Mallory Richardson: Ms. Making it Happen While Fabulously Fierce
Written By: Vanessia Morgan
Styling & Beauty By: The Doll House and Alicia Smith
I am here with Ms. Mallory B. Richardson, the famous or rather infamous upcoming plus sized model, entrepreneur and advocate. She’s just doing it ALL! I’m so happy to have the chance to interview her! We actually attended North Carolina State University together so this was a great reunion!
Mallory I know that you have 2 organizations at the moment: The Doll House and Beaucoup! I initially saw you on social media doing modeling and then I started seeing “The Doll House.” In which according to my research, The Doll house came prior to Beaucoup. Tell us how this all began.
Yes Vanessia , you are correct! The Doll House came first and what you just described is very much the world of Mal. So you have “Mal The Model” brand which is a collective entity of everything that encompasses my heart and who I am. "Mal The Model" is a traveling plus size model that specializes in being a petite plus model. I do runway, as well as print and commercial modeling for myself. As a model, I actually began my fashion career years ago when I decided to put the best looks together EVER for a full figured body which was my own. I had a skill for putting together looks that flattered my full figured body. People used to just compliment me! I’m a girl just from Rocky Mount, NC aka “The City on the Rise” and very passionate people reside there. People would always approach me and say “You really have a good thing going with how you dress yourself, you do an awesome job.” So I took heed to that, and slowly over time as I went to college I said “I think I want to be a clothing stylist.” I had years of retail experience, I loved luxury high end brands as well as I liked to couple with vintage (like I am wearing today). These are pieces you can get from your mainstream retailers like H&M or Forever21 and put a creative splash on it. With me now being a plus enthusiast, plus model, and a clothing stylist that created “The Doll House”. So not only do I dress myself, I am paid as a consultant for all ages, shapes, and sizes for any occasion. So if you’re turning 30 and want a phenomenal birthday outfit, you would consult with me and I would put your look together. If you are doing a photo shoot whether business, casual, high fashion you’ll contact me as well. A lot of people are having a change in careers, or lifestyles are changing where they are becoming moms and they reach out to me. I often hear “Mal how do I do this but not my lose myself or lose my mind spending so much money.” They would pay me flat rate, I would go with them do what it takes, create a budget within their budget and we would go shopping together. This way we can collectively come up with wardrobe “revamp.”
So they just don’t hire you and you go shop for them, you literally bring them along on the journey?
I have a one-time consultation and it usually last 30 mins-1hour where I get a good idea of who they are. I browse through their social media and see what they are involved with and really listen to see what they desire to come from the project we are working on. I would do some online shopping, met with them to get a good fit as fit is very important. Different bodies require different shapes of clothing, different colors and prints. However, you personality has to shine through, so we must make sure it’s all a collective working tool for you and what your goals are fashion wise. So that’s what I get paid to do.
Is it a just a flat rate for everyone or is it based off what they desire?
They can tailor the services. The flat rate is mainly for the one time consultation. If they want a repeat service within a 6 month period, I also work those contracts out. With me getting into fashion arena I actually like to work behind the scenes and dress the models. If I’m not selected or if I chose not to participate in a show, I will be hands on and get the models dressed. You have your designers but a lot of designers don’t know how to couple things together. Therefore, I work with them and ask “What’s their concept for the show” then we work to put some pieces together, accessorize etc. I have my first fashion show coming up in which I’m getting paid to be the consultant for out of Wilson, NC. It’s a very ex citing times!
Getting back to Beaucoup…
You also, asked me regarding Beaucoup! So I recently participated in the Ms. Full Figured NC 2015. I was awarded “Ms. Congeniality” had a great time and met some awesome ladies. This actually came back 10-fold because there were a few that I was able to form a dynamic relationship with. They are all a part of Beaucoup. The reason I came up with Beaucoup was because everyone isn’t for the pageantry world. They’re not into the etiquette, the formal gowns they just want to be who they are, celebrate themselves and find another person to connect with to do something in the community. It gives you an element of fashion and full figured-ness. I also desire to support health and wellness so we are a “from the inside out” organization. I believe that if you can work on your inside you’ll be good on the outside. Therefore, you must work on your mental and physical. We also give back to the community wherever in Raleigh, NC we may be needed.
Are you just trying to do Raleigh, NC only? Is that your primary target area?
You know what Vanessia, I have had some interest from various areas. For instance, some girls out of Rocky Mount, NC have joined because they’ve watched my movement and my growth online. Therefore, I now have coverage in Eastern, NC. I also have ladies out of Greensboro, NC and Charlotte, NC. So I desire to see the home base be out of Raleigh, NC (where I’m based at this point) and then have satellite locations. Who knows it may become National after a while.
I definitely can see it going national. You have big ideas. I don’t see big ideas staying within a box before someone else gets a hold of it JAlso, with you traveling, doing fashion, designers etc… your name has no choice but to get out there.
Girl, I try do plenty of networking building the brand as I go. People are always like “what’s this” or “I saw you doing that.” They are asking questions, they want to get involved and if you offer them a quality organization that’s very genuine, it will naturally happen. Promoting is just putting a variety of things together to showcase what you’re doing. I don’t feel like I have to convince anyone that it’s working. So I’m just excited! Excited for what God is doing in my life.
I can agree that everything I’ve seen concerning you on your various social media platforms speaks for itself! Moving forward, my daughter is a full-figured girl and I know that growing up she’s had to deal with bullying. Tell us what type of life experiences have you had to overcome? Any hurdles, obstacles, self-esteem issues by being full-figured etc…
I didn’t go through bullying thankfully, however, people made their comments but I didn’t feel like it was a bullying experience because so many people have been through worse than I. However, I will say that family at times made statements because it was never really cute back in the 80’s to be full-figured. In the 2000’s that’s when it became a phenomenon. You have now people such as Gwen DeVoewho has a full-figured fashion week in New York. It’s an incredible platform for plus sized models and has been doing that for 9 years. You have Plus Model Magazine & Queen Sized Magazine people that are celebrating the plus sized lady in our society. A play on words, it is a “Plus to have Plus Sized Ladies in our society.” I’m a big advocate for diversity, whether it is ethnicity, size or shape, because it makes the world go round and make’s the world great to be a part of. I encourage people that don’t understand or have a “beef” with the plus woman to talk it through. Honey, we are out here, we are SHAMELESS at this point and “Fierce to the End.” However, I must say that it wasn’t idolized to be full figured or voluptuous/curvy. You had to really internalize a lot because so many felt they couldn’t “relate” to you. I was always in girl groups and was always the “fuller girl” by far the pretty girl but still full figured. I just told someone recently that back then I didn’t believe that I was capable of making it to this point. I was like “OMG did I really wait until I turned 30 to have this overall evolution/revolution in my life” (laughing). However, at this point I don’t really care just as long as it’s happening for me. I would encourage any young person/anyone that believes in themselves to keep on doing it! Create a space around yourself inclusive of people that believe in you and what you do. If it’s only 1 only person that’s fine, I have 2-3 go to people in my life and that’s it. Everyone else association, network, business relationships and that’s fine too. It’s great to have to have that piece of mentorship as well. However, having those “go-to” when you are having a down moment or period of frustration is a must.
Thank you for helping others gain insight on how to stay in positive company. I noticed that you mentioned you are “plus-petite.” What does that actually mean?
You know what, I don’t even know if that’s a “thing” right now but I’m going to make it a thing. I’m only 5’2 and nobody in the “straight sized world” (your girls from a size 00-8) would every have a 5’2 girl on the runway for New York Fashion Week. In plus size fashion you can see that because I’ve been in Philly, DC and some of the best shows that some of the East Coast can possibly offer. I haven’t made the West Coast yet but I’ll be over there soon enough. Therefore, I’m like you know what, Jeannie Ferguson had a lot to do with that! She is a plus-petite runway model out of New York. She actually does Runway Coaching as well and she’ll be in NC in March. I’m so excited to take her runway course because like anything you always want to get feedback. Retention is mandatory, you must make sure you practice those tips, taking guidance, and putting in the work. She has influenced me and doesn’t even know me directly. We were asked to read a book during the pageant experience and this particular book talked about her a lot. I was inspired because all my friends that are modeling are primarily 5’8-5’11 and Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart clothing lines look for those heights for shoots and runway. However, there is another subset market that says “No if she’s fierce and she’s confident and her walk is amazing then we want her.” Therefore, I’m all over it! (laughs)
Who else would you say has influenced you?
I would have to say, Kenyatta Johnson out of Greensboro, NC. She has what I would call our “sister organization” entitled “I Rock My Curves.” She’s actually hosting an event that brings down Mrs. Gwen DeVoe and Jeannie Ferguson will be here to host a modeling competition as well. My mom, I really celebrate her because she became a plus sized woman over her life. She was a size 6 then had 3 kids and she’s been plus since. She’s therefore, helped me embrace who I was. There are a lot of plus-sized women within my tribal community. They are beautiful women and I’ve always looked up to them. My grandmother (God rest her soul now 1 year) she actually teased me some as a child and I think it made me who I am today. I don’t think she’d have it any other way. So I flipped her “criticism” of my chubbiness at the time and allowed it to help me “push the envelope.” Like they when you create “pressure” diamonds come from that so that’s what I’m here to do is Shine!
I love the confidence! You mentioned your Tribe and I wanted to actually bring that up next. You are Native American, what Tribe are you affiliated with?
My Tribe is actually the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe out of Halifax and Warren Counties of NC. It’s about 30 mins North of Rocky Mount.
I know every culture has their traditions, guidelines, rules and regulations that they abide by. Do you feel like you are somewhat “breaking the mold” a little?
You know what, I do feel that way but I’m ok with that. We are a “coming of age” society at this point. Women are powerful these days. We made a lot of strides 50-60 years ago. In our tribal communities, women are the pillars of the community so we look to women to be the strong ones, the sources, the one’s that keep our families, the ones that are very involved within our tribal communities and our government. For young girls to look up to me and say “I can be brown, I can be fuller, I can model, be smart and go to school” that says a lot. Therefore, I want just want to continue to be an example. Although, some may say “She went to NCSU, she has 3 degrees, she works full time why would she bother with modeling” all I can say is that Modeling is what I enjoy. It’s what I love and my passion is in that and inspiring others to pursue what they desire whether it is fashion or not.
You stated you have 3 degrees! Work it girl! What are they?
I earned dual degrees in undergrad with one in English and the other in Mass Communications. I actually wanted to be doing exactly what you’re doing. So look don’t judge me if in a couple of years, I have a blog or magazine going because initially that’s what I wanted to do. After I got to NCSU it was a struggle my first year but after I figured it out “I said I’m going to write for Vibe Magazine.” That was/is my dream job. I wanted to be on the scene and writing. Therefore, that birthed the dual degree. I also minored in Entrepreneurship. It was very new program under our Business School and as you know, NCSU has one of the best Business Schools in the country. Then I came back because I wasn’t quite finished, I spent 2 years and earned a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management. It was almost as if my story was writing itself all along. That’s what made the process easier to file and obtain my non-profit status for Beau coup.
In regards, to Beaucoup how did you come up with that name?
I actually have a very interesting middle name. It was made up by mom to include my 2 grandmother’s. It was a family originated name and my boyfriend would tease/make fun and call me by my middle name. He then saved me in his phone as Beaucoup because he said that I would someday make Beaucoup money too. So it was a way to throw off my middle name yet he spoke that into my life early when he became a part of my life a few years ago. When I thought about it and then researched it because I have friends of African descent that speak French. It actually means: Abundance and over the top. It actually describes everything that I am. I’ve always been told I was “extra” all my life. The women in my group although we do have some Caucasian females are predominantly African American. Therefore, we are plus-sized and extra I couldn’t help but say THIS IS IT! We strive to exude “Beauty beyond Barriers”
With that being said, what barriers in the fashion industry do you see being broken?
I’ve seen quite a few being broken. I was actually listening to the founder and editor of Plus Model Mag. She was giving a tutorial on what models should do to bring themselves up in the industry via development. One of the things, she said was “We are breaking because we used to only see sizes 12/14 however now you are seeing 16/18 in the plus-sized world” They used to throw in a size 10 and say that was plus-sized however, that isn’t a true representation of a plus-sized woman in today’s society. In today’s society the average woman is about a 14/16. Therefore, she was saying that consumers have been speaking to the brands via social media etc… and that the money is talking for the industry. Therefore, we are changing the dynamic in these ads, social media, and one way. At one point I was “color” on the runway but now you have more diversity on the runway which includes: Indian, Spanish, African America etc… This last year they actually broke a barrier by adding a model that was burned to New York Fashion Week. They actually highlighted the horror that she experienced as a woman being a burned and they created a means of Art of for her to be able to show who she was. At this point in life, God has spared her life and if this is what you enjoy doing let’s celebrate it. You also, would’ve never seen plus-sized women in fitness attire but now you do. We actually have another colleague from NCSU that has started a plus-sized fitness line. She’s actually partnering with me for some events I have in March and April of this year. Her line has actually been picked up and Plus Sized Mag has been paying attention.
Great things are coming out of NCSU you guys!! You also have a calendar (which I was able to obtain one and it’s awesome).
Yes, my first Beaucoup exclusive. Mrs. Diva Curves out of Atlanta, GA started a calendar a few years ago. Last year I submitted my photo and was able to get to the last round before I got cut however, it inspired me enough to create a way to make money for my non-profit. This is clean, family friendly, pastor/church and community friendly and it allows me to celebrate my girls. One thing that I despise in the Plus-Sized vs BBW world is that people are sexualizing us way too much. I want that to go on the record because I do not facilitate nor do I support that. We are gorgeous women; we deserve respect just like everyone else. I talk to my girls all the time. While doing the calendar, some said something in regards to editing their arms. I was like “No ma’am” you look beautiful in this picture. So I edit pictures for the production quality ONLY. Backdrops were added etc… however, nothing was altered regarding body forms. I don’t believe in cutting cellulite, cutting waists etc… we are doing what’s right for the picture/image and luckily my girls had it together so good they are flawless! The calendars offered an opportunity for them to participate to bring revenue and start the year off right. I come up with stuff all the time Vanessia, I’m very creative and if you give me a moment I’ll come up with something. The theme “I’m every woman” came up because earlier this year I had some car trouble where my battery died. I caught and Uber to get a replacement battery and I put it in myself. I put it in myself and I thought I had did something chile. So it means to me “that I can do anything a straight sized woman can do without barriers.” Therefore, on the calendar you’ll see me as a Auto Mechanic. Everyone was able to pick a career rather they did it currently or not. This is just one example of where creativity can take you. The calendars are 1 for $15 or 3 $30. They are very sleek to be positioned everywhere (hairdresser, vendor tables, desks, etc…)
I know some people do NOT like the term BBW. Why is that? What is the stigma behind it?
It’s a connotation of sex and being big booty girls with beautiful faces that are over sexualized. I would really band the term if Drake didn’t come up with it. However, I think that he didn’t even mean for it to go the way it went in our society. That’s just an example of how Art can go to the left. People will take it run with it and create an entirely different spin off of what they think it should mean overall. Plus-sized is curvy, full-figured and plus women and we celebrate that. However, BBW seems to come with a negative connotation every time I see it. Even the groups I see for BBW’s on Facebook that include the title BBW, I’m seeing way more than what I bargain to see. I don’t like it because I feel that women can cheapen themselves doing things like that. That goes into over sexualizing yourself to over accommodate for something that you don’t really have to. You are already beautiful; you don’t have to convince someone of that. You’ve always been of value.
Mallory I’ve gained so much more respect for you! Thank you for being a Woman with Standards. So what’s next for Mal The Model, Beaucoup, and The Doll House?
Such exciting times! The Doll House had its first business launch last July (2016) on my 30th birthday. This year we are having a 2nd production that will be even bigger even better. We have people coming from New York, LA, Atlanta, and I believe Ohio whom all have events that are tailored towards a full-figured fashion week. For the last 2 years I couldn’t get this off my mind. NC needs this because NC has the premier plus size models in the World. Therefore, we will be celebrating that. So after much deliberation I’ve decided to leap out on faith and I’ve decided to create something entitled “Crusade of Curves” which will be held here in Raleigh, NC March 30-April 1, 2017. This will be a 3 day event where will focus on 3 different topics. Thursday March 30, 2017 is going to be “Full and Fit” a fitness expo (6p-8:00p Location: 5608 Spring Ct Raleigh, NC). There will be a dance class and speakers to come and talk (in which Kimberly Knight founder of The Lux Blog NC will be one of the speakers giving us HIV/AIDS education awareness). We will have speakers come and discuss what it means to be healthy from the inside out. This will be a FREE event with more information regarding location to come. On Friday March 31st, since we are all young minority entrepreneurs trying to be in business, who are looking to have some piece of this world to call our own why not talk about that and have a social mixer. The event will entitled, “Cures and Cocktails” (6p-8:30p Location: Lynk 410 Glenwood Ave. #140 Raleigh, NC) and will be hosted by an entrepreneur who’s already doing what it takes allowing everyone to make more contacts. There will be people all over the state. Saturday April 1st will be “The Plus Panel” (11:00a-1p Location: “The Virginia Dare Ballroom @ Sir Walter Apartments Raleigh, NC) with a luncheon panel for bloggers, photographers and models. This will be a true power hour sharing there insight on what the plus size modeling industry entails. From 1:30-3:30p at the same location, there will then be an afternoon program entitled “Vendor Roadshow” where vendors across the state can showcase and sell their various products. I wanted to give them that opportunity which will then lead into a Red Carpet Fashion Show. This will be entitled “Evolution of Fashion” and will be held from 5:30pm-9:30pm.
For Vendor/Sponsorship Opportunities email crusadeofcurves@gmail. Com. Tickets are on Eventbrite>Crusade Of Curves.
I love it! I recall you also stating an event to happen in my hometown of Wilson, NC. When in that taking place?
Wilson! That will be taking place May 20, 2017. The location is TBD but I am working with Keisha McNeil who is the organizer of the show and I’m working as the “Fashion Model Consultant”.
That beautiful! Is there anything else that will be happening that you would like the reading audience to know?
Expect some fierce photos, events and public awareness from Beaucoup. There are lots to come! Based on my itinerary and my schedule for this year, the first 6 months are already completely booked. So, your girl will be back on the scene and you will be able to watch it via my Snapchat and social media so stay tuned.
How can people reach MAL:
I was blessed to launch my first website this year and that almost brought me to tears. Mallory B. Richardson can be found on Facebook as such. IG: @MalTheModel,@ LargerThanLifeStyling @Beaucoup919
This was a great interview Mallory we appreciate you interviewing with The Lux Blog. I wish you much more success! As I stated earlier, I see you going internationally. Your mind is just above and beyond local. However, local success is just as important because you want to impact where you are as well. I can see you taking flight and I can’t wait to see you in London behind the scenes walking down the runway honey!
Make sure you all follow her okay! She’s going to be on the move and you don’t want to miss what’s going on with this young lady. She’s truly one to watch! Oh yea… don’t forget the calendars they would make for a great gift!