Last week, my blog buddy from the UK, Vanessa Reece, shared with me the most amazing news! This feisty and fierce model, makeup artist, and blogger has garnered quite a following overseas. I could not wait to chat Miss Vanessa up about her latest news, and without any hesitation, letâ€™s jump into itâ€¦
Hey Marie, I’m super well.Â Thank you! I’m giving you a big virtual hug and a two cheeker from across the pond!
I hear you have some real exciting news to share with us!Â No need to draw it out, spill!
Yes I do!Â I can make it official that I am the new permanent fit model for ASOS Curves.Â ASOS, as you know, is a huge fashion company with a beauty divisionÂ attached too.Â The Curves part of their company specializes in clothing for the fuller figured woman.Â They also have an active community based on their site too.
Wait-ASOS Curves!!! I know you must have been beside yourself!
Even before the casting I didn’t quite know what they wanted from me.Â I was excited just to be asked to go to the casting.Â To be honest I don’t count my chickens before they are hatched but my agent seemed very keen to note the company wanted to see me – and my agency has a lot of models on their books – so yes, that was a thrill to be asked along to meet with them.
Tell me, what was going through your mind as you realized just what happened?
It was crazy actually! Normally after a casting you wait for news to see if you got the job.Â Sometimes that takes a few days.Â I was on my way back from theÂ ASOS office in London,Â on the bus, heading towards the train station when Jennifer from ASOS called my mobile.Â She was all excited.Â She said, â€˜Vanessa where are you?Â Can you come back?Â We want you to start work straight away.Â We love your figure, we love you, we have designers coming in, and we would really love for you to try on some of their clothes and give your input.â€™
I STILL didn’t believe it until I did a U-turn back to their offices and two things happened.Â The receptionist just called through and said, ‘Vanessa is here.â€™Â I didn’t even need to tell her my name.Â Secondly, Jennifer said,Â â€˜We want you to be our main permanent plus-size Fit Model for our range, Curve, you can give us feedback on the clothes and as of now, you are part of our team. We need you to work every week.Â Iâ€™ll call the agency and set up your contract and time sheet stuff.Â Welcome to ASOS â€“ now let me show you where you can make yourself a cup of tea. Make yourself at home.Â We are so happy to have you on board.â€™
That spoke volumes to me at their willingness to treat me as a team member and not just another model. Â And of course as any Brit knows, knowing where the tea is kept is always a positive thing.
But to answer your question: Gosh, Marie – I never thought my opinion on what clothes other fuller figured woman wore would count.Â I think what is so amazing is that my body and my mind can both be used in a positive way for fuller figured fashion.
Your closet is about to be on point! Are you ready?
Let me tell you something.Â I have not really bought anything for a while except a new t-shirt for my birthday because I intended to clear my closet for summer, and maybe by then, I may have gone down another dress size.Â Two things are clear – I cannot lose weight drastically because of this job and luckily, my body has stalled a bit as its got used to my food and exercise balance.Â I’m happy I can still work out and keep my curves.Â Secondly, I can’t think of a better reason to clear out my closet thanÂ knowing that each and every garment will fit me to aÂ T and that I had input in the process of its creation.
What is the difference from being a model and a â€œFit Model?â€
Good question.Â I can define how I see it and how ASOS are personally working with me.Â From my point of view a model is someone who looks at a camera or walks down aÂ runwayÂ and shows off something – or captures a mood. As a Fit Model for ASOS I am paid to put the clothes on they want to sell on their site through the different stages of their creationÂ – plus I am able to give my opinion on them. Like, does the zip need to be at the side or the back or does this garment need to be longer. I’m pretty sure not all Fit Models are able to give their input, but ASOS are very keen to gauge my opinion.
I have my own style, but it’s always commented on positively.Â I know what I like and what I don’t like.Â I know most of all what I really want to see on the market and judging from what I’ve seen so far, ASOS are really focused on giving us what we’ve been asking for.
During my first fit session, some garments needed to address the practical aspect for the fuller figured woman.Â We are individual but we also have a core set of needs when we buy clothes.Â Ease of use, what a garment shows and defines – all these things and more I’m giving feedback on.
For instance, there was one long black dress, which was simply divine and very different.Â You don’t normally see these kinds of dresses made for larger ladies and I actually said to the ladies during fitting, ‘OMG, I love my bum in this – ooh I love my curves in this.â€™Â That Marie -Â is what I want every fuller figured woman to feel and say when she wears these clothes.
You are officially official! You have been modeling for how long now?
It seems like forever, but professionally it’s been over five years or so.Â Maybe more.Â I lose count but I know I still feel good doing it.Â This is a new dimension for me though – and I welcome it as a great learning opportunity.Â No matter how long in the business you never stop learning.
You have guest posted on The Curvy Fashionista, sharing modeling advice, which tip do you think afforded you this opportunity?
I don’t think I can just pick one. But I have to say getting a good agent is important.Â Not only will they represent you fairly but they will also have your back during any negotiation process.Â If I could sneak in another tip, it would be have other strings to your bow.Â They help in and out of modeling.Â For instance, the fact that I blogged and have collaborated with others in the fuller figured online community helped me when discussing things with ASOS.Â They liked the fact I’m actually aware and have a voice.
I notice from your newsletter that youÂ are welcoming feedback on ASOSÂ Curve from your subscribers.
Yes. It’s important I don’t think that my opinion is the only opinion.Â I really am interested in speaking to people who’ve purchased their clothes and what kind of things they liked about them and even what they would have changed.Â I can pass this feedback onto the team. I’ve already had some great feedback fromÂ my mailing list subscribers whoÂ I let in on the secret of my new job.Â Â Of course having this interview with you makes it ‘fashionista official’,Â so I would welcome your readers to comment too!
With this amazing boost in your career, what else can we expect to see from you?
Well I’ll be relaunching my model eBook with new elements that I hope new models will find very helpful.
I’ll also be launching a new eBook about building fan bases.Â I don’t think we appreciate enough how valuable fans are and what we can give back to them with our work so I decided to write about that.Â I have people who’ve followed my work from the beginning and even when I disappeared for spells to pursue other things they still were around waiting.Â I am forever grateful for their support.
I’m also doing more work as a make-up artist and beauty consultant and finally I’ll be launching my design company officially.
As for travel plans I’m planning to be in LA in the summer, working with Devyn Ashley and hopefully, Julie K photographer on some projects.Â I hope you and I will be able to meet upÂ also.Â I’ve been toying with the idea of coming to Fuller Figured Fashion Week in NYÂ this year. I’m so tempted!
Of course my main contract is with ASOS so I will work everything around them.
Lastly, what does Curvy.Confident.Chic. mean to you?
To me itâ€™s a state of mind. It’s knowing and owning your own style and working it with pride.Â I think all women have that inside them; it just takes time to really understand it and solidify it as a way of life.
You can catch Vanessa here and can shop the latest from ASOS Curve here!