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Model: Malinda Bell "Yumyum" Photo: Lereef Designs Hercule Assistant Photographer: Raphael A. Legagneur Hair: Natalie Birdsong "Natalie the Barber" Make-Up & Styling by: Uno Arlique

I Am A Full Blossom Beauty


Kim Rene Hayes Jump Suit: Marco Hall Makeup/ Hair: Iesha Nicole

I Am A Full Blossom Beauty

I Am A Full Blossom Beauty AND SO ARE YOU!


Joanne Borgella FBM: What is your name? Joanne: Joanne Borgella FBM: If you could use only one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why? Joanne: Caring .. I love people and making them feel good. FBM: What are some of your other skills aside from modeling? Joanne: I'm a recording artist and Fashion designer for my âž•line Joanne Borgella New York www. My line is all about being "Bien dans ma peau" which means good in my skin. FBM: At what age did you realize you wanted to become a model? Joanne: Modeling just happened for me, my aspiration was to be a singer and modeling became a beautiful unexpected reality on my journey. FBM: Who and what were your inspirations which made you decide to become a model? Joanne: As a plus model there were not a lot of plus models when I was growing up. I did always admire the supermodels of the 90's especially Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell. FBM: What is your most memorable experience since being a model? Joanne: Being one of the first faces of Procter & Gambles "My Black is Beautiful" campaign.

FBM: Who and what continues to inspire you throughout your life in general? Joanne: My parents have always been my inspiration! My father is an OBGYN Dr and my mother is an RN and they are entrepreneurs as well. They have taught me and showed me that I can accomplish anything in life. Work hard and it will pay off. They have always believed in me and have always been supportive. I love them so much! :) FBM: Do you have a favorite quote or phrase that gives you extra drive? Joanne: That which does not kill you will only make you stronger! FBM: What obstacles have you had to overcome while breaking into the modeling business? Joanne: Just being a Black model is challenging. There aren't as many opportunities and I have booked jobs where the makeup artist and hairstylist didn't know how to do my hair and makeup. As a result I have perfected both and when needed I do it myself. FBM: In times when you felt like giving up, what kept you motivated? Joanne: God! I have faith in the lord and believe that he has put me on this path for a reason. FBM: How are you affiliated with Ashley Stewart? Joanne: I have been one of the faces of Ashley Stewart for 7 years! We have history, Love them! FBM: What advice or last words do you have for women reading this magazine? Joanne: Always be proud of who you are and love yourself! Have faith and the sky won't be the limit! xo

BAG LADY By Maui Bigelow It is so important that woman learn not to be bag ladies. Many of us tend to carry the baggage of our men, family and friends. When we aren't carrying that baggage, we are carrying the baggage of the past. It doesn't matter what type of woman you are or from what social status you hail............... WE HAVE ALL HAD SOME SORT OF BAGGAGE!!!! Many women who consider themselves "classy and/or high dollar" tend to think that their struggle is different from the common woman. However, it is not!!! BAGGAGE IS BAGGAGE, WHETHER IT IS IN A GUCCI BAG OR A PAPER BAG.... Baggage will do one of two things or both. It either SLOW YOU DOWN OR WEIGH YOU DOWN!!! PHOTOGRAPHY BY WWW.MOMENTSBYMELLO.COM

I am one of those women that carry a lot of other people’s baggage. I am a

very caring and concerned person when it comes to my loved ones. Many times I get entangled in their lives and their problems. I am working very hard to bring this to a minimum because it is damaging. I have lost connections with a few key people because of this. It isn't that I am nosy or controlling but I want the best for them. I just want to help my loved ones. I want them to be as happy as I am if not happier. However, I have learned that it isn't my job nor am I capable of doing this. I have learned that you have to let people find their own peace in whatever situation they are in. You cannot create happiness for those that you love......... Happiness comes with the security and comfort that each individual finds with them. People evolve in their own time, not the time that we want them to. Hell, if you spend too much time worrying about what they have going on, you will neglect your star player................. You!!! So now when people come to me with issues, I listen and give advice but I don't get all entangled in it......... As a friend my job is to be there for them no matter what, not to take over the situation and solve the problem.


We all know that God created women

to be nurtures and we are very emotional as well. This is why many times we find ourselves fighting battles that are not ours, especially with the men in our lives. Often men use the caring nature of some women to their advantage. They latch on to women that are "good" and that will be good to them. Men come with baggage, drama and an assortment of issues just like woman. Many times they enter into relationships or situations with women knowing that their affairs are in total disarray. And because we (woman) are such nurturing creatures, we put it in our bag......... All that baby mama drama, the woos of not being able to find a job, not having the money needed for certain things, family issues, friend issues, illegal activities............................. AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON!!!! We have to learn when to say when. It is one thing to support your man but it is another to carry all of his burdens. Be mindful about loading your bag up with his s&*t because you may get stuck with it all. I mean honestly what can you expect from a man that enters into a relationship with bags and bags of bulls&*t?

Often it is hard for woman to be happy

because of the baggage that they carry from the past. You cannot hold an individual accountable for the actions of another. You have to learn from each experience that you have and move on when it is time. This holds true for both friendships and relationships. I know that I have opted out of being friends with co-worker and other females for years. For no reason other than the fact that I have had bad experiences with a great number of women. Now that I think about it that is baggage from my past too. The same thing holds true for relationships...... You cannot enter into a relationship placing your new man under the same umbrella that your old men are under. If you want to find true happiness, you have to let go to.

All of that baggage will keep you from being happy with yourself. All that baggage will make you unlovable. All of that baggage will cost you friends and family. Most of all, I will take away your peace.



FULL FIGURED CONFIDENCE Who has more confidence than Full Figured Women!? Big, Beautiful & Bodacious we stand! We exude confidence in our walk, our style and in our personalities! We can give you all of what you what and everything that you need! Why would anyone think that we wouldn’t hold ourselves in high regards? Nonsense! As a matter of fact, our voluptuousness makes us stand out and be noticed, showcasing the great confidence we have in ourselves. We are not afraid or timid, shy or bashful, dull or boring. We are brave, vibrant, active, fun, enjoyable and loving women. If we feel the need to change something about ourselves, it’s because we want to, not because someone else wants us to. You see, it doesn’t matter what size you are, confidence should overflow from us all! We were all meant to shine and do everything that is set in our hearts to do. As it says in Philippians 4:13-I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. So if your reading this, make sure that you have great faith, and self-confidence will be sure to follow! Lakeisha Smith CEO Unique Vizunz


Be Confident! Confidence. It’s a funny thing. It doesn’t necessarily define us in the way that other traits might – having bags of it or none at all doesn’t stop us being, say, creative or curious – but it can make a massive difference to how we live our lives. Without confidence we might never have the self belief to approach a publisher with the novel we have just written or to visit that country we’ve always been so fascinated by. It allows us to follow our dreams, reach our potential and be content with our lot, rather than ending our days kicking ourselves and wondering, “what if?” I might be wrong, but some people seem to be born with an abundance of the stuff. They appear to have no doubt in their abilities, whether it be academically, socially, vocationally or romantically. I am not one of those people. To a lot of people who know me, this may come as a surprise; at work I am the one who argues with my boss if I disagree with management, at weddings I am one of the first on the dance floor, and, after a couple of drinks, I have been known to strike up all manner of random conversations with complete strangers, much to the amusement of my friends. But my apparent self confidence is something that I have had to work at to achieve – and maintain. When I was a kid, I had very little confidence. Okay, so academically I was pretty self assured, but socially I was a disaster. I didn’t fit in with the cool kids and a catalogue of physical attributes (think abnormally tall, overweight and very spotty from the age of 11 and you get the idea) left me unaccepted by a lot of my peers. Even at university I struggled to find my niche, my desperation to fit in destroying any chance I had to develop genuine friendships based on mutual respect. When I graduated in 2001 and moved to London I admit that I didn’t like myself much. But things started to change. A few of my university friends moved to London too and, although we hadn’t been the best of buddies as students, we developed strong friendships and a solid social network with other old university mates all over the country – people who had always been on the periphery of my social circle but suddenly became friends for life. For the first time in my life I felt accepted by a group of people who, unlike my family, had no obligation to put up with me. Rather than belittling my social tics they affectionately told me that I was like Phoebe from Friends – a bit quirky, slightly boho and very ditsy, but loved by the Rachels and Monicas about me. Then, eighteen months later, the unthinkable happened. One of the guys in my little group and I got together. Not only was he really cute, he was lovely and never gave up on telling me how much he loved me – even the bits of me that I hated.


The acceptance I had been looking for all my life had finally found me. I had a great group of friends, a wonderful boyfriend and my career was going pretty well too. But there were things that I really wanted in my life and, despite these solid foundations, my confidence still needed a bit of a hand if I was ever going to achieve them. So I took it upon myself to learn the tricks of the trade. I read self help books, magazines, and learnt a lot from the counselling courses that I took out of work. Ten years on, I can honestly say that I feel better about myself and more confident that I ever have in my life. Okay, so I’m not at my thinnest, I’m single again and my day job drives me insane, but I’ve started to accept myself, warts and all. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I look in the mirror and wince, weeks when I think I should just give up with my writing and months when I wonder if I will ever find love again, but I now know how to grab my confidence back before it slides into emotional oblivion. So here are my quick fixes when your ego needs a bit of a boost – no Botox, therapy or drugs needed. 1. Blag it! So you might not feel it, but if you behave like a confident person, you’ll start to feel like a confident person. Just take the plunge –it might feel completely unnatural at first but the more you speak up during your team meetings/dance at parties/talk to new people, the easier it becomes. Trust me. 2. Focus on the good stuff. If you’re struggling to find your confidence, remind yourself of the things you like about yourself, or think of a time when you felt good. For me it has to be when I am with my old university friends and, no matter how much of a beating I am giving my ego, there is no denying that I cook a mean Moroccan tagine. 3. Remember your achievements and forgive yourself your weaknesses – nobody’s perfect. 4. Talk to other people. Even the most self assured people have moments of doubt. Your colleague might seem full of herself at work, but I can guarantee that, at times, she feels as insecure as you do. And, even if she does think she’s God’s gift to your industry, that doesn’t mean that she has a clue when it comes to her private life. 5. Don’t compare yourself to other people. It just isn’t healthy – or helpful. 6. Do something that makes you feel good. Wear the lipstick or dress that makes you feel fantastic. Listen to your favorite tunes. Read an inspirational book or watch an uplifting DVD. At the moment I can’t get enough of my Ministry of Sound Disco Anthems CD and my Sex and the City box set. It’s good to know that even the likes of Carrie and co get it wrong sometimes. So there you have it. No excuses now – go out there and find your confidence. It might be easier than you think...

Written By Michelle Buckberry

Fall Fashion After a blazing hot summer, Fall seems like a welcoming friend. This Fall, we’re excited to bring back some trends from last year, incorporate trends from last season, and make it all our own. Here are my five favorite trends for this fall season. Houndstooth: This season, it’s all about classic prints. Houndstooth, herringbone, pinstripes, and plaids are all in this fall. Pair a houndstooth pea coat with dark wash jeans, and boots, or a plaid blazer with a midi dress and heels, and you’re at the top of your fashion class. Emerald: Well, of course! Incorporating the Color of the Year is a must. Whether you want to make it the main feature as a dress, a top, or a skirt; or you want it to be a side attraction as a handbag or a pair of shoes, emerald is a staple in your fall wardrobe. It also pairs well with other jewel tones, which are always popular during the season of harvest. White: I know the “rule”: Never wear white after Labor Day. But aren’t rules meant to be broken? This season, white is in! Whether it’s a white cable knit sweater, white jeans with a blazer and boots, or a white blouse, white is certainly here to stay. Just remember to keep it weather and season appropriate. Leopard: That’s right ladies; your fierce animal print is on the prowl in fall. This season, you’ll be able to find the print in seasonal items such as scarves and trench coats. If you’re worried about going overboard with the animal print, remember to add one or two solid color statement pieces to the outfit. Peplum: Yes ma’am; the hottest trend from the past year is here to stay. You can find peplum almost everywhere lately, but you’ll see a resurgence of it in fall tones and prints. Have fun mixing it up with a red peplum skirt, leopard top, and striped jacket. Yes, you can mix patterns, now, too. Happy Fall, y’all!

Xoxo, Angel “Cupcake” Dillion




ONOZ Paris

In 1979 a brand new Television show aired for the first time that would change the lives of women worldwide. This comical yet family moral show was entitled “The Facts of Life.” In a private board school setting, four young girls lives were shaped by their on set Headmaster –Mrs. Garret. The girls names were Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie. Though many other characters joined the cast, these five actresses were the main embodiment of the show. The show was awesome and captivated the attention of teenagers and young adults across the country. The twist that inspired this story was the fact that at one point or another throughout the nine seasons the show ran, there was something quite notable -WEIGHT GAIN! At various times all of the main cast had gained weight and were plus size to todays standards for TV. Even now I still remember tabloids talking about Blair’s weight or the size of little Tootie’s breasts. Yet the show managed to maintain it’s great following until 1988(9 years). Inspired by the comedy, joy, and good times that “ The Facts of Life” gave to so many of us, Full Blossom Magazine(FBM) would like to offer our tribute this amazing and impactful show. Shows like this gave plus size girls worldwide the confidence to be themselves and see each other as beautiful! So on behalf of the current Plus size community… FBM would like to say Thank you!!!

By Evron “Mello” Andrews



By: Maui Bigelow (Phat Girl Fresh) There is a grand uprising in plus size fashion. It has been years in the making but curvy cuties the world over can rejoice because the fashion restrictions have been lifted. For so many years, plus size women have been limited in the area of fashion. Left to fend for ourselves and fight for the slim pickings, we were not able to follow the hottest trends or rightfully display our style. Well, I am pleased to declare that those days have passed away. Curvy fashion has truly evolved, long gone are the polyester printed dresses that looked like they were made from kitchen curtains. No more are we limited to wrap dresses that create the illusion that all women have the same shape. It is officially a “NEW AGE!!!” Plus size fashion has become just as big and beautiful as the curvy divas that make it the billion dollar business it is. There are a host of game changing designers at the forefront of this fashion explosion, many who are plus size women. The emergence of the plus size female designer in my opinion is just what we needed. Women with curves who are body conscious and fashion forward, women who are not afraid to be bold and push the envelope; women like Nicole Nolan. Nicole Nolan is the full figured designer behind the Elocin Plus Clothing line. She is a vital part to the puzzle that makes up the plus size community, why because she has both amazing talent and vision. I was recently able to get a sneak peak at some of Elocin’s “New Age” collection and I must say; I was very pleased. Unique pieces that are both flirty and form flattering are what this collection is offering us and I love it. If Elocin’s sneak peek is any indicator of things to come (and I am sure it is), we will not be disappointed. I truly applaud Nicole for stepping out of the box a creating fashion that will take women from the board room to the ballroom and everywhere in between. Giving women the confidence to be bold, beautiful and of course……. PHAT GIRL FRESH

The Wonderful World of ‌


FBM: What is your name? Robin: Robin Kassner FBM: If you have a nickname/Stagename, what is it? Robin: I recently started rapping and was thinking of using the stage name Delicious FBM: If you could use only one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why? Robin: Fabulous! It describes me because I am fun, fabulous and live life to the fullest. FBM: What brought you to Millionaire Matchmaker? Robin: When the casting agent called me for Millionaire Matchmaker, I figured it might be a good way to get my PR Firm, Haute PR, some screen time on Bravo, my favorite TV Network. I am single so also figured I also might meet a good guy. Boy was I wrong!

FBM: Tell us about your television experiences? Robin: I am the only millionairess to be on Seasons 4,5 and 6 of Millionaire Matchmaker. They recently called me and asked me to be on all 13 episodes of Season 7 of the show. On season 4, I didn't really meet anyone I would like to go out with and Patti Stanger was not such a fan of me. So I figured I would just have fun with it and tell jokes and make it an interesting episode for people to watch. I never thought in a million years I would become an award-winning reality TV Star. I get recognized 30 times a day. It's hard for me to go to parties without getting mobbed by fans trying to take pictures with me. Now that they air the show in 30 countries, I have international fans all over the world. It really touches my heart that so many people have reached out to me and that they enjoy seeing me on TV. Since Millionaire Matchmaker, I've been featured on Chelsea Lately, The Soup, Mob Wives, E! Super Epic TV Moments and was most recently the bartender on my favorite latenight talk show, Watch What Happens Live. I won a Soup Award in Hollywood honoring the best in reality TV and pop culture. It's probably the closest thing to an Oscar I will ever win, so I keep it displayed on my mantle in my living room at my chic Upper East Side apartment, affectionately known as "The Pink Palace.“ FBM: Who and what were your inspirations? Robin: My mom and grandma are my biggest inspirations. They taught me to live the life of my dreams and be kind to people. I really look up to Emme since she was the first plus size model I ever saw, when she graced the cover of People Magazine's sexiest people issue. I was like, wow there is a plus size woman, who is gorgeous, and it was very groundbreaking. I also love Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith because they really knew how to embrace their femininity and girl power and work their curves.

FBM: What is your most memorable accomplishment since being on tv?

Robin: I am a big believer in the power of love. For ALL people. So when they legalized gay marriage in New York, I went and got ordained online. Then I had two fans come to New York and I officiated their wedding in Times Square. I really think gay marriage should be a non-issue because it's not like it effects straight marriage in any way whatsoever. I also am about to judge my second drag queen beauty pageant in October. It's really an art form and I feel like I am not qualified to judge their pageants because these guys have better hair, makeup and wardrobe than I will ever have! Ever since I have been on TV, the gay community has really embraced me and I really feel a kinship with all of my gay fans. I also love my dogs, Bruiser and Paris Hilton. They are the spokes dogs for a new line of pet treats so as I've become a plus size model, they've become doggie models too! We love going to dog charity events that raise money for animal rescue, which is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. FBM: How did you hear about Full Blossom? Robin: My personal trainer, Charity Lynette, told me about Full Blossom. She is a plus size model and has been featured in the magazine. I really enjoy reading it because I feel like Full Blossom is on the forefront of plus size beauty, showing gorgeous girls of all body types. It's really inspirational to me to see the models' beauty, confidence and style. FBM: Who and what continues to inspire you throughout your life in general? Robin: I am really blown away by all of the plus size bloggers who have such amazing style. They are living proof that style is not a size. It's harder to put together cute outfits in the plus size world but these bloggers do an amazing job creating stylish looks. PHOTOGRAPHY BY WWW.MOMENTSBYMELLO.COM

The Wonderful World Of Robin Kassner FBM: Do you have a favorite quote or phrase that gives you extra drive? Robin: If you are a plus size woman, a lot of people don't realize what you can accomplish. What I want to show people is you can be a plus size girl and be sexy, successful, beautiful, stylish and have an amazing life. You need to start living your best life right this second. Not after you lose weight. Nobody is going to hand you success. You really need to go for it and make it happen for yourself, regardless of what people say. People in your life might try to put you down or tell you what you can and can't accomplish. I always tell people, you don't know what I'm capable of until I SHOW you what I'm capable of. I run Haute PR, one of the top beauty and fashion PR firms in the country. I own a pink apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I drive a pink Mercedes. I have 2 of the cutest dogs in the world, Bruiser and Paris Hilton. I'm a reality TV Star. Had I listened to people who said I could not accomplish these things, I would never have become who I am today. Don't listen to people who say you can't do it. Just do it. You are already ahead of the game if you go for it because most people lack the confidence to go after their dreams and turn them into reality. FBM: What obstacles have you had to overcome while breaking into the "industry"? Robin: I never imagined I would be a plus size model. I'm only 5'5'' and have boobs and a butt. Most of my beautiful plus model friends like Ivory May or Whitney Thompson are close to 6 feet tall and are a size 12 and for many years, that was the only body type that was prevalent in the industry. I really love how now there is so much more body diversity in the plus size model space. My two favorite plus models who are curvier girls are Tess Munster and Rosie Mercado. Plus size clothing consumers want to see models who look like them on major modeling campaigns so I see the industry shifting and changing to accommodate a variety of plus size models out there. FBM: In times when you felt like giving up, what kept you motivated? Robin: When you have bad times in your life, and you think things will never get better, it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But you know what? Life just keeps getting better and better! You will have bumps in the road but you must realize these are temporary setbacks, not permanent obstacles. When life gets you down, you just need to know that life always gets better and sometimes the bad times are in our lives to teach us things and make us appreciate when life is good. FBM: Tell us something interesting about yourself? Robin: I'm bubbly and lighthearted on TV so most people don't realize how intelligent I am. I'm a blonde with a law degree so called me "the real-life Elle Woods who lives in a pink apartment." FBM: What advice or last words do you have for women reading this magazine? Robin: Live your best life right now this second. Believe in yourself. Confidence is your best accessory!

New Season Premiers September 16th

Photographer: E. LeBron Pryor Models: Malinda Bell "Yumyum" Sergely Mercilus "Mocha" Jezra Matthews Make-Up Artist: Aida Fernandez

NATURALLY YOU Dedicated to the Beauty of Natural Hair

My Natural is Beautiful Hey there natural diva! Congratulations, you made it! Made it though a summer thick with humidity. You walked out the house looking like Tracy Ellis Ross, and came back looking like buckwheat... but you held on. The temptation to relax your hair arose, as the humidity did, but you stood firm and resilient. I know it's been very difficult. you've tried braid outs, twist outs, wash n go, flexi curls and Perm rod curls. You tried weaves, u part wigs, invisible parts and other protective styling. You have come to "I was shy, but it terms with the fact I have been natural now for about 4 years and I love my hair for it’s came out in a big that though it is texture and that I can do personality. My high something different with it and Turning point was maintenance, look different. I love the fact that when I let my hair your very own when I walk into a room I represent go naturally" natural hair is what is means to be natural. I -Tracee Ellis Ross beautiful. You can't wait for the day when being I use Shea & Virgin have decided to be patient, loving natural is the normal thing and not Coconut enriching the different thing to do. hair lotion, Olive and caring to your I use Wonder Curl products and 4 Oil gel for styling in hair because it's Naturals by Bonner Brothers my hair. yours. You -Mocha -Jezra decided not to compare your hair with anyone else's, but you'd love it because it belongs to you. We are very proud of you. keep up the good work. -Tasha Andrews Photographer: E. LeBron Pryor Models: Sergely Mercilus "Mocha" Jezra Matthews Make-Up Artist: Aida Fernandez

"While many (not all) believe black natural hair is ugly and unmanageable; I accept its presence because is an indication of majestic pride and self-love. Hair, beauty, and body image can be spiritually uplifting and liberating once a woman believes internally that the Creator doesn’t make mistakes..." "I use Olive oil, Shea butter, Cantu Products, and I also love the Taliah Waajid Hair Care Line". -Malinda Bell "Yum Yum

Photographer: E. LeBron Pryor Models: Malinda Bell "Yumyum" Sergely Mercilus "Mocha" Jezra Matthews Make-Up Artist: Aida Fernandez

FBM: What is your name? Ivory: Ivory May Kalber FBM: What is your most memorable experience since being a model? Ivory: Copenhagen fashion week!!! I walked in the most amazing show for Zizzi, a Danish line that makes super fashionable clothes for plus-size women.

FBM: Do you have a nickname? Ivory: I usually go by Ivory May and my closest friends call me Ives FBM: If you could use only one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why? Ivory: I can't choose just I'll say real and beautiful. I'm very real...I say what's on my mind, I have confidence and I truly value being honest and real with myself and others. Beautiful...I know that word is overused and women usually shy away from saying they're beautiful, and that's exactly why I say it. My body isn't perfect, my life isn't perfect, but it's perfect for me and I love it all and it's beautiful. I have done so much work to make my insides beautiful and I let that radiate...and I love creating beauty. (Not to get all deep, lol!)

FBM: How did you hear about Full Blossom? Ivory: I've seen it on Facebook and such...I always keep my finger on the pulse of everything plus size.

Ivory May

FBM: What are some of your hobbies or things you enjoy doing in your spare time? Ivory: Beach volleyball, singing, cooking, Scrabble, going to live events, being kind to animals.

FBM: Who and what continues to inspire you throughout your life in general? Ivory: All of the other plus-size models I work with. FBM: Do you have a favorite quote or phrase that gives you extra drive? Ivory: Always go after what you want and ask for more than you think you deserve, because that's what you truly deserve. FBM: What obstacles have you had to overcome while breaking into the modeling business? Ivory: Everything! It's a cut throat business.

FBM: At what age did you realize you wanted to become a model? Ivory: 9

FBM: In times when you felt like giving up, what kept you Ivory: Luckily because I have such a great team I've never felt like giving up.

FBM: Who and what were your inspirations which made you decide to become a model? Ivory: Cindy Crawford because she was curvy...and then all of the plussize models in Mode Magazine back in the late nineties.

FBM: What advice or last words do you have for women reading this magazine? Ivory: Believe in yourself, don't hold back, your dreams can be yours if you work hard.

Growing up Plus Size by Charity Lynette I was born in Tacoma, WA, grew up in Central California, and then made my way back to Tacoma to finish high school. Growing up I have never felt comfortable in my own skin, NEVER. Whether it was my weight or what I was wearing, mirrors and I were not friends. I played basketball and participated in the field events on the track team. Even though I was active I was still relatively big through high school. The college years brought on poor eating habits I was on that good ‘ole “college no fund” diet. During this time I lost quite a bit of weight because I played college basketball, not because I was eating properly. I was on the court almost two and a half hours a day, 6 days a week. Not to mention your metabolism is in your corner at the tender age of 20. While going to school, two years at Skagit Valley College in Mt. Vernon, WA and three years in Portland, OR at Cascade College, I had a friend that was a plus model and told me that I should give it try. I told her was interested but wasn’t sure where to start. We had a few conversations about it but nothing ever came of it. I kept the thought in the back of my head.

During my last year in school I had some financial aid issues and personal things that caused me to leave. I went back to California and lived with my Aunt. During this time my mother was back and forth in the hospital. Also to back track just a bit she was in and out of the hospital my last two years of college as well. She had issues with her weight that caused other problems with her health. Not to mention she was a cigarette smoker since 17 years old, a recovering coke addict, and a drinker. Eating well and exercising were definitely not her priorities. She even went through an 80 lb weight loss. But you can imagine the damage of those three habits can do to your body. During my stay in California she had a heart attack and was in ICU for quite a period of time. My intuition literally said, “Charity pack your things and go home.”

A week later I was back in the Northwest. Three months later she passed away. Now for those that have not lost a parent there is no pain that feels like it. I can imagine losing a child is similar but there is nothing like losing a parent when you’re young. I was extremely close to my mother. We didn’t always get along but we were mother and daughter. While clearing out her things I found hospital letters, diagnosis, and books that her lawyer put together for a lawsuit she had with the military. Aside from her addictions to cigarettes and alcohol, her weight contributed to her death. At that very moment I weighed 290 lbs. Three months later, I lost my first corporate job and boyfriend I thought I was going to marry. My world was pretty much upside down. I didn’t know what to do. The information I found on my mother was on my mind every day. She had things wrong that she never even told me. Reading about it after she passed made me feel horrible. I wish that I knew before but what could I have done? I got a temp job in Portland and there I met a very good friend. She and I wanted to start working and losing weight together. She introduced me to organic foods, cleanses, and the documentary: Food Inc. Naturally the documentary made me think of my mother. That was all I needed. I decided I was gong to change my life style. I wanted to live! I read a book on the Master Cleanse, otherwise known as the lemonade diet. Now this is talked about in a negative way because people use this to lose weight. I wanted to cleanse my body of toxins. Please don’t run out and do this without the proper information and do not do it incorrectly. If you read the book it will give a different perspective on the foods you eat as well as the documentary Food Inc. I decided I wanted to try it. The first time I did it I got very sick. But I liked that I couldn’t go back to bad foods. Things with too much sugar gave me headaches, food with oils and dairy products went right through me literally. So staying on track was easy. The Cleanse didn’t make me lose weight. It was my food intake that aided in my weight loss. A few months later, a friend got me a job at Bally’s and that was all she wrote! I was in the environment where people were working out every day. How could I not hit the gym? It was free! The trainers literally trained right across from the front desk where I was for 7 hours a day. I started working out and the results of my body were absolutely crazy. One of my friends said she didn’t even know I was over weight until I started losing weight. That summer a friend was putting together a fashion/talent show and asked me to participate. I was then put in touch with a plus size designer. I did the show and looking back, I was horrible. I was nervous, shy, and in utter disbelief that I was on this stage modeling. I had lost about 30 lbs and was feeling good but it didn’t show in the fashion show. Even though I didn’t do too well in the show, the rush that I got was amazing. I decided I wanted more. The same designer I modeled for used me for his website and I fell in love with doing photo shoots. I started doing my research on plus size modeling and booked shoots via Model Mayhem. I was able to get a great start and a good chunk of my portfolio came from MM.

I worked the Portland modeling scene for a couple years but wasn’t really getting as far as I thought I should be. Little did I know, New York is a whole new ball game. When I got there I will admit that I may not have been prepared for such a strong move as much as I should. But now that I am here and have experienced this place, it doesn’t matter. You will never be completely prepared for a city like New York. I was working three jobs and coaching basketball at Portland Community College. That was something that was also helping me with my weight loss. After about 10 months, I lost 80 lbs and was 207 lbs (the smallest I had ever been). I was most excited about the fact that I did it with no pills or any crazy weight loss programs. It felt so good to tell people when they asked how I did it. My reply would simply be eating right and working out. After a while, my every daily routine had me feeling like there had to be something that is better with modeling not working out the way I wanted and moving to New York. I had a college friend there that was more than excited to have me come and stay. As soon as I touched down, I immediately began networking and attending events and trying to book shoots. This city has a crazy amount of opportunity! As I write this article I find it absolutely amazing that it is almost a year to the date that I touched down in New York. When I got here never did I imagine that this would be my position today. A few months ago I met Ernest Jackson of MNS Media Group who I am currently represented by. After hearing my story he said you should be training people Charity Lynette! I knew that I wanted to be in the fitness industry but wasn’t sure how I was gong to make it come together with modeling and making a profit. Let’s face it; you have to make money at some point. Curvy Chick Fitness was born and has been in high speed ever since. The concentration of CCF is being healthy not skinny. In the process of taking care of your body you will not only lose unwanted weight but you will feel amazing. I want to inspire women to feel good about them at any size. I know what insecurity feels like. I didn’t like it for me it but I want you to know you can do something about it. We’re not all supposed to be a size 2-6 but we still need to take care of our bodies. Placing the concentration on being healthy and not trying to be skinny releases some of the pressure. I hope that my story helps you all in any kind of way. I want you to know that you can over come any obstacle to achieve what’s in your heart. If I can do it you can do it. I truly believe that. I want to always give you information and tips on how to transition to a healthier lifestyle, spotlight other women and their journey, and be a dependable support system. Please reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or just topics you want me to address in this section. If you have a question about something then, most likely, someone else does too. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing this journey together. Twitter: @charitylynette @curvychickfit Facebook: Curvychickfitness

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FullBlossom Magazine Issue 11  
FullBlossom Magazine Issue 11  

Plus Size Magazine