Blogger turned Model
This woman needs absolutely no introduction whatsoever. No matter what role you play in the full figured industry, I am sure you have come across at least ONE of her articles via Plus Model Magazine or through her own Blog Fearlessly Just Me. Marcy Cruz is known for speaking up for size acceptance and injustices. This is one of the reasons why we love her. If there is an issue within our industry then you better believe that Marcy is all over it.
It was a true honor to be able to interview Marcy and learn all about how she became a signed model.
Check it out.................................
QSM: Well congratulations MS. Signed Model; this must be pretty exciting for you.
Marcy: Yes, it is! I’m still in shock over it. I never thought someone my size would be able to be signed by an agency and for fit modeling, no less. It truly shows me that the fashion industry is changing.
QSM: Let’s take a step back for a minute. Because you began your journey as a blogger, as we all know. When did you realize that blogging was your thing?
Marcy: I’ve actually been blogging since 2000 and back then, it was on message boards. This was before social media. People interacted on message boards and it was a great way to engage with others. I was always looking for ways to write since writing is my first love. On message boards, I started writing recaps for TV shows and that led to me launching my own blog, doing reviews of my favorite TV shows and just basically talking about traveling and books. I was talking about things I loved, basically.
I think that’s when I knew I was onto something. I love to write and blogging is a way to write in the moment with no restrictions and have the world see my work. Initially, I used blogging as a way to write essays that told my story more so than my thoughts. But blogging is such an open, free space where you can basically write about what you want and are not limited at all.
QSM: In addition to writing for PMM, you also have your own blog. Correct? (tell people what it is and about)
Marcy: Around 2009, I launched another blog that I used as a way to talk about fashion, travel and dating. And it stuck. At that time, I was just starting to immerse myself more in the plus size fashion world and having a blog helped with that.
I decided to call it Fearlessly Just Me because I had just embarked on this journey where I was turning 40, had been laid off from my corporate job of 7 years, ended a relationship and was faced with the question, “What do I do next?”
Blogging has always been a great way for me to not only write, but share my story. It has been a way for me to connect with others so why not use that blog as a platform to talk more to size diversity and how I believe fashion is for everyone? Back then, Chastity Garner was the only blogger whose body shape looked like mine and I also idolized Velvet D’Amour who was a size 26 model who walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier in 2006 and now owns her own magazine and is still working to change how the fashion industry views larger bodies. Both of these ladies really inspired me to get involved in the plus size fashion industry. While I felt like I wasn’t seeing enough bodies like mine represented, I also felt like these two women were starting a revolution in body positivity and I wanted to be a part of that.
My blog has since evolved with me really talking to the self care aspect of fashion, travel and wellness. I lost my dad and brother in 2011 and 2014 respectively and that had such a deep impact on my mental health and life overall. I talk a lot about taking chances in life and having fearless moments, whether it’s trying a new style or traveling solo or even having the strength to get out of bed. Living life one day at a time should be an adventure but ultimately, it’s up to you and how you decide to live that day out.
QSM: How do you decipher what content will go where? (PMM vs your blog)
Marcy: It’s all about business versus personal. For PMM, I write a lot of fashion pieces and while I do the same on my blog, for PMM, it’s more trend-based and includes clothing from all plus size brands. I love writing about inspiring stories and anything that’s body positive related. It’s not written from my personal perspective and written more for the reader and what she wants to see. We always look at what articles and features do well and which ones don’t. And that is one of the deciding factors in what I write for PMM.
I also like to write opinion pieces for PMM and might choose to post it on my own blog. It really depends on the topic and if I want a more vast platform to share my work. My demographics are way different than PMM’s and my blog has a more personal feel. I never do product reviews on PMM because at the end of the day, that is not my personal website and reviews are personal. I try to remain unbiased on PMM, unless we’re talking about the term “plus size”, which we have taken a firm stance on, where we want to keep the plus.
QSM: Did you set out to become a model or is this just something that just happened for you?
Marcy: Modeling was something I never considered. Sure, people tell me that I’m so pretty that I should be a model but from working for PMM for four years, I have seen firsthand how hard modeling is and how hard it is to break into the business. It’s more than having a pretty face.
Now we have a lot of girls on Instagram saying they’re models but it’s just not easy. Modeling is more than taking pictures for social media. These ladies are on set for hours, wearing what the brand wants them to wear and having to be able to pose on point and etc. Many think it’s a glam job but really it’s not. You have to go on go-sees, stay a certain size, travel often (and many times on your own dime!), make sure your photos are current (another expense) and constantly be on your grind.
For me, it was something I kind of fell into. Through my past job on the Full Figured Fashion Week team, I built many relationships with indie designers and some would ask me to try on garments and offer input. At first, I would do it as a favor until one day, a designer asked if they could hire me for a few hours. I have found that many indie designers want to design for sizes above a 24 but it’s tough to get that perfect fit. And there were no size 26+ fit models to really reach out to.
I then started working with Gwynnie Bee two years ago in their First Fit program, where I try on garments already made and provide fit reviews to help customers get an idea of how the garment will fit them. I started to learn more about how inconsistent sizing is across the board and how each brand has a different size chart. I became more passionate about being vocal on extended sizes and also offering more content from a fit perspective.
This gave me a taste of fit modeling and I continued to do fit modeling for some indie designers until the opportunity with State Management arrived.
QSM: I’ve heard stories from models where they say how hard it is to get signed by an agency. Why do you think they chose you?
Marcy: Honestly, I went into this thinking it was just a one-time gig. I got referred to the agency by a fellow model who does print, ecomm and fit for them. They had a client who was extending their sizes and looking for a size 28 fit model. When I got to the agency, the agent seemed very interested in me and pretty much had her mind up that she wanted to sign me. She was very honest in telling me she vetted me prior to our meeting and was impressed.
I think that first, it was my size and body shape that got me in the door as there are really no size 28 fit models that I know of… I could be wrong? And we are in the midst of a revolutionary time where brands are now starting to extend sizing, such as Universal Standard and Eloquii. I think this is causing other brands to reevaluate their own size range and consider extending their sizes. Case in point, I just noticed that Avenue has added size 4X to their Loralette brand when I was told at launch by a fellow influencer that, that would never happen unless there was a market for that size. So obviously, there is a demand for extended sizes.
Second, I think my reputation in the industry was a big factor in me getting signed. I always aim to keep a positive vibe about me, not burn bridges and just engage with people. I’m not perfect but I do think most people in the industry appreciate my genuineness and respect. I believe we all should win and I think others appreciate that sentiment and feel inspired by it. This is not the first time I have been referred to an opportunity and I am humbled by that.
Third, I think my online presence had something to do with it. I have already done some fit modeling and I am very vocal about size diversity and seeing more visibly plus bodies in the media and in campaigns. Being a fit model also means being able to stand there, being pinned and tucked, while giving honest feedback and input on the fit of the garment. Since I already had my toe dipped in that area, I felt that helped in my favor with getting signed.
QSM: Through your modeling journey, what do you hope to accomplish?
Marcy: Fit modeling has become a way for me to have a voice in an industry that often overlooks women above a size 24 and give me the opportunity to ensure that they get it right. I hope that through my work, I can inspire more brands to extend their sizes and hopefully hire me to get that fit right!
QSM: You have had the opportunity to work with some pretty influential brands; can you tell us about some of them?
Marcy: Lane Bryant and Catherines both have a special place in my heart because they were the two brands who worked with me when no other brand wanted to, because my social media numbers were low. They focused more on conversion and how the customer responded to seeing me in a campaign or on their social media channels. Avenue is another brand who has always supported me and worked with me from the beginning.
Big Fig Mattress has been an amazing brand to work with as they have always offered support and it has been more than a “What can you do for me?” situation. They truly care about their influencers and will go out of their way to ensure that those relationships are solid. I’m also starting to build a relationship with Eloquii and am looking forward to seeing what comes next, once their size 30/32 launches in the fall.
Lastly, I have a deep love and appreciation for indie brands and designers. I am currently a size 28 fit model for Mexican indie brand Generose and designer Melina Alarcon is very passionate about bringing more plus size fashion to Mexico and other countries where they don’t have access like we do in the US. I feel like she is making history and I’m honored to be a part of that.
QSM: Is there one particular brand that you have not worked with you and would absolutely love to? Which one?
Marcy: In terms of fashion, I would love to work with Christian Siriano. It would be amazing to see someone my size in one of his designs, walking a runway or in a campaign. He’s body positive and very vocal about wanting to dress women of all sizes. I am also a Target fanatic and would LOVE to be featured in a campaign of theirs since I have yet to see a woman whose body looks like mine featured in any commercial or website imagery.
QSM: You have a pretty big voice in this industry. Why do you think that is?
Marcy: To be honest, I always thought I was talking to myself most of the time until I started attending events and people would come up to me and quote stuff from my blog or social media. I have had people tell me I have changed their lives or people just hug me out of nowhere and I continue to be shocked that people actually know me and follow my story.
I then realized how important it is to have a voice in this industry if used in a positive way so I kept talking. I think what appeals to people about me is that I am upfront with who I am and my beliefs while maintaining a sense of fairness.
I respect the opinions of others and let them know that their feelings are valid but I still assert my right to speak my mind. We can agree to disagree. Also, I am very candid about not being perfect but I still love myself unconditionally. I feel like people find that endearing because what you see is what you get and they know I am speaking from the heart.
QSM: What is the best advice that you have gotten so far throughout your journey?
Marcy: There’s two pieces of advice I think about and live by daily. One is from my dad, who always told me that the world belongs to me if I put myself out there -- just step out the door and live my best life. He actually wrote that in my autograph book when I graduated from elementary school and repeated that message to me multiple times in my life.
Second is from my PMM boss Madeline Jones: “Always be open to the journey, embrace it and be open to where it takes you”.
QSM: You obviously have a passion for this and it shows through your drive and perseverance. What is your story behind it? Why do you fight so hard?
Marcy: I think about what I have been through in my life and it makes me want to create change. I’ve been body shamed including being spit at by a random stranger who said I was disgusting and hoped I would die. I’ve been physically abused and mistreated as a child by a relative. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression. I’ve dealt with great loss and grief. I’ve taken all these hits in my life but I am still here. That has to mean something. I have always felt I had a purpose in life to do something great so that keeps me pressing forward for change.
QSM: Now when are we going to get to see Mama Cruz modeling? lol
Marcy: I wish! I am still trying to convince her to do YouTube videos and she is not about that life. LOL
QSM: I just want to say congratulations once again. I am so proud of you and you are so deserving of this opportunity. Keep up the great work.
Marcy: Thank you so much! QSM has a special place in my heart because you feature models of varying sizes, shapes and colors and show the beauty in them. It’s publications like yours that are helping in changing the fashion industry in becoming more diverse.
I have some great things in the works, such as being honored at the LifeStyled Honors event in Atlanta in late April and speaking at the DREAM BIG CurvyGirl Fashion & Beauty Conference in Chicago in August. I will continue to share my story, my voice and any updates via my blog www.fearlesslyjustme.net or on social media (@fearlesslyjustme on Instagram and Facebook).
For any companies or designers wanting to hire me as a fit model for extended sizes, please contact my agent Marcy Spanier at State Management - firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, her name is Marcy too! LOL
And to everyone out there, just know you matter, you’re worth it and you’re beautiful. So if you’re feeling like you’re none of those things, start speaking life into yourself and change that conversation. Change your story because you never know where your journey will take you once you do that. It’s up to you. Just take it one day at a time and know that you are worthy. I promise, magical things will happen in your life once you believe in yourself.