The Curvy Trini: How She Serves Style, Inspiration, and Empowerment
The Curvy Trini (Sarah Hamel-Smith) is a plus sized style blogger who loves fabulous clothing and empowering others. As an influencer who has worked with several major brand such as Macy’s, Sarah believes that success is creating work with passion and purpose behind it. I had the pleasure to discuss with Sarah her biggest goals for this year, working in the fashion industry, and online branding that works.
How long have you been doing The Curvy and what inspired you to start it?
SS: “The Curvytrini was launched in the Fall of 2017, and a very detailed recount of the magical stories of how I became an influencer and a plus sized model can be viewed here on my blog: Basically I offered myself up. I wanted to be one of the people who changes the way we define beauty in society, and the universe took over!
What is your own definition of your personal styles?
SS: “I consider myself a stylistic chameleon. I love to be very versatile when it comes to fashion. Sometimes I will slay the streets in a bodycon dress with my blonde hair, boots and red lips. Other times I’m rocking jeans and a t-shirt with a bird clip named Francesco in my hair. I see fashion as a fun way to express yourself…to show the world who you are. This is why I am an advocate for size inclusive in the fashion industry. it is very dehumanizing when you cannot find fashionable clothing to fit your body. It is very empowering when you can!”
What did you want to be as a child?
SS: “As a child I never really knew exactly what I wanted to be, but I always wanted to change the world for the better. I remember as a child thinking about the environment a lot and not understanding why we destroy the earth in the way we do. I remember being shamed a lot for the body that I lived in from my family and the society that I grew up in and knowing in my soul that it was terribly wrong. I always felt that there was some kind of very important work I had to do to change things for the better and I spent my life searching for it. Through some projects I am involved with here in NYC I will be able to do just that.”
What is your personal or professional motto?
Go with what flows, but never give up.
SS: “When I first came to NYC I was trying to get a job in PR/ Communications. Doors slammed in my face everywhere I turned, but at the same time whenever I was out on the streets random strangers would come up to me and say “you’re beautiful! You should be a plus sized model!”
And that is exactly what I am right now. The universes plan for our lives is always so much better than we can imagine. I have learned through many periods of resistance and struggle that it is so much more powerful to go with the flow of life and keep moving forward even if you don’t have all the answers. Keep trying different things, failure doesn’t matter once you learn from it. If you want something, don’t give up!”
Who are some of your other fashion influences and who would you love to collaborate or work with in the future?
SS: :I would love to align with some other major fashion influencers in the straight sized space such as @simonettalein who does a lot of great work through her charity the Wish Wall Foundation. I would like to work for one of Ashley Graham’s fashion lines as she is the person who helped me realize that even though I am plus sized, I could be beautiful, fashionable and sexy. She literally changed my life and my perspective of myself as well as the curve model Iskra Lawrance. I would also love to work with INC, Universal Standard, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Ashley Stewart, Amazon and Target as these are all major fashion brands that create clothing that fit for plus sized bodies and to help be a part of other brands extending their sizes which is my prediction for the fashion industry. Many brands will extend sizes and become inclusive.”
What is the biggest goal you have set for this year?
SS: “I would like to be a guest speaker at Advertising Week in New York City and talk about Fat and Age discrimination in the advertising industry. I attended last year, and everyone was talking about diversity as a big trend in the media which is of course very important but no one was talking about size or age diversity. People in plus sized bodies and people of age are systematically discriminated against and left out in so many ways, for example I was on the subway a couple days ago and there was an ad for a dating app, it featured people of different races and sexualities but not a single plus sized model or person of age was utilized in the ad.
67% of women in North America are considered plus sized, that is a big market if people that has traditionally been completely ignored. People in plus sized bodies and of all ages date, live, love and use products and services. It makes sense to start marketing to and including people of various sizes/ ages and providing clothing etc for these market from a business perspective and human perspective. It is time to give everyone a seat at the table. People are ready to see themselves reflected in the media.”
Name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a creative online brand.
SS: “It is important to stay true to yourself, authenticity is eveything. Sometimes companies will reach out to work with me but they are not on brand and I have to decline its important to work with brands that you believe in.”
Which of your traits are you most proud of?
SS: “Many influencers simply utilize their platforms only to create beauty and fashion imagery which is great of course but I am proud that the work that I do has meaning and purpose. I create imagery to desensitize people from seeing plus sized women in fashion and tell stories to help inspire and empower others to understand that they are good and worthy. What started out as a plus sized thing has turned into a human thing for me, over and over again we are told that we are not good for whatever reason. Too fat, too tall, too skinny, too old, too small. Our skin colour isn’t good. Our sexuality is wrong. Our voices are too loud. We are not smart enough. It’s all a lie. I believe that brands can sell products and services without making people feel afraid and not good enough, and that is what I seek ultimately to prove and do. We can create new paradigms, new ways of doing business that does not destroy the planet we live on or the hearts and souls of the people who live here. In the Fall of 2018 I co-produced a paradigm shifting event at FIT to help bloggers and influencers awaken to the fact that they can utilize their platforms to align with social causes that resonate with them. We had over 200 influencers and 4 celebrity panelists with a combined reach of 20 million in attendance. The world is ready. You can read more about the event here:
I feel proud that I am actually being a part of the change I wish to see in the world. Too many people are suffering and I want to help them awaken to their personal power and create the shift that needs to take place.”
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about being an influencer?
SS: “The power of using my own voice to speak up and to help others. Sometimes we think that we are small or that we do not have the resources or ability to change the world for the better, but with this magical digital era we live in, we do.”
About Sarah Hamel-Smith
Sarah Hamel-Smith is a New York based plus sized model and digital influencer with True Model Management. She has a deep understanding and passion for the plus sized consumer. After being body shamed for many years she dedicated her life to promoting the size/ age diversity agenda by creating imagery desensitizing people from seeing plus sized women in fashion and utilizing storytelling to empower people of all shapes, abilities, races and gender/ sexual identities to understand their worth. This contextual understanding allows her to assist brands to strategically build a powerful emotional connection with their consumers. She works with brands to evoke positive change in the fashion industry.
Sarah has worked with several major and start-up plus sized fashion brands as plus sized model and influencer including Macys and is regularly featured as a model and writer in BTFL Magazine. She has spoken at NYU as a subject matter expert in influencer marketing and is involved with several organizations dedicated to human empowerment.