To Loni, with Love
Written by Tawana Blassingame
It took me some time to formulate what I wanted and didn’t want to say. I did not want to come off as an angry person, although initially I was. But what I have learned is that we have to view all unfortunate situations as a teachable moment.
We are all entitled to our feelings and opinions but deep in the back of our minds somewhere we have to be smart enough to know that our feelings and opinions are not always right.
Recently you made a statement on social media (Twitter to be exact) that you felt there were no plus size fashion icons (which you then later on added black to). A statement that many people in the plus industry didn’t take too kindly of. (I tell ya, we can be worse than that Bey-hive sometimes. Lol.) Anyway…. I was trying to understand from your comments, what YOU deemed as being an icon. When I think of fashion icons, I think of fashion leaders. I don’t know if you were referring to models only, designers or just the industry as a whole when you made that statement. Either way, from your responses, you probably have no clue about the plus size industry outside of Ashley Graham, Tess Holiday, Ashley Stewart (due to your recent collaboration) and probably Christian Siriano.
There are so many people in this plus size fashion industry who have been busting their asses for years to make sure that we are seen and heard in this industry; that we are represented and have places to shop. Icons are not born, they are made and recognized through their hard work and leadership. Some would even consider you to be an icon Loni. Ask yourself why, then look up all of these great individuals that I am about to name for you and tell me how different they are from you. Why are they NOT icons to you?
Sharon Quinn, affectionately known as the Original Runway Diva, due to her presence, style and unbelievable confidence on the catwalk. Sharon became known for her appearances on all three seasons of the Oxygen Network‘s show,“MoNique’s F.A.T. Chance.” Sharon Quinn is a TRUE Icon.
The Plus Pioneer & Model is currently the Exec Producer & Host of the Award Winning Talk Show Model Behavior with Sharon Quinn on the MNN Network.
Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images
Photo: Keith Major
Liris Crosse aka "the plus size Naomi Campbell" has been ACTIVELY making her mark in the modeling industry. Recently, Liris was one of the signature curvy models for the promo commercial for BET/Centric's new show “Curvy Style With Timothy Snell”. She was also one of a few model selected to walk the runway for reality TV competition, Project Runway’s, first ever plus size collection at New York Fashion Week. She also became the first Black model to grace the Goddess Lingerie campaign in 2015. Liris is currently signed to Dorothy Combs Models.
Loni, since you asked where our Naomi Campbell was... here she is....
Angellika Morton is a popular model, fashion stylist, and actress who already has grabbed the attention of people for her modeling. She started a career as a straight size model later she turned herself into a plus-size model in 1997.
Two years later the extremely pretty model inducted into the International Model Hall of Fame. She was featured by the Time Magazine. In addition, Morton was the first model to appear on two consecutive MODE covers. She also appeared on the runway at the first Lane Bryant runway show.
Celebrity Makeup Artist, Plus Pioneer & Creator of the Glamazon Beauty by Kim Baker Cosmetics Line.
Kim also started out modeling as a straight size model and then moved onto doing Plus.
Creator/Executive Producer of Full Figured Fashion Week.
And the creator of Silver Fox Model Camp.
I only mentioned five above, compared to your none. I would also invite you to read up on The Curvy Fashionista, Maui Bigalow, Essie Golden, Madeline Jones, Theresa Randolph, Gabi Fresh, Susan Moses, Chastity Valentine, Timothy Snell or Akira Arsmstrong.
This is one of the main reasons why we created The Full Figured Industry Awards (also known as The FFIAs). We'd love to invite you to our next show on November 7, 2020 to come out and meet some of the Icons in our industry. We welcome you with warm hearts and open arms.
Finally, I'd also like to add Loni, that as a woman of color who has fought so hard for her seat at the table, why would you be so quick to turn a blind eye to others who have been fighting for their seat?
Come sit at our table get to know us.
From Tawana Blassingame
CEO, Editor in Chief of Queen Size Magazine
Founder, Executive Producer of The Full Figured Industry Awards.