Plus Size Model, Owner of Heartbreaker Hairpieces, Writer, Web/Graphic Designer, Zombie F/X Make Up Artist, & more.

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About.com - Vanessa Heart on the fashion industry -Part 1

What Does a “Plus Size Model” Think About Fashion & Beauty Advertising? Part One of an Exclusive...

About.com - Vanessa Heart on the fashion industry -Part 2

About.com did a two part feature exploring my opinions on the Fashion Industry as a Plus Model. ...

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About.com - Vanessa Heart on the fashion industry -Part 2

About.com did a two part feature exploring my opinions on the Fashion Industry as a Plus Model. 

What Does a “Plus Size Model” Think About Fashion & Beauty Advertising?

Part Two of an Exclusive Interview With Vanessa Heart.

 

 

 

In part one of this two-part exclusive, Vanessa Heart discussed her background in fashion advertising, and talked about her experiences with the industry as a whole.

Now, Vanessa answers my questions about specific campaigns recently produced by the likes of Aerie and Dove. I have been skeptical of such methods; as an insider, they seem to be pandering to the crowd, rather than really addressing the

needs of the consumer.

But what does a plus-size model, and consumer, think about the same ads that I have been so critical of? Let’s take a look.Vanessa Heart- Plus Model.

 


 

PS: Speaking specifically about Aerie’s “No Photoshop” approach, how do you react to that as both a model, and a consumer?

VH: I think it’s terrific! I think sending the message to women and society that we are human. That these are our bodies, that they aren’t perfect. We aren’t perfect. It’s a great message to send to the younger generation, whom have grown up in the digital era. I mean, teenagers are retouching their selfies, and everyone is trying to represent a slimmer, more physically appealing version of themselves to the world. I find it completely refreshing and uplifting to see curves or a body roll on a woman in advertising, since it is so rare now a days to see something that ‘human’.

One of my favorite things is to look at old magazine ads from the 70s and 80s, before Photoshop existed. I like to see that beautiful women are still that even with their so-called imperfections. I think the message that Aerie is trying to get across is "Body Acceptance", which I find refreshing and beautiful.

 


 

PS: If you were told no retouching would be done on your photos, how would you react?

VH: Well, I can be honest in saying that when I was a teenager and into my early 20s, virtually none of my photos were photo shopped. Most shoots were done on actual 35mm film(not digital); which when I look through those photos, I think they are beautiful in their natural imperfect state. I think that I can see a moment of my youth and truly appreciate it.

Nowadays, if someone said that they were not going to edit my photos, I would want to make sure that we had terrific lighting. Basically, lighting that wasn’t going to misrepresent my face or body. Since most people aren’t in this industry they may not realize that lighting can really make or break a photo.

 

 

PS: Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign celebrates real women. Do you think it goes far enough, or should it broaden its horizons even further?

VH: When I look at the photos of women of all ethnic backgrounds, heights, weights and body types… it makes me really proud to be a woman. It makes me proud that after so much ‘body shaming’ for decades that a company is starting a ‘body acceptance’ campaign that is sending a positive message to our children and to women everywhere. It is more than just advertising… it is changing the mindsets of those in society.

 


 

PS: As a woman who is a consumer as well as a model, what kind of ads do you respond more favorably to?
VH: Personally, I love old Hollywood style glamour. I love beautiful silky, shiny things and I am obsessed with Victoria Secret’s bras. I think that Victoria Secret does celebrate femininity in that they market to a romantic side of lingerie and under garments. It’s very different from Dove’s down to earth comfort-based approach. Each is a different spectrum… one sells glamour and the other comfort. I think either will appeal to what the individual woman is looking for.

 


 

PS: If you were given the choice to model for Aerie, or Agent Provocateur, knowing one is Photoshop-free, and the other is highly stylized and a celebration of the almost unattainable woman, which would you choose and why?
VH: Well, it’s kinda of a conundrum in the fact that, I love seeing real women as natural as they can be; yet I also love the artistic style of high glamour and fashion. As a plus size model, I would be pretty excited to see a lingerie company like Agent Provocateur feature a curvy model such as myself. I think having a high fashion company celebrate the beauty of a plus size woman is a step in the right direction. Plus I feel if I were to model for them, then it would be a pretty big personal achievement.

 


 

PS: Abercrombie’s CEO once said “we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that.” As a beautiful person yourself, how do you respond to that?
 

VH: That sounds really closed minded. I could relate to someone saying we want trendy, stylish, fashionable people working in our stores to promote our products. But who is he to determine what is beautiful? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 


 

PS: What’s a piece of modeling or advertising you have done, or been involved in, that you’re most proud of, and why?

VH: Honestly, Angelique Lingerie is one of my most favorite shoots to this date. And I’ll tell you why… I was hired to represent Plus Size Lingerie. I wasn’t just a model, whom needed to try to compete with size 2 women and my images weren’t photoshopped to make me thinner. I was celebrated for my curves, flaws and all. That is honestly my goal. I want to be hired to do more clothing modeling. I celebrate the title of “Plus Size Model”, because I think I make people stop and say… “She is Plus Size? She looks like a normal size”. I feel like that’s a good thing, cause I’m representing that curvaceous women can be beautiful. And I think it tells us a thing or two about how wrong it is to say that only women under a particular size are beautiful. We are all beautiful in our own ways, in our own bodies, in our own sizes.

 


 

PS: What one thing would you do today to make fashion and beauty advertising better? Either for you as a model, or as a consumer.

VH: I think we are getting there. I think the clothing industry is realizing that if they want their clothes to sell that they need to start creating advertising that makes the consumer say… “I can picture myself in that outfit”. And that advertising starts with having people of all ethnics, styles and sizes. It even makes me happy to see tattooed models making their way into the world of high fashion advertising.

 


PS: What’s the biggest challenge you have faced as model?

VH: Before I became a PLUS Model, I had constant challenges with trying to attain the ideal model body. Even when I was on a unhealthy rollercoaster to drop down in size, I couldn’t get below a size 4 and I was only 112lbs. Every time I went to a photo shoot they would comment on how I had a pretty FACE. Which always felt like a sting.

The biggest challenge I faced was when I took a break from modeling, gained weight and then re-entered the modeling arena. Plus size models were not commonly heard of at the time and it was very difficult to try to get back into the modeling industry with so much pressure to be a particular body type. I dealt with a lot of shamming for my size. It really took a lot of courage and confidence to get in front of audiences at runway shows being the only plus size girl, as well as to get back in front of the camera and to discover that my body no longer moved in the same way.

 


 

PS: Would you recommend modeling as a career?

VH: NO, I wouldn’t. In my younger years I thought that modeling would get me the love and recognition I had longed for, but it never did. I am now the Head of Marketing for a Medical Center and I’m very proud of that fact. I’d pick brains over beauty any day.

 


 

PS: Finally, is there anything else you want to add on the subject of the current state of beauty and/or fashion advertising?

VH: The industry is changing… slowly. But it’s changing. The fact that a PLUS model and Curvy Model is now an industry term is a really big leap and I embrace it with arms wide open. Over the past few years, I’ve seen Plus Models in TV commercials and clothing catalogs and I’m really proud to see other women in the industry that I can relate to.

 


 

Vanessa Heart is a plus size model, writer, web & graphic designer, zombie F/X make up artist, and owner of Heartbreaker Hairpieces. You can see more of her work atVanessaHeart.com

Photo of Vanessa Heart photographed by: Dennis Taulbee Designs

Heartbreaker Hairpieces

Vanessa Heart has her own line of hair accessories, Heartbreaker Hairpieces!

Heartbreaker Hairpieces

Heartbreaker Hairpieces come in a variety of fun bright punk rock colors and adorned with hand painted glitter skulls, dice, or lined with a hand painted glitter trim and each one is hand crafted.

www.heartbreakerhairpieces.com!

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