Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Plus Academy Open House

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at an Open House for Gwen DeVoe's Plus of my favorite organizations for plus sized women.

The Plus Academy is New York City's first and leading model training and development program, exclusively for plus size women.

Since 1999, They have provided unsurpassed training and guidance, helping to launch the careers of several plus models, many of whom have appeared in print ads, runway showcases, television programs, online magazines, designer showcases, pageants and more.

They also offer a variety of personal development and lifestyle workshops for plus size women and pre-teenagers. Their classes are taught by a team of professionals who are experienced in the plus size market and in conducting workshops associated with issues affecting plus size women.

The plus modeling industry is a rapidly growing market. More designers are adding plus size lines to their existing collections, increasing plus modeling opportunities for women. If you are ready to fulfill your dreams of becoming a plus model check out The Plus Academy at :

The open house was held in Manhattan and I was pleased to see that the turnout was many folks responded that they had to stop taking reservations. The room was elegantly decorated in lavender & purple, with a wonderful array of italian pastries and a wine & champagne bar. Some of the most influential people that SOME of you may never have heard of were on board to be guest speakers and/or presenters.

We were greeted at the door by DSE member Roslyn "Rocky" Grate who checked folks in with a display of all the programs produced by DeVoe Signature Events. For those of you who don't what falls under the umbrella of DSE, let me put you in "the know" Gwen is the brainchild behind Full Figured & Fabulous (The Plus Model Runway Competition), Dangerous Curves...The Tour!/Hips, Heels & Curves(The traveling Trunk Show /Sample Sale), Project Curves (A weekend Seminar/boot camp for Aspiring models) & of course The Plus Academy.

Gwen "Diva" DeVoe opened up by welcoming everyone and giving us a brief history of the Plus Academy, as well as introducing her new "Master Class Lecture Series" before introducing her first speaker of the day, Runway Master Alva Page.

Alva was a little under the weather from a developing cold but he quickly took the stage and declared 2008 as "The Year Of The Walk". Alva believes, like myself that the Art of Runway is a dying one and truly needs to be revived. Alva was so good that I am seriously considering taking his course to brush up MY skills as well (lol...heads up you Diva's in one is too big to not need to brush up on their skills from time to time).

Alva was followed by Plus Model Terri Murray, who briefed us on the class that she's instructing on how to choose and wear the proper foundation garments. And from what I have seen over the last few years...heh-heh...there is very much a need for this particular class...whew!

Designer Just Raymona who had a couple of her models in tow. Raymona was on hand to let us know about her new line that she's debuting in February...EnV New York. Just Raymona is the woman who designed that fabulous Zebra Print Suit and the Denim Jumpsuit that I wore for Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance Paris.

Designer Robert E. Knight also spoke and told everyone how finally came to the decision to make plus sized clothing. lol..Robert and I go WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back to my early days as a model on the New York / New Jersey Fashion circuit....I could never convince him to make me any you boo!

Maddy Figueroa-Jones, from Plus Model Magazine briefed us on the Master Class that she's teaching on Posing and Working the Camera. She showed us briefly how to work a shot in 4 slight movements.

I talked about my upcoming class "Agency / Model Expectations: Myths & Realities". As a new booker at IPM Models, the things that I am seeing and the way that I am watching these women walk into the agency unprepared is enough to make the hairs on my neck stand up!!! So I'm going to be talking about what to expect from your agent AND what your agent expects from you!

Plus Model and PA Grad Shanta' Renee talked about her achievements since graduating from The Plus Academy. Miss Shanta is newly signed with IPM and just had her first gig on The Today Show last week! You GO Shanta'!

There was a surprise walk on by Runway/Choreography legend Tim Smart, who was in another studio rehearsing on the same floor. Tim has also conducted classes for The Plus Academy and no one can put together a show quite like he can. Tim also works for the Hal Jackson Talented Teen Beauty Pageant. It was great seeing Tim! He looks really good.

Singer Angel Williams was also in the house and briefly addressed the room and gave out complimentary copies of her new CD.

Also in attendance....Rising Star Plus Model Elisabeth Seifu, Plus Models Shante Gordon & Jeannie Ferguson; The forces behind Curvesity Entertainment, Sonia & Josephine, Kier Walker CEO of Plus Size in The City...and a whole bunch of other familiar faces from the plus model circuit. There was even eyelash applications going on behind the scenes.

Diva wrapped up the presentations and opened the floor for registration...the response was so crazy that even The Runway Diva was helping to sign up new students with Diva & Tonya Giddens!

Of course after the open house wrapped a bunch of us jumped in taxis and cars and headed downtown to have dinner at BBQ's on 23rd st....which was an experience in dining in itself....word to the wise...if you happen to eat at the BBQ's on 23rd st...DON'T let them seat you in the's like the Siberia of restaurants...all the cool and beautiful people sit upstairs and all the families with screaming kids and er...undesirables...ROFL! get seated downstairs.

If you are a beginning model and don't know where to begin your career....START with the Plus Academy...Do NOT Pass go and head to an WILL get your face cracked...Stop playing and go and get the tools you need for a successful career!

Great Event Diva!

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.

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