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Kamari Brown Says, “My advice to women is instead of letting society and the media define your beauty, let it help you see how beautiful you are, just the way you are, by surrounding yourself with positive role models and people.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by Liz

Kamari Brown is a twenty-five year old plus-size model who grew up in Seattle, Washington; England; and Germany. Kamari’s father was in the military and her family is European. She is 1/4 British, 1/4 German and 1/2 African-American. Kamari currently lives in New York City. She is signed with agencies in smaller markets and overseas in Europe and South Africa, and she is currently developing her book with her mother agent to approach the larger agencies.

How did you get started as a plus model and what does being a plus model mean to you?

I started plus-size modeling for two reasons. First, I’ve always been a creative soul, having started in acting, moved to dancing, and now modeling. For me, modeling allows me to be a different character and tell a story using the clothes, my eyes, body movement, and facial expressions. I actually find it more challenging than acting because we have less mechanisms to tell a story. But that is also why I love it more.

Second, I wanted to be part of the movement that is helping women love their body, no matter if they are a size 2 or size 20. I know personally I’ve struggled throughout the years with accepting my body the way it is, having seen only skinny models/women being deemed as beautiful. The more we infiltrate the media, the louder we are and the more lives we change.

Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice would you give to girls and women who are currently struggling?

In Seattle, where I spent a lot of my time growing up, most, if not all the women, around me were thin.  Additionally, the media was pushing images of Barbie like women in our faces, deeming them as the most beautiful. It was very difficult being a larger or big-boned (that term always made me feel better) mixed girl there. I was really uncomfortable in my own skin and body for so many years and it wasn’t until Destiny’s Child came into the scene that my views started to change. For the first time, seeing Beyonce, a woman of my complexion with hips, thick legs/thighs just like mine, being hailed as beautiful by the media and my peers around me, made me start to accept my curves and see how beautiful they were. My advice to women is instead of letting society and the media define your beauty, let it help you see how beautiful you are, just the way you are, by surrounding yourself with positive role models and people.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My biggest role most is Bono from U2. I love everything he stands for and I aspire to be like him. He found a way to use his love for music to help bring world issues–another one of his passions–to the forefront of the media. My biggest passion is fighting for human and animal rights. In college, I studied Human Geography, where I focused on human rights/trafficking and slum/squatter settlements. After moving to New York, I became very active with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and ran their Tap Project campaign last year. I more recently started working with the ASPCA, an animal rights organization. I always wanted to find the vehicle to really make a difference, much like Bono, and I hope that in time, modeling can be that vehicle for me.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I’m blessed to have lived in so many places growing up from Seattle, Europe, Miami, and now New York. It changes your perspective on life and give you an insatiable appetite for life and success. I know some people I went to high school with in Seattle only ever wanted to stay there and get married. I was and still am the complete opposite of that. I want to explore the world and help people along the way and in many respects, feel like my potential and desire to conquer the world is never ending. I know no boundaries and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

My mum bought me a Clarisonic Mia for my birthday and that is the best thing I’ve ever used on my face! While it’s a bit expensive, it’s well worth every penny because it leaves your face clear and refreshed.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

I have to admit, I’m an online shopping gal! I buy mostly from English stores that deliver here, ASOS is one of my favorites and they just opened an American version of their site. I also love Dorothy Perkins, Monsoon, Top Shop, and H&M. I’m a walking advertisement for them (H&M). They really should hire me to model for them, I rock out their clothes like nobody’s business. 😉 Plus, they just started a plus line… there is no reason to not hire me now!

Celebrity Crush?

David Beckham!

What does being healthy mean to you?

I believe being healthy means feeling good in your own skin and being confident. For me, feeling good is a balance between getting all the nutrients I need as a vegetarian, working out about 3-4x a week, and treating myself to my favorite foods once or twice a week.  I don’t believe in diets because they are gimmicks to lose weight fast in an unhealthy manner. If you eat well, work out, and treat yourself occasionally, you’ll feel good on the inside, which shows on the outside.

I could never have enough…

Protein shakes and Indian cuisine! Being a vegetarian, I’ve always struggled getting enough protein, so protein shakes are a great way to get the daily protein I need and recover from my intense workouts.  Plus, they taste like dessert, and who doesn’t love that? And Indian cuisine has the most vegetarian options on a menu, all of which I love. I’m not a big fan of soy meats, I actually just prefer true vegetable dishes, which Indian and Thai restaurants have.

What do you love about NYC?

I love being around all the different cultures and having access to some of the best food in the world, except I haven’t found a place yet that has proper English Chips! I will say that New York City is the only place in the States that I felt like I fit in. Because the norm here is being YOU and not conforming to anything, I feel really comfortable here.

You also work at MTV. Tell us about working at MTV and who are you currently listening to?

I work in Integrated Marketing at MTV, where especially we integrate clients into our programming and/or build custom programs for them on-air, online, on-the-ground, and mobile. The best example of what we do is the MTV TJ Search, which was a custom program we built for ZYNC from American Express, and the winner was actually a beautiful plus gal, Gabi Gregg. I have to say, I’m really lucky to have a job that I love and am excited to go to each day. There are always celebrity sitings in our building and concerts on my floor – Graffiti6 was the most recent. I have the biggest crush on the lead singer, Jaime Scott, he’s delicious!

As far as what I’m currently listening to, I would say I’m listening to a lot of Graffiti6 and Ke$ha. I’ve also been listening to a lot of 90’s grunge/alternative music, like R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Oasis, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc. I was lucky enough to live in Seattle during the 90’s when these bands were up-and-coming and it was an incredible time to be there and be part of the movement.

Where would you love to see yourself in 10 years?

Married to David Beckham, living in London with our beautiful mixed children. That’s pretty realistic, right? 🙂  I would love to a successful plus model who is traveling the world, working with NGO’s to help people in developing countries, and be a visual and influential advocate for human/animal rights.

Thank you, Kamari!

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International Model Laura Wells Says, “Emotional health is such a major part of being healthy. Learning to be happy with yourself and surroundings goes a long way towards leading a positive and stress free life.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, My Story, Parenting, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Liz

Laura Wells is a plus-size model from Sydney, Australia. She has earned degrees in both Science and Law. She is signed with BGM Models in Australia and Wilhelmina in New York. Her sister, Courtney, is also a model. Laura is currently living in NYC and modeling internationally. She has shared the catwalk with Crystal Renn and many other beautiful women!

We would love to hear how the both of you got into modeling.

Courtney, who is a straight-size model, went to NYC to go see agents about five years ago. I went with her and got asked by a few scouts if I was a plus-size model. At that stage of my life, I didn’t even know such a model existed and I really had no interest in modeling at all. That was my sisters department and I was busy at a university and traveling at the time. When I got back to Australia, I got in contact with BGM Models had an interview. My agent, Darrianne Donnelly, signed me. My first job came two weeks later and since then, I haven’t looked back.

What advice do you have for aspiring models?

I think one of the most important aspects of modeling is finding an agent that understands what you want from the industry and an agent that you can have a great relationship with. Go with your gut instinct as well. If you feel uncomfortable during a shoot, you should speak up and if you feel like you need more direction, you should always ask for it, as it is a great way to learn more about your body and your best shapes and angles. Be true to yourself. Love yourself and your body, and show how proud you are of yourself through your work. A good model exudes confidence in herself and should be able to convey that to her audience whether it be in print or in person.

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

When I first starting modeling and during high school, I was never really confident with my curves. I also thought of myself as a lot bigger than everyone else, especially my friends. I never really understood that curves were a blessing! Since modeling, I have become a lot more aware of my body shape and finally take pride in the fact that I have a curvy body. I dress to show off my curves and am now no longer afraid to do so. With the increasing awareness of plus sizes and curves in the media, I really think that a positive message is being spread and that anyone that is struggling with body image should take this on board. You have to learn to love yourself and what you have been given in order to lead a healthy life. There are many clothing brands out there now catering towards the plus industry, if you are not sure of how to dress to show off your best features, I think it is a great idea to talk to a stylist and find out what works best for you.

The Cosmopolitan editorial featuring the both you and your sister Courtney is beautiful. What was it like working together?

It was fantastic. It was the first time we have ever worked together and we had a blast! The shoot really showcased just how different our body shapes are and the team did a great job with the styling.

What effect do you hope this editorial, featuring a straight-size model and a plus-size model, will have on the fashion industry?

The shoot definitely shows a diversity of beauty between sizes and it would be great if this beauty were reflected more within the industry. Hopefully, this shoot can propel the industry into realizing that diversity is important and that the plus size industry is here to stay and should be included in editorial work more often. The plus size industry and models instill a great amount of reassurance and a sense of connection with the average woman and have the same ability to sell as the straight size industry.

Do you feel it is important to represent women of different sizes? Why?

Yes, it is definitely important to represent women of not only different sizes, but different ethnicities as well. By representing everyone, it gives people a sense of acceptance and self-assurance. Fashion is for everyone. Clothing is a part of everyday life and it should therefore include every type of person!

What is your go-to outfit?

I usually go for something that hugs my curves, otherwise I can tend to look like a brick. A figure hugging dress, leggings, and boots are at the front of the wardrobe right now as it is winter in Sydney.  I also love a good pair of fitted jeans. I love my jeans from Embody Denim. They fit perfectly and look awesome.

Where do you love to shop?

Since I have been in Europe for most of the year, I have been shopping in Topshop and Zara. We don’t have these shops in Australia and I absolutely love the range they have. The credit card has been hurting but I have bought some great pieces!

Favorite beauty products and must-haves?

Traveling definitely takes its toll on your skin, so I always have a good moisturizer with me. I think I must look like a freak on the plane sometimes because I am constantly re-applying moisturizer to my face every hour. It’s like obsessive-compulsive behavior, but I know if I don’t do it, my skin will break out, and that’s not always the best when you jump straight off a 36-hour flight into a shoot!

I have a big supply of cleanser and a strong eye makeup remover on me at all times. Sometimes eye makeup remover can be a life saver, especially when you finish a shoot with crazy makeup and have to get onto public transport (yes, we models often take public transport, none of this private drivers, haha) A little bit of remover can be the difference between you getting a whole lot of strange looks on the subway!

I also carry a concealer/ highlighter pen with me. They are great for covering those unwanted blemishes and adding a bit of sparkle under the eye!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Every piece of advice I get from both my mum and dad has usually been spot on. Even though there has been times and different ages in my life when I didn’t listen, at all, or though that it was completely ridiculous, their advice has always been right in the end!

What do you love about yourself? Why?

I love the fact that I am able to adapt to any situation I am thrust into. Modeling in different countries means dealing with language barriers and situations that are completely different than the norm. I have always been able to make the best of any situation and stay positive during the tough times. Being mindful and making an effort to speak in the native language, no matter whether it is a simple ‘hello’ or a full conversation, goes a long way to showing the client and the shoot team that you are an open-minded person and willing to make an effort.

My way of adapting to new countries and situations includes doing a little research before I get there, not only so I know a little about the country and people but so that I know I will be safe and know exactly where I am going and how I am getting there. Being one-step ahead and always prepared with enough money, a map, and a phone is a good strategy to keeping yourself safe and fitting in with your new surroundings.

What does being healthy mean to you?

I believe that being healthy is a mixture of physical and emotional health. Having a balanced diet and exercise routine is a must have. Its fine to treat yourself but over-indulging can get the best of you on most occasions. I try to mix up my diet and exercise so that I don’t get bored or stuck in the same routine. When I go to the gym, I usually do the classes they offer, as I need some form of motivation and the class and the teacher provide that.

Emotional health is such a major part of being healthy. Learning to be happy with yourself and surroundings goes a long way towards leading a positive and stress free life.

What are you reading right now?

It may sound nerdy but I am reading a book called ‘Heaven and Earth, the missing science of Global Warming’. I have a science degree and a law degree and try to keep up to date on current issues in the environmental science field. I am actually really loving this book right now. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction novels.

What are you excited about right now?

I am excited about my move to NYC. I have been signed with Wilhelmina in NY. I can’t wait to hopefully start working for some great American brands.

*Thank you, Laura!

International Model Robyn Lawley Says, “There is So Much More to Life Than Fitting Into Size 6 Jeans, and I’m Glad I Realized This Sooner Than Later.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Movies, Music, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Radio, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2010 by Liz

Cosmopolitan Magazine

Robyn Lawley is a plus model from Sydney, Australia. She is signed with Bella Model Management in Australia, Model Management in the UK, Okay models in Germany, and Wilhelmina in NYC, USA.  Some of her clients are David Jones, Nordstrom, Cosmopolitan magazine, Madison Magazine, Kohl’s, New Look, Spirito, Ezibuy, and more. Robyn enjoys films, music, making music, watercolor painting, cooking, eating, rock climbing, and traveling.

Robyn wrote, “I’m a model beyond a size 10 and I love my job. I get to travel the world, and at the same time promote healthy shapes and let audiences know that it’s okay to be who you are. Embrace your body for what it is, exercise, eat as healthy as you can, and have fun. There is so much more to life than fitting into size 6 jeans, and I’m glad I realized this sooner than later.”

Photographed by Kane Skeener for Cosmopolitan Magazine

How did you begin your modeling career?

She started modeling at the age of sixteen, when I won a modeling magazine competition, but I didn’t model for long, as I struggled to keep my weight down. Two years later after seeing success in Abby Valdes and Crystal Renn, I signed with Chelsea from Bella Model Management.

What advice would you give to young women who are struggling with self-esteem, confidence, or body image issues?

I think all women and men, for that matter, go through this most days. Try to focus on something else; sometimes we get so self involved that we miss out on everything passing us by. Take up a sport you enjoy or a hobby you would like to start. Confidence can come from achieving even the smallest of things.

Try not to compare your body to that of celebrities or top models because what you see is not always true (especially with Photoshop ruling the planet). Work with the body type that you have and just enjoy that you can see, that you can hear, and that you can walk. Both my mother and my older sister have worked, and still are working, with disabled people and it really can make you think that spending so much time pinpointing your flaws is hiding what you are really about.

Photographed by Simon Upton for Madison Magazine

What kinds of pressures do you see the girls in your life facing?  What can we, as mentors, do to address these issues?

I think the most troubling thing is the amount of concern that we have over beauty. We no longer even care if someone has a good soul; we care more if they have lost the most weight or are taking up a certain exercise. I hate when I start researching what a celebrity does; it gets so time consuming. Later, I think my god I could have been practicing guitar or rock climbing. I just wish the beauty/entertainment industry didn’t have such a hold over our self-esteem. I do remember, though, when I was fourteen, I had no idea what cellulite was until I saw a magazine in a grocery store harpooning females with it on their cover. I remember going home straight away to inspect my thighs. From then on, I always wore board shots; even in competitive swimming. Did I have cellulite? No, I didn’t, but that magazine made me feel ashamed of my body. I will always blame them for making women, especially teenage girls, feel ashamed of their bodies. We should be empowering women and pushing them further in their lives, not making them inspect their thighs.

Having just recently moved to NYC, what has your experience been like so far?

It’s tricky to say; I both love and hate NYC. It’s just so different from Australia. It can be a shock to the system. I feel like I’m riding a rollercoaster—from crazy parties to crazy people chasing you to awesome shopping. It’s definitely one of a kind.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

LONDON!!! It’s the best place to shop in the world. I love Camden markets and Topshop UK. I am finding Williamsburg, Brooklyn (where I live) has awesome vintage.

Photographed by Georges Antoni

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I love playing sports. One thing I miss is team sports. I can’t do any because my routine is so out of whack with modeling. I love rock climbing though because it doesn’t feel like exercise; it just feels like a fun challenge and boy it’s challenging. I try to hit the gym about four times a week. I really miss my personal trainers in Sydney, Australia. In NYC, they are so expensive that it’s not worth it. If you find you are a person who lacks the motivation or knowledge, investing in a trainer, even just for a month, is well worth it. Even just to learn the safe way of working out at a gym and what types of exercises are good for your body type.

What are your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

I love Benefits new High Beam face illuminating cream that you put on your cheekbones for the healthy glow, Lancôme’s New Définicils Precious Cells Mascara, and of course, good old trusted Paw Paw ointment for my lips.

Do you have a beauty secret or tip you would like to share with us?

Make sure you wash your face twice a day; tone and then moisturize. Sounds dreary, but once it becomes habit it’s second nature.

Photographed by Kane Skenner for Cosmopolitan Magazine

What are you listening to right now?

EVERYTHING–I LOVE MUSIC! The top five albums I listen to all the time are the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, The Boat That Rocked soundtrack, Juno soundtrack, the best of Janis Joplin, and La Roux’s first album. But, I like anything from Bloody Beetroots, to Jimi Hendrix, to Rolling Stones. Going to festivals is one of my favorite things to do.

Favorite movie?

Gah, that’s like favorite song–too hard to pick. I’m a movieaholic. My favourite thing is watching a good movie. They can make me feel comforted– especially movies from my childhood. When I’m homesick, I watch all my old favorites.  As a young girl, my dad and mum would drive me and my sisters about an hour to watch movies at the Royal Australian Air Force Base because my dad was in the air force, and tickets were $2 each and we would all get a killer python each. Simple pleasures in life tend to be the best. 🙂

On a day off, what would your perfect day be like?

Waking up to my cute boyfriend back home, then getting sushi with my best girlfriends, later catch a movie with them and my man, and then going dancing at a club with awesome music with my awesome sisters.

What do you love most about modeling?

I love the confidence it gave me. I do admit I was struggling to accept my weight. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was once an Australian size 6-8 (USA size 4-6). When I joined Bella, my confidence was pretty low, and I doubted that Chelsea, my agent, would sign me. I was lucky she gave me a contract on the spot and about a year later, my confidence was the strongest it had ever been, I felt unstoppable and still do. 🙂

What do you do to prepare for a photo shoot and what are your must haves in your modeling bag?

I wash my hair the night before and put a heat protector on my ends. The morning of, I wash and cleanse my face. I then use a good quality moisturizer and Paw Paw on my lips. I always take my own mascara because I have very sensitive eyes, and I don’t want to obtain any eye conditions.

Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share?

I think most people find modelling very glamorous, but trust me it can be anything but that. I hate when I have to walk around or get something with my hair is in curlers and I look like an old grannie.

I had a funny week though recently, when I was in Fiji for a Cosmopolitan shoot. I decided to go horse riding on my day off. The horse they had was tiny, but I didn’t get to see it until I had paid. I felt sorrier for the horse because it would have to lug me around, but I didn’t want to seem like a chicken so I went riding anyways. Once I had finished my thighs were so sore– more than usual. When I reached the hotel, my inner thighs were blue and bruised so bad that when I showed the stylist, she gasped… LOL–not good for a swimwear shoot.

Photographed by Georges Antoni

We would LOVE to hear about your experience walking in the OneStopPlus.com Fashion Show!

Yeah that was so great, I knew it would be a bid deal, especially when I arrived to see where it was. I was so lucky, I only got the job last minute as I did not go to the casting, they spotted me at a go see and decided to use me.  It was very empowering experience and I hope they do more.

What is a fun fact about you?

I like to do voices. I can do Gollum from lord of the rings, exorcist chick (pretty scarily well, so much so that I shocked a boy that I was dating once; he got so scared that he threatened to punch me if I ever did it again, and naturally I do it to him every time I see him. ha-ha), Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, and E.T.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I suppose I love that I rarely say no to anything; consider me the yes woman. I have always been like that ever since I was a little girl. I would give anything a chance. I’m not sure why, but I just never wanted to miss out on something I might have found fun, whether it be sky diving, jet skiing, rock climbing, canyoning, or travelling; anything really deserves a chance.

What is one last thing you would like to say?

Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself and have fun. My mother always said laughter is the best medicine and by god, she’s right! 🙂

*Robyn talks about acceptance. This is a great video!

**You can learn more about Robyn at her blog: http://reviewmerobyn.blogspot.com/

***Thank you, Robyn!