We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of our newest models, Caralyn Mirand on the topics of being a plus size model, body image, and the current direction of the plus size industry.
HydroChic: What does it mean to you to be a plus size model?
Caralyn Mirand: I know there are many people who struggle with the term “plus size.” When I tell people that I am a model, I get one of two responses. They look me up and down, wondering how I could be a model. I have to follow that with “I am a plus size model.” Then it makes sense to them. OR People say, “YOU are plus size?? HOW?”
What people don’t understand is that plus sizes can start at a US size 8. I work at a size 12/14 and that is just the beginning of a whole segment of women. There are people who don’t like being called plus size, but I am proud to represent the plus size community of women.
HC: How did you get started as a model?
CM: My modeling career began back at the end of high school in 2010. One night when I was supposed to be working on college scholarship applications, and I saw something posted online about Tyra Banks’ Fiercely Real Model Search. I submitted a picture and went back to my application. I unexpectedly got a message asking for more pictures. In the end, I wound up both finishing my college application on time and becoming a finalist on the show, and the journey had begun.
I started my career while going to school full time at Clarkson University and upon graduation, I had a choice to make. I wanted to keep pursuing my passion for modeling, but I also wanted to move back to my hometown of Buffalo. I’m a hometown girl, born and raised, and I knew that while New York can be fun, it could never really be home. In the end, I have been able to do both—I travel for work, but my home base is still the city I grew up in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It definitely requires a level of dedication and sacrifice, but I am happy to make it work. When I am not modeling, I work as an image consultant for my company called Buffalo Beautiful.
HC: Tell us more about Buffalo Beautiful!
CM: I started Buffalo Beautiful as a way to teach others the skills I’ve learned about how to live a whole, happy, healthy life. I’m an advocate of wellness—spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical while living a healthy lifestyle. I’m not here to get you to drop pounds or take on a style that’s just not you. I am here to help you drop the negative approach to yourself and embrace self-acceptance and body positivity. My goal isn’t to change you—it’s to teach you how to let your best self shine through.
HC: What are your thoughts on body image and self esteem?
CM: When it comes to body image and self esteem, I have to be honest and say that having a positive outlook is focusing on the journey, not the destination. There are days that I feel great about myself, then there are days that I do not. When I started to model, I thought that all of my body image issues would magically disappear. Little did I know, it was just the beginning. It was definitely difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that I was being hired or fired based on one thing- my appearance. New clients don’t necessarily care if I am a good person or my values, they want me or don’t want me based on my look. It took me a long time to wrap my head around that. Of course I want to work, but I realize that my work does not determine my self worth.
HC: When you first heard about HydroChic, a swimwear company that offers women of all shapes and sizes swimwear options – what were your thoughts?
CM: First and foremost, I am very grateful to have worked for HydroChic! I am in love with the message and the purpose that the company relays. I am an advocate of companies that offer styles to EVERY type of woman, not just straight sizes or plus sizes. Every woman wants and deserves to feel beautiful and comfortable in their clothing. It’s great to see that HyrdoChic is committed to making sure that happens.
HC: How do you feel about the focus on sex appeal in curvy womens’ clothing options? What areas do you think need the most work in the plus size clothing industry?
CM: I personally dress more on the modest and conservative side, I don’t feel comfortable with a lot of exposed skin. That is my choice and I don’t judge anyone who prefers to wear even more or less than I do. That is the beauty about being a woman! We have a choice!
When it comes to options, I think there is more of a range than there has ever been. However, I do believe there is more work to be done. I think that all women should be able to shop in the same departments, we shouldn’t be segregated. One time I went to look at plus size clothing options at a department store and I had to go upstairs and behind the luggage section in order to find clothing that fits me! The message that store was sending to plus size consumers was “you’re not worthy enough to shop on the first floor with the sized 0-12 women.” Unacceptable.
What do you think HydroChic fans? What are your thoughts about the plus size industry? What struggles do you think it still faces?