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Old 9th June 2011   #1
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

The opening festivities of Full-Figured Fashion Week 2011 are now less than a week away, while the main event, the grand runway finale, will take place seven days from Saturday.

The anticipation is building. The excitement is mounting. And to inflame the enthusiasm of plus-size-model aficionados even further, we have now released the first installment of a two-part interview that we conducted at FFFWeek 2010, featuring the star of last year's runway finale, Lindsey Garbelman.

Lindsey, a size-16 goddess represented by Model Service Agency in New York and Dorothy Combs in Miami, caused a sensation at the 2010 show. Her runway images were acclaimed as being uniquely beautiful (one even finding its way into IGIGI's print promotions), while her walk was fluid and graceful. Furthermore, as long-time readers of the Judgment of Paris will know, we have been following Lindsey's career since 2005, when she was merely signed with a tiny, unfamiliar Florida agency, having just shot her first prom campaign with Aurora Formals.

Miss Garbelman joined us directly after her runway triumph, and the interview took place in the lounge of the Park Central Hotel in New York--the same hotel which hosted the FFFWeek finale. Our delight in meeting this stunning beauty soon turned into positive giddiness, thanks to two glasses apiece of Chardonnay, imbibed by both the model and her interviewer. As a result, readers may find this discussion remarkably uninhibited. Lindsey provides some fascinating behind-the-scenes impressions of Full-Figured Fashion Week, and shares many provocative opinions about plus-size modelling, full-figured fashion, and food.

However, the distractions of the momentous FFFWeek setting and the French wine meant that we only managed to ask Lindsey a portion of the questions that we wished to put to her. With that in mind, she kindly consented to a follow-up chat by telephone a week later. The latter discussion, a rather more formal dialogue, will appear as the second installment of our two-part Lindsey interview, which will be released a week from today.

But for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy our FFFWeek interview with the gorgeous and exciting Lindsey Garbelman.

Photograph courtesy Richard Lew (

- Click here to read interview

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Old 10th June 2011   #2
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Default Re: Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

I read this interview once yesterday, and again today. I love it! I enjoy how frank and open Lindsey was in the discussion. She said so many things that many full-figured women feel but seldom give voice to.

I especially agree with her points about the fact that plus-size models should actually be plus size. The use of skinny models who are falsely passed off as plus-size remains the biggest shortcoming of the plus-size fashion industry:

HSG: Don’t you love the fact that for these runway shows, they cast genuinely curvy plus-size models, not the size 10s?

LINDSEY: Yes! But that’s all they’re using for print. It’s unbelievable to me. I was so happy to see actual plus-size women, because when I go to a lot of castings, I’m the biggest girl there.

HSG: Is that true?

LINDSEY: Yes. And I think, “Are you kidding me?” Especially for print, because that’s all they use. They use size 10s. And it’s sickening. I’m going to tell you the truth. I have a friend. I’m not going to name her name. She is a plus-size model. She’s a size 6, one hundred percent. And she works all the time. All the time.

HSG: [dismayed] I believe you.

LINDSEY: It makes me sick.

It IS sickening. A size 6? That is simply offensive. I would consider Lindsey the smallest that a plus-size model should be, legitimately, at a size 16, not the "biggest." How did this industry ever get so turned around?

I admire her determination to keep her current figure and not to diminish it.

This passage especially raised the alarm bells for me:

LINDSEY: Someone was just telling me about… Someone is putting into these designers’ heads that they don’t need to use big girls anymore. They need to use smaller girls. I can’t remember who told me that, but…whatever. It doesn’t matter. And my agent, my New York agent, loves the size I am. Whatever I want to be, he markets me at. He loves my size.

I love the fact that MSA embraces Lindsey at her curvy size, but aaargh, it's so galling to learn that there really is a toxic voice in the industry who is trying to push the faux-plus standard. Whoever that person is, they're clearly just pushing their own anti-plus prejudice and disguising it as a fashion critique. (Or, they're trying to get jobs for faux-plus models.) They simply can't accept plus-size beauty having any visibility and are trying to quash it. This curve-o-phobic thinking must be stopped, once and for all.

I love how forthright Lindsey is about this issue. I agree with her every word here, and I share these feelings exactly:

LINDSEY: It pisses me off—and I’m going to say pisses me off—that girls who cannot shop at a plus-size store shoot for plus size. I think that that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard about.

HSG: It is. It makes me sick.

LINDSEY: “You can’t fit in plus-size clothes. That is pinned all over you. You can’t even wear that.”

Curvy women don't want to see faux-plus models promoting clothing to them, and they definitely don't want to see skinny models with padding pretending to be plus, because those models have gaunt, sunken-in faces that clearly are NOT plus. Curvy women want to see visibly full-figured models, at least as big as Lindsey, and with full facial features that match their opulent figures.
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Old 10th June 2011   #3
M. Lopez
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Default Re: Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

What I especially loved in the interview were all of the delightful references to food! The discussion echoed the free, liberated spirit of FFFWeek. It's so refreshing to hear a model (or any full-figured woman, for that matter) not reflexively apologizing for loving to eat, or trying to "excuse" or "justify" herself by outlining some kind of torture regimen, but openly celebrating her indulgent love of food.

This section even came with audio, and it was a treat to listen to Lindsey saying these words. You could tell that she must have had a grin on her face when she said them.

HSG: Are you a gourmand? Do you enjoy food?

LINDSEY: Do I enjoy food? Oh, my God, I’m a plus-size girl. Of course I enjoy food. I love food. I don’t enjoy food. I love food. I don’t eat to live. I live to eat. I love food. [chuckles]

HSG: [enraptured] This is too good to be true.

LINDSEY: I love good food, and I love every kind of food.

HSG: What are your favorites?

LINDSEY: If I could eat anything for the rest of my life, if I had to pick one thing, it would be bread. I love bread. I would eat bread and cheese. I don’t know why, but I love bread and cheese. I love it.

I also enjoyed how Lindsey related it to her upbringing. She paints a portrait in words of an idyllic family environment:

LINDSEY: And the truth is, this is my size. This is what my body is comfortable at. And I love it. I eat. I like food too much.

HSG: You do?

LINDSEY: I love food too much.

HSG: You really do?

LINDSEY: Are you kidding me? I love food. I love food.

HSG: [sighs]

LINDSEY: I love it. What’s not to love? Honestly, I’m a Southern girl. Half of my family’s in Alabama. When I was little, I used to go to Alabama every year for three months at a time. Every morning: pancakes, bacon, grits, biscuits, gravy, eggs. It’s what I’m used to. That’s what I love. My grandmother—God rest her soul. She passed away—but she made the best… I told you I like bread. I love carbs. I don’t eat them all the time, but I love carbs.

HSG: It’s the source of your beauty.

LINDSEY: She made—and my sister now makes—the best dressing in the world. I mean, it is just… It’s corn bread. It’s made of corn bread. Best dressing in the world. Oh, my God. And macaroni and cheese, homemade macaroni and cheese. I love food. How can you not love food?

And when asked how why she loves being a plus-size model, she adds:

LINDSEY: I get to enjoy food. I get to enjoy carbs. And I love my sweets. I love ice cream.

But for my money, the most interesting point that the interview raised when it came to food was the contrast between how miserable minus-size models are, because they subject themselves to constant diet-starvation and exercise-torture, versus how relaxed and happy plus-size models are, because they can eat whatever they like:

LINDSEY: On Wednesday night, one of these girls… I was talking about straight-size models. We’ll go to castings with straight-size models, or we work with straight-size models. And she said, “Yeah this one straight-size model, she was in such a bad mood whenever I went with her to a casting,” and she was telling me that she was probably just hungry. She said, “I get crabby when I’m hungry too.” I said, “Oh, my God, that’s genius. Next time I see a straight-size model and she’s a bitch to me, I’m going to look at her and say, ‘Girl I get crabby when I’m hungry too.’” I thought, “That is genius, because it’s true.”

HSG: It is true!

LINDSEY: We get to eat. They get mad about it. They’re eating a couple of almonds, and we’ve got bagels and cookies and everything. [laughs] We’re just shoving them in our mouths, and they’re eating celery.

I hope that the coming generation of curvy girls who are fans of plus-size models read Lindsey's comments and take them to heart, and reject the media's starvation propaganda, and learn to be comfortable with themselves and who they are.
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Old 11th June 2011   #4
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Default Re: Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

The passages that enthused me most in interview were those in which Lindsey really celebrates her own plus-size beauty. It's an undercurrent that runs throughout the work and blazes forth at certain moments.

LINDSEY: I was probably a 16/18 then. I love the way that I am. I love being a curvy girl.

HSG: You do?

LINDSEY: I do. I love it. Are you kidding me? I love it.

This passage especially delighted me:

LINDSEY: When I look at my face in pictures when I was thinner, and pictures now, I think I’m prettier with the fuller face. I think my face is prettier fuller, because my face was kind of sunken in, and it just wasn’t… I don’t know what it was. Sometimes I look at those pictures and I think, “Did I just not know how to do my makeup?” I think my face looks so much prettier fuller. I really do.
It's so wonderful to hear a model expressing an aesthetic preference for a visibly plus look.

More moments of admirable self-assurance:

LINDSEY: I will tell you any day, all day, I think I’m a beautiful, curvy girl. I am confident. I love the way I look.
LINDSEY: I’m confident. I’m very confident, and I always have been.
LINDSEY: I think I’m a very sexy woman.

Others clearly agree, even when they aren't aware that she's a model. If only they knew!

LINDSEY: Last night at work, I had just gotten there. The other waitress had a table, and I kept seeing this group of guys all looking at me and talking about me. I thought, “Wait a minute. What is going on?”...This guy finally stops me. He grabs my hand and says, “I just want to let you know, you are honestly the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life.”

But my favourite passage is this one, which I think Lindsey tailored especially for her Judgment of Paris fans, because it's so perfect! It even comes with the original audio, which is fun to listen to:

LINDSEY: I can’t believe I’m going to say this because this sounds so vain.

HSG: [eagerly] Say it, say it, say it.

LINDSEY: Yesterday, on the train, I was sitting there, and...I looked at my reflection in the train window, and I thought, “Oh, my God, I’m gorgeous.”

The interviewer clutches his heart, mimicking a coronary episode brought on by an overdose of delight.

LINDSEY: [laughing] I really did.

I think curvy girls reading the interview will enjoy reading about a visibly full-figured model who appreciates her own curvaceous appearance in such a seductive way. I know I did. Hopefully, Lindsey's self-assurance will be transmitted to many readers, especially girls who may be struggling with body image.
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Old 14th June 2011   #5
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Default Re: Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

It's such a pleasure to learn more about this beautiful model whose pictures I've been seeing at the Judgment of Paris for years. She comes across as lively and fun, but very kind and considerate too. She was so thoughtful to share a bit of herself with her fans, this way.

She herself pointed out the camaraderie among plus-size models, and I think she's absolutely right:

The thing is, with plus-size models, I’ve met a few divas, but for the most part, plus-size models are so genuinely nice. We love each other, and the way I see it, it’s because we’re not hungry!

Lindsey speaks so well about everyone she has worked with- about Kelsey, Katherine, even clients like Formal Source- and she even has praise for other models, like Rosie Mercado. She comes across as a very generous person with a good heart.

I was especially moved by the lovely account that she gave of walking in the David's Bridal show in Florida:

I walked out and the crowd—there were 500 people there—went insane. Insane. Everyone stood up. I was the only plus-size… Everyone was going insane, because I was the only plus-size girl. And I came back and the hairstylist said, “Girl, they went crazy over you.” I was so excited. I was so happy. It was amazing.

Modelling, that was one of the best feelings I have ever had. I wanted to cry. I literally cried a little bit when I got out, because I was so touched. I thought, “Oh, my God. They love it, because I’m curvy.”

Isn't that sweet? What touched Lindsey so much wasn't just the fact that they were applauding her; it was the fact that the public was responding to her being curvy. Lindsey saw this as a triumph for all full-figured women. That speaks to her magnanimity.

She seems like a wonderful role model as well as an excellent fashion model, definitely a girl who likes to have fun (so young girls can relate to her more than to someone who was a goody-goody), but with a solid moral core.
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Old 15th June 2011   #6
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Default Re: Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

I too appreciated all of the passages in the interview that others have marked off. I also enjoyed it as a marvellous plug for FFFWeek, which is opening today.

LINDSEY: I have to tell you, I am so excited to be in Full-Figured Fashion Week, because I can find beautiful clothes that make me look sexy and feel sexy...Big girls, we’re sexy. We like our curves. We want to feel sexy. We want to show off our curves.
LINDSEY: I said to the other models on Wednesday night, “Girls, I hope you realize we’re making history right now...This is the second year, and twenty years from now, they’ll remember that we were the girls who started this.” I said, “We are the reason why they started doing Full-Figured Fashion Week, because they see beautiful girls like us, and they want other people to see us and showcase that we can have good style, and we can be sexy.”

It was fascinating to read all of the behind-the-scenes impressions of the show. And it's especially interesting to read about the mental preparation that a model has to go through before she steps out onto the catwalk:

LINDSEY: I was terrified—until I got on the runway. When I was on the runway, I was fine. But before, I was terrified. I was thinking, “What if I fall? Oh, my gosh.” And when I had to carry the hat, I asked the designer of Pheline, “Okay, worst-case scenario, if I drop the hat, what do I do? Just keep going?”...And she said, “Pick it up really sexy and seductive.” And I thought, “Okay, I can do that.”

But the most entertaining reminiscence was Lindsey's account of the exciting chaos backstage:

HSG: What is the environment like backstage at Full-Figured Fashion Week?

LINDSEY: Insane—especially during changes. Because I did four total shows, and I had one after another, and then a break, and then one after another. We literally have to run. As we’re running to the back, we’re taking off clothes. Shirts are flying. Bracelets are flying, necklaces are flying, clothes are flying. People are dressing you...

I was number two for Lotis, and they were one right after another. I had to run. I’m just throwing stuff off. I had to literally run to the stage. Run to the stage. Insane. But it just builds up your adrenalin and makes you more excited to go out...

It was just insane back there. But I will tell you, they know what they’re doing...Total chaos, but amazing. The energy was amazing. Before you went out, or after you went out, the girls who didn’t do that show would say, “Oh, my God, you did great. You look great.”

Ah, the fabled camaraderie among plus-size models! It sounds like an amazing experience, and it's a privilege to read this behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creation of the show.
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Old 31st December 2011   #7
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Default Re: Interview with Lindsey Garbelman

I enjoy both parts of this interview very much. Lindsey is gorgeous, and she has a powerful story to tell.

While part one of the interview is fascinating, given the backdrop of FFFWeek, I actually think that the second part of the interview is even deeper and more substantial:

The discussion that it prompted is equally interesting. I found the passages that the commentators highlighted to be especially significant.

Lindsey is a gorgeous model, lovelier now than ever at a curvy size 18. I wish her much success in 2012.
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