Yolanda Givens, our Executive Director had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Devoe
YG: A lot of women admire you and look to you for inspiration. Who do you admire and look to for inspiration, and why?
GD: I am sincerely grateful when women say they admire and look up to me. Often it’s a heavy cross to bear but your calling is your calling and I have decided to accept that calling. There are several people that I admire and look to for inspiration — there are way too many to list but generally speaking, I admire anyone that beat the odds in spite of their background and/or socio-economica status and became successful while remaining authentic. I admire people who are strong, truthful, passionate and giving. I am also inspired by people who are authentic and creative.
YG: What changes or trends have you seen and or do you expect to see in the Full-Figured and Curvy Fashion world?
GD: This might come as a surprise answer to this question, but I am thrilled to see more collaborations in the curvy community. I hope this is not just a trend because I sincerely believe that that through collaborations, the industry will continue to grow and remain current. Together we are more powerful as a community.
YG: What do you look for when searching for a model to represent FFFWeek? What advice would you give an aspiring full-figured model?
GD: Now more than ever before, woman have tons of opportunities to build successful brands. Networking with like minded individuals, promoting your passion and making yourself available to help others are all keys to being successful. Stay away from any group that permeates negativity or speaks poorly of other brands — you never know who you might be working with later. Invest in yourself and your brand; attend workshops, classes and networking events. You need to be in the room with people who are like minded and often this requires that you leave the comfort zone of your tone and travel to attend these events.
YG: What should we expect for the celebration of FFFWeek’s ten (10) year anniversary?
GD: When an event can successfully claim ten years in existence – it’s time for a celebration and that is exactly what we are going to do…celebrate. I will be puling out all the stops, including inviting everyone who has participated in FFFWeek over the years. We will introduce new opportunities for brands and models and will make sure our guests return home at the end of the week feeling empowered, enlightened and exhausted (smile). I am so very grateful for all of the support that the event has gained over the last 10 years and look forward to hosting our guests in 2018.
YG: How do you feel about being honored as a Curvy Icon? What does that mean to you?
GD: I am always grateful to be acknowledged by members of my community. I came from humble beginnings and really did not understand the impact of what I have created until recently. If it were not for the support of the curvy community and the love that they have shown towards my contributions, my work would not be known across the world. I am genuinely honored to be considered a Curvy Icon and hope that my contribution to the industry will serve as a template for other women who are working towards greatness.
YG: Other than the amazing 10th year anniversary of FFFWeek, would you like us to promote any other big upcoming projects?
GD: I would love to use this opportunity to let everyone know that this spring I launched a lifestyle blog, “Mogul Moments” (www.mogulmoments.com). This blog is an opportunity for readers to get an inside glimpse of the other things that I am passionate about. I am working on another project for women who are 50+ years of age because I think that this is yet another underserved population. It involves beauty, fashion and mentoring. Stay tuned!
YG: If you had to nominate 3 ladies to considered as the 2018 Curvy Icon, who would you nominate and why?
GD: This is soooo hard but since I can only do three, here goes:
- Ms. Nickee Mack – She has worked so very hard to establish and maintain her brand. I do not think she gets the recognition she deserves. She is a dedicated, forward thinker who has worked her way up in the curvy fashion community. She has unselfishly dedicated her life to providing inspiration and instruction to aspiring models. She’s the best!
- Rhonda Wilkins – Another Queen who has turned her passion into philanthropy. Rhonda has two signature events in Atlanta; InfluenceHer and the Legendary Awards are major events in the city and garners celebrities, philathropists, actors, entertainers and others from all walks of life. She and her husband continue to donate time and resources to several charities in ATL. If there was a Humanitarian Award category within the Curvy Icon honor, Rhonda Wilkins would be my number one choice as a recipient.
- Sharon Quinn – This Diva needs no introduction, but she is definitely a Curvy Icon. She is one of the most recognizable faces in plus modeling. Having been signed with Wilhelmina and scoring high (even though she did not win) as a contestant on Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance, Sharon is a seasoned professional who continues to work with models looking to perfect their craft. She is now the Executive Producer of a popular talk show on public access (and online) in NYC – Model Behavior with Sharon Quinn.