Sometimes you see a model and you just know she is something special. I recall seeing a photo of a beautiful and exotic young model a few years ago on a plus model forum; The photo was taken by the incredible photographer Sita Mae Edwards. The girl was the makeup artist on the set of Sita’s shoot that day, and at the insistence of Sita and the model she was shooting, she nervously posed for Sita. I made a mental note to be on the lookout for her in the future.
Fast-forward to more than a year later, and I see this gorgeous and sultry curvy model on the homepage of Hips and Curves, and immediately recognize her as the model that Sita had shot. That model was Denise Bidot. Since then, Denise has gone on to become undoubtedly the most recognizable face (and figure) for Hips and Curves lingerie. Recently the career of this unique beauty has started to skyrocket, and PLUS Model Magazine had the chance to sit down with her in person and find out more about who she is, and how she feels about her newfound success.
When she breezed into the L.A. restaurant where we met for the interview, I was immediately struck by her natural good looks. Her photos are very representative of her beauty in person. She was warm and friendly, and as we started our conversation it was more like chatting with an old friend than doing an interview.
Denise’s exotic beauty certainly lies in her heritage, as she is a mix of Arabic and Puerto Rican descent, and hails from Miami. When she was a young teenager, she had acting aspirations, and her mom invested money in those dreams. At 5’8″ and 130 pounds, she was told she needed to lose weight. At one point she did a national PSA for the Partnership of Drug Free America, and she was proud to have booked the job when she had been told she was “too big” for acting work, but getting more work proved difficult.
She spent several years hanging around with the young Hollywood/Disney crowd (let’s just say she had some extremely high profile friends) and she decided if she was not in front of the camera, she would be just as happy behind it. She just knew she wanted to be part of the entertainment industry. Denise became a makeup artist, and it was here in L.A. that her interesting segue into modeling came about.
Denise was working as a makeup artist on “The Tyra Banks Show” on an episode called “The Panty Party”. This episode featured plus models in their bras and panties. It was during the filming of this episode that Denise did the makeup for plus model Robin (Cricket). When Robin asked Denise to do her makeup for an upcoming shoot with Sita, Denise jumped at the chance.
Not long after her photos with Sita were shot, Hips and Curves expressed an interest in shooting with Denise. When she finally did go to meet with them, she let them know she was expecting a baby. They went ahead with the shoot, and the rest is history! Denise has gone on to shoot with the well known lingerie company many times, and is a familiar face to their many customers and fans.
But even after shooting with Hips and Curves, Denise still had no idea where to really go from there. She was interested in getting an agent, but she was a bit afraid of rejection and also uncertain who to go see or submit to in the first place. She continued to do freelance work for other companies when she could, and soon she was regularly shooting for the online plus apparel company Sealed With a Kiss (SWAK), and testing with photographers like Kevin Bailey.
It was at this point that I suggested that PLUS do a feature on Denise, and just at the very time I pitched the story, I found that Denise had been signed to both Brand Model and Talent in Southern California and Heffner Management in Seattle! Finally her time had come, with a recommendation from our Editor, Maddy!
Which brings us to the present. When I asked Denise how she felt about being considered a plus model as a size 12, she had no qualms about it. Even though her size had been an issue those years ago when she first considered acting, she herself had never had a problem accepting her size or her weight. She had watched her mom struggle with her own weight, and in her mother’s struggles, she found acceptance in her own body, as she saw how hard it can be to change or fight what you are naturally meant to be.
Denise fills her life with all things fashion. She calls herself “boot obsessed” (indeed she was wearing some fabulous ones the day we met!) and is also crazy for Juicy Couture, (she used the term obsessed here as well!) even using a Juicy bag for a diaper bag! She was never aware of all the fashion for plus sizes that were out there until she started modeling, and she loves companies like Torrid and SWAK because they give great trendy and fashionable options for younger plus size women and teens. Denise has even started designing a plus swimwear line (she shared some sketches, very cool!) with a very vintage/40’s feel. Her own style choices run the gamut from 60’s to punk rock and she considers Marilyn Monroe her fashion icon.
She feels the plus size fashion world is “starting to get it,” but is still learning. When recently hired to do fit for an apparel company, she was surprised to learn that prior to having a live model do fit, they simply added 5 inches to everything for their plus sample. After she began working with them they realized that just making it bigger does not mean it will fit properly. I quote Denise here, “I mean, what plus woman has wrists that are 5 inches bigger than a straight size woman? Ridiculous!!!
As for dieting and working out, she loves to dance, but does not consider herself a health freak. She loves to eat and also has a “cupcake obsession,” and loves to watch Paula Deen and The Food Network.
Personally, Denise is the proud mom of one and a half year old Joselyn, and being a mom is the most important thing in her life right now. As she models and does makeup full time, she is happy to have a flexible schedule to be a mommy and spend so much time with her beautiful daughter, and her fiancé, and she says it was “totally love at first sight” when they met.
I had to ask Denise about her sexy image. Her shots for Hips and Curves are so hot and steamy that I wanted to know if she found it easy to pose, as she looks so very natural. She let me in on her secret; when she shoots she is usually dancing! Her fave CD to groove to when shooting? “Back to Basics” by Christina Aguilera! Everyone on the team at Hips and Curves made her feel comfortable, from her very first shoot with them, and for that she will always be grateful, as she feels that they gave her the confidence to model and feel sexy at the same time. Sometimes she is SO sexy that when she shoots with commercial fashion clients like SWAK she has to remember to smile and tone it down a bit! She told me a story about a shoot with SWAK where she was so used to winking and making sexy faces that the photographer had to laugh and ask her if he had really just seen her wink at the refrigerator in the studio! She also had to let me know that stylist Reah Norman, (who styled the recent SWAK shoot) has the BEST song list for posing on her IPOD.
What is in the future for this rising star? She is looking forward to beginning great relationships with her agents, and seeing what is out there. Her dream job would be to walk for a high-end designer in Fashion Week, or to model for Juicy (of course!) Whatever this gorgeous girl does, you can be sure she will make it hot!