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, January 02, 2009

A New Year, A New You!!

"What you have accomplished in the past is a much stronger example than talking about what you are capable of doing in the future. Actions do speak louder than words!"
- Catherine Pulsifer

Happy New Year Family!

A new day has dawned and a new year is upon us. Despite the gloomy economy, 2008 managed to be a stellar year in accomplishments for and by plus sized women around the world. Among the highlights:

In Fashion:

• Toccara became the first plus sized model to appear in the pages of Vogue Italia.
• Crystal Renn became the first plus sized model to make the cover of and get a 14-page layout in Elle Italia.
• Plus Size Designer Abby Z. opened her flagship store in Soho.
• Milan opened Fashion Week with designer Elena Miro’s plus sized collection.

In Music:

• Jordin Sparks won an American Music Award.
• Jennifer Hudson, Maiysha, Jazmine Sullivan & Ledisi all received Grammy nominations!
• Rolling Stone Magazine declares Aretha Franklin “The Greatest Singer of All Time!”

And in Television:

• DeShawn Snow manages to come out smelling like a rose on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”.
• Mia Amber holds her own against Janice Dickinson on “The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency”.
• Whitney Thompson becomes the 1st Plus Sized Model to win on “America’s Next Top Model”.
• The Plus Model Episode of “Made” wins a Daytime Emmy for the series!

And a few disappointments:

• P. Diddy & Rip The Runway 2008 – After unsuccessfully trying to eliminate the plus sized showcase from the show; producers cut the segment down to 2 minutes 37 seconds (from start to finish) making the most popular segment of the show the shortest segment in the history of the broadcast.

• Wyclef Jean – Who had the nerve to believe (and say) that 200 1bs. would actually break a damn stage!

• Essence Magazine’s Plus Size Issue – Came and went without so much as a whimper.

• Rosie Live! – Well I’m not gonna waste anymore space panning this one…the critics already did a real nice job of that.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”
- Edith Lovejoy Pierce

The world is changing right before our eyes, with a new president set to take office in a few weeks; along with a first lady with a vision….change is most definitely on the horizon. With every New Year comes a new chapter in our lives. Perhaps this would be a good time to rethink some of the ways that we’ve viewed things regarding our careers this past year.

Take a moment and ask yourselves:

• What worked for me last year and what didn’t?
• What do I toss and what do I keep?
• How do adjust my view and attitude to make 2009 more successful than 2008 was?
• How do I become a better plus sized model in 2009?

The answers to all these questions and many others lie deep inside YOU.

This year I challenge you to:

• View your career achievements positively rather than negatively.
• Highlight your accomplishments and
• Examine your missteps,
• Pinpoint your mistakes, correct them and
• Learn from them immediately.
• Visualize where you see your career going this year.
• Put together a “to-do” list for yourself and then cross of each goal as it’s reached.

Get out of your own way. Get your finances in order, plan ahead and make smart, intelligent choices in regard to your career in plus modeling. Reinvesting in your career is a smart choice (i.e. - When you get a nice payday, set aside a percentage to cover your next shoot/test).

Don’t hate. Be genuinely happy when something good happens for someone else. Take comfort in knowing that your turn at bat is right around the corner.

Talent alone won't make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: “Are you ready?”


• Preparation is KEY!
• Do your homework.
• Use the Internet to research everything about modeling thoroughly.
• Listen to good advice when it’s given to you.
• Hone your skills.
• Don’t get stuck in a rut.
• Be flexible and willing to reinvent yourself whenever necessary.
• Diligence and persistence are essential for success.
• Be READY for success when YOUR turn at bat comes.

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better person.”

~Benjamin Franklin

A New Year, A New YOU!

The first day of the New Year is like a rebirth of sorts. Like a clean page, a blank slate or a chance to start anew. All the sins of excess on Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years Eve are forgiven today.

Lol…Resolutions are a beautiful thing aren’t they?

This year make a pledge to leave the past in the past. Forget the petty dramas and messes from 2008. It is time for a new focus. We have to challenge ourselves to think outside of the box and move forward. As you can see plus sized women are moving mountains and forcing the industry to change it way of thinking. The good thing about change is that it tends to have a ripple effect across the board. Resolve to make the changes that will work best for you.

The realization of my life hit me over the head in April 2005. That was my “wake-up” or “Aha” moment. It was the moment that I sat at my desk and realized that the very ordinary life that I was living for the last 20 years couldn’t POSSIBLY be the life that the Creator had mapped out for me. I KNEW in my soul that I was special and destined for great things. And I knew in that moment that I would never get them sitting behind that desk comfortable in my regular paycheck & benefits. I knew I would never get all was waiting for me by being afraid to step out on faith and live. I vowed to follow my dreams in that moment and I have never looked back. Has the ride been terrifying? Absolutely. It has definitely been the scariest ride I have ever taken but I wouldn’t go back to my old life for all the money in the world.

Is your life feeling a little bit stale to you? Do you feel like you’re on a treadmill going nowhere? Resolve to try and do things a little differently this year.

• Go ahead and make that promise to yourself to lose that extra 10-15 pounds (I know I am!),
• Blow the dust off that Billy Blanks DVD and get that body moving.
• Get a partner to work out with if you’re not a self-starter.
• Resolve to drink more water and get more sleep.
• Update your book and/or pictures if necessary.
• Start thinking about new healthy ways of eating.
• Remember to take a 15-20 minutes of “Me” time for yourself once a day.
• If that’s too daunting for you – start small; take a short, brisk walk after lunch or dinner but do SOMETHING.

Commit to being the best YOU that you can be. I am rooting for you all! The time for “Unity in the Plus Community!” is right now! Make 2009 your best year ever!

Peace Love & Prosperity in the Coming Year!