Inspired by: Tess Munster

PHOTO: Tess wearing City Chic

I first became aware of Tess Munster through her fan page on facebook and later saw some of her modelling work, from the moment I saw her I was in awe. She is a true representation of a plus sized woman and what intrigued me even more was the fact she had a very alternative look (red hair and tattoos). If you look through some of her work past and present you will be amazed, Tess has pushed boundaries with her model work and is often seen wearing pieces most girls wouldn't be brave enough to wear, needless to say this is what makes her so intriguing and inspiring. I honestly wish I had half the amount of confidence Tess has. Don't get me wrong I am learning to embrace my 'fuller figure' and work what I have , blogging for City Chic and of course wearing my flattering City Chic clothes  has really helped me, but Tess just oozes  an amazing amount of confidence. I managed to get in contact with Tess and found out that she is one amazing woman who has become a lovely friend of mine, she loves our Inside Chic blog and is also a City Chic fan! This month I am inspired by Tess Munster, a girl who pushes the boundaries of plus sized fashion and carves a path we all should follow. This lady will inspire you to embrace your body and work what you've got! To stay connected to Tess you can follow her Facebook or Blog.

Photo 1 & Photo 2

 Tess, for our Australian readers who may not be familiar with your work could you please tell us a little about yourself and what you have been up to recently?
I am a Plus-Size Model, Beauty Editor for 'Skorch Magazine', Blogger, and activist for women empowerment. I can currently be seen in INKED Aus/NZ where they featured me for being a tattooed role model for women. I am also a model for a US Plus Clothing Company "Domino Dollhouse", as well as Sick For Cute, and other jewelry/accessory lines. I'm mostly known for being the 'face' of the US show 'HEAVY' where my face was splashed across buses, billboards, and magazines nationwide.

You are admired by many fans, how do you feel about being a role model for plus sized women?
Humbled. I never thought that I would have such a large following of women around the world, from all walks of life, that not only look up to me, but relate to me. That has been the best part of my modeling career thus far - meeting and talking to my fans. Women want to see other women that look like them and that represent them, and I think many of my fans feel that way about me. It's made me more aware of what I do and say,  I  also feel the pressure sometimes to make sure I'm setting a good example for them. It keeps me on my toes :).

You live in LA which is known to be a city that puts pressure on body image and acting a certain way in order to be successful. Have you ever felt pressure to look or act a certain way? If so how did you deal with this?
It's funny because I thought the pressure I sometimes feel to be a size 0 and tan would come from others around me, but instead it comes from the local media. There are  billboard ad's for 'Lap Band' (weight loss procedure) that have saturated Los Angeles, as well as numerous ad's for plastic surgery for just about everything. No one has ever said anything directly to me, but  you can't help but get the feeling that people almost "expect" you to look a certain way. Luckily, I have a great group of friends surrounding me that feel just as strongly as I do that being healthy doesn't mean being skinny. They encourage me to embrace my size and I feel confident enough with myself to not let the media make me feel pressured about being curvy. 

Your photos exude sexiness and you appear to have a huge amount of confidence that many of us wish we had half of. Do you have anything to say to ladies who may be feeling down and haven't yet embraced or loved their shape? 
 Listen to yourself and your body. If you try on clothing and you don't instantly love the way it makes you feel, or the way you look in it then put it down! Pay attention to the cuts of clothing that make you feel sexy and hug your curves. Sexy to me is all about the attitude and confidence. You have to believe that you are worthy of people drooling over you, and if you don't, I always say: "Fake it until you make it!". Also, dress up on the day's you feel crummy, you will be surprised what a little bit of mascara and lipstick will do to your confidence level.  

In Australia we have noticed that plus sized fashion and a more fuller figure is being embraced and accepted more by the public. This became particularly noticeable when City Chic became the first plus sized label to walk the runway earlier this year at Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. One might say a light is currently being shone on the plus sized industry in a positive way. Is this also the case in the U.S? Have you noticed a change in the way plus sized fashion is being looked at?
I have noticed, and it makes me proud of my curves and how far we have come. When I first started modeling people looked at me like I was crazy when I said I was a "Plus Model", now they smile at me and tell me how awesome they think it is that there is a market for us where we are embraced. We have many more choices with fashion now than we did 10 years ago, even 5 years ago! Designers are starting to notice that we want to be sexy too! Plus fashion around the world is no longer looked at as frumpy, but as fashion forward. 

City Chic launched their online U.S store earlier this year. How did you become aware of the brand?
I first learned of City Chic through Plus Model Magazine in the states. They posted a review of one of their dresses and I went to the AUS site and instantly fell in love. 

What makes City Chic stand out from other plus size stores in the U.S?
City Chic's styles are so edgy and different to anything I have seen in the Srates. My love affair began when I got my hands on one of their pieces and the quality was out of this world. I remember thinking how heavy my dress felt, and how well made it was. It had all of this intricate beading and you could tell a lot of thought had been put into the design of the garment. I also feel like that CC is so much sexier than most of the other clothing companies currently in the US. Lot's of sheer numbers, ruffles, lace, and romance. It's refreshing. 

How would you describe your style and take on fashion? are there any "rules" you swear by or do you prefer to carve your own path?
I carve my own path for sure. I like to describe my style as a cross between vintage and modern/horror punk. I am a vintage clothing collector, so I constantly mix era's regardless of if it's the newest style .I wear what makes me feel the best. I am the ultimate girly girl, so I love wearing hot pink lipstick, hello kitty necklaces, and dresses. You will never find me without a flower or bow in my hair, regardless of what era I'm dancing around in that day. On the other hand, I have a bit of a dark side too, and adore wearing statement necklaces with bats on them and pulling my hair in a bandanna. I'm a chameleon.

Lastly Tess, Who do you seek inspiration from and whose style do you admire most?
I cannot pick just one, there is too much fabulousness for one person! I adore Beth Ditto, Peg Bundy (Married with Children) and Gwen Stefani. They all play up bold colors, while mixing different prints, patterns and textures. In one way or another they push the style envelope and adorn themselves in leopard and red lips which are two things that make me swoon. They too have the same concepts I do when it comes to fashion, they don't follow what's the newest rage, or styles. They wear what they love and feel good in and people notice, it's all pure fashion magic.

I love how Tess said that to her being sexy is a mixture of attitude and confidence and that you also have to believe that you are worthy of people drooling over you. City Chic is all about bringing out your attitude and helping you find the confidence to feel sexy. Tess also said that on the days you don't feel your best then dress up to make yourself better, I know if I'm having an 'ugly day' I go straight to my wardrobe and pull on my favorite City Chic dress and my mood gets lifted. I encourage you to follow in Tess Munsters steps and embrace your confidence and carve your own path, don't be afraid to do something a little 'out there' and try something a little different, you might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.





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