Swen Koffa is the latest to be added to the roster of Erzullie Icons. And as she grows and blooms further, we ask her how it is like being the new curve in the industry. What are the things she wants to tell future plus size models? Check it out.
1. You are one of the newest Erzullie Icons --- how do you feel so far? Why so?
I feel blessed and loved. I have a group of people who love and care for me. People who teach me a thing or two, are experts in their craft and have a lot of things to teach you. Independent and strong women who are my source of confidence and inspire me to be a better person. I do feel pressured in some ways but always tell myself that this is the best time for learning.
Being new will always be a challenge and a benefit. A challenge because you are learning a lot of different things and need to make sure that you absorb them. The bonding part is something I love to do. I love to reach out to people and talk about whatever it is that is making them feel good, bad and down. A benefit because you can show yourself as who you really are and start to establishing your signature and instill a thought with the audience on who you are and what purpose it is that you have.
Since I have become an Erzullie Icon, a lot of people have messaged me. Telling me that they are inspired, a fan and likes what I’m doing and saying to the people of this world. It's a blessing because people appreciate you for what you do and what message it is that you are sending.
I am proud to stand up for those who can't because they lost their feet to do so. And to speak for those who can't cause they lost their voice to speak up. I am glad that I was given that opportunity to do so.
2. As an Erzullie Icon, what is your message or advocacy? Why so?
I will use my influence to fight body shaming and Racism.
Growing up with an African Father was a tough one. As I grew up, I became more conscious of my size. I was angry all the time. There are a lot of people making fun of kids with color or kids with bigger sizes. This will have an effect on the way they think towards things, as they grow. I speak based on experience. Accept them for what they are. Love them and show them that DIFFERENT is not bad. I am lucky because I have a loving Family and loving friends that helped me in overcoming this.
People will always have something to say about things. So, why let them intimidate you or be the boss of you? Live your life to the fullest. Live life with no regrets. Spread love and positivity cause there are people that need it, you just can’t tell cause they are too busy being angry or pissed.
3. Has being mixed raise an asset to you in the plus size fashion industry or not? Why so?
Yes, it has. It shows people that there are things/people who are different and unique. It teaches them to learn to explore and be friendly with people like me. That we are people too and we got feelings and emotions just like them. It actually is both an asset negatively and positively. How so? Some are not accepting that we are a part of society and some do. It's a challenge but a good one cause if you are able to change one's mindset and change their outlook with women with color and they learn to appreciate? then it will spread like a wildfire.
I have also learned in the process that that there are a lot of beautiful plus size people out there that are looking up to you and admire you. Not just because you are posing in front of the camera but also because your photo gives them a message. It makes them stronger and makes them feel special and unique.
4. You have currently been featured for Erzullie OOTD’s. How was the experience?
It was AWESOME! I never knew I could at least do those poses. Your look on the camera is super different in person and on the photo itself so you need to know your good angles and learn to flex them other body parts. Practice in front of a mirror. Learn to put emotions on your pictures.Learn to "smize". Know your body very well, that is the secret. (That is no longer a secret cause I said it already. lol)
5. What was the most memorable Erzullie experience that you had during the shoot? Why so?
The way they expressed their appreciation of my color, my hair, myself as a person. I have never really been in such photo shoots before that made me feel special and made me feel like..."Hey, I think I belong here." and guess what? I am here and a part of the Erzullie family. Blessed and thankful to have such Independent and strong plus size sisters who got your back and love you for who and what you are.
6. Message to the Erzulliestas
I have said this before, now I say it again.
I entice you to join me in this crusade of inflicting love to the world. Stop thinking you are less because of the color of your skin or the number on that waist line! Stop hiding in the shadows! Flaws will always be there and they will not make you less of a person. They will tell a story of what you have been through and how you overcame it. Accept these things because it is real and these things make you who you are. We were created uniquely in our own way. You are beautiful. You might not know it yet but yes, you are.
Stay beautiful. Stay confidently beautiful. Flaunt it!
Erzullie is an invite-only fierce plus size fashion designer brand from the Philippines dedicated to serving the style of the empowered Erzulliesta. Get invited: www.erzullie.com