April 2007 Issue – Mia Amber Davis Talks Misconceptions, Staying in Shape and the Tyra Show
On the set of a photo shoot Mia Amber Davis can be seen giving a wide eyed “would be” model words of encouragement and a soft smile.
It’s this humbleness and quiet strength that sets this multi talented beauty apart.
Mia Amber Davis talked from the heart and opened up to PLUS about modeling misconceptions, staying in shape and the Tyra Show. Join us in getting to know this phenomenal woman…
[Maddy] I love the blog on your myspace page for aspiring models. What do you think is the biggest misconception with aspiring models?
[Mia] I think the biggest misconception for plus sized women interested in modeling is that everyone can do it.
On myspace (www.myspace.com/mia_amber) women from all over the country and as far as Germany and the Netherlands have sent me photos of themselves telling me that they want to become models. I never, ever discourage anyone from following their dreams but many of these women really need to take a look at the industry and how they measure up physically. Your body should be in proportion, great skin, nice teeth, etc.
And I’ll say it again in this forum… Ladies please stop submitting naked photos of yourselves in hopes of becoming a model. I love how confident you’re feeling about your bodies but no one needs to get to know you that well for an open call/photo submission!
[Maddy] How do you keep yourself in shape? Do you follow a strict regimen? What is your favorite form of exercise and why?
[Mia] I love exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise! Walking and group dance classes are my favorite ways to keep it together. Exercising can be so serious and I like to have fun with whatever I’m doing. So, even if I do take a class at the gym or spend time on the elliptical machine I try to have fun. Using music is a great way to do that.
I no longer follow a very strict diet regimen because I am in the maintenance phase of my lifestyle change. My original weight loss regimen allowed me to get to this size relatively quickly (and healthily) and I have currently maintained my goal weight for two years.
[Maddy] Has the skinny ban affected you as a plus size runway model? Do you feel you have booked more jobs?
[Mia] People know that I am very outspoken about plus size issues, equality and the power of the plus size woman in general. Since the ban has gone into effect I have been sought out for my opinion and appeared on, “The Tyra Banks Show,” “UPN 9 News,” “Inside Edition,” and FOX’s “Good Day Street Talk.”
[Maddy] For those readers who find you familiar but can’t place you – where have they seen you before?
[Mia] I first came on the scene as “Rhonda” the full figured co-ed in the Dreamworks comedy “Road Trip.” I have also been seen in national campaigns for Ashley Stewart stores.
[Maddy] At what age did you know you would be in the entertainment industry?
[Mia] I don’t think there’s a time that I ever thought I wouldn’t be apart of the entertainment industry! My mom enrolled me in dance classes when I was three-years-old and I loved being on stage and entertaining people. I’d also write stories and act them out for my mom. Television commercials have always been my favorite and as a little girl I’d act them out in front of a mirror. I’ve never wanted to have a regular 9-5 job. As a child I’d watch NBC’s Sue Simmons and dream about doing her job.
[Maddy] How did you prepare during your younger years for your career? How long have you been in the entertainment industry?
[Mia] My 10 years of Ballet school were a great help in getting me out there and creating a stage personality. The composure I’d have to have as a ballerina varied greatly from the attitude I could give as a Jazz dancer and the incredible whimsy I could exude as a tap dancer.
When I was in Junior High School I went to an open call for “The Cosby Show” and I got called back. It was my first audition and I was so excited and nervous! I wasn’t discouraged when I didn’t get the part but I was motivated to get on camera.
I auditioned for a television show that was produced within my school called “Kids Magazine” and I landed my first gig as the Fashion Reporter. Through that show I also landed bookings as a voice over artist. If you count those childhood experiences then I’ve been doing this forever!
It was during Junior High that I started gaining weight and feeling self-conscious. I started working in television behind the camera (ultimately as a producer) but I didn’t go on another audition until I heard about the national search for “Rhonda.”
[Maddy] Many of us watched you on the Tyra Banks Show when Tyra confronted the tabloids about her weight. You handled yourself very well but I feel like the viewers did not get to hear everything that you were trying to say to the 88 pound model. Could you elaborate on your thoughts…?
[Mia] It’s crazy how many people watched that episode of Tyra — I’m still getting emails about it! On the streets and on sets it’s the first thing people want to talk about with me! I still haven’t seen the show so I’m not sure how much of our conversation was edited out.
The point I was trying to make on the show is that you should love yourself for the person you are right now — not the person you could become if you were five pounds, 50 pounds or 150 pounds lighter.
I felt that the underweight model on Tyra was on a suicide mission to love herself. At 88 pounds she was dieting to get down to 80 pounds. At 76 pounds her family stepped in the model’s own words, “That’s how she got to be 88 pounds and fat.”
She was also in denial and it was scary to watch her try to defend her sickness. We had a long talk off-camera and she told me that she did see similarities between herself and another woman who appeared on the show who was suffering from anorexia. My fear was that other young women watching the show would think that starving themselves was a great way to lose weight and be beautiful. Loving yourself enough to nourish your body is okay.
The most common comment I get from people is that “If she’d called me fat I would have slapped her!” I didn’t get upset because too many people have said these words…
Does that make me less of a woman? No.
Does it make me a horrible person? Nope.
I love myself and I love my body.
I worked very hard to reach my weight goal and maintain this new lifestyle. It was a very difficult decision to try to get healthier and an even tougher road to get here. This is the “thinnest” and healthiest I’ve been in my adult life and I feel fantastic! So, to take it back to the old school… sticks and stones may break my bones but calling me fat will never hurt me!
[Maddy] We hear that Calvin Klein and Michael Kors are coming out with a plus size clothing line. How do you feel about this? Is this a sign that the fashion industry is finally taking plus size fashion seriously
[Mia] I hope so. Fashion giants Tommy Hillfiger and Ralph Lauren have had plus size lines for years with little or no fanfare (or advertisements.) I’ll believe that they are taking us seriously when the fashion industry starts readily incorporating and acknowledging us in all aspects of their marketing and presentations.
[Maddy] Do you have a personal or industry mentor?
[Mia] Well I highly respect the opinions of the divas who have come before me. Lisa Scott and Sharon Quinn are huge mentors to me whether they realize it or not! I trust their opinions and value their critique. I also admire their tenacity, longevity and powers of re-invention.
On the celebrity front I am a great admirer of Queen Latifah and Tyra Banks and the way they have used their talents to create Brands. I hope to one day follow in the path they’ve laid.
We want to thank Mia Amber Davis for opening up to our readers. We wish her much continued success.