She’s fashionable, one of the most successful plus-size models in the industry and an advocate for plus size women. Our cover model Fluvia Lacerda opens up to Editor-in-Chief Madeline Jones about her modeling career, her view on the term “plus-size” and life after giving birth to her second child.
Maddy: You’ve been a professional model for a good number of years now. Is it still as exciting for you now as it was in the very beginning?
Fluvia: Always is!!! I’ve been able to watch the shifts the plus size industry has been through, and is still going through, which makes me incredibly excited.
Maddy: What part of “modeling” as a career do you wish you knew then? Would it have changed the course you have taken?
Fluvia: Not all that glitters is gold! That is definitely a saying that resonates in my head as the years go by. With time, I have learned that not everything is as it seems; that having a big name agency behind you does not automatically mean you’ll be busy working all the time as much as having an agent that believes in you truly does. I’ve learned that being a model isn’t just about having a pretty face or knowing how to pose, but you must be smart and be the 100% package. Being a good business person, being polished, having good gut instincts, listening and being surrounded by the right people and having the right goals are just a few of the really important things that can lead a model’s success.
Maddy: Plus size models seem to be everywhere and creating a big buzz in main stream media. How do you feel about the term “plus-size”?
Fluvia: I’ve always seen the term as a way of describing an industry. Just as a petite woman looks for labels that cater to her, a plus size woman does the same. The consumer who keeps plus size labels in business ARE plus size women. There’s nothing offensive about representing a group of women that reflects my appearance (as I really do wear the clothes), but also are just as hard working, strong, go-getters, good mothers, daughters, wives and friends like I am. It’s a mutual representation to which I hold dear and feel proud of, as I reflect them and they keep me in business as a model.
Maddy: In your travels, you meet many plus size women who open up to you about fashion, models and their own self esteem. What are some key moments that have stayed with you from meeting some of your fans?
Fluvia: The fat shaming really rips me apart. Often I hear the deeply sad and disheartening stories about the denigration of women because of their size. The feeling of despair and helplessness sticks within me continuously and in a way it fuels me to keep going as a model, as a woman who is proud of herself, who has never limited her horizons, diminished her ambitions or has ever backed down from opportunities because of my size. The fat shaming needs to end as every prejudice has been fought against. Not only the media, but also the fashion world needs to understand that there are “urban legends” about plus size women. These myths include: plus size women not wanting strong, sexy and positive representation and marketing, as well as plus size women being depressed, sad and ashamed of themselves. These myths about plus size women do NOT correspond to who we are today. This is a new generation of empowered, ambitious feminists who are taking the wheels of who they chose to be, who they look up to, and of who they want to become. Beauty standards of the past are no longer being controlled by the few who manipulated them to be so. This is a social media savvy, open minded and well communicated, diverse, intelligent and opinionated driven group of women, who are setting new standards of change, fashion, buying power and body image.
Maddy: You just had a child a few months ago and were back into the modeling scene a few months later. Can you tell us about life as a new mom?
Fluvia: It’s not easy, but not as impossible as some seem to perceive. I went back to work when he was only 2 months old, as millions of mothers end up being forced to do in order to work and survive. So putting things in perspective, I chose to see that I’m lucky to be able to take my child to work with me to most of my jobs, a fortune that sadly most mothers don’t have.
Maddy: You also have a teenage daughter. Can you tell us about how important it is for us to be body positive examples to the younger generation?
Fluvia: I often say that children learn by example rather than just words alone. My daughter is now 14 years old and I try to talk to her often about the pressures the media places over women’s minds about body image. It’s difficult to insert ideals of a free mind, in order to raise an independent thinking girl when the pressures of media and society in general push so hard against anything that is positive and constructive. I try my best and I like to think that my work has a positive role in helping her value herself above and beyond determinations set by others.
Maddy: We have never seen an influx of aspiring models as we have right now all over the world. What are the 3 key pieces of advice you would give them?
Fluvia: 1) Be humble, because the ego game is only entertaining for a while. People eventually get tired of it. 2) Be professional. We all have personal problems and struggles, but it’s never a good idea to bring them to work. 3) Be kind. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with time is that we should never pass judgment on others based on what we see at first glance or hear through others. You really don’t know the struggles, truth or reality others go through. So don’t judge.
Maddy: How would you like to see the fashion industry change?
Fluvia: I would love to see more plus size brands walking during fashion week and in all different parts of the world. Also, let’s see more ‘REAL’ plus size models working for plus size labels and average size models working for brands that go up to the average size. Average and Plus Size are different. The public will be less confused and plus size people will be less offended when they are marketed to properly.
Get to know Fluvia:
1) What do you listen to when working out?
“From Beyoncé to Metallica. Anything to put me in a hyper mood.”
2) All time favorite band?
3) Your guilty pleasure
“Uncle Eddie’s chocolate peanut butter cookies”
4) If you were not a model, what would you be doing?
“Working as a translator at the UN.”
5) One thing most people do not know about me.
“That I grew up in the Amazon jungle.”
You can check out our latest issue, our Love Your Body Issue, with Fluvia in the cover, here.