What's it really like appearing in Vogue?
"It is something I've been thinking about since I was a little girl posing in the mirror. I always hoped this would be possible, and now it is. I am just so happy!"
I heard that you are the first plus contributor; if that's the case, what do you think this means for the future for Vogue?
"I am, and what a great surprise it was! I can't say what that means for the future of Vogue, but I can say that the inclusion was very special for me. It meant that my story and my voice is important to Vogue. My contribution also extended into an online article for the magazine with tips for dressing a curvy body, which is great, as I am extremely passionate about fashion for curvy women."
What are your thoughts about the controversy surrounding the Kimye Vogue cover?
"Controversy begone! Anna obviously knows what she is doing. It is current and relevant for the world in which we live, and that is why she chose it. I'm thrilled to be on the inside — it's certainly getting a lot of press."
What magazines do you hope to conquer next?
"My goal is a general one, and that is to continue being featured in mainstream publications and amazing editorials. There is relevance in size diversity, and I am excited about other magazines continuing this movement."
What is your favorite piece from the Isabel Toledo x Lane Bryant collection?
"Oh, there is not just one favorite piece! I am, though, quite partial to the complete look I wore for Vogue. Besides the sentimental connection I have, it is just so beautifully tailored, flattering, simple, and yet has very special details. The complete look is a staple you would have and be chic in forever. On the day of the collection's release, I snagged the colorblocked, tunic shirtdress. I love the masculine, oversized look of a button-down shirt and the beautiful touch of feminine brocade on the back shoulders. It fits my style perfectly!"
It seems that some marketing images of you make you appear bigger than you actually are in real life. Are they padding you in the shoots?
"I think I may have padded once in the very beginning of my career when I was a kid. I do not own padding, and I do not take it to set. Sometimes, even when asked, I don't take it. I just don't have it. It doesn't make me super comfortable to do that, [but] there are tricks, like using paper towels. That's the funny thing, though: When people say that I am smaller than they would prefer, I am actually really not. They aren't stretching me at all; it's my size, definitely."
How do you feel when you see comments where people are saying you don't look plus size?
"There is nothing I can do about it. Everyone has an opinion; those with the loudest opinions should understand that everyone has a different shape and a different style. They aren't just shouting out about my size; they shout out about the clothing that's hideous. That's fine if you think so. Somebody else won't think so. Everybody is different with opinions and styles. I don't know how else I can express that I am in the same boat. I am a customer, too. There is so much stuff that I can't wear that I would love to wear; I want it just as much as the next person. I want brands to expand their sizes. I want more options and opportunity for myself and my career. I want to blend mainstream; I want to break through that barrier. I am right there, too, so it is a little frustrating. We need to change the conversation. I think that we are pretty well represented, [but] you can't please everybody."
I understand. I have had women tell me, “Oh, you aren't really plus size,” when I predominantly have to shop in plus stores.
"I find that so frustrating. Would you like to come to my house and watch me try to button this shirt over my breasts? 'Cause it is not going to happen. I am feeling the same things you are feeling. We are all proportioned differently and are all different sizes. That is the beauty of that — that we aren't all just straight up and down. That's what's so exciting. People are adapting clothes for us. One designer may make us feel tight, and one designer is going to make us a cool menswear-inspired piece. Everybody will be taken care of. It needs to be done."
Do you feel uncomfortable if you are being compared to straight-size models?
"No, I love these things that have come out that fight back that real women have curves. That is silly, too. When were we not real? I find that really funny because we don't need to draw lines. We are drawing our own lines when the industry is actually trying to blur them for us. We keep drawing our own battle lines with 'That's not plus enough' or 'That's not going to be good for my shape' or 'I don't want skinny jeans.' Let's focus on the bigger picture here: that Calvin Klein [among other designers] is making some dope stuff for us. We just keep setting up the wall, like comparing us to skinnier models. The thing that really drives me is the fashion side of things. It's really exciting to see that there isn't much of a difference anymore, and it is only going to get better and better. It's not hard to feel on-trend anymore as a bigger woman."
What's next for your career?
"I have some projects in mind and tricks up my sleeve. I can tell you that now, more than ever, I feel like the sky is the limit."