Pull over size 0 real women with curves are now here to stay!!!!!
1) Please tell us who you are and what you do, for those not familiar with you? My name is Carmina Suzanne, and I’m a very proud plus model, opera singer, actress and producer with an academic background.
2) There are so many plus size models out there; what makes you different from the rest? That’s a great question, the market is flooded with models so what makes each individual one stand out? Well first I always remind myself that while you may get that first job based on your portfolio, it’s your personality that gets you re-booked. So I would say that’s really my unique quality; I’m very professional, friendly, enthusiastic and open to almost any type of artistic collaboration.
3) Describe your fashion sense? A little vintage and a little goth is my everyday look, but it is evolving. Right now I’m really into graphic black & white prints, and I have a great stylist/ personal shopper who’s really turned me on to bright colours. I used to hide behind the vintage look when I wasn’t happy with myself, but now I’m really coming out of my shell.
4) Do you think you’re a true representation of Today's Woman? Yes and no. As an ethnic, slightly older, plus model with severe health problems, yes I am much more representative of Today’s Women. But I think all models are real women who represent some facet of real womanhood. I feel I’m an accessible model, whether doing commercial or high fashion, and that’s what helps me represent more of Today’s Woman.
5) If you had the power to change the world of fashion, what would you change and why? Well first I would ban all fashion that adds to animal suffering (fur, unethically sourced wool) or human oppression (sweatshops)! Then I would wave my magic wand and force all design schools to offer more obligatory and comprehensive classes for people of all shapes, sizes and ability levels. I would shoowsh into styling academies and demand that more classes for ethnic hair and skin are offered. It’s the minds of the young, up & coming designers, stylists, bookers, agents and casting directors that need to be changed – the more established design houses and agencies will follow.
6) If you were given 3 tickets to attend any events in the UK, which 3 would you attend? Well VIP front-row seats to London Fashion Week of course! The BBC Proms at Albert Hall, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
7) If we were a fly on your bedroom wall, what would we be shocked to see? The pile of books about Medieval history all around the bed. My husband and I both have Masters degrees in Medieval Studies, so we’re really both big geeks.
8) When not working, what do you enjoy doing? Cooking, reading, spending time with my little family, going out for drinks with friends, traveling around Europe, and I love some ‘brain candy’ time watching E! Fashion Police.
9) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Still happily married. Finding more great success in both my model and opera career. Healthy and fit!
10) If the Fashion Police was invited to have dinner at your home what would you prepare for them? One of my favorite dishes to cook for friends I learned when I lived in Italy: soft polenta, sautéed wild mushrooms, a fried egg, rocket and lots of truffle sauce. My favorite go-to meal is a selection of amazing cheese, berries, olives, bread, wine and chocolate.
11) Who are your 4 best friends that you would ride and die for? My husband. My dog. My Mom. And my best friend who lives in Berlin. I miss him every single day.
12) Are you single/ married/ divorced? I’m very happily married to my best friend! He is an artist as well, and is the most supportive person I’ve ever been with. We run an artistic production company together, I really love being able to collaborate with him.
13) If you were to walk the red carpet which designer would you wear? I’d go for either Italian plus design house Elena Mirò, Carmen Marc Valvo, or KaufmanFranco. I’ve worked for Burberrys, they make some amazing gowns too.
14) What makes a good model? The more I model the more I use my acting
training… I honestly think being a good actress is half the battle. Knowing your body and your angles is a big part of it. And understanding photography – how it works technically and what the photographer sees from the other side of the lens – has become really invaluable. The best models have strong or likable personalities which come through in their images.
15) What do you think of men who teach women to walk? I really don’t think the gender of the catwalk trainer has anything to do with how well they can teach others to walk. What’s much more important is understanding how to work with different bodies, like plus or disabled models; or in understanding how other countries have differently styled walks.
16) What do you think of the Fashion Police News Blog? Cool! Fun, hip and informative for those in the fashion industry. It’s really generous of Mr. Fierce to share his knowledge and network contacts with others.
17) What are your best assets? Physically? My clear skin, my big eyes, my hourglass figure, my toned and shapely legs. In terms of personality: professionalism, enthusiasm, and a strong willingness to work hard for the right image.
18) If you had the chance to do a shoot with 4 other models in the UK, who would you choose? I’d want to pick Jourdan Dunn, Angelica Gray, Kate Smith and Fluvia Lacerda!
19) When you see models on the runway size 0-4 what goes through your mind? Well of course I’m always looking at the garments first. If the model looks healthy I don’t think much, but few models that size do look healthy. When I see the painfully thin models, I do think “Someone needs to feed her a cookie!” But if a thin, slender frame is the model’s healthy, natural body then I’m 100% happy. It’s about health, not size.
20) What perfume are you wearing as we speak? One of my all-time favorites, Chinatown, by Bond No. 9 out of New York! Also there’s still a remnant of what I wore last night, one I made myself when I studied parfumerie in Provence.
21) Describe what true beauty is? It starts with the surface, but ends with what’s underneath. Talent, intelligence, kindness and humour go a long way towards making someone truly beautiful. True beauty is also opening your heart and helping others. I’ve been really proud to work as a diversity advocate in London for Models of Diversity, and when people learn to love themselves no matter what kind of body they have, that’s the most beautiful thing of all.
22) What are your 4 fashion tips you live by? Be aware of trends and try them for yourself, but don’t be a slave to them – let your own personal style shine through the fads. Know your body and your proportion, and dress accordingly. Get friendly with a good local tailor, many clothes can be made to fit you perfectly with just a few tweaks. And invest in a few classic, quality pieces that can be mixed with cheaper, fun and trendy items. I always remind myself (a quote from Santino Rice on Project Runway season 2) “Lighten up, it’s just fashion!”
23) What advice do you have for upcoming plus size models? Aside from all the normal advice given to any model, here are my tips for plus models: First, always stay fit and healthy, no matter your size. Being in proportion with a nice overall shape is the key. Second, work on those leg muscles! They’re a model’s best friend. Muster up as much confidence (not arrogance) as you can, plus models need even more than thinner models. Also, don’t ever forget the model in plus model: I see lots of aspiring young women out there who think that just because they’re plus-sized means they can model. You need to be a model first and foremost.
24) What would you like to tell our many blog readers in your support for plus size models? I support healthy models of all shapes, sizes, ages, ability levels and races. For better or worse, plus models (and more to the point, plus customers!) are here to stay. The sooner the fashion industry reacts to that, the smoother things will go. Love yourself now, no matter what size you are. Even if you need to get more fit and healthy in the future, love yourself right here and now!