She’s the type of woman you see in the street and have to do a double take, there is just nothing ordinary about this statuesque beauty; yet her platform for diversity in fashion has brought to her a very generous fan base of plus size women. She’s determined, passionate and sexy all the while making people around her feel like they are old friends. Newly signed with one of the most well known boutique agencies in the plus size industry, Liris is set to blaze the modeling and film industry.
Maddy: Most models I have interviewed are at a different place when they begin their careers than you were. Tell me about how you got started in the modeling industry.
Liris: I got started by taking some pictures in Baltimore with a photographer named Robert Stephens & makeup artist, Carla Williams; they shot my 1st test pictures. I went to two Models Search America conventions. The first time I got four callbacks from Michelle Pommier, Elite, Seventeen, and Zoli. They all thought I was great but they wanted me to lose weight. So I went on this crazy diet and when I attended the second convention, but I got less call backs after losing the weight. After that I moved to New York from Baltimore to do commercial modeling. I stopped by Model Search America just to let them know I was in town and they sent me to Wilhelmina; they worked with voluptuous women and they signed me that day! The rest is Full Figured History!! I always pushed my agenda of putting curvy models on the pages with straight size models and it’s paid off! I did a long, great stint with Wilhelmina but I recently left and joined Dorothy Combs Models. They’re such go-getters!
Maddy: You have worked outside of the plus size industry and crossed over into other areas. Can you tell us about your work outside of the industry?
Liris: I have worked in music videos, commercials, TV & film! Some of my early memorable roles were in Jay Z’s “Do It Again” video or as the stripper in “The Best Man”. I have really studied to become a great actress so I have also appeared on “The Wire”, “Law & Order SVU” & appeared in some short and indie films that have toured the film festival circuit. The most recent is a film called “Abidjan”; please Google for the trailer. I also love to host! I plan on having my own interview talk show soon, but for now I do live events, websites and DVDs.
Maddy: Most people probably do not realize you’re a signed plus size model. What are some of the things that you wish people knew about models or plus size models in particular, that they do not know?
Liris: Well I think most don’t realize the warped thinking of the fashion industry. Plus models start from a size 8 these days, up to a size 20. Most have proportionate curves and are nicely toned. I wish they knew that more. Curves are beautiful in numerous sizes! I’m tall and proportionate but yes this is a sexy 14! It’s all there!
Maddy: How do you keep your size 14 silhouette in such excellent shape?
Liris: I try to follow a low carb diet and when I want something “bad”, I have it, but just don’t over do it. You can have almost anything in life with moderation. I also do high interval training with a program called NYLean25. It’s a 25min workout that I do 3 days a week.
Maddy: Body acceptance is a huge subject among the plus size community – what is your personal story and your advice about loving yourself, soul, body and mind?
Liris: I recall a modeling agent years ago saying if I could binge and purge myself to a size 4, I could work all the time. I thought “what a jerk” and “who wants to miss out on the beauty of food” LOL! I realized that God made us all different and unique; we can’t all be a size 4. I love my curves; I love the skin I’m in! There’s only one LIRIS and there are people who love me curves and all. We all color the world with our different hips, lips, hair colors, style of dress. BE YOU!
Maddy: You are an avid tweeter – how do you believe social media has helped the models and what are your tips to models that are using social networks?
Liris: I have to go back to being YOU again. People can see through the “BS”. I think a lot of my followers on twitter love me because I’m an open book and I photograph my life as it happens.
People love to see how you think or see the world; it endears them to you. Follow that up with promoting your modeling jobs and other work; hook them with your hobbies as well. Lots of men follow me for my sports tweets. I’m a tomboy at heart.
Love to shop at: Bebe, Ashley Stewart, Forever 21 & lil boutiques
My all time favorite movie is: Coming To America
I see myself as: Lover and a fighter
Favorite type of music? Neo Soul
One thing most people do not know about me is: I’m a preacher’s kid