories in the right    area to draw eye and attention away from other parts

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Any tips for those of us who hate showing our lumps and bumps on the beach? My only advice is don’t worry, even top models have cellulite and  issues -  just grab a sarong, throw it around your bottom half and   when you lay down take it off. Another tip is don’t think because  you are larger that means you need more fabric,  make sure the fit   is snug and close to your body a lot of larger women go up a size so    it makes them look bigger as the fabric is loose. What inspired this collection ? I tried to bring my trademark animal print into the collection with   matching cover ups I love simple solid prints with small delicate   accessories

Why fashion design as a career? I always loved fashion as a kid I learned to sew at age 8 and my  mother taught me everything about fashion. I started modelling at 18    and for me the next step was in designing,  as I saw there was a huge gap in the swimwear business so started my own collection And swimwear in particular? I was a swimwear model so I modelled every type of bikini and   swimsuit out there and at the time it was all about bold bright   prints so I thought I’m going to do the opposite and design solid colours only. Why Marisota, considering most high end designers shun ‘normal’ women? It’s the best way for me to broaden my market I have such a small niche business and it’s fun to branch into different things. I love curvy women and I wish I had more curves on my body! Its actually   very easy to design for women with

curves as there bodies are more  proportionate, shoulders to hips. One of my favourite icons is Sofia   Loren and I just love her curves! What do you make of that i.e. shunning anything above a 12? Oh please I grew up in the USA, the average size is 16 (UK 20) and  it’s   the norm! Unfortunately in today’s magazines, which I think is slowly changing, only show thin models, being too thin is just not  attractive, ask any man, they love curves! It’s also much better to have a little excess weight for the wrinkles as long as you eat healthy and exercise who cares about your  shape, it’s about a healthy lifestyle

Any tips for SS13? Stick to earth tones at the beginning of the holiday or apply self tanner and as your tan progresses go for more of the summer colours red/turquoise/pinks  What’s next ? There is a lot going on! I am currently working on 5  different   collaborations as well as opening  in 2 new countries. I am super   busy with my own 2014 collection and hopefully launching beach bag collection, followed by launching an Odabash foundation for charity! Evolve’s motto is Be Proud...Be You. What makes you proud to be Melissa? I get so much pleasure at doing charity work and that is what gives me satisfaction, using my name to help others in need www.marisota.co.uk

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Swimwear

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by Sarah Potter


Curvissa- http://www.curvissa.co.uk/ Marisota- http://www.marisota.co.uk/shop/ Bon Marche- http://www.bonmarche.co.uk/ Curvy Kate- http://www.curvykate.com/ Freya-http://www.freyalingerie.com/ Panache- http://www.panache-lingerie.com

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Swimwear

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by Sarah Potter


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Lingerie and Shapewear Underwear and shapewear are essential foundations to any outfit. They can make or break it, and some well fitting shapewear can remove any extra lumps and bumps for a more streamlined silhouette. Curvy Kate- http://www.curvykate.com/ sizes 28-44 D-K cups Freya- http://www.freyalingerie.com/ sizes 28-40, B-K cups Panache- http://www.panache-lingerie.com/gb/ sizes 30-38, D-KK cups, Miraclesuit- http://www.shapewear.co.uk/style/fuller-figure.php sizes 1x-5x (18-26)

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by S


Sarah Potter

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INTERVIEW

Nadia is one of the UK’s most well known and enduring actresses whose credits include Eastenders, Casualty, Wanted Down Under and Celebrity Masterchef. by Olga Crosse

I

chatted to Nadia Sawalha recently while she was waiting to cook Russell Brand her chocolate , banana and almond cake on the Alan Titchmarsh show. Nadia is one of the UK’s most well known and enduring actresses whose credits include Eastenders, Casualty, Wanted Down Under and Celebrity Masterchef. She is also the author of the best selling Greedy Girls Diet and Ambassador for the online label Bonmarche. We had a right old natter with both of us fighting to get a word in edgeways. Tell me more about The Greedy Girls Diet and how you ended up doing it? Over the years I have dieted my way to obesity and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I vowed to never go on a diet ever again. My kids are so full of life and vitality and here was me fed up being on another diet. So I started cooking all the things I like to eat (as I am a real foodie) such as spag bol, fish & chips, middle eastern cooking, and the book is about how to cook all that but using healthy substitutes with good flavour, not just for me but the whole family. I lost 3 ½ stone. I also like wine! My advice is really not to hit the Holy Grail of size 10, my book is not about never having an extra wine or a korma its about having what you want. I also had to be realistic for me a size I can realistically maintain is a 12 for some its a 14, what’s this obsession with being a size 10? What has been the response? I was a bit blown away with how much people love it, if I’m

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honest. It got to no 2 on the Times Best seller list. I got lots of tweets and letters from people who felt how I felt. What’s your favourite recipe in the book? This is a hard one because I love all food, it would have to be Lime & chocolate cheesecake, creamy fish pie or falafel – my Dad is Arabic so I love all that. How did you come to be an Ambassador for Bonmarche? They asked! Bonmarche fits with my attitude to food, body, life, its great its online, I am busy and I find shopping a nightmare, so online is great and the cut of the clothes is really good. I have an hourglass figure and I find that mostly jeans don’t tend to fit me. With Bonmarche they fit. They have been awarded the best jeans on the High St. David Emanuel designs for them and the jeans are a great cut especially on the bum. The clothes are incredibly affordable especially as fashion changes so quickly and their jewellery is great. I wore a Bonmarche dress when I did Lorraine and I was complimented on it lots of times as it was so nice. It’s a best kept secret. Where’s your favourite place in the world? Cornwall, New York and Beverley Hills but Cornwall really makes my heart sing What’s on your iPod at the moment?


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INTERVIEW

Florence and The Machine when I go for a run, its weird I play the same thing over and over again for about 6 months. What’s your favourite food? Bread of every kind What are your three handbag essentials for the red carpet? Lipstick, credit card and tampon, you never know (at my age) when you get caught out. Flats or heels? Flats Dress or jeans? Jeans Cleavage or legs? Cleavage Summer or winter? I love every season and greet each one with passion Eat in or take out? Eat In Hair up or hair down? Always down Stay in or go out? Stay in with my kids, my dog and my husband Maxi or midi? Maxi Britney or Madonna? Neither, Florence (and the Machine) all the way for me What’s on the horizon next for you? Deliver 110 recipes for my next book. Continue with my cooking on the Alan Titchmarsh show. There is also a pilot of Kitchen SOS in the pipeline and continue to be a proud Ambassador of Bonmarche. Evolve’s motto is Be Proud...Be You. What makes you proud to be you? I’m a woman proud to be of a certain age and living a great life. I am proud of where I have got to today, considering where I thought I would end up. I had such a journey at being shit, its a hard world to live in and I spent years knocking myself and now when people praise me I say thanks instead of knocking myself. I love being 48 and I love my kids and husband. That’s what makes me proud really. Catch up with Nadia @nadiasawalha www.bonmarche.co.uk

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INTERVIEW

We sat down with Sky televisions VOX TV’s big talk show sensation Nana Churcher by Micayla Morris

T

alk Show Host, Radio Presenter, MakeUp Sales Director not to mention Wife and Mother. It seems like there’s nothing this lady can’t do. I met up with the inspiring Nana Churcher in London where we talked about why and how she got into television and radio. So Nana, how did you go about getting your own radio show ? Yes, growing up, I’ve always wanted to be in the media profession and I love talking to people so when I was back home in Ghana I had the opportunity to do my own radio show called Samedi Soir on a Saturday night where I played French African music. So when I came to the UK it was a coincidence that I bumped into Space Clottey who is the CEO of voice of Africa radio at a function and I took his number whilst networking, and it went from there. You have your own successful show on Vox Africa which is in its second series, how did that come about?? My TV show, The Nana Churcher Show is a childhood dream. Ever since a little girl, for some reason I’ve always wanted to be a talk show host. I used to watch Oprah Winfrey a lot to an extent where my friend in the USA was sending over recordings. Now I’m married, have four kids, the youngest three years old and you know when you have a dream, it eats you up. I believe each and every one of us is born to do something, something they are created to do, and some of us don’t get to live that dream. This is something that was eating me up, so I sat down with my husband, told him how I felt and he said go for it, so I did. It just so happened that I was travelling with my friend’s

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husband. He said he’s into media so I explained to him that I’m looking for someone to help me kick start and that’s how it all started. Which countries is the show aired in? The show is on Sky 218 Vox Africa, which airs in Europe. It is also on DS TV Africa, which covers a part of West Africa, East Africa and Central Africa so it has a broad viewership. You’ve interviewed quite a few celebrities, can you name some of them? I’ve interviewed two paralympians, I’ve interviewed Jim Iyke a Nollywood celebrity, Fatima Jabbe the first Gambian Actress in Nollywood and not to mention Rianne Ward CEO of Evolve Magazine. Vox Africa is a PanAfrica television channel, is this a choice and if so why do you want to reach out to the African community? The Nana Churcher Show is a unique show. Vox Africa in a pan-African channel and as a proud African I wanted to reach out to the African and Afro-Caribbean community in terms of educating, in terms of creating awareness and entertaining. Most of the time we turn on the TV, we see the western world and as a talk show host, I thought why don’t I start with my home, as an African, before I reach out to the others. I had a choice of the African stations but Vox Africa one on the top of the list Would you ever consider working in mainstream television for example ITV BBC etc and if so, would you want your show be similar to what you do now? Of course, if the show approaches me why not? I


would say on the first season of my show I was a baby, learning, and crawling the second series, I was walking and you never know the third season I’d be running! If a mainstream television CHANNEL approached me and said they love what I do and offered me something, it would definitely have to be The Nana Churcher Show! Being on television, do you have a stylist that choses your clothes for you or is it all your own choice? Because I’m in the make-up industry also, so far I do my own make up. Because I teach make up, you know when you know how to do something and know what best works for you. And my husband is my stylist, he usually picks out my outfits, even what I’m wearing today. What would you say your fashion is style both at work and leisurely? Because of my sale directorship position I’m always dressed smart in suits. You won’t believe this, but for the first time in ten years I am wearing trousers. When I put it on my kids were applauding me saying “yay mums wearing jeans!” I’m always in dress suits of skirts suits. Do you find a great deal of pressure to look a certain way because you are on television? No I am proud of who I am as a woman, I am proud of who I am as a human being I feel comfortable within me. Of course I want to keep in shape and be healthy but I don’t want to be a certain size just because I am on television. I just love me how I am as an African woman. What is your favourite part of your body? Can I say my boobs? People are paying to have implants, but I have the natural implants. I love my boobs. But I’m also thankful for my face. The May issue of Evolve is all about Aspire to Inspire. How does that relate to you? To me as a person, I believe that each and every one of us has greatness in us and for me, I’ve always believed that women can do something with our lives. But if you don’t take that step or faith to do something, you’ll never inspire anybody. Because I have taken that step to accomplish my dreams that is why you are interviewing me today and so it is a testimonial that if you take a step to do what you love to do, without fear or procrastination take a hold of you and people stopping you from what you love to do you will truly be great, go forward and inspire a lot of people. Tune in to ‘The Nana Churcher Show’ sundays at 6.30pm on Vox Africa 218 She will also be interviewing our very own Rianne Ward on the program on 26th May

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INTERVIEW

In 2007 she sang lead locals on BBC South’s re-recording of the hymn Amazing Grace. by Olga Crosse

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I

had the pleasure of interviewing Vula Malinga, spotted by the world renowned music supremos Basement Jaxx in 2003, she started singing with them then and 10 years on is still with them. Vula grew up in East London surrounded by music and from a very early age she knew she was always going to sing. As well as singing backing vocals for Basement Jaxx, she has performed backing vocals for Beverley Knight, and toured with Jamiroqoui. In 2007 she sang lead locals on BBC South’s re-recording of the hymn Amazing Grace.In 2009, she sang support vocals to Dizzee Rascal on his new album Tongue N’ Cheek, and has supported him on live appearances, including: Live Lounge, Later... with Jools Holland and the 2009 BBC Electric Proms. Also she made a song with Paul Epworth for a German post service. Ain’t no Mountain high enough. She also performed at London’s first Plus Size Fashion Week. How did you start out? My Dad is a musician and plays the guitar. I went and studied for a BTEC in pop music for 2 years and a natural progression would have been to go on and to a BA hons in music, but when I was 19 I was asked to audition for Beverley Knight and it went on from there. That was lucky? Yes, that was 2000, Beverley Knight was supporting Jamiroqoui on a European Tour and I just went off on the tour. It was my first exposure to live shows and music and I loved it. I had only done college shows before that. It was a blessing to be asked to go on that tour and network. I was very lucky. Then it got hard, I did some studio stuff with Jamiroqoui and then nothing. I was 22 on the dole (for 5 months) and I nearly gave it all up. I met Sharlene Hector who put me forward for an audition with Basement Jaxx, it was Oct 2003, I didn’t hear anything for two weeks and was about to pack it all in, then I got the call to cover for the UK tour and at the end of it they asked me to join them, that was 2004 and in 2013 I am still there, this year will be my 10th year with them. I am so grateful I have learnt a lot on the road, writing and collaborating and I have seen half the world which has been absolutely amazing. Who influences you musically? Thats a very hard one, when I was very young I remember loving Janet Jackson, because she was a black woman on T.V, not as skinny as those around and she could sing. I thought this is me. To me she is the best all round package, singing, dancing, videos. I have seen her 5/6 times. I also idolise Whitney Houston. I remember loving her album that

was self titled and had it on repeat, playing and playing it again and again. I also sang ‘You Give Good Love’ to get into college. Where are you based? London, I live in Finsbury Park with my boyfriend Ben Jones who is also a musician. We’ve been together 7 years (3 days ago) and work together and run DivaGeek (own record label) together. How did your record label come about? We started it so we could put our own material out. We released our album last April. We have a lot more freedom, but its a lot more hard work. Having our own label means you do everything yourself and its really hard to get radio pluggers, influential A&R’s to come and see you, organise your own photo shoots. You have to pick everything up yourself. An online presence is very important, the word spreads like Chinese whispers. The Internet is great? Yes, it is, you can also see real people you can relate to. Has been a bigger woman hindered your career at all? I am a size 16/18 and as a big woman in the music industry I have developed a thicker skin. I am 5’ 1 and a size 16, I’m not here to be a model. I have a talent and I am really lucky. I pride myself on being a professional and doing everything to the best of my ability and making sure that whoever hires me is happy with me. They could have had anybody and they chose me – a real woman. When I am stressed I turn to food. I do think sometimes that if I lose weight will I be successful, Then I think shouldn’t my singing be better than my waistline. There is nothing wrong with big women who are healthy. Men don’t want skinny women anyway. Luckily my boyfriend is a breast man, he has got to be (laughs). I also love a big glass of wine. (laughs) Whats next? We’ll be releasing our EP soon and recording in LA with Sam Sparrow and doing more shows with Basement Jaxx. Evolve’s motto is Be Proud Be You. What makes you proud to be you? No 1 my music. No 2 is my culture. I am a proud African. Both my parents are Zulu. I was raised outside Africa, if it wasn’t for the politics in SA then I would have been brought up there, but I am grateful to England for taking me in, educating me and giving me a chance. Catch up with Vula on www.divageekmusik.com , @divageek

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Evolve Magazine June 2013 - 9th Issue  

Evolve magazinesJune issue covering plus size fashion, beauty and news with great interviews

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