Our Interview with Wyinnetka – A Plus Size Model Not Ashamed of Being Called “Plus”
She’s considered by some, the Naomi Campbell of the plus size industry because of her striking good looks and longevity the modeling industry. With countless campaigns, an Essence Magazine cover and years of experience behind her, she remains thankful and genuine about who she is, and the life she’s been afforded. It’s a pleasure to sit and talk candidly with Wyinnetka, a plus size model that is not ashamed to be called “plus”.
Maddy: How did you get started in the modeling industry?
Wyinnetka: My mother put me in a charm/modeling school when I was a young girl. I was completely fascinated with models and watching models on television. The charm school taught us how to be young ladies but also how to walk the runway and we would compete in competitions against other schools.
Maddy: Were you a plus size girl at the time?
Wyinnetka: No I was straight size, and I did a few things locally after the charm school experience but I did not actively pursue it.
Maddy: So at which point did you enter the plus size modeling industry?
Wyinnetka: I was working at a hair salon as a receptionist. I love sweets and I had gained a little weight and my friend would always joke around and say “you should be a plus size model”. One day this woman walked into the salon to get her hair done and she approached me and said that if I was interested in modeling I should call Susan Georget at Wilhelimina in New York.
Maddy: So, when you met with Susan, did you even know what you were walking into?
Wyinnetka: I knew nothing! I was totally green – did not have a clue about what to wear to a meeting with an agent or what to bring. I remember being nervous and excited at the same time.
Maddy: What happened after you met with Susan?
Wyinnetka: She gave me great feedback and signed me on the spot. Over the years Susan became more than just a good agent, she helped develop me as a model. She took a lot of time with me and would show me pictures in magazines of what she wanted me to have in my book and really gave me the tools to succeed.
I could have left Wilhelmina and went to other agencies that were scouting me but the primary reason why I stayed was because of Susan and the relationship we had developed.
Maddy: Once you got signed, how long until your first booking?
Wyinnetka: My first job was with Essence Magazine, and it came pretty quickly after I signed. I worked with the magazine consistently for that first year. I was the first plus size model on the cover of Essence Magazine.
After being in the magazine so many times I became a local name in my hometown and I was interviewed on the radio and for newspapers. I wish I was as comfortable speaking publically then as I am now, back then I would literally hide or run from the spotlight.
Maddy: Before I was in the industry I remember seeing you in numerous campaigns for Ashley Stewartand on the awning of the store. Models don’t normally work as long as you have, and your career shows no signs of stopping. How have you been able to maintain such a wonderful career?
Wyinnetka: I know I have been blessed, and I have thought about this so much lately. I think about where I came from and where I am now and I just thank God that I’m able to do what I love. My mom passed but when she was alive she pushed me and was always in my ear telling me that I could do it.
I know there are fresh faces coming into the industry all the time but I try not to think about that and just stay focused on what I’m doing.
Maddy: You’ve always been one of my favorite models and considered you the Noemi Campbell of the plus size industry, without the attitude. You have incredible staying power and you’re a memorable and relatable model.
Wyinnetka: Thank you that means so much to me, really.
Maddy: How has the industry changed since you started modeling?
Wyinnetka: The models are very small now. We used to all be around the same size but now I walk into castings and I has to ask if I’m at the right place because it looks like I’m in a straight size casting! LOL! I’m a fuller girl and like many of the models today, I wonder where the plus size modeling industry is headed. When I was smaller, I remember customers recognizing me and telling me that I was so small to be a plus size model and I was smaller but not that I have been in the industry for a number of years I understand what those women meant.
Maddy: Some plus size models are being quoted as saying that they do not want to be called plus size models. How do you feel about that?
Wyinnetka: The term plus size does not offend me at all. I think that everyone knows there are straight size and plus size models and even if we are just called models, we are still NOT straight size. I think that models that are not plus size do not want to be called plus size, because they are not.
Maddy: I totally agree and this is why we are such big fans of yours. We wish much continued success in everything you do.
Wyinnetka could be reached at www.dorothycombsmodels.com