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Chenese Lewis has been on the front lines of the body positive movement for two decades, before blogging was relevant and pre-social media era. Her impressive bio is full of accomplishments that spans twenty years of breaking barriers as a woman who didn’t fit into society’s narrow beauty standards. This has solidified her spot as an industry trailblazer. Actress, host, podcaster, plus model, event producer, brand ambassador, keynote speaker and, influencer… her list of titles is extensive, which has helped her remain relevant in an everchanging industry. In addition, Chenese has a diverse brand that exceeds body positivity, and was a visibly plus size person in mainstream media prior to the industry’s boom. Known for her infectious smile and charismatic personality, she brings positive energy to everything she does.
Chenese is celebrating 20 years in the plus industry. Here are 10 things you might not know about this plus icon, but you should!
Chenese Made History As The First Miss Plus America
She entered the Miss Plus America Pageant seeking exposure. Representing the state of Louisiana, Chenese won the national title in 2003, without any prior pageant experience. She remains one of the most recognizable titleholders in the pageant system.
Modeled For The National Chain Torrid
Chenese broke barriers in the plus size modeling industry without fanfare. She modeled for the national clothing retailer Torrid in 2004, as a size 22. As a freelance model, she booked gigs with major brands even though she didn’t fit modeling agency standards.
Actress On #1 Show On BET “Hell Date”
Chenese was a cast member on BET’s “Hell Date,” which was one of the most popular shows in BET history at the time. The show allowed Chenese to showcase her impeccable improvisational and comedic skills, and kept millions tuning in weekly.
2008 Flawless Calendar
Prior to the launch of Flawless Calendar there was no high fashion calendars that included plus models of color. Executive produced by Chenese, the calendar was the first of its kind, showcasing a wide variety of curvaceous models of different ethnicities, shapes and sizes. There were launch parties in three major cities Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. It also received national press.
Created Hollywood NOW’s Love Your Body Day & Goes Viral
For six years, Chenese produced a body positive event for the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women In 2010. America’s Next Top Model Whitney Thompson served as the celebrity host for Hollywood NOW’s Love Your Body Day. She and Chenese posed nude together for a Love Your Body campaign which went viral. The photographs were featured in top entertainment shows and blogs around the world.
As an ally to the LGBTQ community, Chenese posed for the popular, celebrity driven NOH8 Campaign. The NOH8 Campaign is a charitable organization whose mission is to promote marriage, gender, and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.
Appeared As Expert On Dr. Phil
With years of experience in the industry, Chenese is considered an expert. One of her most notable appearances was as an industry expert on Dr. Phil, where she gave words of inspiration and advice to a young woman interested in plus size modeling and pageants.
Graced The Cover Of VICE Magazine UK
Chenese hit the international newsstands as the cover model for the 10th anniversary issue of Vice Magazine UK in December 2012. Vice Magazine distributes over a million copies of every issue around the world, spanning 28 countries.
Coast-to-Coast Curves Spokesperson for Ashley Stewart
Ashley Stewart announced Chenese as the Coast to Coast Curves Spokesperson in 2011 and launched a bi-coastal model search hosted by Chenese Lewis and PLUS Model Magazine.
The #1 Podcast For The Plus Size Industry
Chenese is also a trailblazer in the podcasting field. In 2008 she introduced her podcast, The Chenese Lewis Show – the #1 podcast for plus-size women! Now in its 12th year, the iconic podcast remains a reputable platform for the plus size industry. In 2019, the show was featured in the Podcast Business Journal as a successful podcast in a niche market and quoted in the Chicago Tribune.
For more on Chenese Lewis, visit www.CheneseLewis.com
Stay connected with her by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @CheneseLewis.