I thought this interview would never happen. Throughout the month of October, we could never find the time to connect. Between Tina preparing to model in Fashion Under the Stars next week and with me busy taking care of work, I lost count of the times we had to reschedule this interview. Even when I attempted to email Tina the interview questions, we both experienced computer issues which forced us to take a break from our busy schedules and speak face to face (or phone to phone).
While speaking with our November Cover Model Tina Tisby, it became obvious that this interview was meant to happen. This young woman is so passionate when she talks of helping others and the causes that she holds near to her. A simple Q & A would not do her justice.
In this article you get to know who Tina Tisby is, where her willingness to help others stems from and how she plans to empower women (& men) one person at a time.
What were you doing before you started modeling?
I started modeling in August of 2009 and at that time I was currently enrolled full-time as a nursing student.
How did you start modeling?
Since I was in my teens, I have always wanted to model. I remember seeing my first fashion show when I was 12 and I was hooked. In 2009 I was given that chance to start living my dream, Mrs. Linda Scott of LS1426, Inc. contacted me through Facebook and asked me to attend her model call for an upcoming fashion show, The Full Figured and Fabulous. I was selected as one of the models and since then I have signed with a modeling agency Posche Models and I’ve done so many other things. I’ve participated in local fashion shows, I was selected as one of the 2010 Finalist for Torrid’s House of Dreams and had the opportunity to be one of the featured models for The International Fuller Woman Expo 2010.
When you are not modeling, what do you do?
When I’m not modeling I spend most of my days working as a full-time Nurse. Nursing has always been another passion since I started working for an assistant-living facility at the age of 15. I saw the mistreatment of our residents by the nurses and nursing aids and vowed to be a nurse that would make a difference by being a strong nursing advocate for my patients.
Working in the nursing industry how has issues such as the Health care reform and the upcoming election affected your outlook on topics that affect you and your patients?
As far as the nursing care industry goes it has affected the employees and the patients. Right now I work with the geriatric patients (elderly) and because of the limitations that have been put on us through medicare, it affects the patients because they aren’t able to get the quality of care that they need. It all goes back to funding. The patients are only alloted so much coverage and so much care and it affects those that have special needs such as patients with dementia or alzheimer’s who need long term care.
Do you think Obama’s Health Care Reform will help?
According to him it’s supposed to help it by giving us those long term benefits. It’s supposed to help us as well. He’s trying make certain changes so that there is more funding and more supplies.
What do you say to people who argue that supporting the plus size modeling industry supports an unhealthy lifestyle? Do you feel the plus size modeling or clothing industry encourages childhood obesity?
I don’t think the plus size industry encourages childhood obesity. I think it does the opposite. Growing up I was always the chunky girl in my click. I wish I had someone to look up to when I was a child. We’re not saying be unhealthy, we’re sending a positive message to men and women that it’s okay to be who you are and to love your curves.
What are some of the challenges you face?
Although I am not the epitome of what society would deem as a “model” I still strive to be the best. The industry is slowly opening their minds and doors to the idea of a plus size model but unfortunately their ideal model is a no larger than a size 14/16. I am a size 18 and I believe that beauty comes in many different colors, shapes and sizes. Women want to see themselves on the runway and on the cover of magazines. I think that is why it is so important for all models larger than a size 16 to stand up and show the fashion industry what we can bring to the industry.
What are your goals as a model?
To inspire people (men and women) to embrace themselves, love themselves and to break down barriers of what is considered beautiful. I want to work with charities that want to fight obesity and send positive messages about a healthy lifestyle. I want to reach out to other individuals who may have experienced the same struggles that I have faced as a plus size woman. I’ve lost relationships, I was blackballed when I was in the military and even though I physically out performed some of the men, they had an issue with my weight.
What is your favorite hobby?
The thing do the most is shopping. I don’t always purchase but I do a lot of window shopping. It’s therapy for me. When I’m stressed, walking the mall is my perfect release.
Do you have any obsessions (make up, shoes, clothing, etc.)?
Yes! Shoes come first and second is my designer handbags. A great place to shop for shoes and especially handbags are the local consignment shops. Many people don’t realize how much these hidden jewels have to offer. You can go in and take multiple pieces and create a whole new look.
Are you dating anyone worth talking about?
No I am not currently dating anyone right now. During my last relationship, I gained weight and it came to a point where he was unwilling to accept me for who I am. So right now I’m focusing on my career and making Tina the best that she can possibly be.
What are you doing for thanksgiving?
Every year we have family that comes down from North Florida and they spend thanksgiving weekend with us. My mother, my two sisters and I always prepare thanksgiving. My mom is the head chef and we’re like her three assistants. We cook everything from Pound cakes to sweet potatoe pies. It reminds us of Soul Food (the movie) because we come together, listen to music and enjoy each other. We come together in a large circle and tell one another how we feel about each other. I know it sounds corny but it’s true.
What is your favorite food for the holiday?
My favorite food for the holiday is my mom’s sweet potato casserole. It’s my side dish and desert at the same time.
Photographer: James Eagle of JustCallJames.com
Wardrobe Stylist: Linda Scott of LS 1426
MUA: Linda Scott of LS 1426