The go-to girl for plus size fashion. Emma Medeiros established the very first PR agency for the plus size fashion industry in the US. In our interview Emma talks about the term plus size, the challenges of her job, self esteem and how plus size people are treated in the USA.
The go-to girl for plus size fashion
You are the owner of the very first PR agency in the US to specialize in the Plus Size fashion industry – how did you come up with the idea? Why Plus Size?
When I was about to graduate college, the plus size fashion industry was growing incredibly fast and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I decided that, before I have my own agency, I would work for someone else to learn more about the business and I just assumed, with the industry growing so much, there would be at least a few agencies that specialized in plus size. To my absolute shock, I couldn’t find a single one in the US! We simply can’t have that, so I launched Medeiros Fashion PR to fill the gap. Specializing in plus size means that my clients are assured that every single one of my connections and relationships are relevant to them and I will never waste any of my time or their money.
What do you like about your job?
I love being my own boss, setting my own hours, and being able to make the final decisions for my business.
I also truly love making a difference in the industry! I’m becoming the go-to girl for plus size fashion and it’s both incredibly humbling and gratifying. Recently, someone told me that I was the reason she had the courage to enter into a major plus size modeling competition. That absolutely made my day! Stories like that make all the late nights, stress, etc, worthwhile!
What are the biggest challenges?
Being self-employed can mean uncertainty, especially financially. You must be very disciplined about budgeting because there could be times when you have no money coming in for a month, yet the rent still has to be paid!
Also, I’ve been accused many times of promoting or glorifying obesity. I want to be very clear; obesity IS unhealthy and I don’t think anyone can argue with that from a medical standpoint. What I DO promote is the right of people of all sizes to have equal access to stylish fashion. Whatever size you are, feeling great about how you look lifts your spirits and actually makes you want to make better choices to keep that great feeling!
How do you choose your clients? Is there a NO GO for you?
I always look for people who are doing something truly unique. For example, I have no interest in working with a designer whose clothes look like something I could find in any chain department store.
I also insist on a high level of professionalism from my clients because professionalism is sorely lacking in the fashion industry. In this era of Facebook, Twitter, email, texting, and phone calls, there’s simply no excuse for not returning a message within a reasonable amount of time, and I can’t do my job without their help. Of course, since I ask this of my clients, I make sure to deliver it myself, too!
Can you name some clients you are working with?
Of course! Some of my clients are Bjuled Couture Plus Size Swimsuits, Dopamine Fitness Apparel, Babydoll Beauty Couture, Eyani Couture, and Pynkie Brown Designs. All of their information can be found at http://www.medeirosfashionpr.com/clients.html.
Do you like the term Plus Size? If so, why?
It doesn’t bother me and, to be honest, I think way too much time is spent arguing on terminology when we should be focusing on other, more important issues.
Who is Emma Medeiros
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Who is Emma?
Oh, dear. That’s quite a question! I guess I would have to say that Emma is a no-nonsense gal who is not afraid to take risks and doesn’t care if she’s thought of as strange or different by other people. For example, I had a Renaissance-themed wedding when I got married. The purple wedding dress, the castle cake that we cut with a real sword, and my ring-bearing nephews dressed up as little knights nearly made my super conservative and super traditional stepmother have a heart attack but I didn’t care. I wanted to do it, my husband humored me (as long as I didn’t make him wear tights), and it was such a fun, unique wedding that people are still talking about it 5 years later!
Emma also firmly believes in The Golden Rule; to treat others the way you want to be treated. Although I admit that I don’t always succeed, I strive to live that rule every day. Even though I know it sounds naive, just think of how many of the world’s problems would be solved if everyone followed that one simple rule!
Have you been plus size all of your life?
Pretty much. I’m half German so I’ve always been bigger than most people in my life regardless of my weight. For example, I wore a D cup bra by the time I was 12 and towered over the boys until late high school when they finally caught up with me.
Do you love yourself, do you feel confident? How did you achieve your self-esteem?
After MANY years of extreme self-criticism, I can finally say yes, I am confident and I love myelf, which feels absolutely wonderful! I achieved it by realizing that I actually like being big and strong. For example, I shocked my dad over the winter by easily picking up and moving a packed cooler that had taken both him AND my stepmother to lift.
I also finally realized that most men LOVE curves; although I’m happily married, it’s an empowering feeling to see a man sneak a peek at my big boobs and/or butt, especially when he thinks he’s being so subtle and I don’t notice 🙂
Plus Size in the USA
About Plus Size in the USA: how do you think the plus size industry has changed within the last 20 years?
It’s grown exponentially, thanks in part to the general movement of acceptance that encourages people to accept gays, transgenders, different races, etc. It has also grown because designers and retailers are FINALLY waking up to just how much money there is to be made by catering to the plus size market!
For us Europeans, the US is a role model concerning the Plus Size movement (we see Plus Size models on runways, a lot of fashion inspirations etc.) – but how is a plus size woman treated in everyday life in the US? Apart from the fashion industry.
Thanks to the general acceptance movement I mentioned, I think most plus size people are treated with more respect, although people who are severely overweight are often still ridiculed and looked down upon.
What would you say is needed to make every size equal…to not differenciate anymore between „normal sizes“ and „plus sizes“, to see a size 6 model on the runway as well as a size 26?
Something that would help enormously is having equal space for plus sizes in brick-and-mortar stores. Too many companies carry plus sizes solely on their website and, unless we know exactly what we need, we’re more likely than straight sizes to return it because it doesn’t fit properly. Sizing varies extremely widely; I have clothes in my closet ranging from a size 14 to a size 24 and they all fit!
I also definitely think having models in different sizes wearing the same outfit on the runway would be beneficial because each size group can see what the outfit would like like on them!
Dear Emma, thank you very much for your time and good luck for all your future adventures and projects!
Die deutsche Version des Interviews wird in wenigen Tagen online gehen.