Oh Nicki, You're so fine
I was sure it was going to be my big break. I had sparkles all over my soul that day. I got emotional when I read the email that I was selected to be a fitting model for Nicki Minaj’s new clothing line at the prestigious K-Mart Enterprise.
Thanks to the plus size sector of my NYC modeling agency, Nicki’s team found me on their website listing of plus size models. In my mind Nicki herself hand-selected me and said, “Yes this bitch.”
When my biggest supporter, my grandfather, found out - at first he didn’t know who Nicki Minaj was. Then he found a cut out of an article about her in our local newspaper. Before he died, he thought of me as the most beautiful perfect woman in the world. He was so excited for me that he offered to drive me to the train - he was beyond proud.
When I arrived at my local TJ Transit station I realized something was seriously wrong with my logistics. I accidentally looked at the trip times from Hammonton to NY Penn instead of Hamilton to NY Penn.
I was in a panic. I called my booker and she yelled at me - let’s call her, “Mildred.”
Mildred is the same woman who when she first met with me told me, “You have no style and look like a regular college girl.” She wanted me to come up with a collage style book from magazines for my look, which she said was non-existence. She made me pay for the most expensive haircut of my life. She begged that I would delete my slutty Instagram. She told me to pay for thousand dollar photoshoots but to style myself like an older mom type of woman. She told me no one at the agency could ever know I was a dancer or I would be definitely out. She told me to buy fat pads, because some clients might want me to be bigger than an 8-10, so they’d Photoshop my face accordingly. There were girls smaller than me getting work from top department stores that use models with fat pads instead of real flesh. Mildred wanted me to wear bright clothes and act lady like with clients and bake them cookies after meeting them.
Since then, I’ve tried my hardest to do the opposite of every piece of advice she gave me and succeed on my own terms of beauty. I discredit any agency that denies people based on size, gender nonconformity, or disability. My dream is to have my own modeling agency that connects brands with a multiplicity of beauty.
But at the time of this Nicki Minaj fitting, Mildred was Bill Clinton and I was Monica Lewinski. I was ready to suck Mildred dry of all her commercial expectations for plus size beauty.
I arrived to the Trump hotel like an hour late, but they still took me in. I was escorted to a room with racks of ugly Wal-mart style clothes. I can’t even call it fashion - dude, that shit was just some clothes on a rack. It’s so crazy how according to Mildred I “needed” to create a whole “look” and spend all this money to wear some .99 cent clothes from China, no offense Nicki…
The fitting was going fine I thought. The clothes were kind of small. I overhead one of her associates speak to her on the phone, or so I thought. I was low key disappointed she wasn’t there.
To my surprise after lunch I was asked not to come back. The woman said to me, “We’re so sorry. Your agency made a mistake. They said you waist was a 27, but actually it’s like a 30. You have a great look otherwise. Hips are fine. If you can get down to the measurements call us back.”
When I heard these words, I instantly felt so embarrassed to tell my grandfather that I was fired because my waist was too big. I was afraid that the .99 cent fashion beauty standard would dictate how my grandfather viewed me. Would he see me as less perfect? Would he be less proud of me because this woman said I was, “TOO BIG.”
One would think that Nicki Minaj has a primarily curvy female fan-base and would encourage a multiplicity of big booty or thick body types in her brand. I was in and out of her brand so fast, all because of my waist. Maybe if I had some A1 lipo like her my dreams would have come true.
Mildred brushed it off and told me not to change my body just for one client. I guess that was her attempt to preserve my body image. To me, this was a blow to my self-esteem. The biggest break I ever got was cut short because of my tummy. I never liked my stomach since I was a little girl. Even when I was a pre-teen and a size 2-3 I wore tankinis. Ever since I could remember, my silhouette has been obstructed by a fanny pack of sadness attached to my flesh. I think about all the pizza I’ve eat in my life - the taste of tears and cheese and garlic.
I literally carry around the ghosts of old pizza with me and hope no one can notice. Thanks Nicki Minaj for noticing.
Written by Jaime