Today I have a very special treat for you all. As you know I am a proud supporter of body love and acceptance. I think everyone should feel happy and healthy in the skin they are in. And having been a plus size woman all of my adult life and a plus size model in my younger years I can tell you there is no career that can make a woman doubt her own body more than modeling and acting. Modeling is all about preference. There will always be someone who thinks you are too tall or short or fat or skinny or who think your hair is the wrong color. But there is also someone out there who thinks you are perfect just as you are. Finding those people can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but so rewarding.
Sometimes though someone finds themselves in modeling. They find the things they like about themselves. They find that things they didn't like about themselves are things that others find beautiful and through that learn to love themselves. The modeling industry has been changing over the years and more and more beautiful plus size women are joining it's ranks and changing the way the world looks at fashion. I'd like to introduce you to one of them.
Alessadra is a beautiful plus size model and comedienne who emanates all those things I love to see and so I've asked her to share with us her story and a bit about how modeling has changed her life.
“Fat chicks rule,” I yelled after one of the dirty boys at recess told me I could milk myself and make my own cookies. Unfortunately, I only ever claimed pride in my dreams. In reality, Bo Trahan got away with another one-liner as I shuffled my feet and mumbled my comebacks to myself; who names their kid Bo? Little did I know; a 5th grade improv comedy class would make those comebacks much louder next year.
I. Was. Awkward. I stood at five-foot three inches, 130 lbs at the age of ten. I had a C cup, I was familiar with Tampax, and I only fit into t-shirts and my mom’s jeans. Oh, how I wish leggings were around back then – not the stirrup kind from Kindergarten. I heavily relied on my sense of humor in those days. That’s what got me friends and favor. If I couldn’t be beautiful and stared at like the other girls, at least I could be, “Oh, Alessandra, yeah, she’s cool.” It’s hard to aim for more when your home life consists of, “You’d be pretty if you lost weight.”, “Just ignore the kids at school.”, “You don’t get dessert.”, and then your mom signs you up for fat camp.
Luckily, as I went into high school, boys and girls alike grew taller and larger than me. I didn’t feel like the biggest anymore -- unless we’re talking about boobs. That trophy was always mine. Bottom line, the pressure was off. From here and into college I could actually get to know myself. I found and lost my first great love, I dated around, I moved to Boston, got my degree, and changed my fashion style 15,838,393,453 times! It was glorious! But I was ignoring the fact that I was still hiding. Behind all the excitement and change was an insecure girl; sweatshirts and black tees where my home because they covered me. During intimate moments with my boyfriend, I’d want the lights off and I never allowed him to touch my belly – I never allowed anyone to touch my belly. Honestly, I was ashamed of how I looked at such a young age; big belly and stretch marks galore. My lovely boyfriend today has been with me for three years and I just gave his hands free range a year ago. Wondering what snapped? What saved my confidence? Instagram. Yeah, you heard me.
Instagram gave me life. It wasn’t long before my little IG page came across Tess Munster, the plus size model. I was floored—in shock—confused—and fucking excited! My Instagram became my little place to follow every plus size model and plus-proud page known to man. I drilled images of all types of bodies into my head and told myself, “These are all beautiful”. My brain had to be reprogrammed and it wasn’t easy! During this time, my boyfriend was photographing my headshots so I could submit for acting roles. The photos were stunning! Me? In front of a camera? Not being funny, but being beautiful?! This epiphany was much like when the Discovery Channel films a bud into a full-fledged rose before your eyes in one second. It wasn’t long before I was thinking of themed photo shoots for us to try just in good fun… and then I read a Tess Munster interview about how she became a model. One thing stood out: Model Mayhem profile. And I made one.
In October of 2013, I was selected and walked the runway for The Thicky Chicky clothing line in Boston. In November of 2013 I was chosen for a test shoot for Dede Allure clothing. In January of 2014 I modeled The Thicky Chicky clothing for their website. In April of 2014 I travelled to Los Angeles with Dede Allure to walk the run way as the first plus line ever premiering at L.A. Style Fashion Week. Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than being among hundreds of beautiful, thin models and stripping naked to get into your runway clothes with pride. Many girls ask how I did it or talk about how lucky I am; Ladies, I didn’t do it yet, I’m still doing it with a long way to go. I work a regular retail job and do stand-up comedy on the side trying to make ends meet. If you told me a year ago I’d be a plus model, an insecure Alessandra would’ve slapped you in the face, but here I am.
I’m Alessandra Grima. I am five-foot three, 185 lbs, with a 40F cup. I have stretch marks and freckles. My left ear is lower than my right and my legs are much smaller in comparison to my hips. I do not have an hour-glass figure and my ass is non-existent if I don’t do squats at the gym – the gym I go to for toning, and a strong heart, not to for punishing myself for being a size sixteen. I eat healthy and have played sports my whole life, even though ignorant people don’t believe that. This is my body and it is my identity and I love it with all of me. I guess what I’m trying to say is: FAT CHICKS RULE, Bo Trahan. Got milk?
Please hop over and follow Alessandra to see more of what she does and leave her a comment to let her know how much you loved her piece!