We found out exactly how Ms. Elizabeth felt at the moment she was announced winner of the Miss Plus Size beauty pageant, what fashion trends she keeps up with, her favourite type of kicks and what advice she would give young women who want to follow in her inspiring footsteps.
Photographer: Bardha Krasniqi / @bardhakrasniqi_
Model: Natalie Elizabeth / @natalie.elizab3th
Stylist: Lizze Shade @lizzeshade
Earrings- Rokit Silver Hoop Earrings
Jacket- FILA Pullover Jacket
Dress- FILA White Roll Neck Dress
Dress 2- White Fish Net Dress
Sneakers- Costume Nike Airmax 95s
So, how did you initially gain such a large following online?
I think it started just over a year ago I think. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to get into the plus size modelling industry and he was like ‘ok right, we’ll start an Instagram.’ Originally, we would search hashtags, and click on those hashtags to see what kind of women were coming up, we’d follow them, kind of like build-up an online friendship with them and they would shout us out on their page and we would shout them out and I kind of got followers from there. There are also pages on Instagram that like plus size women there’s a really cool one called Awesome Chubby Chicks and they shout you out and they like people that wear trainers and how they dress trainers up. So, people will just find my name amongst these hashtags, click on my page, follow me, shout me out, I shout them out so it kind of just started from there really.
Jacket – Grey Schott Bomber Jacket (via Rich London).
Shorts – Grey Russell Athletic Logo Shorts (via Rich London).
Sweatshirt – Grey Rokit Cropped Jumper (via Dust PR).
Sneakers – FILA High Top Shoes (via Rich London).
Social media is such a big thing right now, everything is through social media nowadays, has social media opened up doors for you?
You guys contacted me through my social media, on my Instagram. Um, I feel like everything is online these days, shopping’s online, contacting people is online and if you’ve got family abroad they’re online. It’s a good way to get in contact with people.
I’ve noticed over the last 6 months there have been brands that scout models through Instagram, if you post your picture with their hashtag, then they’ll contact you if you’ve been successful. I was contacted from BooHoo to come and cast for their ‘Curve’ range and be the new face for their Curve range and New Look did the same thing, so I feel like brands are starting to use social media to find underground talent, and I think that’s the best way to go. You’re gonna reach more people that way.
Society has made it difficult for girls to be able to express themselves, and made it difficult for them to dress how they want to dress. It’s putting girls down who don’t have the confidence…
Exactly, ‘if you wanna look like that, dress like that, then you need to change who you are,’ – which I don’t agree with at all because you can take an element of what they’re wearing and make it your own. You’ll feel comfortable and people will realise how confident you are and how amazing you look, and that’ll make you feel better as well.
So, you are the Miss Plus Size 2016-17 winner. What does this mean to you?
You know what, it’s only just settled in recently that, I won this title. I thought I want to use it for positive, I wanna inspire people, I wanna make everybody aware, being plus size is hot right now, with Ashley Graham and people like that. There are two actresses that were refused by designers to be dressed for an awards ceremony, which I think, is absolutely outrageous. And I wanna bring plus size to the forefront the best as I possibly can in England especially, in America it’s big anyway, but in England I feel like it’s slowly coming, and I just want to use this platform that I’ve got and get my face out there and represent!
Some people felt like being in a pageant environment, everyone was gonna be bitchy, everybody was gonna be out for themselves. And that couldn’t be further from the truth all of the girls in that pageant were absolutely amazing, I’ve made some life long friends out of it. And on the night some of us were struggling with out eyelashes and didn’t have an highlighter to put on, or didn’t know what lipstick to wear – everyone was helping each other and that usually wouldn’t happen in a mainstream, normal beauty pageant, I feel like the plus size community are very loving, they’re very positive and everybody supports everyone, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Sweatshirt – Grey Rokit Jumper
Jacket – Blue Multi Embroidery Silk Jacket
Girls who would want to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?
I would say, even if you don’t feel like overly confident as in the end goal, going on a catwalk and being in swim wear or in evening wear, and it’s not the norm for you, to just take it step by step and to go looking for pageants because there are loads of different plus size/curvaceous pageants in the UK, look out for those on social media, Twitter is really good for that. Take it step by step, apply, if you get to the next stage take that step, go to the interview, if you get past the interview then take it step by step and eventually you will feel confident enough to be on the stage, then other girls around you are gonna help you feel confident, gonna help you feel like you can do it and there is nothing more liberating that being on a stage in your swimwear in a bikini, swimming costume in anything like that, it’s so liberating, I felt so amazing, hearing everyone cheer, I would do it again tomorrow, in a heart beat, 100%.
Do you think you’d do something similar next year?
I thought about it, I might.
I feel like it was a lot of preparation and I followed my own advice and I took each step as it came, and I just went with it. But I feel like some of them are quite expensive so you need to remember that, I really would like to do an international pageant, I think that’d be really fun, that way you get to meet other people from around the world and gain more knowledge from them and their culture, I’d love to do that! I definitely would do another pageant.
As for Rebel From Birth, we’re all about street-wear, fashion, brands… what brands to feel yourself wearing the most?
I’m such a shopper! I think I’m lucky that I’m a size 16 so most shops go up to a 16 or an 18, so I can find things. I think for a bigger lady they find it more difficult, but I tend to shop in River Island, I love Topshop, New Look and for basic things I will shop online on BooHoo for t-shirts, leggings.
I tend to wear plain clothes and then dress it up with accessories, my trainers or boots or heels. I’m not really a designer person, but I do like Nike, I like Reebok, I like adidas, I prefer high-street stuff.
Dress – FILA Black Roll Neck Dress
Bag – Lazy Oaf “No Thanks” Heart Bag
Belt – Pink Multi Moschino Belt (Serotonin Vintage)
I love trainers, so I have to ask you, what are your favourite trainers? Long term favourites and recently dropped favourite pair.
So, forever it’s the Reebok Classics, because I had them when I was younger and I still wear them now.
I used to absolutely hate Nike Huaraches I hated them. Now, I wear them all the time. I see a new pair, a new colour or I see someone walking down the street and I’m like ‘I want that one.’
How many pairs do you have now? I’m scared to ask you…
I don’t actually have that many because as soon as they start looking a bit tatty, ill throw them out and get a new pair. But right now, I’ve got 2 pairs of Reeboks, and I’ve just thrown a pair of Huaraches away so I only have 2 left. I know – I’m good! -laughs-
Back to Rebel From Birth is all about, doing your own thing, not caring about what other people say or think… with that being the context, would you call yourself a Rebel?
YEAH – definitely.
I don’t care what people think of me, what I’m wearing, whether it’s ‘in’ fashion, whether I’m gonna fit in, whether I’m gonna stand out… I’ll just wear whatever I wanna wear, if I wanna be comfortable… if I wanna wear a mini skirt and someone down the road doesn’t think that someone with curves should be wearing a mini skirt, I don’t care.
There was a picture on my Instagram of me wearing short shorts when it was summer – it’s hot outside – I’m gonna wear short shorts, I don’t care what anyone thinks but at the same time I’ve had DM’s from girls that are like ‘I cant believe you are so confident to wear short shorts, I would never do that. But seeing you do it, has made me feel like I can do it,’ and that’s amazing to me. DO IT! It’s hot outside – wear short shorts!
Earrings – Rokit Silver Hoop Earrings (Rokit).
Top – Demos Black Oversize Work Mesh Tee (Demos Clothing).
Bottoms – Nike Tracksuit (Rokit).
Shoes – Vintage Studded Boots (Serotonin Vintage).