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Natalie Cole, Plus Model & Founder of Phat Phigured Inc.
Natalie Cole was born and raised in Orlando Florida where she earned her credentials in Early Childhood Education, where she led as a Pre Kindergarten teacher for over 10 years. Natalie has a passion in teaching and mentoring to the youth, especially girls struggling with body image insecurities and weight issues. As a child Natalie experienced being bullied and being verbally abused because of her weight, the pain is relatable, which is why she wants to give back to this community of young girls who experienced similar. In 2015 Natalie created a social group empowering women and men to love themselves and embrace the curves and unique figures they were given. The household name evolved and in 2017 Natalie branded Phat Phigured Inc., a networking support group encouraging loving your body with confidence and class.
2015 is the same year Natalie embarks on her model walk which ultimately lands her in four fashion shows, numerous photo shoots including her most recent with photographer extraordinaire Jose Pagan, calendars, and contest like The Curvy Idol cyle two contest where she made her way as a top ten finalist.
The plus model continues to thrive and grow in the industry, pursuing her goals as a traveling print, editorial, fashion model along side the expansion of her brand, Phat Phigured.
Congratulations on all of your success as a Plus Size Model. How did you get started modelling?
I started by involving myself in group photo shoots, and sharing my photos via Facebook helped land me my first audition for a fashion show.
What has been your favourite experience thus far – the one you are most proud of?
I am proud of my beginning… Having the courage and drive to pursue a career I never thought I could, overcoming insecurities and fears.
Just like any craft there is a learning curve – how did you learn how to model – both print and runway if applicable?
Well to be honest I never had any training prior to my first photo shoot or fashion show. I’ve learned along the way, I also watch videos of high fashion runway shows, I pay attention to detail in photos of other models.
Did you have mentors or role models who helped and inspired you along the way?
- Well Nedra Phillips and Tess Holiday are my inspirations to staying true to myself and creating my own lane in this industry. My parents would be the inspiration behind my love for fashion. I loved playing dress up in my mothers heels, and her makeup. My father once told me “Baby it’s nobody’s business how much money you have in your pocket as long as you always look like a million bucks”! I can be broke but you will never know it.
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 confidence and constant work on loving a body I once hated is very common in the world right now, fat shaming at an all-time high. My story of overcoming being bullied and learning how to embrace my looks and curvy figure would reach out to a wide range of ladies.
You exude confidence with every step you take, were you always this confident? Tell us a little bit about your journey to confidence.
No I wasn’t always confident. I was a very shy child, hid behind my weight for years. One day in 2010 I decided to live again. After my father’s passing and a breakup my life seemed like it was going in so many different directions. I went natural, cut my hair off, wore my real nails, stripping myself down to nothing but my natural beauty. I began my new life on a healthy journey, lost lots of weight gained lots of confidence which led to my modeling career.
For our readers who are interested in starting a plus model career, what would you suggest are some top tips to get started?
Main tip is setting up photo shoots, shoot as much as you can. Invest in yourself, your teeth, your skin, your craft. Remember that no one will invest in you the way you will invest in you.
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?
On my off day I’d either wrap my hair up in a scarf and either throw on some tights or sweats paired with a pair of sneakers or sandals depending on my mood.
What are you some of your favourite places to shop your style?
Forever21+ , Ashley Stewart , Torrid, Grace Your Beauty Boutique.
What does life look for you outside of the modelling world?
Being the best mother i can be to my nine year old son, and expanding my brand including a non profit organization for young plus size girls.
Thank you for taking time to chat with us today! What is one message you would like to leave with our readers today?
Remember that love attracts love, love yourself and you will always be surrounded by it.
Website/Blog: www.bigcartel/Phat Phigured.com
Facebook: Natalie SheVon Plus Model
Crediting Photographer: Jose Pagan @josepaganphotography
Crediting hair & makeup: MUA Porsha Filmore
Crediting apparel sponsor:
Active Wear Alexis Simone
Dress Grace Your Beauty Boutique