This post brings me to tears because it’s very sentimental to me.
Suzette Michelle is not only a beautiful plus model, but she is an admirable survivor for the beast that is breast cancer!
I have lost two aunts to breast cancer and I have one aunt who is currently in stages of beating her breast cancer!
I had the honor to interview Suzette and hear about her amazing story of becoming a model and beating breast cancer.
Name: Suzette Michelle
Age: A diva never tells her age
Ethnicity: Black & Haitian (If that makes sense) I do believe that your ethnicity has an influence on your fashion preferences.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion means freeing yourself while allowing creativity that is visual to the eye.
What’s your background in modeling? When and why did you get started? Was it for the glamour? The money? Pure kicks?
I modeled as a child with my Aunt Stella Green in local fashion shows. I was so young. I barely remember. I also was a contestant in the Ms American Coed Pageant at the age of 16. My mother, Jeannette Green, stopped this immediately when a pornography photographer contacted my home after the pageant. I decided to start modeling again as a bucket filler after my Triple Negative Breast Cancer diagnosis. Once I started, I could not and have not stopped. I am the face and muse of designer Marco Hall’s curvy line. I am currently one of the faces for Manik Mag. I modeled on Arise 360 T.V. for designer Shanda Freeman. I have walked on numerous runways. I am also an actress. I have held roles in two different Gospel plays: “Yet Will I Trust Him” and “Underneath It All.” UIA will be showing at the Apollo in Jan of 2014. Stay tuned.
Who are you favorite designers?
My favorite designers are Marco Hall, Shanda Freeman, Tina Knowles, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Alexander McQueen and Sherita Jennings. Jessica Simpson is one of my favorite shoe designers. Her shoes are so comfortable. Some of my favorite models are Coco Rocha, Cici Ali, Denise Bidot, Tiffany Bank, Jeannie Ferguson, Tricia Campbell, Nicole Zepeda, and Andre J just to name a few. I love all of their work.
Who would love to work with that you have yet to work with?
I would love to work with Shamayim. He is the CEO and photographer of Seven Tribes magazine. I have been in attendance at 2 of his shoots where he was shooting Marco Hall and I was swept off of my feet by his talent. He is a true artist
We are talking about plus size models but it would be a good idea to define what that is. What does the industry describe it as and what would you personally define it as?
he industry describes plus size models as a size 10 and up. Some even consider a size 8 to be plus size. Sad but true but we don’t make the rules, we only try and change them. The plus size model is your everyday curvy women.
What are your feelings towards padding the plus model industry?
I think that it is horrible that models are padded in his industry. There are all types of body shapes for modeling and I’m sure if people want to hire models that need to fit clothing a certain way, then hire that model but there is so much that has been done and even more that still needs to be done and every day the plus size industry is changing things.
What advice do you have for other aspiring models?
Please do your research. Learn the pluses and minuses of being with an agency verses freelancing. Know that your brand is your is your business so handle your brand accordingly. Keep on top of your business and just because an agency may sign you or take interest in you, does not mean that lose sight of your brand. Remember you are not the only model at the agency.
*Designer: Marco Hall + Photographer: Thomas De Leon*
How do you prepare for a shoot?
The night before a shoot I get in the mirror and practice, practice, practice. I prepare a bag so that I will not be fumbling in the morning of. On my way to the shoot I play music to get prepared. I often listen to Beyoncé or Jay Z to get my alter ego going. Something upbeat to get me motivated.
How would you describe working with a photographer?
Working with different photographers have been wonderful experiences. It is always interesting to see what each photographer’s eye catches. It is also cool to be behind the camera watching how a photographer creates. It’s all art when you think about it.
Do you think it’s important to be fit as a model?
I think it is important to be healthy. I think I like that word better.
I’M A SURVIVOR!
How did you find out that you had breast cancer?
I performed a self-breast examination and felt the lump. I went to the Dr. and was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer which metastasized to my lymph nodes.
Did you have a family history of Breast Cancer?
Yes there is some family history on both sides of my family.
What was life like during treatment?
Humbling. It was chemo & home while I took care of my baby whom was 5 months old at the time of my diagnosis. Lots of reflecting and quiet time with GOD. This is when I learned not to take life for granted.
How did you manage to stay positive during the hard times?
My faith in GOD, Prayer and my children are all components of how I stay strong.
What are messages of hope that you’d like to give to others who are combating any type of cancer?
Keep GOD first and remain hopeful. I believe that your attitude has a lot to do with your healing. Remember that the Doctor has to give you every worse case scenario when you are diagnosed but don’t get lost in the side effects that are provided. You can mentally take them on and not really be suffering from them. Research but limit yourself to the internet. It is worse than the diagnosis itself.
Have you done any events or campaigns where you were able to intertwine your love for modeling and breast cancer awareness?
I modeled in The Pink Show which was my first show that I walked in as a survivor. I also walked for Beauty For Pure Purposes where I was featured as a breast cancer survivor. I donate to some charities. I’ve donated wigs for makeovers for cancer patients. I am currently working on my own breast cancer campaign. Stay tuned.
LASTLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS FOR CURVY GIRLS EVERYWHERE??