Photo: Iwona Alfred (Instagram @urbanephoto and @iwona.alfred)



Congratulations on all of your success as a Plus Size Model.  How did you get started modelling?

Thank you so much! I started officially modeling in May of 2016. After a few months of getting into fashion blogging through my Instagram, I decided to take a chance and enter myself in a model search contest that I ended up, surprisingly enough, winning. Ever since that first shoot I knew that modeling  was something that I needed to pursue.

Iwona Alfred (Instagram @urbanephoto and @iwona.alfred)

What has been your favorite experience thus far – the one you are most proud of?

My favorite experience thus far probably has to be when I walked in my first runway show. I don’t remember the last time I was more proud of myself, before that day. Even though I had been modeling a bit, I didn’t even realize runway was in the cards for me. The wonderful brand Yona New York, who I had modeled for prior, asked me to walk for them in the World Fashion Parade. It was such an honor I couldn’t turn it down. That day as a size 26, the largest model in the building, with visible tattoos and a facial piercing, I walked a major runway show and in doing so I made a little bit of history. That was a very proud day for me.

Just like any craft there is a learning curve – how did you learn how to model – both print and runway if applicable? 

I have learned quite frankly by watching long time professional supermodels and by practicing. Before I did my first runway show, I only had a few days to prepare. I didn’t have time to take a class or have someone teach me, so I did what any other person would do… I YouTube’d! Watching dozens of videos of runway shows helped me teach myself how to walk as I practiced walking all around my house and up and down the concrete outside of my house in heels. Needless to say, it got my through my first show but I still have quite a bit of work to do! As for print, it’s basically the same. I have taught myself by watching others work and in doing so, trying to perfect my own style and methods. Standing in my mirror and posing has been a huge help, but again, practice makes perfect and I still have a ways to go. I am very proud of the progress I’ve made though!

by Stanley Desbas ( (Instagram @desbasphotography)

Did you have mentors or role models who helped and inspired you along the way?

I am very lucky to have a countless amount of role models and mentors that have helped teach and support me through this whole career. First and foremost, if it wasn’t for Natasha Nurse of Dressing Room 8, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today. Along with Natasha, all of the working plus size and curve models today are a constant source of inspiration and motivation. The whole plus size fashion community is so supportive and filled with such encouragement. It really feels that everyone wants to see everyone else truly succeed and thrive. I hope to one day be a mentor and inspiration for someone else, just as so many have done for me.

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?

I think that because I am not a “typical” plus size model, yet represent the majority of plus size women’s bodies, that the more I am seen, and the more other models like me are seen, a difference can be made in how the world sees plus size women in general. The media has the power to be the change, and as a model, I am a part of that exposure. The stigmas that come with being a plus size woman seem endless, but as a plus size model I hope that I can help end those stigmas.

You exude confidence with every step you take, were you always this confident?  Tell us a little bit about the journey to confidence.

I absolutely have not always been as confident as I am now. Throughout my life my body has fluctuated a lot, but no matter what size, I couldn’t be happy with myself. I was always either too fat, too skinny, too tall, or just too different. Growing up I was always surrounded by love and compliments in my home, but as soon as I walked out the door, bullies and the media were there to take that all away. On top of that, living with mental illnesses always took a toll on my self confidence and love. Thankfully since being in my 20s I finally have learned to love myself. No, not every day is easy. Not every day do I feel fierce and fabulous, but every day I put myself out there and know that I am worthy of the space choose to take. With that, I can always feel confident.

For our readers who are interested in starting a plus model career, what would you suggest are some top tips to get started?

I would say go to as many events as you can, and follow as many models and brands you can on social media because you never know who will have an open call… and that’s exactly how I got started! Also, be sure to start building your portfolio

What are you some of your favorite places to shop your style?

Some of my favorite places to shop are probably Torrid, Lane Bryant, Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus. I love shopping online too, though. I love brands like Melissa McCarthy’s Seven7 collection, Tess Holliday’s MBLM, Rachel Roy, Yona New York, City Chic, Bobeau, and Vince Camuto… The list could go on forever I feel like! My style is a mix and match of a lot of different things I think. A little glam, a little punk, a little boho. Honestly I’ve always felt you can make any piece of clothing your own style by how you wear it and accessorize, so I love trying as many brands as possible and seeing how I can make them extra “me.”

Iwona Alfred (Instagram @urbanephoto and @iwona.alfred)

What does life look for you outside of the modelling world? 

Besides modeling, I am a freelance artist. I am a painter and illustrator mostly. I do a lot of commissioned and independent work. From illustrating written work, to creating album covers for local musicians, I dabble in a little bit of everything! I have a store on Society6 at where I sell original prints and my work on everything from T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, notebooks and beyond! Art and fashion are my two passions in life, and I hope I can combine the two very soon. As far as life beyond “work” (which I can barely call it because I love it all so much), my daily life is nothing too glamorous! I spend a lot of time at my local coffee shop, going out on occasion with friends and really enjoy spending down time at home with my family and pets. I’d say life I am quite content with my life right now, but I can’t wait to continue forward and see what the future has to hold for me.

Thank you for taking time to chat with us today!  What is one message you would like to leave with our readers today?

Thank you so much! I’d say one message I’d like to share is “Don’t give up, it will all be worth it.” No matter how difficult things might seem right now, the fact is you’ve gotten through every single hard time in your life thus far… and that means you can get through anything. Try not to give up hope because your life can be as beautiful as you want it to be. Your dreams can come true. You are great and you are worthy of all things good. You are perfect the way you are; mind, body and soul. Don’t wait to start your life. Just as I have tattooed on my arm (quoted by Awolnation) and I remind myself of every day “Never Let Your Fears Decide Your Fate.”

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