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Michele Weston on MODE Magazine and The State of The Plus Size Modeling and Fashion Industry, 1/01/2011
by Madeline Figueroa Jones

As the founding Fashion and Style Director of MODE Magazine, Michele Weston brought her knowledge and passion for plus size women, to a ground-breaking magazine. Mode Magazine was every plus size woman's monthly special treat, where she could go and be happy to be, herself. Michele and MODE Magazine, were instrumental in helping to launch the careers of many of the Icon's we are paying tribute to in this issue.

As a woman, who has seen and experience it all, how does she see the current state of the plus size industry? Read below as we chatted about all the "touchy" subjects that most people tend to shy away from. Years later, Michele Weston remains passionate and optimistic that one day, "they" will get it right.

 

Maddy: Tell me about Mode Magazine:

Michele: We started working on Mode in 1996 and the first issue came out in the beginning of 1997. In the beginning we decided we would only have six issues per year. The reaction from 62% of the population was overwhelming and we quickly, went to 12 issues per year. We had an amazing team at Mode, our Editor and publishers were people who believed in the vision of Mode. We were a very diverse group who wanted to show variations of size, ethnicities and style.

Maddy: What was it about the magazine that made it such an instant success?

Michele: In my lifetime I have worn between a size 12 and 22, I knew the magazine was reaching plus size women by showing great style and making them feel great in their own skin because I myself, felt good about it.

The magazine was almost like a teaching guide, it taught a generation of women about fashion and style options along with visual aides. The goal was for readers to love themselves, no matter what their size and to feel good in their clothing.

Maddy: I can remember some "racy" editorials that really raised some eyebrows

Michele: Susan Moses has great ability to push the page, and to dare herself to go beyond, sometimes my own, comfort range. At times we pushed the envelope and I had to defend decisions we made, because we were trying to come away from what people expected from a plus size magazine.

Maddy: Were you involved in the casting of models?

Michele: I casted models in the very beginning, and I used size 18's like Sharon Quinn and I was happy to use fleshy, bigger bodies. I came from a magazine back round, I worked inside fashion houses like Anne Klein so I knew fashion, but now it was important to translate it to plus size.

At that time the super models were Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell. I dealt with girls with "real" bodies. These girls were not starving themselves, and they were straight sized models.

Maddy: With so many beautiful models, how did you decide which model was the one you were looking for?

Michele: When you are casting models, you are looking for something, maybe it's the sparkle, or the potential or they just have that look. There's a lot of very beautiful and very pretty women out there, and some I believe are role models and then some are "models". Real "models" are very far and few, no matter what size they are. I think sometimes women think that if they become a model, they are celebrating their beauty, but there are many ways to celebrate your beauty. Modeling is not the only way. Being on the cover of a magazine does not make you more beautiful than anyone else; confidence comes from inside and not from accomplishments.





 
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PLUS Model Magazine inspires the style-savvy, fashion-forward, full-figured woman to embrace her curves.

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Online since 2006, PMM is the #1 plus size fashion & beauty magazine, blog and social media outlet.

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