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Interview with PLUS Cover Model Ruth Leysa Interview with PLUS Cover Model Ruth Leysa

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Interview with PLUS Cover Model Ruth Leysa

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It’s the year 2020 and a new decade has begun for all of us, and for Ruth Leysa her journey has led her right back to NY and a thriving modeling career. 

When you follow your journey what is for you will be yours, and Ruth Leysa is a shining example for all aspiring models looking to level up in 2020. Get to know more about our beautiful January 2020 cover model…

Interview with PLUS Cover Model Ruth Leysa

What are the three things most people would not know about you?

  1. I have a degree in Business Management and Marketing
  2. I’m the founder of the empowerment program for young girls “Viva La Chica!” 
  3. I lived in New York for years and never considered modeling. It all happened once I moved away! 

We know you are originally from Puerto Rico. How have you seen the plus-size industry evolve on the island?

One of the coolest full-circle moments of my life was when I got invited to be a speaker at a curve conference in Puerto Rico. I would never have imagined seeing a celebration of diversity and inclusion happening in the place where so many times I was discriminated against and rejected. I am happy and proud to see how much the island has grown in this aspect, but we have much much work to be done yet.

We have many aspiring models who read PMM and most would want to know how you got started in the modeling industry.

As a teenager, I always wanted to be a model. I took modeling, makeup and etiquette classes but the opportunity was never given to me. At age 28 I was perfectly happy with my corporate career, but something stirred in me when I saw an ad to become the face of a plus-size brand. I knew I had to try… one last time. Long story short, that casting at a mall landed me a spot at the top 10 of the competition and they flew me to New York to walk an official show at the NYFW. A confident wink at the end of my walk and I was scouted by Wilhelmina Models, proving once more that God’s time is perfect and #WhatIsForYouWillNotPassYou. 

For most of us who have done any modeling, we learned a lot about what being a model is and what it’s not… what are three tips you can offer to aspiring models looking to take their modeling careers to the next level?

  1. Prepare yourself – If you aspire to become a model you need to prepare yourself physically, financially and mentally. Plus-size doesn’t mean unhealthy. You will work long hours, run around like crazy from casting to casting, and your body needs to keep up with it. Financially… because nothing is free, you will need to pay for test shoots, flights, traveling expenses, etc. And mentally… because being observed constantly is hard, internet trolls are real and comparison is truly the thief of joy!
  2. This is a real job – When you become a model you do not become all of a sudden… royalty. You are just another employee of the client. You do not get to be treated differently and you do not make anyone else’s job harder. You go in (on time!), do your thing, be grateful to everyone there making possible for this to be your job, and go out. 
  3. NETWORKING – I cannot emphasize this enough! If you want to be in this industry you need to be present. Conferences, cocktail parties, brand launches, fashion shows, etc. If none of these are happening near you… social media is your best friend! Join groups, follow influencers, follow models, etc. Be present or be forgotten. 

This month we are celebrating LIVI ACTIVE by Lane Bryant, who offers amazing athleisure and workout clothing for women size 14 – 28. How do you incorporate movement into your lifestyle?

I just finished a #Last90Days challenge where I challenged my online community to move their bodies at least 30 minutes each day. Walking the dog, playing with the kids, taking a walk around the block, etc… not to lose weight but to live a healthier lifestyle. Now that the challenge is over I plan to keep myself active by attending my kickboxing classes at least 2-3 a week and running through airports! LOL 

Follow Ruth Leysa

IG: @RuthLeysa 
FB: Ruth Leysa Santiago
Agency: Wilhelmina NY 

[divider]PHOTO CREDITS[/divider]

Photographer:
LucasPictures

Makeup
DollHouseXpress
Vanessa Andrea

Styling
MOC Styling
Gess Pugh

Production
Madeline Jones

Set Assistant
Paris Alexandra

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May 16 Edition – Our Favorite Plus Size Style Moments Of The Week

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Style Moments of the week

Plus Size Fashion Inspiration from YOU! Our fabulous readers share plus size fashion inspo on Instagram!

…Want to share your style inspo? Click here to follow us on Instagram and hashtag your pictures with #CelebrateMySize. You may be featured on our Instagram page or website.

@tonsablush

@loralyee

@schmoalert

@sabrinastyled

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@ikoniknikole

@wagyu_beff

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Remembering Mia Amber Davis: A Pioneer in Plus-Size Fashion

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Remembering Mia Amber Davis: A Pioneer in Plus-Size Fashion

Remembering Mia Amber Davis: A Pioneer in Plus-Size Fashion…

Thirteen years have passed since the world bid farewell to Mia Amber Davis, a beloved figure whose vibrant spirit and unwavering advocacy for plus-sized individuals left an indelible mark on the fashion industry. Mia’s sudden departure at the age of 36 sent shockwaves through her family, friends, and the fashion community, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and uplift.

Mia’s journey was one of resilience and determination. Born with a passion for modeling and acting, she fearlessly pursued her dreams despite the challenges that often accompany unconventional beauty standards. Her magnetic presence graced the screens and pages of entertainment, most notably in the cult classic film “Road Trip,” where she fearlessly challenged stereotypes in a memorable love scene alongside D.J. Qualls.

Yet, Mia’s impact extended far beyond the silver screen. As a trailblazing plus-size model based in New York, she shattered boundaries and paved the way for future generations of curvy models. Her work transcended mere representation; it was a testament to self-love, confidence, and empowerment. Mia’s advocacy for body positivity resonated deeply with audiences worldwide, earning her the adoration and respect of countless individuals.

In the wake of her passing, the fashion industry mourned the loss of a true icon. Madeline Jones, editor of PLUS Model Magazine, encapsulated the collective grief, expressing how Mia’s absence left a void that could never be filled. Mia’s commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusivity was not just a profession but a way of life—one that touched hearts and inspired change.

Though Mia’s time with us was cut short, her legacy endures through the countless lives she touched and the barriers she broke. Her journey, marked by triumphs and challenges, serves as a beacon of hope for those striving to embrace their unique beauty and pursue their dreams against all odds.

As we reflect on Mia Amber Davis’s remarkable life, let us honor her memory by continuing her legacy of acceptance, kindness, and unwavering self-belief. Though she may no longer walk among us, her spirit lives on in the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to know her, reminding us to love ourselves fiercely and unapologetically, just as she did.

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May 9 Edition – Our Favorite Plus Size Style Moments Of The Week

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Style Moments of the week

Plus Size Fashion Inspiration from YOU! Our fabulous readers share plus size fashion inspo on Instagram!

…Want to share your style inspo? Click here to follow us on Instagram and hashtag your pictures with #CelebrateMySize. You may be featured on our Instagram page or website.

@panamakish

@felicityhayward

@nizzymacc

@danielle_nekole

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@whatkaliwears

@tiffythefashionslayer

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Unveiling the Power of Self-Care Rituals: Insights into Mental Wellness

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Unveiling the Power of Self-Care Rituals: Insights into Mental Wellness

Unveiling the Power of Self-Care Rituals: Insights into Mental Wellness…

For some of us stress seems to be an inevitable companion, and prioritizing mental health has become a crucial aspect of our lives. As the spotlight on mental wellness intensifies, individuals are increasingly turning towards self-care rituals to nurture their minds and souls. In this exploration, we delve into the realm of self-care practices, unveiling their significance in promoting mental well-being.

Self-care goes beyond pampering oneself with occasional treats; it embodies a holistic approach to nurturing our mental, emotional, and physical health. It encompasses activities that recharge our batteries, soothe our souls, and rejuvenate our spirits amidst life’s demands.

Discovering the Tapestry of Self-Care Rituals

  1. Mindfulness Meditation: Engaging in mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing exercises can help anchor our minds to the present moment, fostering a sense of calm and clarity amidst chaos.
  2. Nourishing Nutrition: Fueling our bodies with wholesome, nutritious foods not only sustains physical health but also nurtures our mental well-being. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into our diets can bolster our mood and energy levels.
  3. Creative Expression: Whether through art, music, writing, or any other form of creative expression, channeling our inner creativity can serve as a therapeutic outlet for processing emotions and fostering self-discovery.
  4. Physical Activity: Regular exercise not only benefits our physical health but also has profound effects on our mental well-being. Whether it’s a brisk walk in nature, a yoga session, or a dance class, moving our bodies can release endorphins, alleviate stress, and enhance our overall mood.
  5. Digital Detox: In an era dominated by screens and constant connectivity, unplugging from digital devices and immersing ourselves in offline activities can provide much-needed respite for our minds, allowing space for introspection and relaxation.
  6. Quality Sleep: Prioritizing adequate sleep is paramount for mental health and overall well-being. Establishing a bedtime routine, creating a restful sleep environment, and practicing relaxation techniques can promote restorative sleep and enhance cognitive function.

Embracing self-care rituals isn’t just about indulgence; it’s about cultivating resilience, nurturing self-compassion, and fostering a deeper connection with ourselves. By prioritizing our mental well-being and incorporating self-care practices into our daily lives, we empower ourselves to navigate life’s challenges with grace and authenticity.

As the discourse around mental health continues to evolve, integrating self-care into our collective consciousness is imperative. By embracing self-care rituals as a cornerstone of our lives, we not only prioritize our mental wellness but also contribute to the creation of a culture that values compassion, authenticity, and holistic well-being. So, let’s embark on this journey of self-discovery, one self-care ritual at a time, and pave the way for a brighter, more resilient future.

In the tapestry of self-care, let us weave a masterpiece of mental wellness—one nurturing gesture, one mindful breath, and one compassionate act at a time.

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What are your favorite self-care rituals? How do you prioritize mental wellness in your daily life? Join the conversation on social media and share your insights!

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SwimStar All Stars Partnership With Renowned Plus-size Model and Swimsuits For All Ambassador, Denise Bidot

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SwimStar All Stars Partnership With Renowned Plus-size Model and Swimsuits For All Ambassador, Denise Bidot

Inclusive Swimwear Brand Collaborates with Prominent Plus-Size Model Denise Bidot to Empower Aspiring Models

Swimsuits For All, a pioneer in inclusive swimwear, proudly introduces its inaugural SwimStar All Stars campaign in partnership with renowned plus-size model and Swimsuits For All ambassador, Denise Bidot. This collaboration marks a significant milestone, nearly a decade following Denise’s groundbreaking “Beach Body, Not Sorry” campaign with Swimsuits For All in 2015, which showcased unretouched imagery aimed at promoting unapologetic confidence.

Denise Bidot and Swimsuits For All have jointly unveiled the SwimStar All Stars nationwide search, dedicated to discovering emerging talent in the realm of swimsuit modeling. Encouraging aspiring models to share their personal narratives, the initiative aims to inspire women of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes. Following a rigorous selection process, Brittany Wilborn, Camryn Henry, and Sharon Clawson emerged as the chosen winners. In January 2024, these models embarked on a transformative journey to Harbour Island, where they had the unparalleled opportunity to shoot alongside Denise under the expert direction of internationally acclaimed photographer and director, Ben Watts.

Reflecting on the initiative, Denise Bidot remarked, “This was a truly exceptional opportunity to celebrate the diversity of plus-size models and cultivate an atmosphere of support, empowerment, and knowledge sharing. The camaraderie on set was palpable, and I am deeply honored to impart the wisdom and insights I’ve garnered throughout my career. Opportunities like these are scarce for plus-size models in the industry, and it has been a privilege to collaborate with the exceptional team at Swimsuits for All to bring this campaign to fruition.”

The models showcased the latest swimwear offerings from the Swimsuits for All 2024 collection, featuring innovative designs tailored to meet the diverse needs of women, including:

Feel-good Fits: Addressing common concerns such as tummy bulges and fit issues, Swimsuits for All offers a range of fits designed to instill confidence and comfort in every body. Incorporating features like Power Mesh for a smooth, flattering silhouette, and adjustable straps for customizable support, the collection caters to various body types.

Bold Prints & Colors for Summer: The summer swimwear collection boasts vibrant colors and captivating prints, injecting excitement and personality into beach and poolside attire. From vivid neon hues to tropical motifs, the collection encourages self-expression and style experimentation.

Liquid Shine: Introducing Liquid Shine, a striking swim fabrication characterized by a glossy, liquid-like finish, adding an edgy allure to beachwear. Available in multiple silhouettes, including bikinis, Liquid Shine ensures you stand out with confidence.

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Bikinis that Suit You Best: The Mix & Match Bikini collection offers a personalized approach to swimwear, allowing individuals to mix and match colors and silhouettes for a bespoke look tailored to their preferences.

Beyond showcasing inclusive swimwear designs, the SwimStar All Stars campaign embodies a celebration of women uplifting one another in an industry often marked by competitiveness. Throughout the week-long shoot, models engaged in one-on-one sessions with Denise, fostering meaningful dialogue about the evolving representation of plus-size bodies in swim and fashion.

Jordan Hauser, Senior Director of E-Commerce & Marketing, expressed, “This campaign transcends conventional notions of body positivity and representation in the swim and fashion industries. It is a testament to the power of storytelling and authenticity in reflecting the diverse experiences of our customer base. We are committed to fostering a movement where women find strength in unity, and we are thrilled to embark on this journey alongside Denise Bidot, one of the industry’s foremost advocates for inclusivity.”

The summer 2024 swimwear collection is now available. For further details about Swimsuits For All and the SwimStar All Stars campaign, please visit www.swimsuitsforall.com.

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Get to Know Our Cover Model Sharon Dumfries…

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Get to Know Our Cover Model Sharon Dumfries…

Imagine being scouted while you are performing a dance routine in baggy clothes and not even thinking about becoming a model. This was in part our cover model’s journey to where she is today. This month we are celebrating our journeys and embracing the steps that have brought us to where we are today.

Get to know our cover model Sharon Dumfries…

PLUS Model Magazine - May 2024

Photographer, Milton Goedhoop

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the modeling industry.

I’m Sharon Dumfries, born and raised on the Island of Aruba but my parents have a different background and are Dutch Indonesian and Surinam Haitian. As a kid and teenager, I got bullied for my looks and for being different, and I had a hard time standing up for myself. It was also hard to find fashion in my size. Taking dancing classes helped me get out of my comfort zone and get better self-esteem during the years. I moved to the Netherlands at 18 years of age to study and today I’m a model and teacher for over 13 years.

I got scouted unexpectedly after dancing a ”Hip-hop and House” routine in my baggiest outfit during a fashion show with primarily straight-size models. I started as a catwalk model on weekends after doing an intensive catwalk and fashion show training, next to finishing my Biology and Teachers degree. A few years later I got scouted by a big brand during a fashion show and this was the stepping stone to getting signed with a bigger agency in Amsterdam.

Get to Know Our Cover Model Sharon Dumfries…

We have spoken to models from all over the world about the plus size industry in their respective countries, and realize it’s different outside of the United States. Can you share the plus-size industry as you see it in The Netherlands?

A lot of brands tend to book models in the same country, so if you really want to make a career it’s sometimes best to be ”on stay”  for a while in the UK or Germany. We don’t have a lot of ”go-sees”. The sizes of most models that get booked are usually smaller than in the US. The sizes size 42- 44- 46- (Sometimes 48) EU are very popular because of the Sample Sizes.

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For those of us getting to know you, can you share your work with us as an educator and coach?

I currently teach Biology in High School for the past 12,5 years and have managed to work as a model part-time. I’m also a coach at school and help students with their emotions such as fear of failure. Through coaching, I’m given the opportunity to speak to teenagers who aren’t able to come to school due to anxiety about participating in school in the regular classes, heavy bullying, or being kicked out of school for other reasons. This is still fully new and just started at our school a few weeks ago.

What role do you believe social media plays in today’s society as we raise children and also tend to our mental health?

The stress level is rising earlier on due to pressure to not only be cool and accepted in real life but also online. The level of bullying online is where there is no supervision and it is getting out of control. Teenagers already get burned out at a very young age. There is too much non-visible pressure that everyone needs to be above average. Some try to over-achieve and get burned out and others give up and don’t get to make small steps forward and stay stuck, which in turn also causes a lot of stress.

Get to Know Our Cover Model Sharon Dumfries…

What tips do you have about navigating social media for both the younger generation and those of us who remember the days before the internet?

I am not the best in Social Media, a little bit by choice. I don’t want it to be a must. But a lot of people make a living out of it. It takes a lot of time and effort, so for it to really make it work it’s a full-time job or you need a team. For the ones who remember the days before the internet: just try, and have a bit of fun along the way trying to figure it out, it all changes so quickly nowadays. But most of all be authentic. For the younger generation, I would say the same. It is not a must as a model to have a huge following. It’s about being visible that counts, that people and brands can find you. It’s best to start small and make baby steps. It took me more than 10 years to get where I am now. I believe working together and genuinely spreading love makes the difference.

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As a model, teacher, and coach what are some of your goals for the future and what changes would you like to see in the plus-size modeling industry?

In the future, I would like to combine my knowledge as a teacher, model, and coach. Preferably by helping others to realize what true beauty is. As cheesy as it sounds, from the inside out. In the future, I would like see more diversity and inclusiveness, not as a trend. I would like to see bigger sizes being booked just as often as small sizes. And also better education about what being healthy means. I would like to see more respect from people behind their laptops, to always show love, if there is hate, keep it to yourself ;). In the best scenario, brands need to book models for their charisma and make the clothes fit them. I would like less plastic surgery, and more natural imperfections to be celebrated. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is different in every culture, never let that define your beauty. You are good enough just as you are <3

Visit online IG @sharondumfries

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