Your Body, Your Rules With Cover Model Shalon Dozier
This month our cover model, Shalon Dozier, is the person you want to listen to if you have ever felt like giving up.
Shalon has worked very hard, for MANY years in the plus-size industry and has faced many challenges along the way. But, today she has a thriving career as a fit model, a certified Target fit-model, and just opened up her own fit-agency. Her story is one of inspiration, determination, and walking your journey.
Modeling is such a broad subject matter. Most people don’t know about the different types of modeling there are. Before we get into your fit modeling career and agency let’s go back to the beginning.
I was discovered as a (standard size) model when I was 12 years old. I did everything from editorial, high fashion to T.V. and film. Then life happened, I had my son, my body changed and I retired. I was out one day, saw my old agent, and he suggested I become a plus-size model. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that I still had a chance to continue my modeling career. Shortly after, I started doing my research and found a wonderful community of women uplifting each other and making waves in the fashion industry. I immediately wanted in.
In 2007, Torrid announced they were having a model search here in Los Angeles. My son stood in line with me for over three hours. It was the best decision I made. Out of 800 women who showed up I became one of the ten finalists. Although I didn’t win the model search, this opportunity alone, kicked my plus modeling career into gear.
And can you tell us about how you started fit modeling?
Fit modeling is another story. I had never heard of it until the agency I was with called about a casting. I was still under the impression I was going on a casting for some type of print modeling. I met with the client, they measured my entire body, got super-excited that I was the same measurements as the form (mannequin). I stopped in the middle of the casting and had to ask what exactly IS fitting modeling? We all laughed and they explained to me that they manufacture clothes for brands and need a live model to try on the clothes to ensure that they fit correctly. Several hours later, I received a call from my agent saying I booked the casting. That was six years ago and I still work with this client.
For those that do not know, what is FIT MODELING? What is it like and can you give us an example of what a typical fit day for you is?
Fit modeling is when a fashion designer or clothing manufacturer uses a model as a real human mannequin to check the fit, drape, and visual appearance of a garment. In some cases, companies will work with a particular model because their measurements are the desired specs and they will actually have his or her body cast and made into a clothing form, which becomes the standard sample size for their brand.
I currently work with about 20 clients in and around the Los Angeles area. I’m very blessed that fit modeling for me has become a fulltime job which consists of me working five days a week. On a typical day, I usually see anywhere from five to seven clients. I try on the samples in front of a team of designers and call out what corrections need to be made before they go into mass production and released to stores.
My favorite part of the job is getting to be a voice for plus-size bodies. I love that I can offer my opinion about not only how a garment fits, but what fashion trends we as plus-size women want to wear. I’m grateful that the clients I work with are open and want to be educated.
You have been in the industry for many years and have seen a lot of change but there is still a lot to be done. What would you like to see happen in the next 5 – 10 years?
Honestly, I would like to see more plus-size people sitting at the tables of big fashion brands. I’ve seen countless times, decisions being made for plus size fashion by an entire team of non-plus-size people. It’s imperative there is someone who looks like you and me to further educate the fashion industry of what we really want.
There has been a lot of change in the industry. However, I would like to see more body diversity when it comes to campaigns and print jobs. There are gorgeous models who have the same potential and talent as the plus models we all know and love. But, the problem is they are often overlooked because they don’t fit the “standard”. I’m over the standard and with my agency, I plan to change that.
As someone who has been in the industry for such a long time, what advice do you have for aspiring models, and even those that have been in it for a long time and are still waiting for their “big break”?
Success doesn’t happen overnight. Modeling is an investment of your energy, time, and money. You have to love doing this even on the days when you don’t want to. I remember I would take e-commerce modeling jobs that paid $70 for the entire day (8-10 hours). I would shoot close to 300 pieces of clothes. At the end of the day, I would be so tired and the money wouldn’t even be enough to survive on. But, I knew taking those smaller jobs would create momentum and get me one step closer to my dream and goal of being a working model. Stay focused and hone in on your craft. Don’t get stuck on what your modeling career should be, just enjoy the journey.
Let’s talk about #BeautifullyHuman and why you started this hashtag movement.
I read a poem by Nayyirah Waheed:
“and I said to my body, softly. I want to be your friend, it took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this’”
It was this poem that made me look at beauty from an entirely different lens.
What we may think are flaws are beautiful to someone else. We were all divinely made. There are no mistakes. Through my hashtag, I want to showcase that just simply being who we are is BEAUTIFUL.
The Dozier Agency!!! We are so excited for you and for the industry. Tell us about the agency, who should apply, and the criteria.
Thank you! I’m excited as well!!! I created The Dozier Agency, to encourage and empower women who are not normally visible to the fashion industry. Shedding light that ALL BODIES are beautiful. We bring real fit solutions to brands with knowledgeable plus size models of all shapes and sizes. We are also a fashion consultation firm bringing up to the minute trends to further help brands reach their plus-size market.
We are looking for models between the sizes of 12-24. In order to be considered, models must submit three clean photos (one headshot, ¾, and full length) with as accurate as possible measurements of their bust, waist, and hips. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org