Today marks four years since Mia Amber Davis-Yard passed away from complications of a blood clot in her lungs following knee surgery. Mia was best-known for her work with Ashley Stewart, Monif C, being the face of Jill Scott’s Butterfly Bra, a cameo in the movie “Road Trip” and serving as Creative Editor-at-Large for PLUS Model Magazine. Every year, we honor Mia with a special tribute because she is never forgotten and her legacy lives on.
When we think of Mia, we think of how she laid the groundwork for all of these amazing things that are now happening in the plus side community. We’re sure every time a plus size woman posts an image online of herself in a swimsuit, Mia smiles and her heart swells with pride.
Mia didn’t invent any of the current body positive movements nor was she the first plus size model to hit the fashion scene. But the person that she was and what she embodied when she was alive, paved the way for the changes that we are now seeing in the fashion community. More body acceptance, more diversity overall and more confidence seen from women all over the world. Mia stood out in the crowd from her beautiful smile and her statuesque beauty to her kind, genuine character. She touched the lives of every single person she reached, whether you knew her personally or from afar.
Women like Mia make us feel that it’s okay to be happy at the size we are now. She was the epitome of confidence, never giving up and going after your dreams with a smile on your face. She was someone who inspired others by just being herself. And that’s the message that is so passionately evident now, four years after her death. So many women are fighting for their right to love themselves as they are and see more size diversity in the world. We’re sure that if Mia were still alive, she’d be in the forefront of it all, encouraging women to keep pushing for that right to be seen and accepted because to her, beauty wasn’t about size but about who you are. Just being YOU.
Mia was a muse to designer Monif Clarke, being one of the first visibly plus models that Monif used to model her designs. Monif still continues to be a leader in that aspect of not being afraid to use larger models and giving those models as much shine as their thinner counterparts. Mia believed there was room for all of us; different sizes, shapes and colors.
If Mia were alive today, we could see her being featured in Lane Bryant’s #imnoangel campaign or being on her own “Beach Body” ad. We could see her talking to young women today, encouraging them to embrace their own uniqueness and see their beauty. She would tell them that they are enough, just as they are. We’re sure she is giddy at the popularity of social media movements such as #celebratemysize, #honormycurves, #effyourbeautystandards, #wearethethey, #plussizeconfidence and so many others.
We could envision her yelling out “YESSS!” when size-22 model Tess Holliday got signed to a major modeling agency or seeing all of these plus size women doing yoga and other amazing things that we have been told for so long that we couldn’t do because of our size.
Mia left us too soon. This much is true. But her legacy lives on in every single woman who takes a chance and posts her picture in her favorite outfit for all to see. Her spirit lives on in every woman who celebrates her stretch marks and other flaws because it is all part of who she is. Her heart is with every single woman who struggles daily with self-love but has the strength to get out of bed, leave the house and face the world.
“Mia was more than a model, she was a woman who lived with integrity and passion. She was a role model to many and was admired for her inner and outer beauty. Many of the changes we are seeing in the plus size industry are a result of what Mia started and we will never forget that.” ~ PMM Editor-in-Chief Madeline Jones
Mia’s legacy lives on. And we thank her for being a part of starting this amazing shift that is happening in the plus size community. Some may say that the changes are not happening fast enough or they criticize that it’s not enough. But Mia will just tell you, “Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We all have to stick together and push forward as a community. If we band together, anything is possible. Let’s celebrate the little successes because they will eventually lead to big ones.”
Yes, Mia with all her confidence, faith and hope in the world… That is what we miss the most. But her legacy will never die. Because it will kept alive as long as we never give up.
Rest in peace, Mia We will forever miss you.
Mia is survived by her husband Mike Yard, her mother Ida Davis, family and friends.