2013. február 7., csütörtök

Interview with Velvet D'Amour (British Plus Size Fashion Weekend)

Ciao Bella

There is a pioneer whose name is a must in plus size fashion industry. She is not only a well-known model but a talented photographer with her edgy view on the world. She was featured in French Vogue magazine after she rocked the catwalk of Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano haute couture fashion shows. Velvet D’Amour is a true inspiration for all curvy women who seek for acceptance and motivation – I had an uplifting feeling throughout my entire interview with her on the occasion of the upcoming British Plus Size Fashion Weekend.

Cupcake&Pearls: Being the only plus size model, how did you feel on the catwalk of these haute couture shows with those skinny models?

Velvet D’Amour: You would be surprised how relaxed! The atmosphere was supportive, fun and I even had a hilarious moment when I had two slender models sitting next to me and addressed a joke to them to break the ice „You are supermodels, like me, right?”. They were, indeed -  so we laughed together later on when met on the catwalk. Somehow those girls had to grow a thicker skin as well since haute couture models were bullied as children too – for being too tall and skinny. We all had our struggles – just from different angles.

C&P: Speaking of personal struggles – how did you grow to such a confident woman who is in complete harmony with herself?

V.D’A.: It was a long personal journey but as I always say, you have to find your confidence via these struggles. As a kid I was the typical fat girl who was bullied so much that my Mom had to transfer me to a private school. She signed me on to the local swim team, much to my chagrin, and I lost a bit of weight but I was never thin enough to sign with the model agency interested in me, the weight was always an issue. I went through extreme diets but after my art studies I occupied the other part of the camera as a photographer. My personal revolution started when I created a sort of art project using my own body to emulate photos I saw in mainstream magazines as a way to help change perceptions in beauty. I realized how much time I wasted on hating my body when I started my volunteer work, back in New York. 

C&P: You are a truly diverse person – how did volunteering came to your life?

V.D’A: You may be surprised but helping children with cancer in New York and HIV/AIDS patients in Paris really helped me in my journey to self acceptance. I realized how short life is by helping these people and started to see the beauty in me. There is really no time to waste on hatred – why not  embrace our bodies and cut the obsession with extra weight and empower ourselves by helping each other? My experiences of being bullied as a child led me to develop a thick skin and I always stood up for the underdogs, no matter if fat or gay, whatever, they got my support. 

C&P: Your online magazine has a similar empowering mission – tell me about Volup2!

V.D’A: On 14 February it will be 1 year now that I launched Volup2 magazine which is inspired to empower women all over the world – with a special scope on plus size ladies, too. I love edgy editorials and providing a platform for those women who are pushed to the periphery of fashion: in my magazine the models may be larger or older or differently abled, etc. In the next issue one of my models is 68 years old – and she rocks it! I aim to uplift everyone but of course with emphasis on curvy women. 

C&P: That sounds innovative, inspirational and edgy like yourself! Speaking of edgy – how do you cope with Parisian women and fashion?

V.D’A: To tell you the truth, plus size women must work twice as hard since a typical French woman can go out without makeup, with a stick in her hair but if a curvy woman does the same, she immediately gains the lable of not taking care of herself. I feel lucky as I am more easily accepted due to my media coverage on national TV and magazines here, but even simple chairs are designed to fit just  skinny people, not to mention the high regards for fashion. Though there are so many things I love about Paris – Louvre is one of them as a source of inspiration since there are so many different body types celebrated there.

C&P: A museum can boost your confidence?

V.D’A: Exactly! This is my advice for your Hungarian readers when they feel down: switch off the TV and cut the media from your life and go to a museum. Checking out the variety of beauty which tranverses time gives us an idea of how beauty standards change and allows us to see that we waste our life in a sense, by hating our bodies merely because they dont fit into today’s set of standards. Museums let us see that in a very concrete manner because as you look at different era’s you see that every era had its beauty ethic. Our current beauty ethic is so far removed from any reality that even the women who purportedly represent the 2013 Beauty Ideal aren’t representative because of our advanced technology of retouching that creates a false sense of perfection. Couple that with the fact that each individual comes from a long line of ancestors and when we don’t accept ourselves we disrespect that liniage. Who are the media to say that we are not beautiful?!

Another suggestion I have with regards to helping in your journey to self acceptence is again to turn off the TV and go study your family tree, see where you come from, look at photos of your ancestors and learn about your roots in order that you may better respect how you look and honor it as a way of honoring those that came before you. Much like the blog you are reading now! 

C&P: Beauties with Plus, that is correct! Everybody has bigger inner values than the size of the clothes they wear. I can’t wait to hear you next week as you are one of the guest speakers at British Plus Size Fashion Weekend!

V.D’A: I am so excited for London next week – definitely it will be a fun event and great possibility to speak out, gain attention for curvy women! I can not wait to meet those women attending this fabulous event! I often do public speaking and these forums provide excellent chance to empower each other and make personal connections! I am sure we (you and me) will continue this conversation in person next week!

C&P: Definitely! Thank you very much for the interview, and see you very soon!

Speaking with this extraordinary woman was really a special experience – her energy, her love for life and towards others really touched me. She definitely has a lot of plus within – of which the most important for me was her empathy. Even the advice was extraordinary which she gave when I asked her how to help women to love their curves –as c’mon, who would think to send the women for volunteer job and anyway, at first hearing I also did not see the point of connection. Then when I looked deeper I understood – as opening your heart to another person, without any expectation to receive something in return – shows great personality. I believe we all can learn from her attitude which says: No time to waste, start living and enjoying every minute of your life NOW! You want to enjoy a seaside holiday? Book the tickets now and do not hibernate yourself, thinking that losing weight is a must to rock those bikinis! Living life to the fullest does not depend on the number on the scale – but rather on your attitude!  

For more on Velvet D'Amour go to:


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