Curves, Cats, and Creams

Learn REAL Sex Ed With Plus Size Adult Film Star Kelly Shibari!

For blog Kelly Shibari

Although I consider myself a Catholic, I truly believe that God wants us to have great sex lives, and not just for the sake of producing children, which is why I simply had to interview Kelly Shibari, the very first plus size adult film star to be featured on the cover of Penthouse Forum. During our interview, I lost track of how many porn myths she busted for me; read on to find out more!

EM: Why did you choose to become an adult film star and what do like best and least about it?

KS: I used to be a roadie for a few years after college, and later became a production designer for mainstream films and commercials when I moved to Los Angeles from New York. Then the 2007 writers’ strike happened, which was a longer strike than usual, and affected writers, actors, and crew across the board. Most mainstream film industry work dried up in California.

Many people behind the scenes in mainstream Hollywood actually moonlight regularly as crew people in the porn industry. One of my friends who did that mentioned that I should consider getting into the business. At first, I thought he was crazy, mainly because I hadn’t seen any plus size women in porn.

What I like best is the confidence I get from people who watch my work and tell me I’ve encouraged them to feel better about their own bodies. It’s particularly awesome, especially since I was bullied as a kid for being a chubby kid, so I know what feeling negatively about your body feels like. I’m not necessarily a fat activist, but I do encourage people to be happy. And if my work does that for some women and couples, then I’m super thrilled.

What I like the least is the public perception of porn, especially in the States. I’m half Japanese, and moved to the States when I was 16, so the perception here about sex in general is very different. The Japanese are very reserved on the outside, but are rather sexual people in private, so I grew up in a sex-positive country. So many people here in the States have so many hangups about sex, and also have this misconception that people who are in the porn industry are uneducated, were abused as children, and/or are drug addicts, or worse. Just like any industry, you’re going to find some who have issues. In my case, I’m a college graduate from a happy, upper-middle class family – I didn’t get into adult because I had no other choice, but rather because I did my research and chose to do so.

 

EM: That’s so true. Do you feel that the porn industry takes you more or less seriously because you’re a BBW (Big, Beautiful Women) actress? Why?

KS: BBWs are finally being taken more seriously, I think. I don’t think we were ever taken “not seriously”, but plus size women in porn have definitely had an uphill battle in terms of being considered something other than a fetish.

In terms of award shows, we used to be lumped in with “specialty” porn, which includes little people, BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism), fetishes, etc. Now many awards shows give us our own category – it’s really a great step towards acceptance of plus size women in all aspects of sexuality.

EM: I definitely think that’s a step in the right direction! Another one is having you as the very first plus size adult film star on the cover of Penthouse Forum! How were you chosen for that?

KS: My NY publicist has ties to Penthouse, and pitched me as an idea last year. It took a while, but the people there were looking to shake things up, and after taking a look at my work both on and off camera, they decided to offer the cover and feature interview to me. I’m so glad the reception has been so great – it certainly was a risk, and I’m honored Penthouse decided to use me for that ballsy move.

EM: They made a fantastic choice in you! What kind of feedback have you gotten since Penthouse Forum was published?

KS: Amazing! I’ve received so much more attention than I could ever predicted. It really has been overwhelmingly positive!

EM: That’s so great to hear. Do you think people are now just starting to look at BBWs as sexy or have they always and their voices are just being heard now?

KS:  I think that many people have always thought of plus size men and women as sexy, but it was something that has always been hidden by mainstream media. It’s becoming more popular and easier to find now, thanks to the Internet, social media, etc – and more people are coming out and saying publicly that they like their partners regardless of what size they are, and in many instances, that it’s their preference to be with someone who is larger.

EM: Nothing wrong with that! What would you say to critics who claim that encouraging people to accept their bodies will add to the obesity epidemic?

KS: I really don’t think that’s true at all. It’s all about being happy with the body you have and really learning how to best take care of it. Again, I’m not a “fat activist”; I just encourage people to be happy. There are plenty of messages every single day that tell people of size that in order to be happy, they need to be slimmer. I don’t agree with that notion – I think being emotionally healthy may even be more important than a number on a scale.

One project that I just finished is the very first plus size sex education film, Guide to Wicked Sex: Plus Size, which is a collaboration with Wicked Pictures and Jessica Drake. In addition to the regular “sex ed” stuff, like positions, we’ve included sections on body confidence and communication, which will help couples talk to each other about their bodies and better communicate what they like and don’t like in bed. Good sex is all about communication and feeling comfortable in your skin!

EM: Communication is truly everything, in all areas of life. What are your hopes for the next 5 years?

KS:  I hope that I am able to stay in this industry even after I have stopped performing. Regardless of public opinion, I really do enjoy working within this industry – these days, my PR and marketing work with Steme360, Fine Ass Marketing, and The PRSM Group, is keeping me really happy.

 

To learn more about Kelly Shibari, visit:

Web: http://kellyshibarixxx.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kellyshibari?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyShibari

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kellyshibari

Google +: https://plus.google.com/113716058823470380359/posts

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyshibari

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Sisterly Love Comes Together to Create Huudaverti

For blog Huudaverti quote

 

Sisterly love creates beautiful things, including beautiful fashion! I recently had the pleasure of talking with Laurice, Jan, and Christine, the creators of Australian-based brand Huudaverti, three sisters whose belief in quality, ethics, and sustainability comes to life in every single one of their bold, vibrant collections. Read on to learn more about how these innovative women have truly helped to change the world.

 

EM: How did you come up with the name “Huudaverti” and what are its main points of difference?

Sisters:  The name was inspired by a family friend; a woman we admired as young girls who had great style. It is a variation on the spelling of her surname, so it does not mean anything; it works for us in that it is evocative, slightly exotic, but not restricted to an absolute meaning.

One thing that sets us apart is that everything we make is on elastic so our sizing spans two traditional size ranges. For example; our Small is equivalent to 12-14 and Large is equivalent 20-22. Production on the Summer collection for Southern Hemisphere will be starting very soon and we’ll be refining our looks for Northern Hemisphere Winter. It’s all very exciting!

 

EM: Why did you create Huudaverti and what challenges did you face?

Sisters: There are a few reasons: virtually every day while wearing our homemade clothes one of us would be complimented. That was a huge motivation to recreate our look on a bigger scale. We are not skinny (nor do we want to be). We are happy and comfortable with our sizes. We started our business at a time when there were limited options for plus size in the shops. I think everyone knows that feeling of going to buy something for a special occasions, or just for everyday, and feeling frustrated with the lack of choices available. We like sparkles, sequins, and bold colors and we could not find those looks in the shops in Australia.

The challenges we faced are those that all small businesses face: financing the next production line, finding fabrics that fit into our ethics of sustainability, and producing a line that does not buy into the “Fast Fashion ethos” that we do not want to be part of. The challenge then is to show that really beautiful clothes will last more than a few wears – and do cost a little more to produce and sell. That is tough in a market that is being swamped by the big box brands that deliver “fashionable” clothes that are cheap and not designed to last. We believe that it is best to spend a bit more and invest in how you look- quality shows, and keeps.

 

EM: Who were your biggest supporters when you launched Huudaverti?

Sisters: Our friends, family, and bloggers such as The Curvy FashionistaLily Pascuzzi, and The Runway Plus. People are very excited by the looks we create. Fiji Fashion Week has also been a great supporter by being one of the only Fashion Weeks that showcases plus sizes fashions and has done so for the last seven years.

 

EM: How do you feel that the combination of your educations from FIT, Queensland College of Art, and The Canberra Institute of Technology in Australia help make Huudaverti a success? 

Sisters:  Well, those places provide an academic slant on things, something that we needed to learn. Mostly though, we have learned through watching our mother and grandmother – both amazing seamstresses and pattern-makers. We always said that their clothing deserved to be on the runway, as they were so talented. They made clothing that was both well made and beautiful.

 

EM: What is your favorite piece in the current collection and why?

Sisters: I think we all probably have a different response to this one. We design collaboratively using a grid where we allocate spaces to each person. We discuss, critique, and develop each of the looks. It is a fascinating process seeing each garment come to life: seeing each other’s vision realized. In the current collection, I (Christine) love the gold cross top jumpsuit, the heart shorts, and the long splits dress – it is so easy to wear and a bit daring depending on how you wear it.

 

EM: I love that you use your off cuts as part of your packaging! What else do you do to minimize waste and be sustainable?

Sisters: One of our first goals was to donate to Water-Aid in Australia (where our business is registered). The fashion industry can be hard on the environment; both natural fibers and man- made fabrics use resources, so we use our off-cuts for packaging and we will use fabrics that we have in stock – in new and exciting ways. We strongly believe in recycling wherever we can, be it in our hand-made accessories or our use of fabrics. One thing that we have learned: like buying organic food, buying the most sustainable fabrics costs more.

Looking beyond the fabrics, we are also really strong supporters of developing sustainable livelihoods. To start, we pay our staff a living wage: this has enormous impact on the quality of their lives and that of their families. We also collaborate with small scale producers. For example, the crochet in the Summer 14 collection will be done by a women’s social development group in Fiji. The hats in the Fiji Fashion Week Resort Show were custom-made by a weaver in a small village called Urata in Vanua Levu (a beautiful island in Fiji). We continue to research where there are opportunities to collaborate.

 

EM: What would you say to critics who claim that encouraging women to accept their bodies as they are will only add to the obesity epidemic?

Sisters: Answering that depends on where you stand. For example, in the Pacific, there are big women; genetically big – so body acceptance isn’t an issue because size has never been an issue. What is the problem is the way that for so long the dominant look in Europe, America, and most of the rest of the world, has centered upon being thin and now ultra-thin, so anyone who is not a size 0 looks “fat”. That scale needs to shift back to seeing that bodies come in all shapes and sizes – just like flowers do – and that the size you are is the right one for you. That’s having a positive body image. But in saying that, we need to look at whether the size you are is actually a healthy size and if it is unhealthy what is causing it. Is it bad food supply – bad for you foods are way cheaper than healthy foods, lack of exercise (and we encourage all women to take an active role in keeping fit no matter what body type you are) or hereditary factors.

 

EM: I’m wonderful that Huudaverti was part of Fiji Fashion Week recently. What was that like?

Sisters: It was quite a ride! There is such a thrill in watching it all come together. Creating designs, finding the fabric, watching our talented production team create, like magic, the clothes that you see on the runway.

Our inspiration for this year was the Bowerbird, a bird native to Australia, Papua, New Guinea, and Indonesia; it is a special bird in that it builds these intricate architectural nests and then collects monochromatic objects like shells, seeds, and unfortunately, blue plastic bottle tops to decorate the nest. The summer collection is looking at elements of habitat – textures and colors. We have some fun pieces featuring forestscapes and other brilliantly colored or sequined pieces representing the colors used to decorate the nests.

We also launched our resort line, called Sand, at this year’s Fiji Fashion Week. And the finale looks for each show hinted at bridal – but in a very non-traditional way.

Like our other shows, the jewelry for this collection was handmade and we used coconut husk, rocks, semi-precious stones, and bright colored beads.

 

EM: Do you think Huudaverti would be successful in the US? Why or why not?

Sisters: We want Huudaverti to be successful anywhere that women appreciate beautiful clothing. The US market is so large and multi-faceted and it is a market that has space for a brand like ours; stylish, well-made clothes that are made to last and designed to be versatile and wearable. While also being different from the ordinary: fashionable, but not concerned with being “what’s in this season”, we have a broader picture in mind, when it comes to how we design clothes – we want them to become part of your long term wardrobe, that piece of clothing that becomes like a good friend- you know that you can rely upon to feel and look good. Our reception at Full Figured Fashion Week in 2013 was positive and people found our look new and refreshing.

 

EM: What are your hopes for Huudaverti and yourselves over the next 5 years?

Sisters: We are aiming for slow and careful growth. We do have dreams that will take awhile to accomplish: we have a third line in concept and we are thinking about a broader range of accessories; bags, jewelry, shoes, and even a very select line of home decor items. We will continue to do what we can for the environment and social development and hope that as the label builds so does our impact. But for today, we are appreciating where we are, what we have learned and hope that what we have achieved so far will lay a solid foundation for our future.

 

Visit Huudaverti at:

Web: http://huudaverti.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/huudaverti?fref=ts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/huudaverti/

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Tia Lyn of Tia Lyn Lingerie Believes “Nothing Makes A Woman More Beautiful Than the Belief That She IS Beautiful”

For blog Tia Lyn Lingerie

 

I was privileged to speak with Tia Lyn, creator of Tia Lyn Lingerie and owner of the Madison, WI, boutique, Contours Lingerie, who has turned the lingerie market on its ear by winning the coveted “Best Plus Size Collection” award bestowed by the Contours International Lingerie Awards (CILA) twice thanks to her vintage-inspired pieces with an everyday feel for the modern woman. Tia knows what it takes to make a curvy woman look and, more importantly, feel sexy and gorgeous, and she was kind enough to share that secret with you, as she did with me for my second wedding anniversary!

 

 

EM: What do you feel are Tia Lyn Lingerie’s biggest points of difference?
TL: Tia Lyn Lingerie has always been complimented for our designs. I am constantly thinking about not only how my designs will look and feel on different body shapes but how they can be used in more than one way. I want all of my pieces to be highly functional both as inner- and outerwear. For example, the Essentials Collection was designed to be a series of slips that can be worn multiple ways and at multiple lengths to ensure that you’ll always have the perfect underpinnings for every dress. The camisoles in my Core Collection are often worn with a blazer or cardigan during the day but can be easily slept in as well. When I design, the intent is always for multiple uses.

 
EM: Why did you create Tia Lyn Lingerie and what challenges did you face?
TL: I have to admit: I started Tia Lyn Lingerie because I personally could never find lingerie that fit my bust! The more I looked into the lingerie industry, the more I noticed that a designer-quality lingerie brand for plus sizes was missing in the market. Not only were the cup sizes too small, but the silhouettes were geared towards a very young, college-aged consumer. I felt and still feel very strongly that women of all shapes and sizes needed something that made them feel pretty, fit, and flattered. So I modeled my lingerie on a full busted cup but kept it in the full size range of a small to a 3X. I can’t tell you how many friends I had who were relieved that they finally had beautiful and sexy things to wear that actually fit and helped them to reclaim their own bodies after starting a family or a career that had taken priority.

 

 

EM: What did you like best and least about attending New York City’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology?
TL: I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City as a part of a one-year program to achieve my Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Textile Science and Apparel Design through my education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I fell in love with New York City and the Fashion Institute of Technology! I was so excited to attend a school that had such a focus on fashion. I primarily studied intimate apparel design. I was enthralled that I could use my scientific side and my creative side to produce apparel that fought gravity yet were beautiful and airy. Professor Wong was definitely my inspiration. Aside from that, I fell in love with New York City and the fashion industry.

 
EM: Who were your biggest supporters when you launched Tia Lyn Lingerie?
TL: I would definitely have to say that Levan Lam from Golyta International was one of my biggest supporters with the Tia Lyn Lingerie line. She was always there to help with the multitudes of details on each garment and spend countless hours with me testing materials until we found the ones that were just right! I’m really glad I got to have her on this journey with me.

 

 

EM: What is your favorite piece in the current collection and why?
TL: My favorite item from the current collection would have to be the High-waisted Garter Thong from the Core Collection. I love that it can be worn as lingerie with garters and thigh highs as well as a regular undergarment paired with a coordinating camisole for a cute date night outfit. I think it’s very sexy with the garter and stockings.

 

 

EM: Who was your biggest competition for CILA’s Best Plus Size Collection award and why do you think you won it not once but twice?
TL: Receiving the CILA award was a great honor because it was judged by a panel of boutique owners who knew how important lingerie is to their own clientele. I think the Tia Lyn Lingerie brand has been a standout since it is one of the only lingerie brands that addresses the full cup and the full size range in a way that is light and airy. The brand is meant to celebrate all curves and flatter a woman’s figure in a way that she feels beautiful and sexy. Often times, when a company decides to make plus sized garments, they just make the garments bigger and it ends up looking very boxy. That is where my lingerie brand has an advantage as we design our plus sizes based on real curvy women and look at how we can accentuate their curves while keeping the garments detailed yet sensual.
EM: Why do you think so many designers refuse to create plus size lingerie?
TL: I actually think that the fashion industry is changing in that perspective. There are now several intimate apparel brands that cater to the plus size and fuller cup figure. Tia Lyn Lingerie is different in the respect that we do design for the full size range of a small to a 3X but address the full-cupped market at each size. I have designed my garments to compliment those boutiques that specialize in professional bra fittings. My store, Contours Lingerie in Madison, WI, specializes in professional bra fittings and my customers have loved finally have lingerie and undergarments that are meant for their curves!

 

 

EM: What would you say to critics who claim that encouraging people to accept their bodies as they are will only add to the obesity epidemic?

 

 

TL: I personally think that it is important that every woman deserves to feel beautiful and that doesn’t happen until you become more accepting of your own body. Once a woman accepts her own body, she begins to care for it a lot more. Women who are comfortable in their own skin, no matter their size, tend to make more choices that help them become more physically and mentally healthy. From personal experience, I have been multiple sizes in my life. Once I started to accept my own body, the healthy choices just came naturally. I have loved my body every step of the way.

 

 

EM: What are your hopes for yourself, Tia Lyn Lingerie, and the fashion industry over the next 5 years?
TL: I am seeing a trend already that smaller boutiques and independent retailers are extending their size ranges to include all shapes and sizes. I have also seen this push for healthy mental image, such as the outstanding Dove “Real Beauty” commercials, and I hope that that only continues into the future. The more the media accepts all shapes of women and the more different brands embrace natural figures and feature a variety of body types, women’s mental images of themselves will be healthier and they’ll see the beauty in their own body shape. I think certain celebrities, like Sofia Vegara, Star Jones, and Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, are great examples of role models in the spotlight who have healthy body image and I think that will only continue to inspire society as a whole.

 

For more information about Tia Lyn Lingerie:

Web: http://www.tialyn.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2001tialyn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TiaLyn_Lingerie

Email: sales@tialyn.com

Phone: (626)282-9822

 

For more information about Contours Lingerie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Contours-Lingerie/285839077022

6102 Mineral Point Rd

Madison, WI 53705

(608) 237-6407

 

 

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Think the Fashion Industry and the Military are on Different Planets? Thank Again!

I’m the kind of girl who cannot possibly survive with less than 10 beauty products in my bathroom, believes that no outfit is complete without being fully accessorized, and shudders when the word “camping” is even mentioned. Needless to say, I’m not exactly the first one in line when the Army recruitment office opens in the morning.

Several of my family members are in the military, though, and I have the utmost respect for them and their fellow combat men and women. It would also make my blood boil if they were ever cast aside without proper care after fearlessly serving our country. Unfortunately, as we all know, that happens to too many veterans every day.

Which is why, even though it’s not in keeping with the plus size theme of this blog, I decided to do a post about the Fashion for our Forces Benefit Ball happening this Friday, July 11th, from 6 PM to 9 PM at Boston’s Harborside Inn, located at 185 State St.

The show’s producer Connie Diforo explains why she put together this event, “I’m doing this to bring awareness to people like me who a year ago thought veterans did not need any funds because they get help from the VA (US Department of Veteran Affairs). I learned after going to an event that they wait a long time before they can get benefits.”

Tickets are $35 and all proceeds will go to Veterans Advocacy Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “providing services to any veteran of the United States armed forces toward the resolution of any medical, economic, social, or situational dilemma that he might face. Services may include the presentation or prosecution of claims before the Secretary of the United States Veterans Administration, advocacy before public or private medical boards-of-review, or similar representation in matters obtaining to employment, housing (general, specialized & adaptive), or social supports. All client-direct work is performed by a Department of Veterans Affairs accredited agent.”

Mistress of Ceremonies Jacqui Driscoll, crowned winner of the 1996 Miss USA pageant, will be presiding over the show, which will feature the latest designs from collections such as Mesese by Diforo, INSTILLA by Valentina Oppezzo, Vienne Milano Hosiery, GBoutique, and Ortega Jewelry.

Honored guests include double-amputee Corporal Sue Downes and Doug Pickel from We The People Giving Back. a Michigan-based organization which helps ease the burden of families whose loved ones died bravely in the line of duty, who will be awarding Purple Hearts to three very deserving Massachusetts families.

Purchase your tickets at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/fashion-for-our-forces-benefit-ball-tickets-11443715461?aff=eorg and spread the word for others to support our fashion and our forces!

 

To learn more about Veterans Advocacy Services, visit: http://veteransadvocacyservices.org/

 

To learn more about We the People Giving Back, visit: https://www.wethepeoplegivingback.com/our-staff.html

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Who Says Modest Plus Size Women Can’t be Fashionable? Not Plus Size Muslimah!

For blog Plus Size Muslimah

 

“Curves are Sexy!” “Show Off Your Curves!” These types of slogans are used by the majority of plus size brands in order to appeal to a woman’s desire to look and feel sexy. While no one can deny that sex sells, there are some women who prefer a much more modest wardrobe, especially in the ever-expanding Muslim community. If the plus size market has been pushed aside, though, the modest plus size market has been pushed aside and locked in a closet, hidden from the light of day!

Thankfully, its voice is slowly being heard with the help of Plus Size Muslimah, a unique retailer that offers the modest plus size woman fashionable, tasteful clothes in a wide variety of fabrics, colors, and styles, including maternity and even bridal, all adhering to a modest dress code that’s appropriate when attending even the most conservative mosque.

Plus Size Muslimah gives these women hope with their belief that “the modest woman can be modest while also being feminine and far more than just utilitarian. We think she shouldn’t have to layer in order to be modest – layering is something she should do because she thinks it’s cute. We think the modest woman should have more choices and shopping should be fun. We believe in a creative approach to modesty that uses details, patterns, embellishments, and other accents to maintain a woman’s desired modesty level while making her feel feminine, beautiful, and well-dressed. We believe in making modesty the easy choice. We’d like to do our part to eliminate “making do” for the plus sized modest woman. We’ve just gotten started, but we are really excited about all that we can do at PlusSizeMuslimah.com.”

 

Question of the Day: Do you know of any other plus size sub-group that is ignored by the fashion industry? If so, do you think they’re ignored for political, financial, or other reasons?

 

Find out more about Plus Size Muslimah:

Web: http://www.plussizemuslimah.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plus-Size-Muslimah/112047792251470?sk=timeline

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlusSizeMuslima

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pluSizemuslimah/

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