Positive Energy and Self-Assuredness
Samantha Lebbie is a 25-year-old entrepreneur and plus size model from Washington DC, currently pursuing her dreams of being signed to a recognized model agency in the industry. Her upbeat attitude and genuine spirit penetrate through here voice as one engages in conversation with her.
The fact that she is a motivational speaker is no surprise once one has had the privilege of encountering her. Her positive energy and self-assuredness are two of her most dominant traits. With the support of family and friends she has been lucky enough to realize the manifestation of some of her dreams already and is on her path to success.
How did you get into modeling?
Initially, I started modeling at sixteen. My mother thought that it would be something I would be great at, but I was a little weary about it because I’ve always been plus size. So I didn’t really think it would be something I could do professionally.
I just thought I could do things in my neighborhood, community events, fashion shows and things like that just starting out, but as I got older and went to college I noticed they were taking plus size models serious and you could actually be contracted as a plus size model.
So from that point on which was about 2 years ago, I decided I was going to do this because I enjoy making other people feel good and being inspired and things of that nature so that’s how I got into it.
What would you say was your biggest challenge to overcome in getting into this industry?
The biggest challenge for me was self-acceptance. The first thing if you’re going to be a model is a self-acceptance. Especially being a plus size model, you’re not skinny, so you have to be confident in yourself.
If you’re going to be selling products and portray the image that clients want you have to have confidence in yourself. I would say that’s one of the biggest challenges women, in general, have really if you want to be considered a public figure for the plus size community is self-acceptance of who you are and what you look like.
What is one of your best experiences thus far in your pursuit of a modeling career?
Well, I did an interview back in October and basically, it was similar to this one, “How to get to know Samantha” and what I said in the interview was, “I want to be on Full Figure Fashion Week.”
Every aspiring plus size model wants to get there so I tried out a couple of months ago and wasn’t sure if I was going to get it or not because there were so many beautiful plus size women there. Well out of about a thousand girls they picked about fifty and I was one of them.
That was one of the biggest accomplishments for me since I was just starting out and taking my modeling career seriously this year while a lot of plus size models have been doing this for a long time and had been to the casting calls over and over and still weren’t picked.
They were like, “Wow, you got picked on your first try!” So it was awesome, and I’ll be doing that this June so I’m really excited about that. I literally cried on my way home I was so excited.
What are a few fashion tips for plus size women that you recommend?
Fashion is my life! I would say a lot of plus size women have things about their bodies that they don’t want Contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to show cleavage or dress provocatively, or whatever but A-line clothing is really popular, which is like wrapped dresses and wrapped skirts.
I’d say things that flatter your body type, skinny jeans too. You don’t want to look too boxy ‘cause sometimes we by our close just a little too big because we’re trying to hide something. Belts around a dress help if you’re trying to hide your stomach or look slim. And you don’t just have to wear black.
Are there incentives to remain plus size and is there a particular range of sizes that are required to be marketable as a plus size model?
YES! I hear a lot of people who will look at a picture of a model and say, “She’s not plus size.” But in the industry plus size is a size eight and up.
I know that may sound crazy but if you have curves you’re considered plus size. And then you can’t be over a size eighteen if you are trying to be in the mainstream scene as a plus size model, so they usually expect for you to be a size twelve to fourteen or even sixteen.
They consider that average around most stores that cater to plus women. You need to be between twelve and fourteen if you want to make it in the industry.
How does your health factor into your profession?
My health is a big thing for me because when I first started out I was a size twenty and I dealt with high blood pressure, hypertension, and I knew that I loved the way I looked and everything but I have to be healthy because of my situation anything could happen to me.
I almost had two strokes so I knew that I had to make a change so I definitely am all about healthy eating and healthy living, no sodas, and all I drink is water. Just because you’re curvy doesn’t mean you have to be unhealthy. I go to the gym. I exercise. You still have to stay in shape.
Is there a global market for plus size models?
Plus size modeling is all over. It’s really popular in the United Kingdom. It’s becoming even more popular here in America. I guess I would say that America is realizing that most women aren’t skinny and are extending their sizes to sixteen and eighteen because the average woman is a size eight or twelve or fourteen so the world of fashion is becoming a wider variety of sizes like in the UK they have a lot of agencies who look for plus size women over here because a lot of women over there are really petite. But it’s definitely a global movement.
What in your eyes constitutes a successful career for a plus size model?
I would say you definitely have to be healthy and toned. Practice, practice, practice! You have to remember, you’re never the best. There is always someone, as you get older, younger models they are coming in. And they may very well be as good or better, so you need to always practice walking, photo poses, self-acceptance and confidence. I feel that as long as you accept yourself and you continue to do what you have to do to get to where you want to be then you can be successful as a plus size model.
What are some of your some of your goals?
My current goals are to get signed to an agency and get steady work of course. Right now I’m really focused on working on my poses and working with different photographers and developing myself into a mogul for the plus size community.
To be a role model to young women to let them know that they are beautiful and you can do whatever you put your mind to. To not only be another plus size model but to be that mogul for other plus size women who need that guidance and support and that motivation.
Being a motivational speaker, what is your mantra?
I have a lot of women always asking me about style, and fashion and how I build self-confidence, of course, I AM plus size. So they look at me being so, I guess, glorious and excited about what I do, and what I say to them is that you have to be confident, you have to allow for your confidence to shine throughout everything that you do. Because if you’re not confident in yourself, how can anyone else feel that from you? So I say confidence and to accept yourself; because nobody else will accept you if you don’t already accept yourself.
How can anyone love you if you don’t love yourself?
That’s my biggest thing in general since I feel most women in general lack confidence. We’re our biggest critics for ourselves. So once you are on your own side, then nothing stands in your way.
Samantha Lebbie is definitely an empowering woman. While pursuing her dreams as a plus size mogul she also co-owns her own accessories line, Violet Bloom Unique Accessories. With so much positivity in her life, she is definitely a role model for women around the world to take notice of her self-assuredness and fearless attitude towards life. Be on the lookout for her face to be in a magazine or on a billboard near you!