I'm so happy to bring you another model spotlight! This time, I bring you the amazing Carmina Suzanne! Check her out!
What inspired you to become a model?
Well I think lots of young girls dream of modeling, but I started to take it seriously as a career in college when I was scouted by a well-known mature plus model. Then some severe health problems kicked in which took me out of commission for a long while. Then I moved to London for my opera career… I started modeling for real and many of my dreams came true! I worked for Burberrys, appeared in magazines around Europe, and Event Managed the first plus only show in the UK, Curves in Couture. Personally, what motivates me is making a change in the industry. I got sick of people saying, “Well you have a pretty face” or “She’s beautiful, but fat.” I want people to say that someone is pretty AND big, or beautiful BECAUSE of her size, not in spite of it. This sounds corny but it’s the absolute truth – I am incredibly motivated by inspiring people, helping them to love themselves and their bodies. That propels me every day me, which is why I’ve been working as a diversity advocate. Truth.
Tell me about some of the hardships you've faced in this industry.
Some of the hardships just come with modeling in general – long hours, uncomfortable shoots, last-minute schedules, gossip and drama – that’s part for the course. Others were more particular, for example I had an agent who pitted her models against each other, then sat back and did nothing while they tore each other apart. Every time I got a job I was accused of trading sexual favors for it by the other models, and the agent did nothing to protect me. Shudder! But the biggest hardship has been to convince designers and bookers that curvy models and customers are here to stay. Ignore us at the peril of your own business! (Now THAT is some truth right here!)
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I have 2 full-time careers going on, so there’s not too much down time. But I love to snuggle with my husband and animals, read, cook, and have drinks with friends. I watch trashy TV on E! for brain candy. I also teach [at a] university and give lectures from time to time, so there’s always research and scholarship to do. Working with other fashion professionals is so invigorating! As a performer in the fine arts, I love the artistic collaboration between all the professionals in the shoot.
What are some of your favorite designers?
Tadashi Shoji!! I’m also nuts right now about Carmen Marc Valvo and Narciso Rodriguez too. Elena Mirò is up there too.
Where do you like to shop?
A mix of vintage, local designers and national retailers. I certainly have some Kiyonna, Monif C and Igigi in my closet too. Fashion to me means variations on a theme. I like to take vintage or classic styles and then give them a serious twist.
What is one fashion trend you would like to see come back?
More top quality faux fur – real fur should be banned across the industry. What else? I do miss those cute bowling bag purses there were big in the mid-90s…
What is one that you would like to see leave and never return?
Drop-crotch harem pants. There was no excuse for them in the 80s, and there still ain’t now. Michael Kors calls them “poopy pants” for a reason.
If you were a super hero, what would be our main super power?
That’s easy – teleportation. I wish for this on a daily basis… I'd zoom from job to job in a nanosecond, go visit my best friend in Berlin weekly, and still have time to do my nails.
Where do you see the plus size community in the next 5 years?
Going even more mainstream than it is now! I’d like it to be normalized as a standard part of the industry. In the long run we need to drop terms like Petite, Mature, Disabled, Plus or Ethnic models and just all be models. However in the short term these categories are useful. If there’s a casting call for a “model” there’s no point in a size 16 showing up if the designer needs a 6, or vice verse. I am so sick of being the single token plus model in the room while everyone pats themselves on the back for being so inclusive or cutting edge.
What impression do you hope to leave on the Plus Size community?
That even a mature, short model with terrible health problems like myself can achieve great success! If you really want it, you may have to work harder and take more knocks than the “standard” models, but nothing will stop you!
Carmina is well on her way to becoming a household name! I can't wait to see the things she will do in 2014!
For booking info, be sure to check out her info below!
Stay Fab! <3
- LS1426, photo Michaels Eye, designer Edward Dillard (Miami)
- Cheryl Gorski Photography (Buffalo)
- Peter Reid Blue Horizons Photography (Venice)
- Just As Beautiful Magazine July 2011, photo James Lyon, designer Miss Lacy (London)
- Diva Magazine July 2011, photo Diana Thompson/ Fashion Loves Photos (London)
- Comp Card credits
front: photo Flewers/ Knight/ Worby, Models of Diversity and Wonderbra
back clockwise: Michael J Burton, Jude Gidney Photo (Lioness Magazine Sept 2012 with Plus Model 411), Steven harrison Brown Photography (Lioness Magazine Sept 2012 with Plus Model 411), Alessandro Capoccetti
Mass Appeal 2013 photo Rick Warne, designer Made by Anatomy (Buffalo)