What do you do?
I work as a plus size model, a presenter, and I work in schools, motivating young people to be more confident.
What is the your greatest achievement?
Winning Miss British Beauty Curve last year in London. It boosted my confidence and opened lots of doors for me. It is a plus size pageant for girls who are a size 14 and above. Even though beauty pageants don't have an upper size limit, you don’t usually get bigger girls going because they feel perhaps intimidated or like they don't belong there. So it was nice to enter something where you feel you’re not the only one sticking out - you’re all together.
What made you want to achieve the award?
I had entered the Miss Universe Norfolk beauty pageant in 2013 and I'd never done anything like it before. The most I'd done was model hoodies and mugs for my university. It was at a point where I was feeling very low. We had lost my Grandma to cancer and I closed myself off. I couldn’t remember the bubbly person I used to be. The pageant seemed like a great opportunity to meet new people and get that back. I loved it and after that I felt so much more confident and almost back to my old self.
After that I was searching online for more things to get involved in when I came across Miss British Beauty Curve, and I thought, wow that's perfect! It was a chance to show others with my new found confidence that you should be proud of who you are and that you deserve to look and feel amazing no matter your size. Being bullied for being overweight in school made me passionate about proving this.
What obstacles did you find in plus size modelling?
With straight size modelling people are aware of the certain excepted sizes and body shapes. I think people assume that with plus size there are no guidelines because you see different shapes and sizes - but there are and it's actually quite strict. I was told you have to be 10 inches smaller on your waist than your bust and your hips. Luckily I do fit in with the ratio and I work out to maintain that.
What would your advice be to younger girls and women trying to make it in the plus size industry?
If you want to do something, just get started straight away. If you want to get into modelling you can start doing that even if you're 18 or under. You can do pageants, you can start getting pictures taken - make a portfolio! Just start working on all your ideas. You have to test different things to see if you're good at them and if not then you can start improving so you can get better. Just don’t waste time!
Who is your inspiration?
My mum and my grandma because they are the most kind and loving people you could meet. I always wanted to be like my grandma when I was younger.
I’m also inspired by lots of different models like Jada Sezer, Olivia Campbell and Ashley Graham - I absolutely adore them and look up to them. I’ve worked with Sabine Gruchet quite a few times and I think she’s awesome - she has this amazing personality which I am definitely inspired by and you sort of absorb it from her.
One of my favourite presenters is Holly Willoughby because I enjoy her style and she's very natural and genuine.
And since your award, what success have you had in modelling?
After I won I had companies contacting me asking me to model their clothes which was really strange at first! So I modelled clothes for Krisp Clothing and Gemma Collins in her shop. I've walked for catwalk shows including the Plus North, Curvy Convention and the Suffolk Fashion Show. It's been so nice to be invited to showcase my singing at fashion events too; I performed at Style XL in July and I'm set to perform at the Ideal Curves show and Curve It later this year. I can't wait!
I received nominations for the Best Curvy Model Award at the Afro Model Awards and also Best Model at the British Plus Size Awards. I was also presented with a special recognition award for empowering women last year which was amazing.
What is your plan for eXceLing in 2016?
I’m so passionate about young people and I think they need to be given more confidence. I see lots of young people at the schools I work in and they’re not really concerned with their school work - and that's what they are there for. I want to motivate them to reach their full potential and make them see that university is a possibility and they can have amazing futures.
I also want to really become a brand myself because I don’t just do one thing. I’ve been told I need to pick a niche and an area. But I’ve got one life, and I don’t just want to do one thing my whole life. If I can sing I want to sing, and If I can act I want to do acting. So I plan to create a website where people can visit and see me doing my presenting work and book me. Or they can see me modelling and book me for shows. I don’t see the point in holding back anymore!
If you plan to go ahead and eXceL in anything in 2016, we'd love to hear from you. We're even giving the best submission one of our Organic T-shirts and a Performance T-shirt! Find out how to get involved here.