When Christina Mendez began her journey of becoming a plus size model, her dream of modeling came to a halt when she found out that she was pregnant. Like any woman, she put her aspirations of runways and print ads on hold to be a full-time mom to her son who would eventually be diagnosed with autism. After years of devoting her life to raising her son, in 2006 she gave modeling a try and she began to make a name for herself instantly. Since then Christina has graced the pages of gracing the magazine pages of Glamour, Essence, Latina, All You, The Source, Venus Diva, DTM, and Urban Latino.
The last time that Christina appeared on our cover she announced that she was pregnant with her second child during our cover model interview. After taking some well deserved time off to care for her new baby, Christina returned to modeling last month with a new attitude and some amazing new photos.
Because of her honesty it’s always such a pleasure to catch up with Christina. In this interview Christina talks about her beautiful children, her thoughts on the plus size fashion industry, her love life and more.
The last time you appeared on our cover you revealed that you were pregnant. How has balancing motherhood with a new baby and modeling been going for you?
It’s definitely hard juggling modeling and family…. but God is good and I have an amazing support system that helps me all the time.
During your time away what are some of the things were able to get accomplished?
Honestly, it felt like I wasn’t away at all–LOL. I was still featured on blogs, online magazine, and some of my old work were released while I was pregnant, so honestly I don’t feel I missed anything. I actually received some emails and tweets asking me when was I pregnant or if I adopted because they never saw any downtime.
Are you ever overwhelmed with life and a mother? What do you do to unwind?
As a single mother trying to accomplish it all, I would have to say YES I am very overwhelmed at times. My family comes first and I give 100% to them, but I do sometimes put pressure on myself to succeed as a model / role model for my children. To unwind I love to pray/go to church for clarity, take a LONG drive, listen to good music, enjoy a day at the beach, or shop ‘till I drop.
Do you have any family travel plans scheduled this summer?
I will be hosting the Model 101 workshop for Curves Rock Fashion Weekend on July 28 in MD. Then my family and I will be heading on a Disney cruise to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.
As a child growing up in NYC, what is your most memorable summer?
I come from a huge family and as a child the family would pile in multiple cars and head to the beaches and lakes of NJ and CT. Summer memories of playing softball and performing dance routines, could never be able to pick just one moment.
Tell us about your love life. Are you dating anyone?
Ummm, next question (LOL)!! I won’t talk about that but I can say this, I am very happy.
What qualities do you look for in a mate?
The following qualities I look for in a mate include:
- MUST LOVE KIDS & FAMILY (TOP PRIORITY)
……………….see the list isn’t that long
What was your most interesting experience with a male fan?
I actually dated a fan before and not only was he supportive but he was an amazing boyfriend. Distance pushed us away but I am happy I gave him a chance.
Is there a difference between the way men vs. women react to you?
I actually feel my fan base is definitely more women then men. I don’t have ENOUGH sexy pics in my portfolio to have a large men fan base and that‘s fine with me as I consider myself a role-model to many young girls/women and would never want to give people the wrong image impression. I consider my look to be more commercial and my life journey makes it very appealing to women.
On this month’s cover you’re wearing a gorgeous swimsuit. Have you always been that confident with your body? What was your turning point?
Like every woman, I have problem areas but through modeling and maturity I’ve learned to accentuate my attributes instead of speaking about my flaws.
What advice do you give women and girls struggling with positive body imagery?
No one is perfect! We all have flaws that what makes us different! Every female needs to celebrate her achievements and counter the negative messages out there in the media. I applaud outlets such as Daily Venus Diva that shows girls and women, there are females out there just like me. I also advise girls and women to eliminate the word “fat” out of their vocabulary that’s an important step towards a positive body image….”Positive Mind = Positive Body”.
What type of role does the plus size community play in changing the way society thinks?
The plus community’s role in today’s society is simple “ We are a force to be reckoned with”. Just because we are not a 2/4, 6/8, or 10/12 does not mean that we should be ignored…we have a voice and it will be heard! Also, we need to focus on ourselves by establishing healthy eating habits and physical activity. We need to contact the major companies that we want to see more “REAL WOMEN” in advertising campaigns, film/tv, etc .
How has the plus size fashion industry changed since you started modeling?
I’m seeing progress and it’s great! Being a plus size women is no longer a secret community filled with outdated fashion and limited selections. Mostly every major store has a plus size section (or at least goes up to a 12 or 14…which I still find mind boggling for MANY reasons). Designers/Retail Stores are beginning to cater to our community because slowly they are recognizing our value. When I started modeling, there were limited clients that used plus size models but now the list is growing daily.
What fashion milestone do you see happening in the future?
We have made such strides such as sharing runways with straight size models, headlining our own fashion week events throughout major cities, starting in our own reality shows, commercials, being on covers of mainstream publications and making establish high-end designers reconsider adding us as their target consumer….at this point I think the possibilities are endless.
Do you currently have a favorite designer?
I’m loving Tadashi Shoji, right now! Octavia Spencer showed the world that you can be curvy and glamorous at the same time.
Is there a particular designer that you’ve always wanted to work with? Who are they and have you worked with them?
I have a list of designers and brands that I would love to work with hopefully sooner than later, for example, I love Monif C!!!! I am in love with her swimwear line and never directly worked with her before.
Tell me about your personal style?
I consider my personal style to be simple chic aka looking great without trying to hard. I really love colors/patterns which I pair with simple pieces such as a fabulous shoe, blazer, or accessory.
So what special projects are you working on?
Well, I’m happy to be busy! I’m participating in the Autism Speaks NYC Walk (which I do every year) happening June 3rd at The South Street Seaport, NYC. On July 28th, I will be moderating the Model 101 Workshop at Curves Rock Fashion Weekend in MD and I have a few new modeling campaigns which should be debuting in the next few months and…..I’ll be a guest correspondent for a certain magazine