Model of the Month – Erica Lauren

Our April Model of the Month is the truly Bicoastal and curvy beauty, Erica Lauren, who is taking the plus industry by storm! Here she talks about how she started, her favorite clients, and the support she gotten along the way as a visibly plus model – keep reading to learn more about her!

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1. Where you are from?

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Born and raised in Pasadena, California.

2. What you are into… studies, hobbies, special skills etc..?

In middle school I really got into music and playing volleyball. I was in the Los Angeles Children’s Choir as well as the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra, and my love of music continued on through majoring in music performance in college! I play the upright classical bass. ūüôā While I can’t call myself an active musician these days, anyone that knows me will tell you I still love to sing and I’m so thankful for my years of studying music. I also play volleyball from time to time and try to stay relatively active!

3. Favorite clients from the biz?

Picking a favorite client is impossible! I’m lucky to have had so many great client experiences so far. If anything¬†some of my favorite moments with clients would be the first time I got booked as a signed model in NY and shot a campaign with Fashion To Figure. The FTF team has continued to be great to¬†work with ever since. Another favorite moment would be when I first got to shoot with Fashion Nova. As it’s such hugely successful brand, I had so many people, from family to strangers, reaching out and telling me how they were excited to see my photos, especially as visibly plus size model! Any chance I’ve had to work with clients/brands that I’ve known of since I was young, such as Ashley Stewart or Windsor, has definitely been a milestone.

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4. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest?

When I decided to give modeling a real shot, I told myself it was going to be all about life¬†experiences and taking it as far as the universe would allow. I would love for those experiences to include walking in NY Fashion Week for one of these designers that are making waves in the industry with their inclusive runways shows, such as Christian Siriano or Chromat. I’d also love to model overseas, and at some point it would be in-

IMG_4805.jpgcredible to be able to more formally share my life experiences and learnings with others in hopes of aiding them along in taking career risks or learning to love their curves.

5. Career highlights?

I know I already mentioned some special moments, but another highlight of my modeling career would have to be when I first walked in Style Fashion Week LA. I was booked to be the first plus size model to walk for designer Mario de la Torre, and I was the only plus model in the show that night. It was the biggest stage I’d ever walked on and the support was so amazing. Another early highlight was shooting with photographer Michelle Alexandra. It was maybe my second or third photoshoot ever and I learned so much about styling and posing in a short period of time, and her photos helped me secure agency representation and several clients.

6. How did you get into modeling?

In 2015 I was really noticing the rise of plus size models and plus size social media influencers, especially on Instagram, and how there were so many brands I’d never heard of that they were all rocking with so much confidence. I felt so inspired to finally give myself a chance after years of feeling foolish for even thinking modeling was within the realm of possibility. I eventually saw and submitted to casting for a Skorch Magazine special feature spread on body diversity and I booked it. Then about 6 months later I submitted to a second casting and ended up booking Full Figured Fashion Week in New York. Meeting the other aspiring models and industry professionals jump started everything from that moment on.

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Hannah Berner: Model, Actor + Producer

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We are so happy we got to chat with Hannah, the multi-talented fit, commercial, print, and fitness model – and most recently – video producer and comedian for the infamous Betches Instagram account. Continue reading to learn more about Hannah and how she got started!

We love watching you on Betches! How did you fall into this?

Thanks so much! I was at a desk job questioning my life purpose and crying in the bathroom when I decided I needed to quit and reevaluate my career path. I asked myself what I would do if money wasn’t¬†an issue and it was to create funny videos. I had no idea how I could do this, but I applied to a video internship and started to hone my video editing skills. Out of nowhere, a model I had met at an Adidas photoshoot (that Bicoastal booked for me) reached out to me saying that he was working for a brand called Betches who was looking for a video producer with 5 years experience. I laughed and said I’m not a good fit, but I submitted a funny video anyway. They called me into their office and said that they will start me as a freelancer. 7 months later, I was officially hired as the first video producer at Betches. Since starting the video department, I’ve increased video views from 2.2 million views in Q3 2016 to 155 million views in Q3 2017. I love creating new ideas to make my friends and family laugh everyday.

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Tell us a little bit about your other talents – sports, hosting, improv? What do you enjoy most?

I grew up around sports including basketball, golf, softball, and tennis. At 12 years old I decided to focus on tennis and¬†ended up playing for the University of Wisconsin and playing professionally for a bit. After tennis, I worked as a sports broadcaster for the University of¬†Wisconsin Athletics, so I would interview basketball, soccer, and track teams and then edit their highlight reels. Since I’ve been little, I’ve always been very silly and outgoing, so comedy was a natural step for me to use my experience in video and hard work ethic from sports to create funny content. Sports, hosting, and comedy are all different ways for me to express myself, whether it is physically or verbally. I think it’s healthy to find a lot of different hobbies and never define yourself by just one thing. Everyone is multifaceted and you can surprise yourself by finding out you are passionate about a new hobby or skill.

Tell us about your experience as a fit model with Bicoastal – what are some highlights/favorite clients?

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As a fit model, I’ve worked for Hanes, Urban Outfitters, Elie Tahari, MM La Fleur, One Jeans Group. I love fit modeling because I really enjoy being a part of the creative process. I feel like a fly on the wall while serious decisions are being made about the length of a dress that will be sold in thousands of stores or something as little as the color of a button. It’s also pretty cool to go around and brag to my friends that my body has perfect proportions and then they tell me to shut up.

Do you have any particular favorite sketches? And why? 

I do! I love to expose the reality behind social media and make fun of the fake personas that can make people feel insecure with online. During this time of social media, it’s important not to compare yourselves to someone else’s highlight reel. Let’s be serious, we are all in yoga pants with no makeup on scrolling our Instagram feed majority of the time. I made this video joking about fitness influencers:

Love my fit fam! #motivationmonday

A post shared by Betches (@betches) on

To see more of Hannah’s great posts and videos, make sure to follow @betches!

Model of the Month – Ashley Van Egeren

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1. Where you are from?
Good ole’ Green Bay, WI.

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2. What you are into… studies, hobbies, special skills etc..?
Along with modeling I am also an actress…an anomaly I know (laugh) I am SUPER excited to announce that the feature film I co-produced and had a supporting role in, called “The Light of the Moon”, won the 2017 Audience Award at SXSW and is now streaming on Amazon Prime (link here)!

I also LOVE dance! I have over 20 years of experience in ballet, modern & contemporary dance. Although I have retired from performing, I am excited to further explore the dance world through the lens of psychology. This past October I was honored to present my research findings in the field of dance psychology, at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science. It is a passion of mine to stay involved in the dance community, and participate in research projects that bridge my love and expertise of dance, with my BA in psychology.

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Oh, and last but not least….decorating Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookies! I’m telling you this may be my true calling in life ūüėČ Check out my Instagram for examples of this old-school holiday awesomeness!!

3. Favorite clients from the biz?
Over this past decade as a fit model, there have been SO MANY wonderful people that I have had the privilege of working with. It’s hard to narrow down, but I’ll give you a few of my favs…I absolutely love Bibhu Mohapatra and Susana Monaco. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to not only call these talented artists clients, but also friends. I am particularly moved by the love and support they have showed me over this this past year, not to mention their incredible generosity surrounding “The Light of the Moon” film. Their willingness to donate their time and energy to dress me, and key members of my film family, for red carpets premiers and festival appearances, means the world to me! I cannot thank them enough!

On this same note, I want to thank the production team over at Alice & Olivia for being so AWESOME, and always having my back, both in life and at work! Your generosity with helping to facilitate wardrobe for the “The Light of the Moon” was above and beyond! Without you guys Bonnie would be naked.

I also adore my team over at Vera Wang Collection. Not only are they fun to work with, but watching the artistry and precision in which they perform their craft is incredibly inspiring. And last but not least, I will always have a special place in my heart for Alexander Wang and his team. He was my first major fit client, and the 4 years I spent there taught me so much about this business and opened up so many opportunities.

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4. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest (any other dream clients?)?
Dude…still trying for that Victoria Secret contract (laugh)…still no? Ok.

But back in the real world , my goals for modeling are really quite simple. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the career that I have had thus far. The longevity in and of itself makes me feel really lucky! I have had the privilege of working with amazingly talented people, past and present, who have kept my job interesting and fun. My goal is just to continue to work with these types of clients; ones that I love and who make me love my job! I am always looking for another great fit ūüėČ

5. Career highlights?

image6 (1).jpegI would have to say that my first trip to Paris Fashion Week. It was one of those experiences that will always stay with me. I¬†had never been to Paris before, and not only did I get to show Bibhu Mohapatra’s beautiful collection, but I also got to partake in a photoshoot of his line. We shot on a balcony overlooking Paris and the view was unbelievable! The Eiffel Tower was on one side, The Lourve on the other, and the Tuileries Garden below….it was breathtaking!

Another highlight, was walking hand in hand down the runway with Susana Monaco during the finale of her runway show on CNBC’s The Profit. I knew how much this presentation meant to her, and the fact that she wanted me, as her fit model, to walk as the finale girl, and then with her during her bow …. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

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6. How did you get into modeling?
The old fashion way….I went to open calls. I think I hit up every modeling agency in Chicago, and then NYC ! (laugh) I can’t tell you how many ‘no’s’ I got before getting the YES! Goes to show you, it only takes one person to see your potential and give you that break! Forever grateful to those first agents who gave me a chance.

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Yasmin Elzomor: Model + Influencer

We’re so excited we were able to sit down and chat with our model, blogger, and influencer, Yasmin Elzomor! Continue reading to learn more about Yasmin, how she started, and what keeps her going.

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1) How did you start blogging/influencing?

I started blogging about a year and a half ago and it was honestly the best decision I ever made. I knew I wanted to inspire others through my actions and my passions so what better way to do that than to create a personal space where you can be yourself?yasminelzomor-HIGH RES JPEGS-0006.jpg

2) Any advice for someone starting?
Whatever you do, just be genuine and GO FOR IT. Just start, you‚Äôll figure everything else out once you begin. I know it‚Äôs very cliche to say ‚Äújust be yourself‚ÄĚ but when you show the world who you really are, you allow others the permission to be vulnerable. You allow them to be themselves. Do it because you want to inspire others. Do it because you love it.

3) We love following you and seeing your favorite products, where you go, what you do, etc… out of all of these topics, what is your favorite to share?
As much as I love sharing my favorite skincare products or my #ootd, nothing makes me happier than sharing where I am in my spiritual journey. I’ve grown so much emotionally, mentally and spiritually ever since I started my blog and I’m so grateful for every opportunity I’ve had to grow. My personal growth has helped me manifest so much in my career and this is only the beginning.

4) What is the best part of being a professional influencer?
The best part of being a professional influencer is the satisfaction of inspiring others to be the absolute best version of themselves. As long as my messages inspire one person a day, I know I’m doing my job.

To keep up with Yasmin, make sure to check out her blog and follow her on Instagram!

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Model of the Month: Julie Prugar

We are so glad to have the very experienced Fit model professional, Julie P, as our February Model of the Month! Continue reading to learn more about this Fit star and how she got started!

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1. Where you are from? 

I am from Cleveland, Ohio.

2. What you are into… studies, hobbies, special skills etc..?

I love swimming, biking, hiking, skiing, dancing, yoga, traveling the world.

3. Favorite clients from the biz?

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Armani, DKNY, DVF, Marc Jacobs, LAMB, Ann Inc, Chaus (Cece Sport), Tory Burch CK, RL, Nellie Partow & Draper

James are all team I have had the pleasure of working with over the years!

4. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest (any other dream clients?)?

I would love to learn guitar, piano, & become fluent in Spanish

5. Career highlights?

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Many trips to Italy (working with Giorgio Armani). Trips to Hong Kong, & Sri Lanka. Also, working with Gwen Stefani & Reese Witherspoon on their lines.

6. How did you get into modeling?

I started fitting when I lived in LA & was working in the film industry. In between jobs I was restless & wanted to make extra money. My friend Paige got me into it when she needed me to sub for her. I ended up landing Fiorucci & Guess Jeans. Shortly after I moved to NYC. I contacted an Agency to start fitting again & within a year I was booked full time. The rest is history!

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SPOTLIGHT NEW-SIGN: Gilbert Costache

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1. Where you are from?

I am from Romania though I have worked in this industry for the past 10 years in some of the main fashion capitals of the world such as: Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Istanbul and New York.

2. How did you start modeling?

When I was 16, a scout discovered me in Bucharest, Romania. I was in Madrid, Spain when I really started modeling, so at 19 I quit soccer to commit to being signed to multiple fashion agencies.

22 editorial cosmopolitan.jpg3. What you are into besides modeling/fashion?

I am an actor. I am a licensed life-coach and I believe that it is very important to have the resources, the context and to find the right path to follow for the rest of our lives. I consider myself a simple, honest human being who appreciates quality in life. My hobbies include reading, dancing and generally having a sense of humor (I love stand-up comedy and jokes). I play soccer often and I practice yoga. I have also written novels and I enjoy philosophy.

4. Favorite clients you have worked with?

Dsquared, Dior, Adidas, Zara, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Guess, Armani, Calvin Klein.

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5. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest (any other dream clients?)?

To spend my time writing books. I also dream of acting for the movie I am writing. More fashion campaigns.

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6. Career highlights?

Music clips in Romania and Spain with the best singers there. Catalogs in Turkey , Istanbul. Catalogs in Spain. Catwalks for Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry. Tv commercial for Nike. Tv commercial for Heineken. Walking runway for some great designers internationally.

7. Awesome! Do you have any notable Fashion Week experiences?

When I was in Europe, I walked in shows for Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger and when I was in Romania I worked with some of their best designers.

To keep up with Gilbert make sure to check out his website and follow him on Instagram!

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Model of the Month: Kristin Gallina

Our January Model of the Month is the stunning and jet-setting curve model, Kristin Gallina! Continue reading to learn more about Kristin:

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1. Where you are from?

I am from Brooklyn, New York.

2. What you are into… studies, hobbies, special skills etc..?

Besides modeling, I have been a licensed hairstylist and makeup artist for the last 12 years. I worked in two salons in Brooklyn but now with modeling I am more of a freelance stylist. I also write a beauty column for a magazine called Love U Magazine.

3. Favorite clients from the biz?

Some of my favorite clients in this industry that I have worked with would have to be JunaRose, Lord & Taylor, Madewell, J. Crew, & Warp and Weft! All amazing brands to work for!

4. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest (any other dream clients?)?

_MG_5284RT.jpgI would have to say my dreams for my modeling career are to become a part of the change that is happening as we speak in the fashion industry. I would love to see Victoria Secret Models being curvier. I would love to see big brands such as Gucci, Fendi, Prada, & Chanel feature curvier models in their campaigns. Yes, the industry has started to change but it has only just begun so I would love to be involved in something epic and ground breaking. The way Ashley Graham was the first plus model to be featuredon Sports Illustrated, something like that would be amazing. I would also definitely love to work with Lane Bryant, Good American, Forever 21, Swimsuits for All – just to name a few.

 

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The highlight of my career for me would be getting the chance to fly to LA to meet brands and designers on the west coast and even getting to do some modeling work while I was there. Los Angeles is exciting and filled with glam so to get to see that was a great experience for me.

6. How did you get into modeling?

One of my very good friends who I have grown up with my entire life got me into it, Christen Marucci. She hooked me up to the talented Nikki Gomez who then scouted me and connected me with Bicoastal. It was always a far off dream and Christen, Nikki & the Bicoastal team made it happen! I am forever grateful to them all for making my dream more of a reality.

 

Fashion Gives Back

It’s that time of the year where we know many have recently been thinking about charitable giving for year’s end. It is truly heart-warming to know the people we work with are so generous and charitable.

We got to chat with creative director Claudia Marenco of Human Habit about how she’s helping improve the lives of¬†Guatemalan people and native Mayan women!

BICOASTAL:  We know you are passionate and involved about something near and dear to your heart. Do you have a moment to let us know what it is and how you got involved?

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CLAUDIA MARENCO: Yes, I am helping a non-profit organization Multiplica Guatemala that works with local artisans. I am designing bags and sandals.

BICOASTAL: Amazing! Can you tell us more about Multiplica Guatemala?

CM:  Multiplica Guatemala is an ethical brand and a local non-profit organization, with the alliance of INTECAP (Technical Institution of Capacitation and Productivity), seeks to improve the lives of Guatemalan people. This economic and commercial incentive is achieved with the collaboration of native Mayan women; giving them the opportunity and tools to empower them to become entrepreneurial women in business.  They learn how to assess risks and make decisions that benefit them and their families.

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Make sure to follow Multiplica Guatemala on Instagram here to keep up with them and shop their products!

We also got to chat with our model Suwana Perry about the charity she is working with! Continue reading to learn more:

BICOASTAL MGMT: We know you are passionate and involved about something near and dear to your heart. Do you have a moment to let us know what it is and how you got involved?

SUWANNA PERRY: Beauty for Freedom (BFF), a 501(c)(3) Non-profit foundation, whose mission is to battle the crisis of human trafficking and empower survivors, raises revenue for survivors in the developing world with a fresh approach of self-worth and empowerment through the arts. We engage the industries of Beauty and Fashion as powerful allies in the fight to end human trafficking through public campaigns, our travel-abroad arts therapy workshops for survivors and events.

BICOASTAL MGMT: How did you get involved?

SUWANNA PERRY: My dear friend Monica Watkins is the co-founder of Beauty for Freedom. We met through modeling years ago and I always admired her passion for creating platforms which encouraged charity, social consciousness and artistic freedom. I attended a BFF event about two years ago and we reconnected. We met for coffee a few weeks later and she asked me if I would like to get involved. It’s truly been a powerful experience.

BICOASTAL MGMT: What makes this issue near and dear to your heart?

SUWANNA PERRY: We all deserve the power of choice. The basic human right to have ownership over your own body. To not be violated or used at someone else’s will or due force. These issues are happening all around the world and possibly in your neighborhood. Education/ legislative change and supporting non-profits with feet on the ground are so important. An estimated 40 million people are in slavery today, we have to keep going until we see change. Here are some more statistics:

Labor Slavery- About 50 percent toil in forced labor slavery in industries where manual labor is needed‚ÄĒsuch as manufacturing, farming, ranching, logging, mining, fishing, and brick making‚ÄĒand in service industries working as dish washers, janitors, gardeners, and maids.
Sex Slavery- About 12.5 percent are trapped in forced prostitution sex slavery.
Forced Marriage Slavery- About 37.5 percent are trapped in forced marriages.
Child Slavery- About 25 percent of today’s slaves are children.

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Make sure to check out http://www.beautyforfreedom.org if you would like to help by donating or fundraising!

Model of the Month – Josh Ford

We’re so happy to have the handsome and versatile Josh Ford as our November Model of the Month! Not only is he a trained actor, but he is recently starting his Fit career along with keeping up with his commercial and print castings/bookings – continue reading to learn about this Ohio native and how he’s taking NYC by storm!

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1. Where you are from?

Cleveland, Oh

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2. What you are into… studies, hobbies, special skills etc..?

Sports, food, mountain biking, weight lifting, ocean conservation, martial arts (black belt in tae kwon do)

3. Favorite clients from the biz?

Discovery ID, history channel are two networks I loved being on! I’ve also started fitting recently at Express which is has been so much fun, being a part of the design process has been rewarding and a really cool experience.

4. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest (any other dream clients?)?

To produce and star in my own works on the big screen has been my long term goal since I can remember. I’d also love to get some more steady fit gigs here in the city – Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein,¬†American Eagle are all some of my favorite brands I’d love to fit for.

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5. Career highlights?

Acting as a doctor on “All My Children”. Also had a Napolian solo on a feature¬†fan film for “The Man from Uncle” (in¬†production) – the pilot got picked up to film overseas next year.

6. How did you get into modeling or acting? 

I did acting when I was younger, got out of it cause of sports, when to to school for marketing and finance at Miami university. Went into corporate world. Always wanted to get back into acting, so quit the corporate world and move to NYC to pursue my dream to act and model. That was 10yrs ago.

 

 

#MeToo ft. Merideth Morgan

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No matter how you feel about the #MeToo movement, you definitely can’t miss it. It’s clear that the current climate has made it possible for people to come forward with what they consider shameful secrets, and place the shame where it rightfully belongs. But one also has to wonder if the more we hear about it, the more we become desensitized and consider it a norm, and then take it for granted that it’ll never change.

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We are all feminists here, don’t get us wrong! Humanists, actually. We just hope the movement creates respect, not apathy. We’re so proud of our models who shared their stories for their bravery and support to the movement.

Check out our plus model/blogger new-sign, Merideth, who incorporated this into her blog recently. We loved it so much, we had to share – she touches on her experience and how it affects her day to day life, read about it here (click!).

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Also check out the rest of her blog which touches on plus fashion, health, and more. We’re so happy to have the gorgeous (inside and out) Merideth on our boards!