Women of Color and Body-Positivity: Priscilla Katerena, Plus Model
I intended on hosting the #bodyparty for the month of February only, but I had some wonderful gals reach out to me about wanting to share their stories with body positivity. I am happily extending the party and continuing my series on "Women of Color and Body-Positivity" where we discuss color, culture, and body image. What a great day to re-launch the series, too - INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY! Let's continue to celebrate the stories of those like ourselves, and see that the frame society puts too often puts women in, does not have to be the frame we stay in.
Today we talk to the proudly #SamoanNBlaque plus model, Priscilla Katerena. And if YOU are interested in sharing your story, shoot me an email. See Priscilla's story below:
Introduce yourself (your name and describe who you are in a few words, what you do (blogger, etc.), and let us know your race, ethnicity, background, where you were raised..etc.
Greetings, my name is Priscilla Katerena. I am a Plus Model, a Curvy Personality, and a Curvy Curator. I've been modeling since 2010. My first major campaign in 2013 which elevated my career, was ZMJ Denim. Later on in 2013, I was brought on for the first season of Go Curvy as the host of the "Ask Sherry Lee" segment. The show was a major hit in the curvy community with over 200,000+ views from over 30 + taped episodes.
In 2014, I created a platform targeting the Polynesian Community called the Polynesian Exchange. It shined a light on the beauty of Polynesian Women and their strength. In June, I was cast in Full Figured Fashion Week for the highly anticipated 'last show'. I was 1 of 50 plus models chosen from all over the world to participate. Mind you, Full Figured Fashion Week is 'The Oscar's' of plus fashion shows. Ms. Gwen DeVoe, who is the founder and creator of FFFWeek, is a genius and iconic figure in the Curvy Community. Along side her, we have Sharon Quinn, who is best known as the Runway Diva who paved the road of plus models in fashion. Then in September, I was priviledged to walk in NYFW for Betty Jean Couture who at FFFWeek won designer of the year.
In 2015, I modeled again for Designer Kenneth Doswell of Betty Jean Couture in Portland for the Fashion Meets Film Fashion Show as the only plus line to be showcased and featured. Then again, second year in a row, I was casted for Full Figured Fashion Week. Again able to strut my curves in New York at the Oscar's of Plus Fashion Shows. Then in September, I was the featured model for NYFW Plus which brought awareness to the platform of plus fashion during NYFW. Later on that month, I signed with my current agency GC Models, headquartered in the United Kingdom.
I'm half Samoan and Black (#SamoanNBlaque) and for those that aren't aware, Samoa is 6 hours south of Hawaii. Grew up in Samoa with my mother's family for the first 11 years of my life however, I would go back and forth from Samoa to California where I currently live now since I was 12 years old.
How does your cultural background affect your views on beauty?
Being biracial and growing up in the Samoan culture, natural beauty was valued based on the woman's ability to bear children, cook meals for her family, the length of her hair, or her ability to hold the household down while her husband was at work.
How does your cultural background affect your views on body positivity?
Most women in the Samoan culture are naturally curvy because , again, the value of their beauty is placed on bearing children and being able to cook for the family. Therefore, my current view on body positivity is that curves are wonderful for women to have. It's life giving! I honestly, never had an issue with my body while living in Samoa. It wasn't until I came to the States that I learned I was fat and overweight which equated to me being "ugly."
How does it feel being a woman of color in the online body-positive community?
I feel proud that we aren't being shamed for showing our curves. The creation of this community is truly in my opinion about making other people comfortable around seeing confident women flatting their curves proudly.
What helped you start loving yourself, completely?
Embracing myself from the inside out. What people physically see is ever changing however, the one thing that remains constant is our core values. For me, I've created my life to fit those core values because they are precious to who I am and who God has made me to be.
How has being body-positive affected your personal style?
I feel like the body-positivity movement is more for other people, speaking truthfully and candidly. It gives other's permission to be more comfortable around a woman who is naturally comfortable in her own skin and showing her curves.
What’s one thing you want to see change about the way women of color (and their bodies) are represented in the media, on social media, amongst your friends and family?
What I'd love to see is less of an emphasis on the body parts of women of color, and more on what they represent overall. In my opinion as we focus more on body parts, it becomes counter productive - especially for those coming up after us. I'd love the emphasis shifted to women of color being shown as film makers, lawyers, politicians, doctors, writers, producer, journalist, poets - the list goes on.
Want to join the party? Have a story of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a feature. And share the features that resonate with you!