Brittany Snyder is a publicist, writer and digital media specialist committed to promoting self-confidence amongst young women in the plus-size community. So much that she launched a year-long "Putting the PLUS Back In!" modeling campaign to represent a variety of plus-size fashions in an ill-represented branch of the fashion industry. The Greater Philadelphia native teamed up with Regina Bella (stylist and owner of ReFabished Love) and a Miami boutique called Juicy Xpressions to help spread her movement and bring awareness to the lack of representation for diverse body shapes, the results of which already landed her a feature in the March issue of Manik magazine.
This idea of hers began brewing after hearing constant comments like, 'You're so put together for a big girl,' as if bigger women didn't possess confidence and tidiness. As an active fashionista who always ran track and cheered, Snyder didn't feel her size was her identity; she merely thought it was her attribute. "I didn't know people paid attention to that type of stuff. That's just who I am," she said. "I do have a shape. It's not necessarily an hour-glass figure, but I do have a body. And I feel like you need to know how to work your body for you."
In her efforts to spread stylish plus-size trends, Snyder founded Pretty - and Big Too! ©, a blog in the form of a brand dedicated to being an uplifting resource for thicker women. Her motto? "…because my size is my asset, not my flaw!" Pretty - and Big Too! © doesn't promote an unhealthy lifestyle, but rather, how to be comfortable in your own skin. The brand will creatively showcase plus-size women in sharing fashion pointers and fitness tips. Snyder recently posted on Facebook, "it is my goal to unite us, strengthen us, empower us and then change the world."
With a new wave of trend-setting projects underway, Snyder hopes to inspire young women to take control over their images. I recently caught up with the budding model during her second photoshoot this year, where she discussed her inspiration for stepping out on faith with her latest initiative and the do's and don'ts to fashion. Read on below:
Aliya Faust: 'You're so put together for a big girl?' People really say that? Acceptable fashion seems to kind of fall back on the perception of social standards...
Brittany Snyder: Exactly. I guess you can call me a social misfit because I wear what I want and I do what I want.
Tell me about all that's going on. What's the purpose behind all you're doing with your modeling campaign?
At first I was just building a portfolio, but I saw that it was important to have someone that was our age to be inspired by fashion because you only have Ashley Stewart and Lane Bryant. You see all these cute clothes and you want to go out or even go to work and look a certain way but you can't. So now I'm like, this is how you can put these looks together and look the way you want to look being a 20-something-year-old but still being fashionable, cute, sexy, chic or whatever it is that you're looking to be.
What places were you hoping to spread this word?
Nationally and hopefully all over the world. There's nowhere where people are really, really doing this. There's a plus-size industry, of course, but now there's such an emergence of boutiques and vintage shops. People just don't know where to go and get stuff and put it all together.
So you put these photos out, they're in print magazines and different outlets, what do you hope to accomplish?
More outfits in one store. For them to realize that just because you're plus-size you don't have to look this way. But also that the plus-size community is not just people who are in their middle age, but people who are in their twenties and teenagers as well. I feel like I'm doing this not only for others around the world, but for the little girl in me who had nowhere to shop. You go to Lane Bryant and you're like, this is for my mom or my grandmom. Then there's Ashley Stewart, but that's for people in their mid-30s. There's nothing for people in their 20s, people in college.
Mostly work stuff?
Yeah, it's like, where do I wear this to? When I was in school people were always like, 'You look so professional.' And it was like, this is all I have to wear because there's nothing else for me. So I just want to say you guys can wear this stuff too and this is how I'm doing it with the boutiques coming out now. A lot of them have reached out to me or Regina to try to get that type of exposure.
How would you describe your style?
I would say chic and fun. I like to wear stuff short [laughs]. I just started wearing stuff longer, but I would say I have a very fun style. I don't like to look like everyone else. People always ask me, small, big and in between, 'Where do you get your clothes from?' Everywhere! I just put stuff together. You'll see how Regina did one of my looks, the dress is turned backwards. It's a blazer from Ashley Stewart but the dress is from JCPenny's.
Aside from trying to find the stuff in different stores, what would you say is the hardest part about putting an outfit together?
That it takes years to put it together. By the time plus-size fashion catches up with what it is that people are wearing, years have passed. I think the hardest part is finding something trendy that you think you can wear. There's nothing half the time. Expense too. If you find what you're looking for, it's sometimes very expensive and you know you can't get it anywhere else. So there is no really cheap plus-size shopping. We're in a pinch.
You once said that for a long time you fought putting your campaign into action? What was your turning point?
God told me that if I just did it, to watch him show up. So I just put it out there that I was looking for a photographer. Then here comes Regina and she recommends [photographer] Aaron Stallworth and it was just too perfect. She ended up styling and took it so seriously, then got a boutique to come on board. Then I had someone who said they wanted to do hair and makeup. Everybody just came on board and I'm like, wow, this is how God said it would be. Also, where I work now, everybody at my job asks me where I shopped and I got tired of people not knowing where to go or what to do. I just really felt the need to end up doing it.
What are some do's and don'ts to shopping?
Do: look everywhere. I feel like you can't just go to one store. You might find stockings you're looking for in Forever 21, but a shirt you're looking for in Macy's. You have to take the time to go everywhere to find the perfect outfit and don't wait last minute; you won't find it.
Don't: Just because they make it in your size doesn't mean you should wear it. There's a lot of things I would love to wear but I don't. If stuff is bulging out, I can't stand it.
Do: Wear colors if you like them. Don't be scared to be yourself. I would not wear purple and I would not wear yellow because I didn't want people to say, 'Oh she looks like Barney or Big Bird,' but one of my dresses [for the shoot] is yellow. [It's something] you have to get over. I didn't wear animal prints because I thought people would say, 'She looks like a cheetah,' but it's all about confidence and not being scared to try new things.
Pretty - And Big Too! © launches Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Check it out at prettyandbigtoo.com.
For more information on Brittany Snyder, also known as Brittany Mo'Cha, and "Pretty - And Big Too! ©," email firstname.lastname@example.org, "like" her on Facebook (facebook.com/prettyandbigtoo) and follow her on Twitter (@prettyandbigtoo) and Instagram (@brittanymocha).
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