There is a great quote that I love, “You can only know where you are going if you know where you’ve been.”
Miss Sharon Quinn is best known as The Original Runway Diva! Before the current rise of the plus size models of today, there are a number of models who paved the way with Sharon being one of them.
From model to entrepreneur, learn about how Miss Sharon Quinn created her Second Act.
For those that do not know you, you are a former plus-size model seen on various runways and campaigns. Can you tell us about how you got started in the modeling industry?
I began my career in the early 1980’s with a Brooklyn based Modeling Troupe called Maria’s Big Beauties, honing my skills on the local fashion circuits. I sharpened my essentials walking in shows in the Tri-State Area (NY-NJ-CT) and up and down the East Coast. I was offered a contract to one of the big agencies at the time but after further thought about our conversation, I decided to decline the offer. I worked locally until 1995 when I won a local Model of the Year competition, sponsored by Maybelline Cosmetics. I won a trip to Paris and upon my return I got my first cover and shortly after that I signed with Wilhelmina Models.
What modeling jobs do you remember most fondly?
Ahhh this is an easy one… That would be the gig I booked with a London based catalogue group. They flew me over to Manchester, England for the fittings and then to the Island of Cyprus for the actual five day shoot. Cyprus was hands down the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. They treated me like a queen and paid me the most money I had ever made in my career AND they booked me an extra day! I will never forget it.
How has the modeling industry changed since you began?
The lines are being blurred. The thing that stands out the most for me is the lack of training & skill set and the complete and total lack of interest in learning. Social media is definitely one of the main reasons for these changes. Everyone thinks that they can learn any & everything by watching a YouTube video or following an Instagram page, so they think they can skip valuable & necessary training to master their craft. That fact that there is something called an “Instagram” model is completely mind boggling to me. Most (the models of today) don’t have a body of real work, nor do they know the history of the people who came before them and paved the road that they walk down so easily now. It makes me sad.
Transitioning in the industry is the key to longevity. As the host and creator of ‘Model Behavior with Sharon Quinn’ what are you hoping to accomplish within the next five years?
That is absolute truth! Transitioning and knowing when it is time to begin it. It is my hope to have my show picked up by a major network or cable station and then expand it to an hour long show, so that I can spread knowledge to anyone who has a dream that they’d like to make a realization but they don’t know where or how to begin. I also have two other dream projects that I am putting together but that’s all I’m going to say about that for now.
You look AMAZING and I love your style. What does Ageless Style mean to you?
Thank you! I appreciate the compliment! For me, Ageless Style means being comfortable in the skin you’re in. Not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks about how you live your life. For most people, it can take a lifetime to reach & maintain this kind of mindset, because people will try to make you feel bad about yourself if you allow it. For me, I had no choice (lol), I came here a big girl in a small world and I had no choice but to be comfortable with who I was and how I looked (tall, long arms & legs with big feet) because that’s what I was blessed with. I had no choice but to learn how to make it work for ME.
How would you describe your style?
Hmmm….I guess the best word would be eclectic. I often can be found off searching the beaten path for clothing. I don’t consider myself to be trendy at all. I am drawn to bright colors & crazy prints along with some of the “classics”. Most importantly, I wear clothing from my head down to my feet that makes me happy and is comfortable! It’s not important to me how YOU feel about what I am wearing but how I feel in it. Because if I feel good in it, that’s what will emanate from my pores and that’s what I want people to see when they look at me.
What tips do you have for women who are not entirely comfortable with themselves as they are getting older?
First thing to do is to acknowledge you that you WILL get older. That’s life and there is absolutely no avoiding it, so why not go into it gracefully? No one holds on to their youth forever and most who try to end up looking like science projects. Getting older does NOT mean it’s the end of the world for you….For a whole lot of y’all…it’s going to be a new beginning! Hell, aside from Hot Flashes & occasional mood swings, I am enjoying this part of my life immensely! Get plenty of sleep, eat better & exercise (and yes…I am still a work in progress on that last one) and take care of your health because it is KEY to SLAYING after the age of 50! Get a glass of your favorite cocktail and celebrate YOU and LIVE GIRL!!
What practices do you follow to take care of your mind, body, and soul?
I wish I could say that I had regular “practices” but I don’t have any specific routines. I try to get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but that is often difficult when you are in menopause. I enjoy long hot baths with Lavender scented Epsom salts or I sit in the Steam room/Sauna to detox & relax with music always because it’s an additional calming effect for me. Solitude helps me calm my mind as does reading a good book by Iyanla Vanzant, she inspires me to be the best me I can possibly be and to always be truthful with myself. Lastly, I talk to The Creator, a lot.
We had a fabulous time working with Marla Wynne, what do you love most about the fashion Marla is bringing to the market?
Marla understands that as you begin to get older, your priorities change. Comfortable and stylish clothing are now important to you as a wizened woman. When you are first entering womanhood, what others think is really important to you, so you will sacrifice comfort for fashion. When you fully become a woman in mind, heart & soul, you understand what the truly important things are. When you look good and you feel good in your clothing, life is wonderful. Marla gets that and delivers every time! And her accessories are THE BOMB! Now if I can just get her to throw in some bright colors life would be complete…
What are your tips to our younger counterparts about growing older gracefully?
First order of business? If you have not done so already… Get yourselves a FLY/FIERCE/STYLISH fairy Godmother/Aunties to mentor you and guide you on how to handle what’s to come down the pike (because hate it or love it IS coming) and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to manage the transition. After, you find her…do yourself a favor and be a sponge. Watch, Listen, Learn & Absorb all that you are being taught. You millennials have a tendency to flub off really good advice from folks who have already been in your shoes, because you think they are old and couldn’t possibly empathize or understand your experiences. You would be wrong on that. They’ve already done it and gotten past it. Listen and pay attention.
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Photos by Luke Jones
Makeup by Tara Taylor
Fashions Marla Wynne
Shop the new collection and join her on February 8th on @HSN