Abby Valdes Talks About Fashion, Motherhood, Beauty, New York Fashion Week, Modeling Tips, Not Feeling Perfect Enough, and The Best Advice She’s Ever Been Given!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

Abby Valdes is a plus model from Australia, who currently lives in New York City. She is signed with FORD NY and Bella Model Management. Abby has six sisters and one brother. She has lived many places throughout Australia. As a child, she spent her time with her “mum,” siblings, and cousins in mud baths, water holes, water fountains, and under a Chai Tent.

Ford + NY lured Abby to sign with them two years ago, which she says, “was an easy decision to make as I’m still a bit of a gypsy. I’d rather sit on the floor than sit on my couch!” She travels to Europe and Australia often for work. She most frequently travels to South Africa, Spain, Germany, and Australia.

She loves reading books on subjects such as esoteric philosophy, world religions, art, metaphysics, and critical mass; and she reads a million fashion magazines, which are piled up all over her apartment.

Abby is a single woman, which she says, “is not good because I want to have eight kids! So, I need to get a move on! Well, maybe six kids… or I could settle for four, but that’s the lowest!”

How did you get started in the plus modeling industry?

I guess how I got started is an age-old models tale. My best friend always said that I should model, but I was busy working in finance in Australia. One day, on a TV show called “Today Tonight”, she saw a competition for Bella Model Management. They were searching for ‘plus size’ models. She sent in a picture of me for the competition and was contacted by Bella Model Management soon after. She was told that I had made it to the televised finals in Sydney. This is when she told me the news! But I was convinced that my finance career was the way to go so I contacted Chelsea Bonner of Bella Model Management and told her that although I was very flattered that I had made it to the finals, I actually had a different career and couldn’t come to Sydney! Chelsea was so lovely that she offered me a contract on the spot! So, I decided to do some modeling on the side and see if I could make some extra cash. And that I did! So much so that after about six months or so, I had to make some decisions about which career I wanted to pursue because I couldn’t continue to do both as they were both very time consuming. I decided to move to Sydney to see where modeling could take me. It wasn’t long before I was traveling around the world for work and then finally moved to New York City! I’ll always be grateful to Chelsea for having the foresight and faith in me! 🙂

Who are some of the clients you have worked with?

In Oz (Australia) I did all the brands that we know and love like Berlie/Platex, Bonds, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Cleo, Womans Weekly, Maggie T, Sara, Freewoman, Mysize, David Jones, Myers, and I could I could go on…

In New York, I have amazing clients such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Marina Rinaldi, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. I have worked extensively throughout Europe, in particular London and Germany. I have just recently finished shooting in Berlin for Otto and in Istanbul, Turkey for a client called Faik Sonmez.

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

What advice do you have for aspiring plus models?

I would tell any aspiring plus-size model that they have made a good choice! The plus-size industry is the best of both worlds! You are encouraged to be healthy, which means that you are allowed to eat, ladies! You must eat a balanced diet and not be too skinny! Thank the lord!

You should approach several agencies in your state. See what advice they have for you and try to follow their constructive ‘advice’. Do remember that ‘plus size’ models, in general, are required to fit the same modeling criteria as straight-size models but without the ‘skinny part’. You should be tall and attractive (not necessarily Claudia Schiffer beauty) and attractive girl next door works too!

Everyone starts out somewhere, so learn your craft. Study magazines and how models move. What expressions they show on their face and practice, practice, practice! Before you know it, you will be a pro!

How do you prepare for a shoot?

I make sure I get plenty of rest so that I look fresh and relaxed. I make sure my hair and nails are perfectly maintained, and that my skin is moisturized and hydrated with loads of water and vitamin C powder. Then I show up to the shoot with heaps of my usual morning energy that usually make everyone wonder what special little pills I’m on! Which are vitamins, honey!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice do you have to girls and women currently struggling?

Gosh, all the time and every day! For me, I have always struggled with the idea that I was not perfect enough. And, although I love my curves, they meant I was always going to be considered a ‘big’ girl. When in reality, I grew up surrounded by women who had hips and shape that had taught me otherwise!

So every day, or on the days I am not feeling my true worth, I counsel myself. I tell myself what every mother should tell their child. That I am valuable and, that like all people in this world, I am acceptable and valid. I am beautiful because I am woman. No matter what society tries to trick you into believing, my body is healthy, sexy, and womanly! And I will not change it for anyone else’s preferences.

What has been the best advice you have been given?

Well, I advise myself to always follow my own heart no matter what. You are bound to make mistakes, but when you follow your own heart, you learn what you need to know!

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

How would you describe New York City.

Is nothing like Oz! New York City is a melting pot of some of the most creative and inspiring people I have met. NYC is a buzz with chaotic energy, which is what I love. There are a million amazing people and things to do, and the people are all from somewhere else, but living in New York!

How do you define beauty?

I define beauty as a feeling! Do you feel beautiful? You should! We ALL have beautiful qualities both spiritually and physically. If someone else fails to recognize this, then they are shortsighted and victims of a fast becoming archaic society of one standard of beauty!

What are some of your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

Hmmm…Well typically, I try not to be a big product kind of girl. However, I do have a cupboard filled with all sorts of products that I never use! But my must haves are: Strawberry Chap stick that I massage onto my lips for a plumping effect, Dove Essential Nutrients Protective Tinted Moisturizer for the face in a honey tint for both protection from the sun and a refreshing natural moisturizer, Maybelline New York Define-a-Brow eyebrow pencil to fill in my gaps, and also Maybelline Volume Express to pump up my eye lashes. I love my mascara! Other than that, I use Frederic Fekkai Ageless Creme Luxe Hair Treatment to help my hair recover from all of the hot tools used to torture it daily.

Marina Rinaldi Campaign

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I love ‘Opp Shopping’ and I can’t seem to pass one by without popping in quickly! ‘Opp shopping’ is what Australians call a ‘Thrift Shop’. It stands for ‘Opportunity;’ someone else’s trash is another person’s opportunity… Something like that. I just went to the Garage with a friend and found two of the most amazing 1930’s dresses! I can’t wait to find somewhere to wear them!  At the moment, I am obsessed with lace. I buy vintage and new lace tops and wear my strapless black bra underneath! Love it! That’s what you’ll see me wearing every other day right now, with my dark grey fedora from Sydney. 🙂

But, I also love me some online shopping at the moment as it is easy to do from anywhere in the world.  I shop online at www.style.com, www.planetblue.com, www.freepeople.com, and www.singer.com. I also love a new and awesome Australian store that opened recently in Darlinghurst called ‘Desordre’ –they have the hottest new trends! I also love House of Harlow for vintage inspired accessories and clothes.

Who are your favorite clothing designers?

Ooohhh, if I had an unlimited budget I would cover myself in Balmain and Balenciaga boots! I also Herve Leger dresses when you want to show off your ample curves! In Oz, I love Sass & Bide. Romance Was Born is making some cool stuff. I like Paul & Joe. I also like Karen Walker for her mix of streamline and eclectic fashion.

What is your go-to outfit?

My go-to outfit is a pair of skinny grey jeans, t-shirt, and a Bolero.

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

What do you like to do in your down time?

In my down time, I am either reading about Quantum Physics (yes, really!), The Power of the Subconscious Mind, or something obscure. I also LOVE markets, especially flea markets, and I like hanging with my mates.

What do you love most about motherhood?

I love everything about motherhood! Even when it’s tough and heart breaking. I couldn’t imagine anything known to man who is more rewarding and magical that growing a human being inside of you! We are amazing beings! Plus, the kisses and cuddles are the best – when you can get them!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

The OneStopPlus.Com Fashion Show  was the first plus-size show held during New York Fashion Week. Please tell us about it.

OneStopPlus.com Fashion Show was awesome! There were eighteen of us plus-size girls and it was held in the Lincoln Centre, smack bang in the middle of Fashion Week. We didn’t realize what a big deal it would be but, it turns out that it was news worldwide! About bloody time!

I’m happy to say, I made it into the New York Post (see below)! The energy was so amazing, and you could just feel how excited everyone was to see the show! It was a fun show and well received. Let’s hope this is just one of many more to come! In truth, I would love to see all the fashion shows have a couple of plus-size models in each and every show and not even making a big deal out of it because its ‘normal’ and not a big production based on a ‘new trend’ or about being ‘diverse,’ but rather because they are showing that they represent all women! That would be awesome!

Picture from New York Post. Abby (in middle) during New York Fashion Week at the OneStopPlus.com’s Fashion Show.

Of all of the places your modeling has taken you, which is your favorite destination thus far?

It has to be all the islands of the coast of Italy and France! That’s the life! I dream of island living! Sun, good food, water, friends, and family are my idea of heaven.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about life! You never know what is waiting for you around the corner. I love to be surprised! But, specifically I am looking forward to starting my own business and hopefully finding love! 🙂

*Thank you, Abby!

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9 Responses to “Abby Valdes Talks About Fashion, Motherhood, Beauty, New York Fashion Week, Modeling Tips, Not Feeling Perfect Enough, and The Best Advice She’s Ever Been Given!”

  1. Disgusting Old Broad Says:

    Whoa. Really?

    Amazing that a semi-illiterate with no real ability besides pimping herself and constantly trying to use people to get through life can talk about comprehending any kind of physics with a straight face.

    Disgusting that this piece of work actually has a son and yet proactively denies having a kid in real life, and lies about her age all in a desperate attempt to entrap men.

    Hilarious that a mindless and immature old hag who can’t even seem to figure how to slit her wrist in the right direction would think she’s so clever.

    Oh yeah.. this bipolar psycho also connives to eliminate people.

  2. Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice post.

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  5. Abby was on a reality show called Australian Princess before she became a model, check it out!

  6. What a beautiful interview!

  7. RICHARD GREEN Says:

    ABBY VALDES YOU ARE SOOOO GORGEOUS-REMEMBER SEEING YOU ON THE KERRI-ANNE SHOW IN A BIKINI,A WHILE BACK-WOOOW.FORGIVE ME FOR KISSING THE TV SET!LOVE TO SEE YOU AROUND MORE OFTEN.

  8. Tara Laughton Says:

    Wow sooooooo Abby! Soooo inspiring! Thanks for this wonderful article. xo

  9. This is such a fantastic information as it is required to every women because they are fond of such a typical dressing sense as they look gorgeous.This blog is well appreciated by not only woman but men also. Thanks for giving a great information to us.

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