Model Monday- Meet Christa Jenelle

plus model
Photography by: Lucky Photography

Christa Jenelle 

Christa is a full-time, multi-published model who has been freelancing nearly her entire career. She is a New York City based model who has traveled all over the US in search of plus-size modeling opportunities. Christa started at the early age of 15, but her career really began when she moved to NYC at the age of 18 for college. She knew once she began to explore the city that opportunities while hard to find, were out there. She searched until she was able to begin to really grow as a model, and from there on out has stopped at nothing to keep her career and dream that all women of every size should be able to feel beautiful, sexy, and able to do anything they can put their mind too. 

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

plus model
Photography by: Lucky Photography

I began at the age of 15. I had joined one of those “mall modeling agencies”, i had the support of my mother who stopped at nothing to get my career started. When I first joined one of the first things that was said to me was, ” Wow! I’m so glad a girl your age would be so excited to begin modeling even though you are plus-sized!” My heart and soul were crushed, I immediately began to cry, I had no idea at a size SMALL that I was plus-size. I must have been like a size 6 and 120lbs. I was asked if I wanted to continue, and after calming down said yes. It was mostly shock, and my first time really experiencing what it would be like in this industry but I looked at myself and I wasn’t even the biggest girl in my friend group. yet I was still considered plus-size? I then knew that I wanted to show the world that it didn’t matter what size you were, beauty was beauty and if I was plus-size I was going to own it and become the best I could possibly be. While i knew i wasn’t skinny, I wasn’t a size 0 or 2. That was when I saw how warped the industry was and I knew I wanted to help change it.

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

Id must say the first time I was flown to LA for a photoshoot. It was my first time on the West Coast, not even my parents had been to the West Coast. It was an amazing experience, seeing a whole different side of the world. I also knew that “Plus-Size” wasn’t exactly “In” LA yet. So, I just thought it was amazing that a photographer reached out to me, for a bikini shoot at that. It was my first major shoot as a model and it just completely lived up to my expectations and dreams I had about becoming a traveling model.  

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

Well imp unfortunately 5ft5in, so I have done little to no runway ha-ha. But I remember my first publication and honestly, I was horrible! My posing back then was atrocious, my facial expressions completely lacking. I just dived right into modeling, I didn’t have anyone I looked up too, or could ask advice from. So id say 100% hands on experience, asking questions, asking for feedback. This business is cruel so if I messed up I was told right there on set. As harsh as that was though, I improved within 2 years of modeling. I never took a single course or class. I just started from the ground up and honestly, I wouldn’t change a single thing. One thing I’ve learned is that personality is number one, especially for a plus-size model. I was open to learning, I wanted feedback. no matter how bad it may have been. I wasn’t a proud person who thought just because she was pretty she deserved to be a model. That mentality is what really helped me grow. Being humble, that is really one of the biggest things you need to remember as a model.  

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?  

My goal has really to show people that normal sized woman are beautiful. I love that the industry is growing right now for plus-size girls. Its amazing, but I remember 6 years ago when it was not like this. I just try to post as much as possible on my social media showing people my work, and trying to be inspirational. I hate that bigger girls are told not to wear crop tops, or bikinis. It disgusts me that people seriously feel this way, so I try to post myself wearing a bralette, bikini, crop top, or even no bra at all as much as possible. So that the girl who isn’t sure about that top, wears it, and owns it like a boss. If more women had the confidence and support they needed… the world could change.  

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

Well I was not the popular girl growing up. But my mom really made me feel like a million bucks everyday. As I really grew into the beautiful woman I was I seriously couldn’t believe what I used to think in high school. But, I think every girl goes through that stage ha-ha. Its really once you develop, that matters most. Once you enter your womanly body. The bigger hips, tummy, arms, and thighs that tests your confidence. I still struggle sometimes, between 22 and 24 I gained a lot of weight. I can’t eat a ton anymore, I need to drink water ha-ha, all those fun things that happen when you become an adult? But my weight has nothing to do with my beauty, I could be 300lbs and ill still be beautiful, unhealthy maybe ha-ha, but you really need to come to terms that your size does NOT have anything to do with inner or outer beauty. Its just a number. 

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

plus model
Photography by: Lucky Photography

Oh man, I started with Model Mayhem ha-ha, its a good place to start for beginners that puts you in contact with a ton of people in the industry in your area. But, you really need to be able to talk to someone who knows the industry. I didn’t have anyone to go to when I moved to the city and it was intense, having a person who knows the ropes would be super beneficial and a lot safer. 

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 modelling career? 

As a New Yorker, I can honestly say all black trendy attire is my go-to. I’ve also been so conditioned to the idea that, “You don’t know who you’ll meet”, that I’m always in full makeup and well put together. But that’s completely because I love dressing up ha-ha, I fell in love with makeup somewhere down the line of my career and planning outfits is like such a passion of mine. I have a lot of people such as my family that hate it because it takes me over an hour just to get ready day to day but take me or leave me right? Ha-ha!  

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

I love fashion, but I am so cheap. My favorite places are still like forever 21, H&M, little stores like that. They just have so many different options in stores like that compared to smaller boutiques its such a no brainer for someone like me. 

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

I’m also an artist, I just graduated college about 2 years ago. I’ve been modeling full-time and traveling for 2 years now but I still paint when I have some downtime. My favorite medium is watercolor and I’ve been in a few galleries shows in NYC. I love painting, and hope to become an illustrator one day.  

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

If I have touched one little girl, my entire career that’s enough for me. I just want women to be comfortable in the skin they are in. It so hard to be a size 0-2 so we have to change the mindset that that is what you need to be to be beautiful, or to be a model. There needs to be women of all sizes portrayed in the media, not one token “plus-size” model, or character in a show. Once we reach that point, we will have such a better world to live in.  

plus model
Photography by: Lucky Photography

 

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