Maria is not your average Curve Model. Based in London, she turned her life around since becoming finalist for Ms Curvaceous 2017. Experienced in the industry, she modeled at the UK’s largest plus size fashion event, The Curve Fashion Festival and worked with top brands including Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo, M&S, New Look, River Island, Debenhams, Simply Be & Missguided and more!
Maria is a pro-body confidence go-getter who listens and encourages women to find their fashion funk & own it. Here’s a bit about her journey and her views on confidence, curve models and everything in between.
When did you start your modelling career?
I started modelling 2 years ago with Ms Curvaceous. Funnily enough I didn’t know it was a competition, I generally thought it was a workshop that you go to focus on your confidence. At the time, I was at a really low point and my sister encouraged me to go and paid for the workshop. 5 hours later, after talking about confidence and meeting all the great ladies, I started feeling myself. All of a sudden Theo (owner of Ms Curvaceous) says that the auditions are going to start soon. I didn’t feel ready too but the amazing women I met we’re so positive said I should just go for it.
Next thing I know, I get an email saying I am a semi-finalist, a few months letter I get another one saying I am a finalist-top 20 - it changed my life! After that day I stopped caring, I want to do what I want, wear what I want, I want to think what I want to think, if I want to finish the plate in front of me I will. It has been the best 2 years of my life, having that care-free personality changed me. I feel more whole in myself, because I don’t have that limitation or restriction towards anything. Anything is possible in life as long as you believe in yourself and want it. I thought, "..you know what, if I got through the final stage I can almost say I am a model!”
How quickly did things change for you after Ms curvaceous?
Things changed a lot! It started slow at first, I started Uni in the same year being in Ms Curvaceous and decided to work on my Instagram. I started taking good pictures, invested in the iPhone X, and a few months later, Fashion Nova noticed me then more brands noticed me, that’s when things started to pile up. I was on hold working with 3 brands for a good year then so many more brands came all at once, and now, I work with 9 brands!
Did you ever think you could be an influencer? Girl, no! I was not good looking - didn’t find beauty until a late age. I didn’t believe in myself and think that anyone would look up to me or ask me for advice. I always thought that my life would be ordinary. Influencers & curve models didn’t really exist when I was in secondary school. Now, we’re build a community of all of our flaws to show people that these are not our flaws, they are our perfections and I never expected it to happen but I realised, this is where I want to be. I love the fact that girls can DM me their problems and I can help them in some way. It feels like I am going through that pain with them knowing that I can be there for them. I love what I do and people can come to talk to me. It just makes sense.
What did you learn about yourself in your journey so far? What I’ve learnt the most is that I am human too, that’s a big thing. Knowing that I don’t need to fit this perfect image. I get emotional, sometimes I cry for no reason & I think I’m ugly, mean because I didn’t reply to a DM on time etc. I can be very harsh on myself and realised that I am human and have emotions. If you need to cry then cry, it’s not weakness it’s a relief. You will get your lows and high but it’s okay because you’re human too.
I’ve had to re-learn how to calm down and trust myself, it’s a process. I realised there’s a higher realm of people who understand knowledge and emotions. Everyone has their own problems and people tend to think they are the only ones going through something. We don’t realise everyone is going through the same thing and that’s why we have all this friction. I’ve learnt the understanding path of nothing is black and white, being patient and calm. Try to be the water rather the fire to the problem. How do you see the culture when it comes to plus size in society? Do you feel it has changed? It has definitely got better! Curvy women are much more accepted now. For example, I was invited to work with a Latex company and it’s something you would never think would be available to curvy women. I appreciated it so much because big girls couldn’t go into shops and find options so easily - if I see Latex, I’m already thinking that you won’t have my size. I think we are changing and I like that. Brands like Pretty Little Thing especially who have become the number 1 retailer are changing the game for us big girls because and showing other retailers that including curve models and sizes in their collection. When you look at a big girl, you don’t see a big girl anymore, you see a beautiful person, it works and that’s what we need.
What step do you feel we need to take to help improve? We shouldn’t have labels. If we are in the same profession, you are a model and I am a model the only difference is the sizes but we are both models. That should be the end game. I hate the fact that there is a difference between us and hope that one day all agencies and communities in general give people chances rather than the image of what of what women should be like. Men don’t usually have categories but Women have so many categories. We are so different! It should be more about the personality than her appearance.
What is Modelling to you?
Modelling is so much more than just pictures and looks. I see it as the imagery of the world. You could have the perfect face, body and picture but if I don’t know the essence of who you are then what else is there to follow? A lot of women are idolising other people based on only their features rather than their personality. I would rather see a woman that is not perfect but she is humble, respectful, preaches love and peace, someone you can learn from and that’s a woman I choose to be an influencer and look up to like Felicity Hayward. I’d rather see someone who is real.
“Change your circle if you want to change your life.”
Is there a lot of support within the plus size community? Definitely! A lot more than before and it’s beautiful that we are supporting each other especially us as influencers. We all know that we are in a hard industry that hasn’t really accepted us over the years, so we keep pushing. One thing that I do love about the community is that all of us who are friends are constantly backing each other.
What advice would you give to a woman who is looking to build her confidence?
My number 1 advice would be to communicate. Talk to others because it’s never too late to make new friends. When you are stuck in a confidence circle, it’s also usually the people around you that make you feel like you and sometimes, if you want to change your life, you need to change circle. If you’re in London, get onto Ms Curvaceous. Even if you don’t want to do the auditions just do the workshop & meet new people.
My other advice would be to try new things, if you see an outfit you’re unsure of because of your shape and size, just do it! See what happens, if you don’t like it just return it but if you do like it, you’ve discovered something new.
Travel! It’s very important. I travelled alone for 5-weeks and that experience gives you that time to think and analyse yourself, and that’s where I felt like I’ve changed. On top of that I wore a bikini for the first time and it felt like freedom. was so freeing. I decided from then on that I am just going to do me. Travel alone or with choose one person who you connect with, read books, listen to soulful music, talk about life and be grateful and just find yourself.
What is your Girls In Power Philosophy? You’ve got to learn to be uncomfortable to be comfortable. Follow Maria and her journey on Instagram: