It is truly incredible the role fate plays in our lives. I took this course on a whim. The class I was supposed to take got cancelled and I signed up for it last minute. The course was led by one of the most phenomenal people I have ever encountered. This woman has since become my mentor and dear friend, but that’s another story.
So, a woman came into the class as a guest speaker. She is the Director of Influencer Talent at one of America’s largest diversified media, information and service companies. She began to speak to the class about Influencer Marketing, which is the new wave of advertising. The millennial generation is very mistrusting of traditional advertising. Influencer Marketing is a much more powerful tool for brands to find buyers, as millennials trust their peers and will much quicker purchase a dress they see on a cute girl they follow than from an ad that says “buy this dress we made, it is the best!” She said in the future the billboards will be Influencers, and that the first wave of Influencers have become celebrities and there is room for a second wave.
I put up my hand and asked if her company uses plus sized Influencers, she said “of course! And I am so sick of the faces I have. I like your look. If you had enough followers, I would use you for my brands.”
The entire class which was full of marketing professionals and my professor all turned to me and said in a chorus, “Sarah! You need to be an Influencer!”
I left the class feeling extremely confused, I had never heard of this type of marketing before, nor ever considered that I could be the focal point of anything of this nature. As a Communications professional I always assumed that I would be the one in the background organizing photo shoots, never the subject matter.
I stood up outside the building, looking out onto Bryant Park, and I said, “Universe, if this is what you want me to do then you send the resources. I have never even heard of this and I have no idea where to start, so if this is your plan, then you make it happen.”
I thought for a minute and I realized if I was going to start an Instagram page, I needed pictures and a photographer so I picked up my phone and called my girlfriend. The conversation went like this:
“Hey, do you know any photographers?”
“Yes, I am sitting next to one right now, come and meet us for a drink in Brooklyn.”
I jumped on a train and off I went. The photographer I met is brilliant and has since become one of my most precious friends. She is of Jamaican descent and we connected on many levels. She said, “I like you and your story. I will shoot you for free. Come to my place on Thursday.”
I arrived at her apartment which was set up as a complete and professional studio. She had all the lights, the black paper…the works.
I laid out my various looks and started modelling. I had never modelled before and was of course excruciatingly awkward. While we were working, we heard a knock on the door and in walked a neighbour. She said: “Hey you are gorgeous! What are you guys doing? Why didn’t you call me?”
This woman was a professional stylist who has worked for major modelling agencies and with models from all over the world. She ran to her apartment and came back with a bunch of accessories and started to style me and teach me to pose and model. We got the pictures and then went out and had drinks.
I launched The Curvy Trini on Instagram in November of 2017. I discovered my life’s purpose; to help inspire all women, regardless of size, age, race or ability to feel happy and comfortable in their bodies; to change the way we define beauty in society and to become an advocate for body positivity and diversity in the media.
Instagram has provided me with a platform to do all the things that were in my heart but I had no idea how to begin making a reality, a space to do the work that was inside my soul.
My following has grown to 11.2k as of today, and I have worked with several different global brands and fabulous photographers that I believe in, creating compelling content.
Through this process I have discovered an entire international network of like-minded people and made friends from all over the world. I have found the confidence to become a plus sized model and even tried out as a runway model for Full Figured Fashion Week.
I am excited to see where this journey leads, and very much looking forward to doing the work that I have been designed for. I am ready to thrive professionally and finally be in the right place.
I will continue to share my stories (I have a million) to help empower others. I have realized that all the pain I have experienced in my past has a purpose and I will not stop until everyone is fairly represented and celebrated in the media and has access to clothing that makes them feel confident and beautiful. Our bodies are the homes of our souls, it is time to really love, accept and live in them and finally let go of the shame.