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Name: Cindy Isidore-Gardere
Facebook: Cindy Isidore-Gardere
Congratulations on all of your success as a Plus Size Model. How did you get started modeling?
I started modeling about 5 years ago. It’s something I have always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to until I met a friend who organized a fashion show and a photoshoot and asked me to be part of it. She saw potential in me. This is how I started.
What has been your favourite experience thus far – the one you are most proud of?
The experience I am proudest of would have to be, being chosen to be a model for the 1st edition of the Montreal Plus Fashion Week earlier this year. It was one of the biggest fashion show I’ve been part of and I had the chance to meet a lot of models and coaches known in the fashion industry. I had the opportunity to walk the runway in a bridal dress by designer ‘’Oui Je Le Voeux’’ and to me that was a first. I am very proud of this experience and feel like I’m a step closer towards my goals.
Just like any craft there is a learning curve – how did you learn how to model – both print and runway if applicable?
I learned by experimenting, by being on the field, by getting to know people in the industry, by meeting more experienced models and coaches from whom I’ve learned new walking, posture, and facial expression techniques.
Did you have mentors or role models who helped and inspired you along the way?
I could not say that there was that one particular plus size model who inspired me because at the time when I started, there weren’t that many of them… even to this day, only a few have had the chance to break the barriers of fashion. I have been inspired by random people I meet, in or outside the industry, by their confidence to be who they are, by their self-esteem, by their will of not wanting to fit in a box and daring to be different. Those kind of “ordinary yet extraordinary “people inspire me on a daily basis to believe in myself and believe in the fact that I could accomplish anything I put my heart to.
The Plus Size Industry has changed and continues to evolve – how do you think as a model you are able to help make an impact in how the world sees plus size women?
At first when I started modeling I really didn’t think that me alone could make an impact. But with time, I’ve received feedback from women who congratulated me for doing what I’m doing. I’ve been told that I was an inspiration to them because I accept myself just the way I am and this is something they always struggled with – self-acceptance and self-esteem. One woman once told me that if there were more models like me it would help a lot of women into their self-esteem journey.
Getting those comments and feedback meant the world to me. My 9 to 5 is help people, to know that I can make and impact and help people another way means everything. If I could leave my mark on this earth by being remembered as someone who inspired and helped this generation, even if it is just a few people, then I know I did something right with my life!
You exude confidence with every step you take, were you always this confident? Tell us a little bit about the journey to confidence.
As every regular woman, I had and have to deal with some insecurities. I have my flaws and have learned to be comfortable with them because they make me unique, and to me uniqueness is pure beauty. I can’t say that I always had the confidence I had today, because truth is, when you look different, when you are taller, smaller, bigger, skinnier than average, or have any other particular trait that makes you different from everybody else, you are automatically prone to be laughed at, criticized and ridiculed. This happened to me especially when I was younger – in elementary school and high school. I have been called names you could not imagine. But what helped a lot is how my family raised me. To them I have always been beautiful and I was raised to believe that you do not need other people’s approval to be who you are and want to be. With time, I have learned to let negative criticism enter one ear and come out to other without paying much attention to it because I realized that it did not affect my worth as a person. I also realized that the ones who were so quick to criticize and bully were doing it out of hate and pure ignorance. I always had love for myself, the difference now is that I love myself unconditionally and do not live to please other people but myself.
Photo by La-Cherie-photographe
For our readers who are interested in starting a plus model career, what would you suggest are some top tips to get started?
My principal advice would be: DARE! For example, dare to go to any type of casting without assuming that they might not be looking for plus size models. You could be surprised, speaking from experience. Do not limit yourself because this is how we make the walls fall! Most importantly get out of your comfort zone! Try a new style for a photoshoot, try out new & original poses when you hit the runway… build yourself a trademark by standing out!
As a model you’ve had the opportunity to wear a variety of different styles, but what would we catch you in on an ‘off duty’ day? What would you call your fashion sense and how has this evolved through your modeling career?
I like to follow fashion trends but sometimes I like to have a style of my own. I am not afraid of wearing prints, wear fitted dresses, show some skin (not too much). My fashion sense is daring because I like to wear things that big girls “supposedly cannot wear” and prove that I can look beautiful in it! I love to show my curves! On an “off-duty day” you would probably catch me with some skinny jeans and sneaker wedges. I also like to accessorize. I never leave the house without hoop earrings or else I feel naked.
What are you some of your favourite places to shop your style?
Availability of affordable trendy plus size clothing has always been an issue for me, and other women of course. I travel a lot. So when I travel I always find the opportunity to go shopping in stores I won’t find in my city. Because of that I find that I have a different style from other plus size women because the truth is, in Montreal there are only a few stores and boutiques where you can find clothes and turns out that you will find a lot of women wearing the same dress as you. So I do not limit myself. One boutique I like to order online from is Fashion to Figure, an American plus size retailer. Other than that, I am addicted to Forever 21!!
What does life look for you outside of the modelling world?
I am a full-time social worker, and I help people suffering from drug, alcohol and other substance abuse. I am also passionate about music and love to sing and write poetry. I also am a Globe-trotter and travel whenever I get the chance to!
I am a young woman with ambition, who loves life, who loves people and do not take myself too seriously. Life is too short, laugh it up! And surround yourself with positive people.
Thank you for taking time to chat with us today! What is one message you would like to leave with our readers today?
Never let anybody tell you that you can’t achieve something because you are not enough. Never let failure stop you from reaching your goals because it is only part of the process. The world can be a scary place but it is also full of wonders depending on what glasses you view it with! You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are able!