In just a few years Jasmine Edwards transformed herself from aspiring model to working model.
With clients such as Essence Magazine and Ashley Stewart Stores, Jasmine is sure to become a very familiar face in the modeling industry.
[Maddy] How did you become interested in plus size modeling?
[Jasmine] I didn’t know anything at all about plus size modeling until I watched the season of America’s Next Top Model that Tocorra was in. It sparked my curiosity and I started to research as much information as I could on it. I ended up joining forums on websites like plusmodels.comand curvychick.com which ended up being extremely informative. But, it wasn’t until I picked up a job working at Lane Bryant that I really thought I should take a stab at this. The women in these campaigns were always beautiful and so inspirational. They looked comfortable with their bodies, and I felt like those images sent out powerful messages. I wanted to become part of sending that type of message out.
[Maddy] Have you always been secure in your own skin?
[Jasmine] Nope! Maybe recently, but I’ve struggled with my weight, body image and self esteem for as long as I can remember – as far back as the 5th grade. I was teased for my weight and dreaded going to school some days. In high school most girls had cute bodies, and cute outfits and cute everything. Not me. I focused mainly on sports. People knew me as the big, strong girl who could hit a softball 300 feet. I was like “one of the guys”. I acted like I didn’t care, but on the inside, I really did. I wanted to be cute and dainty like a lot of girls that age were. At the end of my third year of college I hit my highest weight – it was a really hard time for me to accept that I had let myself get so big. But I got it together and managed to lose 50 pounds before the end of my senior year.
Even once I started modeling, and even after booking a national campaign with Ashley Stewart, I still continued to worry that my body wasn’t good enough. It took me time to really love and accept my body. Now-a-days, I focus more on my health than my weight or size. I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. I have an exercise regimen that I love, and I eat a diet high in fiber and protein. When I want to indulge I don’t stop myself. I’m really happy with where I’m at now!
[Maddy] You’re in great shape and your skin is flawless can you share some of your beauty secrets with us?
[Jasmine] Thank you! Well, I think my skin is far from flawless, but I try to take great care of it. I have combination skin and my skin’s needs constantly change with the weather. I’m always experimenting with different moisturizers and zit zappers. The main product behind my skin care regimen is Proactive. I swear by the stuff! It really helps to minimize really awful breakouts. I use a facial peel once a week to exfoliate and keep my skin looking fresh. I also find that having a good sweaty workout regularly is a great way to get rid of the impurities and toxins that build up on the skin and clog your pores. I try to drink lots of fluids throughout the day to keep myself hydrated. And above all, I try to keep stress levels as low as possible! There is nothing worse than getting a zit you caused by stressing yourself out.
[Maddy] We have seen you in two Ashley Stewart Campaigns. Tell me about your experience.
[Jasmine] The Ashley Stewart Spring 2006 Campaign was the very first job I booked! I had started working closely with a modeling agency and had just gotten my contact sheets from my first test back. I didn’t have a book yet, no prints, and no comp-cards but my agent felt confident enough to send me to see Ashley Stewart (with only my raw contact sheets) when they held their model casting. A few days later I got a call from my Agent that the Ashley Stewartclients really liked me and booked me for the next campaign. I felt like a seven year old on Christmas morning!! I’m pretty sure I had a goofy grin on my face for two or three days straight. On the day of the shoot, I was extremely nervous, but everyone there was so friendly they kept my mind off the jitters I had. The entire shoot was not what I expected at all. Sitting in hair and makeup for over an hour, squeezing my foot into shoes that don’t quite fit. Standing up in heels for hours on end. I remember thinking “This is really hard work!” The first lesson I learned as a plus model was: Even when you’re tired, you have to keep smiling and be really convincing. I was exhausted at the end of the day.
I remember going to one of the stores and seeing my poster hanging in the store window for the first time. It was unreal! One of the associates came up to me and asked, “Is that you!?” I didn’t know what to say. I was completely caught off guard. I nodded politely, but left quickly. I guess I didn’t handle it well, but it was just so weird!
I continued to work with Ashley Stewart many more times during the last two years doing various fashion shows and booking a second campaign. I’ve gained most of my modeling experience by working with them so often. They are a great client! I feel blessed to have been able to book a client of that magnitude for my first job. Those Campaigns are my pride and joy!
[Maddy] NY hosted Fashion week in early February. Plus size models were not represented on the catwalk. How do you feel about this and do you believe one day this will change?
[Jasmine] This is a tough one. Getting plus models on the catwalk consistently is going to be an ongoing battle in the fashion industry. We’ve had a few glimmers of hope for the plus industry, for example when Crystal Renn walked for designer Jean Paul Gaultier and Velvet D’ Amore for John Galliano. But, so far nothing has made enough of an impact to really make the concept stick. I think it will happen eventually. I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, but it surely can’t stay the same when the average size of women in the US is a size 14. I’m sure many of us would love to see Lane Bryant bring back their televised fashion show!!
[Maddy] I have spoken to a few models that are not in agreement with the term “plus size model”. Do you feel the word “plus” is making it harder for plus size models to be accepted in the main stream modeling industry?
[Jasmine] Plus size, full figured – whatever. I don’t think the word “plus” is what keeps plus models from becoming main stream. We ARE plus, in comparison to the mainstream models. We have more body, more boobs, more butt, more curves – In this instance, “plus” and “more” are synonymous. I think what keeps plus models from becoming mainstream is the attitudes of the high end designers when it comes to models with more body – “Oh no! She has hips!” Most women do, duh! When they stop being snooty about cutting and designing clothing for women with more realistic bodies, we’ll all be able to step up in the industry.
[Maddy] Who are your favorite designers and why?
[Jasmine] I’m not always up on who the hottest designers are. But, I really like Elena Miro and Anna Scholz. Both designers make amazing clothing, but I like Elena Miro because she puts together beautiful runway shows using all plus size models. And I like Anna Scholz, because she pushes the envelope when it comes to her campaigns and how she markets her clothing.
[Maddy] Many aspiring models email us asking about what steps they should take in order to pursue a modeling career. What advice do you have for them?
[Jasmine] It is very important to do your research. Educate yourself about industry and find out all you can about plus size modeling. This is a huge investment. You’re investing your time and your money and you will really be putting yourself out there. You have to be ready for hard work and be able to handle rejection. Not everyone can be a runway model; similarly, not everyone can be a plus size model. Are you the right height and a marketable size with a strong look? If you hit check for all of the above, find all the modeling agencies in your area that represent plus size models, and go to their open calls.
[Maddy] How important is “testing” to a models development?
[Jasmine] Testing is SUPER important. With every test I’ve done, I’ve learned something and taken it with me to the next one, making each test better than the last. It’s critical for a new model or a model who is still working on building her clientele to test frequently. You want to show the client that you are versatile – that you can do Fashion and Commercial… that you can be edgy and the girl next door. If you’ve got a body, show that too! Most agencies strongly recommend testing at least 2 times a year. I say, if you can afford it – do it as often as you can.
A few fun facts about Jasmine
1) If I was not a model I would be an Elementary School Teacher. 2) My favorite movie of all time is A League of Their Own. 3) My dream modeling job would be walking for Elena Miro in Milan for Fashion Week. 4) People would be surprised to know that over the last 4 years I have lost a total of 85 lbs.