July 1, 2015 02:10 PM
Crystal Lee getting the model treatment at Blow Bar in Parc Lafayette before the July photo shoot. Lee, of Lafayette, is a plus size model who frequently models for shops in New Orleans and Houston.
Photo by Stephanie Turk
I never have been a size 2. Not once. Ever. I was a little girl, and then I was a woman. I’m a healthy size 12 these days and super proud about it. And so whenever All About That Bass came on the radio the first time I nearly laughed out loud. It was a lovely anthem for the curvy girls of every size. So when it was time to plan the July fashion shoot with that soundtrack in mind and more than one shoot with that soundtrack in mind and more than one curvy girl asking why we never do a curvy girl shoot, we took the plunge.

There’s a reason we had never done this sort of shoot — I spent most of my life looking desperately for clothes that fit my curvy body, and I knew there would be few options for our gals.

I looked for some beautiful, confident ladies proud of their curves, and I went to work on finding them locally sourced clothes. And as I expected, it wasn’t easy. The models came together easily. Needing just one more model, I went to my personal Facebook page and asked who would like to model and where they shopped. Within a matter of days I had more than two dozen comments and private messages.

Our ladies were set. Then came the challenge: finding pieces over a size 14 in a local store. The ladies in our shoot range from sizes 12 to 20. While 12 can be found at some boutiques, 14 is getting spare, and by 16 you’re fresh out oaf luck save for a few shown in the photos.

The largest size I’ve ever worn is a 20, and I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say, “Help, I have nothing to wear.” One of our models explained it best: If someone asked her on Wednesday to go to an event on Saturday that required a new outfit, well, let’s just say she laughed out loud at the lunacy of trying to pull together something that quickly.

For a woman with curves it’s rare to hit up one store for everything. It’s “I can wear jeans from here” or “I could wear a drapey kimono from there, but they have no pants that fit.” It’s like a scavenger hunt every time they go shopping. One store owner made the comment that there’s a market that’s being missed out on while another said they had waded into the over size 14 pieces and didn’t sell them.

It’s a subject that leaves droves of women discouraged and more than once left me in tears in a fitting room over the years. (A large is not a size 8!) So with our shoot we hope to show that it can be done.

While all of our women are “real” women, I have to note that Crystal Lee is an actual model. She’s shattering stereotypes about what it means to be a model, and she’s rocking her body with a quiet confidence no one can deny. It’s our hope to see more Crystals in this modeling world.

Women of every size can dress with some serious panache. Sexy isn’t just for sizes 2 through 10. Beauty is about confidence, finding what makes you feel great when you walk into the room and owning every curvy inch.

Yours truely (at right in Vanessa V. dress) showing a skeptical Carrie Leonard how to strike a pose. Leonard, along with Lopez on the left, needed no advice on how to work it for the camera.
Photo by Stephanie Turk




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