Fluvia Lacerda came on the modeling scene a little over five years ago. Contrary to popular belief the industry did not immediately open its arms to her… her “exotic” look deterred some clients from giving her a chance. Through perseverance and determination Fluvia has proven herself to be one of today’s most known faces among the plus modeling industry. Since our first cover she has been seen modeling for Fashion Bug, Catherines has been on numerous television shows and most recently conquered her own country of Brazil by posing for an editorial in a national magazine due to come out later on this year.
[Maddy] How long have you been modeling and how did you become interested in the plus modeling industry?
[Fluvia] I started modeling about 5 years ago. I was not aware of plus size modeling until an editor from MODE Magazine came up to me in the city one day and said that I should look into plus size modeling.
[Maddy] What steps did you take to work on your modeling skills and your portfolio?
[Fluvia] I believe “testing” is the most important thing you can do as an aspiring model. But more important than that is knowing your body and what poses and angles work best when you’re shooting.
[Maddy] Most aspiring models think that obtaining an agency is always fast and easy. How long did it take you to obtain adequate representation across the US?
[Fluvia] I believe a couple of months after my first test I was signed but I continued visiting other agencies in order to be represented across the US.
[Maddy] What was your first modeling job and what did you learn from the experience?
[Fluvia] I believe it was a shoot for a line called Bacca. I remember it being so hectic for me, so many people running around doing make up, hair, taking care of lighting. I had a lot of fun and it gave me a bit of understanding of what a set and the environment of shoot was all about.
[Maddy] How have you seen the industry change in the last five years?
[Fluvia] I think a lot has evolved. For instance you have PLUS Model Magazine’s success which helps show how much ground the industry in general has gained. Having a plus size model win America’s Next Top Model is a great push to the whole body acceptance movement and the fashion industry. Designers like Jean Paul Gautier and Galliano putting curvaceous models on their runways have certainly made a statement.
I’ve noticed new agencies developing plus size divisions as well, which is great. Although there are many challenges in the fashion industry, like clothing companies pulling plus sizes out of their stores, the good news is that we have private designers that design just for us.
[Maddy] What is your advice to aspiring models?
[Fluvia] With so many scams going around, information is your best bet. Research; try to find out the legitimacy of every, and any offer that comes your way. Once you have a good agency, test frequently, keep a good work out regimen to keep your body toned. This is just as important as keeping pearly white teeth, clear skin and beautiful hair.
[Maddy] You write for a magazine in Brazil. Can you tell me about your column?
[Fluvia] I write about what I know, which is the struggles of being a full figured woman in a society (there in Brazil) where is difficult to find clothes, be accepted as a normal human being and so on. I hear plus size women in the US complaining about not being able to find pretty clothes that won’t make them look frumpy and unfashionable. Well, Brazilian plus size women don’t even have that option! It makes me cringe when I go there to see women either having clothes made because stores, in 90% of the cases, carry up to 44, which I think it’s equivalent to a US 12 (GASP!)- Or wearing clothes 2 or 3 sizes smaller, which is a complete NO, NO! It’s a market that still has a long way to go compared to most countries.
[Maddy] Tell me about the way the Brazilian culture has felt about the plus size industry in the past and has this begun to change?
[Fluvia] Well, the first thing is the generalization and mockery. In Brazil the idea of having plus size models in the fashion industry is absurd. They seem to think that every single American is lazy to cook descent and healthier choices of food and work out regularly and are obese as consequence. But the reality is, in Brazil, just by walking down the streets of various cities, you’ll see the majority of women do not look like Gisele Bundchen or Adriana Lima! Most women clearly wear sizes between 10 -18. It’s a huge physiological denial! They don’t want to be that way because the media portraits it to be wrong, ugly and unacceptable.
[Maddy] So it seems like Brazilian women feel a lot of pressure to meet this “sexy” ideal body?
[Fluvia] Many women live their lives based on the need to be someone they are not at any cost. They do absurd, insane diets. Most refuse to see that they can’t change the shape of their bodies. Many go under the knife (note Brazil is the number ONE country with the highest number of plastic surgeries!) do the major nips and tucks and a few months later are right back to the beginning. I even have people in my own family who are slaves to the knife.
[Maddy] You’re a native Brazilian – how do you connect with the women still living under these conditions?
[Fluvia] I know how they feel – society in Brazil makes you feel like wearing a size 16 jeans is a national crime. Most women have known nothing but negative criticism throughout their entire lives, from parents, school friends and even work colleagues. It’s the innocent suggestions of a new diet to a mentioning a new high tech plastic surgery procedure. Therefore they have yet to comprehend the meaning of being happy with yourself, regardless of your size. When I have the opportunity to do an interview in Brazil I always try to bring points such as, as long you have an active life, try to work out at least half an hour every day and eat healthier, you should be more concern with your happiness and health rather than beating yourself up for not carrying the genetics of a size zero women.
More about Fluvia:
My favorite color is :I’m a bright, happy colorful type of gal. Especially in the winter time I’ll wear bright colored clothes! It cheers me up.
If I was not a model I would be a: Humanitarian full time volunteer. I would travel the world to work for people in suffering areas of the world.
My favorite saying is: What comes around goes around.
The artist I play most on my iPod is: Right now a Spanish band called Ojos de Brujo.
Artist or legend I admire the most is Frida, for her art, her toughness and her beauty.
Bono, lead singer from U2, because he could be enjoying his billions and not care about what’s happening to the people of Africa yet he does, he’s an advocate for the aids victims in Africa.