Chasity Saunders, The Naked Truth: July 2022 Issue
Chasity Saunders is an American Actress, Television Host, and Plus Size Supermodel with a professional career boasting over a decade of film, fashion, and television experience.
Saunders has been the face of many beauty brands and fashion campaigns with clients like ULTA Beauty, European Wax Center, & Target.
She has graced the pages of major publications such as ESSENCE, Glamour, and EBONY magazines. She’s been in hit network television shows like TALES on BET as well as recurring on the @watchallblk TV series “Double Cross” as Defense Attorney and Love Interest Michelle Sylver Esquire and her latest feature film “A Holiday Chance” which had a national theatrical release is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Saunders is a triple threat, showing no signs of slowing down!
Maddy: I remember shooting you for a cover many years ago in NY and the images are still some of my favorites! Can you take us back to the beginning, how did you get started in the industry?
From the PLUS Mode Archives – September 2012 Issue / Makeup: Tara Taylor / Hair: Styles by Alicia F / Styling: Spry Lee Scott / Fashion Director: Reah Norman
Wow! You’re absolutely right! What an amazing full-circle moment! PLUS Model Magazine was my very first magazine cover and was shot at the beginning of my career in 2012! It’s now 10 years later and I still feel like I’m just getting started!
My first professional modeling job happened in 2009 when I appeared in ESSENCE Magazine in a ‘Jean Story’ Editorial. Iconic Plus Model Mia Amber, may she rest in sweet heavenly peace, coached me when I first moved to NYC and helped me to prepare for my first major magazine casting in NYC at ESSENCE Magazine! I booked that job over hundreds of other models at the open call and from that booking met an executive who introduced me to my very first agent and from there I booked my first fashion campaign with Miss Tina Knowles! I traveled the world with the Knowles and was truly introduced to the fashion industry, print, and live TV modeling where I got to model with and alongside Beyonce on shows like The Today Show and The View! My career took off after that and it’s never stopped to this day and I am forever humbled and grateful for God’s love and favor! My dream was to model and act and all of my dreams started coming true just six months after graduating from school, believing in myself and following my heart by moving to NYC from Virginia to pursue my purpose and passions!
Many aspiring models want to be models because they WANT to be confident. Not realizing you have to walk in WITH confidence because there are a lot of moving parts in this industry. How do you maintain your self-confidence in an industry that is largely looking at your appearance first and skills second?
I have to say that it’s not what’s on you, it’s what’s in you; self-love and spirituality keep me confident, grounded, and rooted in my truth at all times. I actually know that a big part of my purpose is to uplift and inspire and I always try to teach and coach aspiring models to know themselves! To make sure that they know that show business is 10% show and 90% business! I ask them the hard questions and make sure that they absolutely without a doubt know that this is indeed and truly really what they want to do with their lives and that they’re going to be willing to do the work! The work works and if you want longevity and truly value being a working artist and want to build a solid, meaningful career it will be an uphill battle at times!
Looks can and will be deceiving and they fade! Especially today with social media and filters! You can’t take a filter or app to set and you can’t fake having a great personality and energy that people want to be around for more than 12 hours a day! You have to build your career on a solid foundation and you have to know the answer to your why and stand on and beside it ten toes down at all times! I also stress that this business is in no way easy! Though it may look shiny and polished and fabulous and that’s all true, it absolutely can be a lot, it is also tough and takes real grit! It’s not easy, but it’s always, always worth it and like anything else will take time, dedication, extreme perseverance, and faith!
Being an artist, and being a brand where you are literally the product because even though you’re selling clothes or makeup or experiences, ultimately the brands and companies that are hiring you are investing in you too and believing in you; and for that, you have to be clear on who you are and aware of your worth and what you bring to the table and also your power and you have to stand in that power boldly and unapologetically. You will most certainly face major challenges in this industry but having confidence and faith will win in the end, every single time!
I remember when you announced you would be moving from NY to LA. What prompted this decision? How did you prepare?
I’ve always believed in beauty and brains and before moving to NYC to pursue a professional career in the arts I graduated from Norfolk State University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications Television and Broadcasting. So after my modeling career took off I started getting more and more opportunities to host red carpets, interview celebrities, and write for major publications in New York. I worked at Music Choice Television and the hip hop bible “The Source Magazine” and wrote a fashion column focused on Plus Size Fashion at their sister publication Jones Magazine, fusing my love for TV and Fashion, my column “AHEAD OF THE CURVE” was a hit and led to my Editor in Chief Tracey Ferguson pitching me to host TV! This was perfect because I already had a degree in Journalism.
I was soon after living a bi-coastal lifestyle between NYC and LA hosting TV Shows on BET Networks and Centric and was advised that LA would be a better fit for me as my TV Career and Entertainment Journalism was starting to really take off! I shot a pilot with Mara Brock Akil which ended up being an aftershow for her hit TV Series “BEING MARY JANE” with Gabrielle Union and it was clear after shooting that pilot that I would need to make my move and make Los Angeles my home base! I’d also been consistently modeling between both coasts as well!
One of my biggest clients at the time Topson Downs based in Culver City whom I met after walking for them in Full Figured Fashion Week and landed me on the front page of The New York Times had been flying me to Los Angeles every other month for fashion campaigns and they were thrilled that I was making the move to LA! This was my security blanket! I was just getting started as a TV Host but I knew that modeling was always there for me because I’d put in the work and built a solid foundation and I was so, so grateful for that! I was truly becoming multitalented and multidimensional and it was the perfect fit and the perfect timing to move; also at this point, this was something I’d been anticipating, praying for, and planning so the transition seemed super easy and timely!
We’ve been watching your career develop from modeling into acting and it’s THRILLING! You are currently on a TV Show, and we’ve seen you in the movies, I want to know it ALL!
I am literally living my dreams out loud and I could not be more excited for what else is to come! You can currently see me playing a strong black lead, Defense Attorney, and Love Interest Michelle Sylver Esquire on TV Series Double Cross on @watchallblk Seasons 2 and 3, and my latest film, A Holiday Chance is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video! My whole life I’ve always worked for and wanted to be a model and actor and now that they’re both my reality, I just want to continue to do amazing work, to help move the culture forward through my art and collaborations, and to show girl’s, women and people all over the globe that you can be a curvy leading lady and person in television and film and make a powerful impact just the way you are! Our curvy bodies deserve to be celebrated, seen, and represented unapologetically!
As an image activist, I want to be a positive representation always! And when aspiring models and actors see me, I want them to know that it stopped being about me a long time ago! I want you to see me and to see yourself and to be empowered and to know that with hard work and patience anything is possible!
You are one the hardest working people I know, always kind, always supportive, and always celebrating the people and the industry around you. I feel like this is something that has been consistent from the very beginning of your career. Can you share with us how you have managed to stay grounded even after such amazing success?
Thank you so much! This is the best compliment I could ever receive! I truly believe that the secret is service and that kindness is next to Godliness! Being kind and caring and spreading love and light is so important to me! Without the kindness of others that have truly seen and supported me I would not be where I am today and I’ve made a promise and contract with myself to always operate through that same love and light! It’s saved my life and created unimaginable favor and blessings for me and for sure has been the number one reason for my success! My relationships and friendships are what has driven my entire career! It’s really not who you know but who knows you and I value the people that love and support me more than we have time for me to express! I show up for the people that show up for me and those who do not because I don’t believe in a “crabs in a barrel ” mentality! I let God handle my battles and I stay in my light, I always bring 100% of myself to every opportunity that I receive and I do not take any blessing for granted! I live in a state of constant gratitude and on days when I’m feeling off, I take my time, give myself grace and go at it again the next day or next hour! I am always intentionally striving to be kind! And when I fall short I forgive myself and try again harder the next time! I celebrate my friend’s and colleagues’ success as my own and love cheering for other people! Support is free and I love to give it! It keeps me happy and hopeful for what’s available and possible for me too! Staying in gratitude and moving with love is an intentional source that I tap into daily and ask God to help me to be and to attract!
So let’s TALK ABOUT THIS COVER!!! Whew! HOT HOT HOT! You’re beautiful and that’s clear but you are also beautiful on the inside which is so important. After working in the modeling and acting industry tell us “The Naked Truth”… looking back do you see how you manifested your life? Are there moments where you look back and see how important your choices were to get you to where you are now?
This cover is seriously one of my most proud moments! I am so honored to share my journey and truth and to be able to do it where it all started for me, I’m literally holding back tears! Madeline Figueroa Jones not only put me on my first magazine cover but she also believed in me, represented me at one point in my career, and literally walked me in to meet legendary modeling agent Susan Geoget at then MSA Models and now STATE who signed me on the spot and it’s where I’ve been signed for the last 7 years, and where I’ve experienced so much of my careers success! PMM is home for me and I am forever grateful and thankful that you all continue to do the work, set the trends, are leaders in our industry, and undeniably continue to push our community forward allowing us all to grow and shine!
Looking back I know that every single choice I’ve made to be a role model, strategic and intentional with my choices, and most importantly my purpose has led to my longevity and dreams coming true! I am a master manifester and so are you! Anything you want, you can have! If you believe, plan and keep God first, it’s already yours!