For many of us, the journey to body confidence and self-love is long and complicated. We constantly compare ourselves to women we see in the media, and until recent years there has been a serious lack of curvy and plus-size body representation. Nowadays, we’re lucky to see countless amazing curvy women on our social media feeds, and more brands are slowly beginning to celebrate beautifully diverse body types.
Plus-size model Alyssa Alexander is one role model we love following. Her gorgeous photos and messages of self-love and empowerment are captivating, but, like many of us, she wasn’t always the confident woman she is today. “Growing up, I had a terrible relationship with myself and my body,” Alexander explains. “Not seeing body types like mine in the media back then messed with [my] confidence. To be a part of changing that view and helping women see different body types being represented is a blessing.”
We recently caught up with Alexander on her incredible career successes to date, how she stays motivated, and, of course, all things body confidence.
Hi Alyssa! We’re so excited to get to know you! Can you tell us a bit about what led you to modeling?
I had always wanted to model. I remember religiously watching America's Next Top Model and wishing I was the right body type to pursue it! I never thought it would be in the cards for me. I had a sorority sister who reached out to me to be a model for her photography business. Once I stepped in front of that camera, it was like an "aha" moment and it just clicked! I fell in love with it! She posted the photos, and I started getting contacted by other photographers and designers in the area I didn't even know existed! I spent my weekends and any time I could get off from my full-time job creating and working with new people and building my portfolio.
That’s an amazing story! It seems like the stars aligned for you to pursue this career. What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is when I get a message from a follower or someone recognizes me in person and tells me about their experiences and relationship with their bodies or themselves, and that I have given them confidence to believe in themselves, or made them feel "seen" and "represented" in the media.
What does body positivity/body confidence mean to you?
Body positivity and confidence to me means not letting how your body looks at the moment affect your life, your mood, your relationships, your memories, and your time! As women, we are told to put so much emphasis on our weight or our looks into our worth and value, when that number on the scale or the tag of our dress has nothing to do with our worth or value. We are souls inside of shells we have been assigned, and we don't get to pick our body type, or facial structure, our skin texture, any of that! But what we can choose is the type of person we are going to be and what we are going to put out there into the world. Connecting those two things, who we are on the inside with what we have been given on the outside, and showing that whatever shell you may have been given you are going to work with and flaunt, is body confidence to me.
How did you become the confident woman you are today?
I will admit I spent a great deal of my life obsessing over my body shape, size, skin texture, and looks in general, and I realized as I got older it made me waste precious moments of my life and miss out on memories I could have been making. Modeling and just surrounding myself with other positive women has helped me be the confident woman I am today.
Last year, you were featured in Bebe Rexha’s music video for her song “You Can’t Stop the Girl” and you wore one of our sports bras in the video! Can you share a bit about your experience onset? What does this song mean to you?
OMG, being on set for this music video was such a great experience! There were so many women from different walks of life, we were all running together for hours on end, just motivating each other, talking about our experiences. It was so empowering! I remember at one point Bebe and I had a moment where we were talking about the song and the concept of the video and she turned to the film crew and was like "I want this girl up front next to me with her beautiful body, we need to show it off!" I've always loved Bebe and her body positivity and how she proudly represents us women with curvier figures with hips and booties and thighs! I think the song and the video really emphasizes women empowerment and that we are strong and resilient, and have a voice of our own!
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of so far?
One of the most recent accomplishments I am proud of is appearing on signage in Walmart stores! To be representing a shorter plus-size/curvy woman in the intimates section of a nationwide store I used to shop at as a little girl feels so amazing, especially knowing that I can impact another person's view of themselves. The funny thing is, I had turned to my roommate months ago when we were walking through Walmart and told her that was a goal of mine and I prayed for it and manifested that it would happen, and a few days later I got booked for the shoot! I am also proud of pushing myself out of my comfort zone in general and venturing into acting in addition to modeling. I feel that I have grown so much over the years pursuing this, it has broken me out of my shell and made me try things I never thought I would have the confidence to do!
Who are some women that you look up to in the curvy/plus-size community?
There are so many inspiring women that I look up to that are involved in the curvy/plus-size community I couldn't even begin to name them all! A few that come to mind that are really pushing the envelope and making an impact are Ashley Graham, Hunter McGrady, Lizzo, Melissa McCarthy, Barbie Ferreira, Rebel Wilson, Britney Young, Danielle Brooks, Chrissy Metz, Gabi Fresh, Ashley Alexis, Erica Lauren, Brielle Anyea, Bree Kish, Britney Vest, Iskra, and so many more!
Do you have a favorite Glamorise bra? Have you been wearing bras at home?
I love the sports bras the most! I have literally only been wearing sports bras or bras without wires because comfort is the most important thing during quarantine. We are all working from home, working out, and I have only put on a regular bra if I’m shooting photos!
Clearly, everyone’s style looks a bit different in quarantine! What does your everyday style look like nowadays?
I am mainly in activewear when spending my days at home because that is what is most comfortable to me! It also motivates me to get outside and be active if I already am dressed for that! Usually just something comfy and cozy. I'll sometimes throw on an oversized sweater, but jeans have been a no-go while stuck at home.
How have you been staying motivated and active in quarantine?
Getting outside and especially living by the beach has been a life saver for me during quarantine. I find that for my mental and physical health, getting outside is important whether it is just for a short walk, a bike ride, a hike, or rollerblading! I don't really have a daily routine right now, things are kind of random, but I just got a Fitbit and try to at least get my 10,000 steps in a day no matter what!
Life is definitely a bit slower than usual at the moment, but what are some of your goals that you can’t wait to tackle?
One of my goals for this year was to be on the signage in a store, and I can't believe I accomplished that! I really wanted to shift some of my focus into acting this year, and started taking some new acting classes and working on a few short film roles, but COVID has put a bit of a damper on that. A career goal would be eventually to book a recurring role on a TV show or a speaking role in a film. I have also started learning about the voiceover world and I’m working on setting up my home studio! I look at myself like a sponge wanting to take in and learn about as many aspects of the entertainment industry as possible! I have always loved to try new things and always want to continue growing as a person.
Last but not least, what advice would you give to other young women looking to make an impact?
I would just say to be yourself! Find what motivates you, find what inspires you, and don't be afraid to put yourself and your opinions out there. There is always going to be rejection and there is always going to be someone trying to bring you down or invalidate what you say or someone who doesn't agree with what you are doing. But the fear of putting myself out there for me was less crippling than the fear of regret. If there's ever something you want to pursue in life or an impact you want to make, there's no better time than now!