Getting To Know Our Cover Models Jennifer Maitland and Laura Wells
Get to Know Plus Model Jennifer Maitland
Every now and then I come across a model that is just “different”. I met Jennifer Maitland a few years ago when she came to test with Luke, and there was something so genuine, polite and “real” about her, that we never forgot her. Through the years I’ve run into her smiling face at events, and Jennifer has always remained the same. Someone that carries a happy energy around her and represents the vision we have when we say “plus size model”.
Maddy: Tell me a little about yourself.
Jennifer: I’m born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale. I graduated from Florida State University with a degree in marketing. My favorite hobbies are scuba diving, fishing, playing volleyball ,horseback riding and shopping!
Maddy: How long have you been modeling? How did you get started?
Jennifer: I’ve been modeling for 4 years. My cousin is a model and she mentioned that I should try it. After College I began working with an agency in Miami and began a modeling career. Not too long after, I packed my bags and headed to NYC to see if it would work out and I’ve been here ever since.
Maddy: Coming to a big city can be overwhelming how did you adapt to your new life as a model?
Jennifer: Adapting to model life in the city was pretty easy. I lived in a model apartment when I first moved to NY; which is where I met a great group of models who are still my good friends to this day.
Maddy: You have been working for a few years now; can you tell me about some of your most memorable clients?
Jennifer: I work with so many amazing clients. But some of my personal favorites would be a Canadian client; Penningtons. We do a lot of location shoots at the most beautiful places and the whole team is such a blast. I also enjoy working with Kohls because the people there are so fun and sweet; and make my job that much easier.
Maddy: As one of very few size 16 models on an agency board, how do you keep your curves in such good shape?
Jennifer: Keeping my curves in shape has been fairy easy for me. I’ve played sports my entire life which has helped, and I workout 3-5 days a week doing spinning and weight lifting.
Maddy: With models getting younger and smaller, do you feel pressure to get thinner?
Jennifer: I really don’t ever feel pressure to be thinner. I mean, I’m a plus size model so I have to be exactly that. If someone doesn’t like it then too bad, as long as I continue to work at my size then there’s no pressure.
Maddy: How do you keep your self-esteem so positive?
Jennifer: I keep my self-esteem positive basically by not caring at all what people think. If someone doesn’t like how I look, then don’t look at me. Ha! Ha! That doesn’t mean I don’t have insecurities, I just tell myself “who cares, everyone has flaws!”.
Maddy: What are your top 5 modeling tips for aspiring models?
Jennifer: My 5 tips for aspiring models would be: to not care what people think, stay true to yourself, always have a positive attitude, don’t complain, and have fun!
Jenn’s Most Fav’s
My favorite movie is dirty dancing
Dance Music, Hip Hop or House? Hip Hop
I love to shop at thrift stores for clothing
I wish nothing from the 80’s would come back in fashion.
Stilettos or flips flops? Stilettos
Yankees or Mets? Yankees
One thing people don’t know about me is: I’m a great juggler!
Get to Know Plus Model Laura Wells
She is the dark haired bombshell that has been heating up the Australian Market and now she is here, in NYC, ready to live out the next chapter of her life. She’s smart, beautiful and has a mature grasp on how the industry navigates. Possessing this winning combination, Laura’s journey seems bright!
Maddy: For those that do not know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Laura: I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia in a surfing town on the beach. Growing up in Australia is very conducive to a sporting lifestyle and I was always, and still am, very active participating in a variety of team sports. I spent a lot of time at the beach as a youngster and was a member of my local surf club, swimming club, soccer clubs, water polo team, rowing team and netball team. Although I am not living in Australia anymore I still have a lot of hobbies. I love snowboarding and I stay continually active by going to the gym! I love traveling and this job really helps fill that urge, I don’t think I have spent much longer than 9 days straight in my NYC apartment. It has been crazy!!
Maddy: How did you get started in the plus size modeling industry?
Laura: I got started in plus size modeling through my sister. Courtney is a straight size model and was in NYC seeing agencies when she was 14. I came with her for support but kept getting asked if I was a plus size model. I was completely shocked. I had never thought about modeling at all as I was studying at university and modeling was my sisters forte’. I declined the offers, I was not at all comfortable with myself. I didn’t realize at the time that curves were an asset, I always felt that I was much bigger than most girls and I honestly didn’t even know that plus size models existed. When I got back to Australia my “mum” contacted BGM models, without me knowing, and set up a meeting. I went along and got signed with BGM on the very same day. I started working two weeks later!
Maddy: Seems like the Australian plus size market is really booming; is the plus size modeling industry in Australia different now than it was when you began modeling?
Laura: The plus size industry has grown exponentially in Australia within the last few years. When I first started modeling there really weren’t that many brands catering to the fuller figured woman, especially ones that were fashionable. The market in Australia has had a huge turn around within the last few years and I think that is attributable to the fact that the average size of a woman in Australia is a 14-16 (US 10-12), and that companies are acknowledging this fact and witnessing a gigantic hole in the market place. The fact that there has been a boom in the plus size industry in Australia, I think, is also due to the Australian government creating a set of guidelines for the promotion of healthy body image in the media. These guidelines help to show the Australian public that the wafer thin model is not the norm. It allows the plus size models to do a number of editorials in high profile magazines such as Cosmo, Madison and Cleo. This also helps to reinforce to the public that ‘normal’ and ‘beautiful’ come in all shapes and sizes.
Maddy: We shot you for the February cover, your very fluid in front of the camera and relaxed, can you tell those new models reading your interview, how you achieved this comfort level?
Laura: I only became comfortable in front of the camera when I became comfortable with myself. When I first started booking jobs and I was very unsure of myself and my body. It wasn’t until I realized that my body and my curves were beautiful, that I became very comfortable and fluid in my work. Once I accepted my body for what it was I definitely became more relaxed in my work, and I also started dressing differently to show of my shape. By dressing to show off my curves I learned exactly how my body looked and knew how to move it accordingly, in front of the camera. I would also practice posing in front of a mirror, just so I could see what I looked like doing them. Sometimes you like a pose, and you think it will really work or look really sexy but it ends up looking plain old stupid, so it is definitely worth practicing first so you get the most out of your shots on the day!
Maddy: You decided to move to the Big Apple and are now signed with one of the most reputable modeling agencies in the world. Tell me about how you are feeling right now.
Laura: I was completely shocked and ecstatic on the day I got signed. I really only came to NYC and to the agency to see what they would say, I never for one minute thought they would offer me a contract on the spot. It was a little surreal. I have only really now been working in NYC for the last few weeks. My first casting in NYC made me feel a little giddy and I thought ‘holy crap I am actually a model in NYC, the fashion capitol and most enviable place in the world, how the hell did this happen’? This was never the path I had planned for myself, but for now it is great. I am having an awesome time and I think the unexpectedness of my career and where it could take me is a good thing. I like spontaneity and the chameleon lifestyle I lead right now.
Maddy: I know you have only been in NY for a few weeks but what are you looking forward to experiencing most during this new chapter in your life and career?
Laura: I don’t really have a plan for my next chapter, I am just taking it as it comes. Everyday, week and month brings something new and in this industry you can’t really count on anything. It is completely up and down and slight sideways most of the time. I’m just grateful for the work I have had, and have got right now. It is a tough cookie to crack this modeling business so as long as I am working, I am happy. And eventually if it all falls over, I have my degrees to fall back on and I will take up a job as an Environmental scientist which was my original planned profession.
Maddy: When you were leaving the set, you looked super cute! What are your favorite brands and do you consider yourself a “fashionista”?
Laura: I love clothes, I don’t know if I would call myself a “fashionista”, but I love to feel good in whatever I am wearing. It’s a lot easier being in NYC to express yourself through your fashion and to experiment with more controversial fashion trends than it is in Australia. I feel like in NYC, I could wear absolutely anything I wanted to and not feel uncomfortable walking down the street. I do kind of follow fashion trends but I like to stick to items that show individuality as well. I like to wear really fitted clothes, as these tend to show my shape off a lot better. I have a little waist so if I wear big, flowing clothing I can look like I am wearing a big sack and nobody wants that. I love clothes from Zara and American apparel and French connection. I seem to have a wardrobe full of black, and full of dresses, although it is only just recently that I have been wearing jeans and pants. I never felt like I could pull them off, but I have recently found a jeans brand, Embody Denim, that do the best jeans for full figured women ranging in size US 2-24, they are amazing and you can buy them online!
Maddy: What is your advice to aspiring models who want to make it in the industry and eventually make a move to the US?
Laura: I would tell any of the girls wanting to make it in the industry to be confident in who you are. Don’t change yourself for anyone or anything. You will always come across negativity and criticism in this industry; it is part of the job. You really have to grow thick skin and know that if you don’t get a job that you shouldn’t hold it against yourself; it just comes down to the fact that you weren’t the right fit or what they were looking for. You need to be happy with yourself, and know your body and how it looks inside and out. Practice, practice, practice and be proud of yourself and what you achieve. Negativity shows through in any circumstance so stay positive and just do your best. The industry is small and there are a lot of girls out there so do what you can and always have a back up plan.