Plus Size Model Ana Laura

Photographer: Bruna LaCerda

Name: Ana Laura

Title:  Plus Model

Social Media

Website/Blog: http://viva-la-curvy.tumblr.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnaLauraPlus

Twitter:  @viva_la_curvy

Instagram:  @viva_la_Curvy

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7FPFfMLznO8oQRKQMhkqig

Ana Laura is a Native New Yorker. She is Portuguese and Brazilian with a pinch of German that adds to her exotic look. Ana has modeled for Plus Night Out from 2013 to 2015 and multiple fundraising fashion shows. She has also modeled in SimplyBe’s Autumn/Winter launch event. She has recently gone viral for being one of the faces of the #MermaidThighs movement.  Ana has worked with Eddy and Bri Boutique, Rue107, PopUp Plus, Eloquii, and Smart Glamour in various campaigns. She is looking to build her brand, Viva La Curvy in the future.

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

In High School and most of college, I gained an interest in photography. Being behind the camera certainly made me think of the roles between model and photographer but I never really thought of myself as a potential model. I was attending Barnard College, Columbia University’s all women’s college, where there was word of an event where a plus size model was coming to speak about her journey, self-esteem, the industry, etc. After doing research on the speaker, I reached out to her before the event to introduce myself and tell her how excited I was to hear her story. After her talk, we met in person and exchanged contact information! We met a few times and we became friends! It was great to have a positive role model and to hear positive comments from her about myself. I truly felt she saw potential in me that I never really noticed. From there, I started researching the industry, following models, agencies, magazines, bloggers on social media. I became informed on various castings and events. I contribute the start of my modeling career to my entry to the Kurvacious Boutique Model Competition. I did not even own a pair of heels! I had my friend take photos of me in Central Park and used those photos to submit to the contest. Even though I did not win, I was exposed to the hustle of a fashion show, fittings, and meeting fellow models and designers. That’s when I first realized this could be something to pursue.

Photographer: Bruna LaCerda

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

I’d consider my favorite experience to be when I modeled for Plus Night Out in 2013. I went to the casting in Harlem with comp cards I had made on my own and walked in front of the judges. Little did I know, that I would be one of the only models who wasn’t signed by an agency to walk in the show! One of the outfits I had to wear was a sheer bodysuit. I grew up wearing tee shirts to the beach so for me to walk down the runway in lingerie in front of hundreds of people… that was truly a turning point for me and one I am so proud of achieving. Since then, I’ve walked for Plus Night Out three times and it’s one of my favorite events!

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

Practice. Practice. Practice. I learned by having test shoots with photographers and walking in my apartment in 4 inch heels. As silly as it sounds looking in the mirror helps a lot too as it allows you to learn your angles and become familiar with your facial expressions.

Photographer: Shay Paresh

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

Tiffany Bank was the model who I saw speak at my college and I truly do attribute a lot of my start to her. I remember seeing Denise Bidot in the show Curvy Girls and aspiring to be like her. Ashley Graham is a fantastic role model and trailblazer for the plus woman as well.

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?

With social media, the audience is growing and I think that the impact is more reachable.  Plus size women are searching hashtags and looking at popular blogger and model accounts on social media and I feel as I am part of that movement. To make oneself vulnerable and visible to the world and show that confidence and pride in one’s body is valuable. When someone comes across a photo of me, I would hope that she sees that and feels inspired.

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

I was definitely not this confident growing up. I grew up having always been the tallest and biggest girl, if not person, in my classes. My parents are immigrants and wanted me to be successful in every way and while excelling academically, I felt pressures from my family to lose weight. Thankfully, I was never really bullied in school but I was certainly left out when it came to wearing trendy clothes. It was definitely an internal struggle that I held within myself. Then I entered a toxic relationship in my late teens and early twenties that developed into a physically and verbally abusive one. I’d be called names and told I would never find anyone as attractive as he was. It was a time where I just accepted those negative statements and started to believe them. Coming out of that relationship, I had the lowest self-esteem and felt that I was not worthy of happiness or love because of what I looked like. It was then when I started pursuing modelling. I do have to attribute modeling to rebuilding my self-confidence. How I see myself and even how I dress has drastically changed and reflects that strong belief in my worth and value. I look back and I am amazed at how much I’ve grown.

Photographer: Bruna LaCerda

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

I have three tips- one is to be realistic. Just because you’re full figured and take good selfies, does not mean you can model. It takes practice and time to develop and network.

Two is to be humble and expect rejection. Don’t forget about those who helped you along the way and don’t lose sight of your values and who you are because you are gaining traction in the industry.

Three is to research! Research the industry and find out who the big players are. Knowledge is power.

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?

My fashion sense is urban comfort with some spice mixed in. I love long sleeved bodycon dresses! My friends say that’s my signature outfit. Haha. Other than that, I love the color black as most New Yorkers do. I like to pair up an all black outfit with bold colored or neon accessories or purses.

My fashion sense has certainly evolved through my modeling career as my confidence to wear certain clothing has increased. I’ll admit I was scared of wearing crop tops but this summer I did! I would never really wear tight fitting dresses three years ago but now body con dresses are a staple in my closet.

Photographer: Bruna LaCerda

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

Majority of my wardrobe comes from the following shops: Eloquii, Rue107, Fashion to Figure, ASOS, NY&Co, PopUp Plus, Forever 21, Torrid, and Lane Bryant.

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

I work in Human Resources for a restaurant chain. I’m on the Executive Board of my sorority alumnae chapter. I joined a bowling league. Other than that, I’m just trying to having fun with my family, friends, and my dog, Gia.

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

Know your worth. Don’t let anyone dull your shine. You are worthy of love.

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