The hopeful models for Curvaceous Eagles gave it their all on the dance floor as Miss Residential Life, Mykayla Hamiliton gave feedback. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo Co-Editor-in-chief

The NCCU modeling scene welcomes first plus size modeling troupe

September 15, 2016

The Curvaceous Eagles have taken yet another step in their work to combat sizeism, a step that adds a twist to N.C. Central University’s modeling and fashion scene.

This fall Curvaceous Eagles established the university’s first ever plus size modeling troupe.

The troupe is open to women on campus who’ve always wanted a place to feel comfortable in their skin regardless of their size, a place to prove that they too, can be beautiful and confident on a runway.

“The reason why we wanted to start the modeling troupe is because we felt like the modeling troupes on our campus only catered to a size 11 and under,” said Jessiqua Pyor, Curvaceous Eagles president.

“We started a modeling troupe to give curvy girls that extra push; to give them that reassurance that your body is beautiful. You don’t have to be a size 11 and down to be considered beautiful or even to go out and show yourself out there on the runway.”

The Curvaceous Eagles held their auditions in Ruffin Residence Hall, early September. Over 30 students attended the auditions where they learned how to be comfortable dancing in heels and confident in their runway walk.

Throughout auditions, some girls helped each other practice their routines and catwalk in hallways while others were in the multipurpose room receiving critiques from a panel of judges.

The judging panel included Miss Residential Life Mykayla Hamilton and senior Joseph Able and junior Justice Hernden, both De Haute Allure models.

Criminal justice senior Gabriele Gavin, a candidate, said she was pleased with how well try-outs went and excited for the new troupe.

“I think having a plus size modeling troupe is a good thing,” said Gavin. “I’m glad they brought it to this campus. I wanted to be a part of the initiative that was created so I thought this would be good.”

Gavin said the girls supported each other in their modeling. “I think the girls were very uplifting to one another, which made us made us more comfortable to mess up and actually be ourselves. I feel more confident. I feel more comfortable. I trust the heels more…I’m just happy that they’re doing this. To have big girls representing, we need something for the juicy girls out here.”

At the tryout conclusion the girls danced to Rihanna’s “Sex with Me” and performed one final runway walk for the judges to show off their skills to the judges.

In all, 26 students qualified to become members of the Curvaceous Eagles modeling troupe.

Shelly-Ann Wheeler, a business sophomore who was selected to join the Curvaceous Eagles, said that Hamilton talked her into trying out for the troupe. “She told me to come give it a try and I was like ‘ok, but I’ve never really walked in heels before.’ She said it’s a non-judgment zone so I said, ‘why not?’ It definitely was a learning experience.”

Wheeler said that she was a little nervous at first that she hadn’t ever modeled in heels, but that it was really just “a matter of focus, balance and perseverance.”

The Curvaceous Eagles adds the modeling troupe to their other campus initiatives that combat sizeism: Curvy Fit, which promotes body positivity, and Definition Day (or D-Day) which discourages bullying.

Pyor said the troupe is open to all. “We don’t discriminate on size. We have skinny models, we have medium size models, we have thick models; they’re all there. They’re all beautiful, ready and hungry. They’re ready to work. I just love that drive that they have.”

The Curvaceous Eagles modeling troupe will have several performances this semester. Their first event “Watch Out for the Big Girls” will be on Sept. 27 at the Alfonso Elder Student Union.

For more information on the organization or dates for their upcoming events, contact (919) 530-6134 or email [email protected]. Their office is located inside the Women’s Center.

Pyor said auditions will be held again next semester.

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