Cape Town Lately’s Gareth Duncan chats to Embrace Your Curves ambassador Candice Manuel, who is part of a brand that inspires women to feel comfortable about their bodies.
Tell us more about Embrace Your Curves?
We at Embrace Your Curves have created a platform for all women to inspire one another. They send us their motivational story on our Facebook page, we then set up a full interview including make-up, mini-photoshoot and we film their message for us to share. We feel that everyone has their own insecurities or story to share, so we use their strengths and motivation to try and boost their confidence and inspire many others who can relate.
What’s been the reaction to the concept gone so far?
We have received MANY amazing stories and so many messages to just say “thank you” as it’s given them the push in the right direction to believe in self worth again. Personally, I’ve received many messages from women who are now more self accepting due to our movement. We’ve created something to break all barriers.
What’s been the most inspirational story so far?
I cannot necessarily say that any has been more inspirational than the next as they each share a different story or experience. We are, however, experiencing that we are receiving stories from women who are now more open to share extreme cases such as rape, abuse, slain women and cancer survivors. Our team is currently working on how to sensitise these stories with the filming and sharing them appropriately.
Who is involved in the team? What do they do?
We have Ashley De Voss our videographer, who films and edits all our videos. Dale Sylvester from DeeSquared Photography and Simonne Boks who is our make-up artist. Erin Griffiths for PR and admin and then myself as the ambassador for the brand – I’m a plus-sized model, who interviews the ladies.
Apart from sharing stories, what other plans will Embrace Your Curves take on?
We didn’t realise how quickly or movement would take off as it did. With these extra responsibilities, we each juggle our day jobs but are all fully committed to our brand. We are currently hosting a woman’s day event in aid of Little Brinks Children’s Home as our first big step. From there, the sky is the limit and our team aspires to inspire others.
What are you hoping to achieve in the opening months?
I think we have achieved so much already with the inspiration we have created by sharing the stories of women of all sizes. We would also like to break barriers and illustrate that woman from different backgrounds or walks of life can too inspire one another. Going forward, we would also like to be more involved in the fashion industry – giving women of all sizes the opportunity to break into the niche market of the “odd size”. You get many women too small for plus size but too big for average size!
As a full figure model in Cape Town, how have you experienced in the industry so far?
As any model would agree, it’s a very tricky business and requires LOTS of hard work, commitment, patience and confidence as criticism is part of the package. It’s not as glamorous as it’s perceived and it’s not as easy too. My biggest struggles during my modelling career would be adapting to my body changes and weight gains, but eventually I realised that I could embrace it either way, regardless of my size!
How have followers reacted to your growth in reputation as a model?
Well, uhm… that’s a tricky question… I guess we learn that not everyone will always expect your growth, especially given that “skinny” was always the most acceptable body form in the industry. However, then you get those who are extremely supportive and taking what I do as motivation. I do have other interests too. I juggle a professional corporate career, studies, a business and my own form of philanthropy during my daily 24 hours, which can get tough, but I believe in self motivation to get me through daily schedule.
You’re hosting an event at The Address on 11 August. What can guests expect? A
LOTS AND LOTS of prizes to be won! We have 16 sponsors on board including media, topless hunks serving some drinks, pole dance fitness dancers (showing you how to work your curves), and we have radio personality Irma G the curved inspiration herself as MC on the night.
What are the main goals for the brand?
We want to break the barriers of stereotypes. To inspire and uplift one another. And Embrace Those damn CURVES!