I've got quite the powerhouse to introduce to you today.
Meet Saucye West- a plus size model (plus as in "size 28/30 and proud!"), business woman, single mother and force to be reckoned with. And after spending some time with her in California last month, I'm officially in love with her as a whole person. She's brilliant, unflappable, committed to change and fierce AF. And after reading a little bit about her goals/philosophy/reasons behind why she models... I think you might fall in love too.
Here's what she has to say about plus model size diversity:
I feel like the plus models that are emerging as of late are all very beautiful but lack the relatability of the consumer. I want to see more models that are "unconventional" according to industry standards. More models that look like me and like many other women in America. I would like to see brands choose even larger fat bodies instead of walking that safe line. Being confident is about being brave. Brave enough to go against what people may think of you and create your own lane. That's exactly what fashion is about right?
About her goals:
My personal goal in life is to first be a good mother and example for my daughter. But in the realm of fashion I want to continue to break the barriers that have been placed in front of me and show visibility of fat bodies. And visibility of black fat bodies in the industry. As an activist I want to spread the message of self love. I want to combat body/fat shaming. I want to be in the front line and fight for the people who aren't yet able to fight for themselves.
About her ultimate message:
My message has always been to love yourself. It may sound simple but for so many it is a struggle. So many people can't even look in the mirror because they are ashamed or afraid. I tell people who reach out to me to have a love affair with yourself DAILY. when you get up in the morning look in the mirror and say "I am worthy". You are worthy of love, of acceptance, of happiness, of confidence, if everything that is good in this life. You are worthy!
About being a part of both fashion AND activism:
Being a part of both the fashion industry and the fat activist community has had its challenges. There have been times when my ethics have been challenged within the industry. And I have had to turn down jobs or not work with people based upon my personal beliefs. It is very hard to be at fashion show with other plus models and I have to hear them body shaming themselves. It can be tough.
About using the word fat:
Even me using the word fat to describe my body makes people look at me a certain way. people try to quickly correct me using a different adjective but I'm not ashamed of my body and the word that I choose to describe it. It's very hard for me to look at certain things in the fashion industry and see that I am not represented. But I have to continue to make myself visible so that one day my body type will be part of the standard. Being a woman of color, my fight is a little bit harder. Unfortunately, it's easier for my counterparts to be accepted. but for me I found it a little bit harder to even be excepted within my own community as a fat model. I know sometimes people may get tired of hearing me rant about the social injustices of fat people. But that's okay.
And about refusing to be silent:
There are times when people email me and ask me why I'm always talking about fat shaming. Why can't I just focus on the fashion? Well, I can't just focus on the fashion when the fashion industry doesn't even want me in it. We are still fighting to be seen and be visible! So therefore I have to continue to fight for the injustices of fat people and work towards showing visibly fat bodies in the industry. I'm not just doing this for fat people I'm doing is also so that women of color who are also plus size can be visible and can be seen as beautiful.
HEY WORLD, CAN WE GET THIS BABE SIGNED WITH A MODELING AGENCY ALREADY?!? Today would be the perfect day to get that ball rolling.
I'm HOPING (praying, begging, pleading even) that the giant companies (like Target, JcPenney, Lane Bryant, and Torrid!) who are looking to actually promote plus size diversity will look to Saucye in order to make this happen. If you're wanting a stellar, talented and boundary pushing model... West is your girl.
Cheering you on Saucye in ALL YOU DO!
P.S. You can find Saucye on Facebook, Instagram and on her website. Support, follow and fall in love already mmkay?