The Runway Diva Says. . . Is an online advice column for aspiring models. As a 20 year veteran of the fashion industry as a plus sized model, I have found in my travels that most aspiring models, no matter their size, don't have a clue of the tools needed to become a successful model. Hopefully, I can help make their journey a little easier. Please Email me your questions to

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance Feedback

Hello Sharon,

Thank you so much for your word of encouragement. I check your site almost everyday and just found out that you’re in LA right now and the boot camp has begun so the final ten have been chosen. Can you give me any feedback or constructive criticism regarding why I wasn’t chosen to be a part of the competition? I view every experience as a learning tool and would be so grateful if you would take a minute to send me your thoughts. If it helps I was a part of the final round of young ladies in Seattle in the green dress and I sang an original piece during the first round of interviews that I was so glad that you gave positive feedback on.

No matter what I am so grateful for the opportunity and the boost of confidence that this competition has added to my life for the last couple of weeks I have been so proud to know that I made it to the next round out of so many women that could have been chosen. I will never forget the moment when my number 1364 was called, never. God Bless and I hope you can respond when you have time. I’m looking forward to the online competition!


Hi Angel!

Thanks for writing....I wish I could say to you that I remember who you are....but I honestly don't (By the time we got to Seattle we had already seen nearly 2000 women.) So please don't be offended if I don't remember you, But because I don't remember what you look like....I don't think I can give you the answer you are looking for as to why you were not chosen.

What I will say is this: It all depends upon whatever producer you happen to interview with. Ask yourself a question:

Did I do my absolute best?

I ask this of all of the women who approach me with this question. And surprisingly once they go over the audition in their heads....they realize that they could have either done more or done it differently or better.

The selection process was less about your outer beauty and more about you and what you had to do (or are doing) in order to become the person you are (or want to be). Yes, being beautiful helps....but there are NO shoo-in's me on this one. There is no talent segment of the show but we always ask folks if they have a talent that is a part of who they are.....then we definitely want to see it....but it neither helps nor hinders the selection process. I am glad that you walked away from the audition on a positive note....that is the whole purpose surrounding MFC.....loving and celebrating the unique and beautiful individual that YOU are!

So whatever you did this year....go back and review it and see what you can do to make it even better and make yourself really stand out in front of the producers next year. But keep it honest and stay true to yourself... i.e....if your story is not a sad one.....Then DON'T try to change it into one....feel me? One more thing....because there is such a high volume of women who come out for the have about 30 to 45 seconds to get their (the producers) attention....make yourself POP!!!!

I hope that this helps you a bit and I look forward to seeing you next year for the castings for MFC 2007.

Please feel free to email me with any other questions you may have and if you send me pictures of yourself, I can take a look and give you my thoughts if you are interested.

And remember to be sure to tune into the Oxygen Network on July 15th for the premiere of Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance 2006!!!


Hello Sharon,

Thank you so much for your comments. I have to be honest and say that there was more I could’ve done and I’m glad though I have sad stories I didn’t want to make that day about them. I am glad about the confidence this opportunity gave me and recently sent a demo to Los Angles with pictures. I never wanted to take pictures before, but I kicked some out with no hesitation because I have so much talent, love, and gifting stored within me and I believe that God is setting me up in different places where I am going to be able to share it soon enough. Thanks to Monique for such a great idea with creating this pageant and thanks to you for paving the way for so many big beautiful woman. This experience also prompted me to see a nutritionist and makes me want to be as healthy as I can be, not skinny, but healthy! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to respond.

You be blessed and hopefully I will see you again someday,


Information on BET's Rip The Runway Designers

Hello Ms. Quinn,

I have been searching the internet for the website for Qrystal's clothing line and can't find a thing. Please help because I saw Rip the Runway and it was FABULOUS! I was proud to be a F.A.T. girl (smile), ya'll ladies represented so well.

I didn't get a chance to see you in Mo'Nique's pageant but I'm sure you tore that up too : )

Thank you for all your help ... maybe we'll meet one day if I ever get a chace to do some modeling myself.


Hi Imani

Thanks for watching the show and her is the web address for Qristyl Designs:

The other designers featured on Rip The Runway were:

Courtney Washington (


Monif C. (


Happy Shopping and be sure to tune into The Oxygen Channel on July 15th to check me out the new season of Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance 2006!


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Getting Your "Feet Wet" On a Local Level

Hi Sharon,

My name is Tamara. I stopped you today in Harlem in the middle of the street on St. Nicholas in the rain. First, I'd like to thank you so much for being so pleasant due to the fact that I ran up on you like the police. I'm sorry I just had to speak with you. I am an aspiring model and I've gone through the basics of the beginning stages. I want to really get some experience on the local level and I wanted to know where to find such opportunities. Are there agents dedicated to finding plus models work?

Please stay in touch and if you need an intern or someone to just help you carry your bags( sort of like an armor bearer for the pastors at church) I would like to extend my availability. Any practical first hand experience or exposure to the modeling world would be appreciated.

All the best,


Hi Tamara,

Thanks for contacting me, I remember you and I am assuming that you were the driver of the car (because the passenger didn't say too

I am curious as to what you mean by " I am an aspiring model and I've gone through the basics of the beginning stages."

What exactly are you considering "the Basics of the beginning stages?". As for training on the local level....I would consider you checking out the following sites:

The Plus Academy - - This is a sort of "school for aspiring plus sized models". There aren't many of these places in NY that offer as many courses as The Plus Academy. I often lecture there and my series is called "Modeling 101 - The Basics" and is a definite "Must" for anyone who is thinking about becoming a plus sized model. My suggestion to you is to definitely take that course....I am basing my statement on the question in the email...."Are there agents dedicated to finding plus models work?" My course will explain to you everything you need to know to get started.

De'Voe Signature Events - - This is another web site from the owner of The Plus Academy. She often has events, lectures, shows...etc for plus sized women and will keep you informed on what's going on in the plus sized community.

I don't want to overload you with too much information all at these two sites should be a good start for you.....

Note: I don't know how serious you are about beginning your career...but I will tell you this...there is a LOT of work involved and a lot of money that you will have to spend... and if you are not dedicated to "making it happen" it won' please give it some serious thought before throwing your hat into the ring!

I wish you nothing but the best and please keep me informed of your progress!


ps - as for the intern position.....I have nothing available right now but I am sure that I will need one soon. Please stay in touch with me!

Modeling Advice...Do I Have What It Takes?

Hello Sharon!!

I am Dyann C. #2606 from the Fat Chance Contest on Tuesday. You indicated during my interview that I can contact you for some help and advice in my pursuit of plus size modeling.

It was so good to meet you last Tuesday!! You are as nice and beautiful in person as you were on TV. I saw Rip the Runway on BET last week and saw the pictures from Monif C.'s web-site. You really looked great! You are a very stunning woman, but I know that you already know that!

To date, this is how far that I have gotten in my pursuit of modeling. September 2006 I went and had my comp cards done in NYC. I have since sent them out to modeling agencies in NYC. So far I have been on 2 meetings with Modeling Agencies and they both seem interested, and said they will let me know if anything comes up for me. So far I have not heard anything back. I also went to Las Vegas in December 2005 for Model Search America, I made some contacts, received some experience in walking the runway, took several seminars on the business of modeling, hair tips, etc. and I met a lot of great people in the process but again no work came out of that. I know that I have to be patient, but I also just want to be sure that I am doing everything that I need to be doing right now. I would appreciate any advise or help that you can give me. You have been there and look how successful that you have became, You Go Girl!!

I still have my fingers and toes crossed waiting to hear back from the Fat Chance contest. I am so excited and thrilled to have made it this far!! I want to go all the way!!! Monique is such a huge role model for me and she really started a great movement here with this contest and her speaking out for all the Big Girls!!

I attached 5 of my professional pictures. Let me know in your opinion if you feel that I have potential.

Take Care.

Looking forward to hearing from you,


Hello Dyann

First of all thank you for all of the wonderful compliments....they are MUCH appreciated. As for Fat Chance 2006, we just wrapped up taping this years show, so we thank you for your participation and hope to see you at next years casting. Now on to your question:

I had to think long and hard before I responded to your question.....but I always try to be honest with my advice...

I looked at your photos and I think you are quite striking...quite! I am not sure of your stats..i.e. height/weight...but you seem to be a tall girl. I also notice that your problem area is the same as midsection. I would recommend a few things....

1. Purchase an EXCELLENT foundation (body shaper/girdle) and never leave home without it. You do not appear to have one on in your photos and it doesn't look as neat and sleek as it could have. Remember that this is a BUSINESS that you are trying to enter and you always want to put your best foot forward.

2. I recommend that you try to come down to at least a size 16-18 (I am assuming that you are tall). I tell any and all potential models that if you try and wait for the industry to come to you, you will probably miss your shot. Therefore you're going to have to go to them...meaning you need to get down to the acceptable size parameters if you are really serious about in NYCng a career in modeling. If this is truly what you want to do....then do what ever you need to do to get what you want!

3. The other thing that jumped out at me about your photos was that it was all very....RED!!! Because you have that beautiful red hair...I felt like you didn't need red makeup and certainly not red was way to over powering. Try testing some more and choose a variety of different colors and looks.

4. If you are not leaving the agencies without some sort of contract in hand, then the "seem to like me" comment is a nice way of them saying is a don't call us, we'll call you" or..simply put..they aren't interested. Go back and work on getting yourself in better shape, test some more then come back and try again. I don't know where you are located but there is an excellent place in NYC called The Plus Academy (, I teach seminars there and my "Modeling 101 - The Basics" is a definite must do for all aspiring models.

Thanks for writing and good luck in your career...please let me know how it goes for you.