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StyleCrush: Tiffany Tennille

“My mom was a beautiful woman who embraced her curves and encouraged me to do the same. She was my first plus-size role model.”

StyleCrush: Plus-Size Model Tiffany Tennille. Photo by John Lipscomb for Tru Diva.

StyleCrush: Plus-Size Model Tiffany Tennille. Photo by John Lipscomb for Tru Diva.

This week’s StyleCrush is the beautiful and upbeat Tiffany Tennille. Bringing a breath of fresh air from her life in Kentucky and DC, we get to know the East Coast model and vocalist as she discusses her influences, Derby style, and gives a bit of advice for those looking to get started.

Name: Tiffany Tennille
Age: 30-something
Current Location: Washington, D.C. area
Hometown:Louisville, KY
Profession: Plus-size model/physician’s assistant
Social Media: IG: mstiffanytennille; Twitter: Tiffbaby09; website

WYV: How do you describe your personal style?

TT: I would say my style is assorted. It’s a little urban chic with a touch or sometimes a bunch of sexy. I love classic pieces, but I like to try out new trends. I enjoy making something really inexpensive look fabulous. A cinched waist will always grab my attention. I can be girly and go for sheer, sequins or puffy sleeves but I’m really comfortable in a crop top, joggers and a cute pair of sneakers. My hair can change by the week. I’m comfortable wearing my natural kinks and wild enough to go blonde just for the fun of it. I get bored easily, so wigs are my go-to.

WYV: How do you think style varies from region to region — what do you think defines your city or region’s style?

TT: With the advancement of social media and television, fashion now transcends borders. It doesn’t matter what city, region, state or country you are in anymore. You can see trends from all over the world and embrace them as you please. I believe weather is a major influence from region to region however.

The DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia) is a melting pot. There are a lot of transplants here; people who come for school, work (as I did), and others who just want a change so you will see various styles from many regions and cultures.

Kentucky may have an overall more relaxed style than the some places on the East Coast, but we can stand with the best. Don’t sleep on us. Visit Louisville during the Kentucky Derby and see for yourself!


WYV: Who are the people close to you that have shaped your style?

TT: My greatest influence would be my mother. She was the epitome of class. She worked as an executive, so she wore a lot of suits and heels. She dressed the part and took great pride in her appearance. She loved to shop and had a hard time passing up a good sale. If I couldn’t decide whether to buy something or not, she would ask “if you leave without it, will you keep thinking about it? Will you be upset if it’s gone when you return? If so, buy it!”

Sadly, my mom has passed away. Even in sickness, she wanted to look her best. I can recall her asking for her handheld mirror in the hospital so she could put on lipstick before she had visitors. She was a beautiful woman who embraced her curves and encouraged me to do the same. She was my first plus-size role model. I carry her confidence, love, and words of empowerment in my heart every day.

My cousin Daniela has also helped shaped my style. She probably should work in the industry. She has a way with prints, bold colors and accessories. I think of her a lot when I put together outfits and call on her for her opinion when I’m on the fence.

WYV: What makes you feel most powerful?

TT: I feel powerful and fierce when I hit the runway. I feel powerful when I wear shorts and I don’t care who sees my cellulite. I feel powerful when I go to work and a patient’s illness or issue is resolved because of my help. I feel powerful when I fail and get back up. I feel powerful every day I open my eyes and I have breath in my body.

WYV: Who are your top three celebrity StyleCrushes? What about each of them draws you to their style?

TT: Solange because she her style is artsy, quirky, and authentic. Dascha Polanco because she is so sexy and those curves are to die for. Janelle Monae, not only because she chooses to wear predominately black and white, but because she makes something as simple as black and white fresh and fun. And a fourth because I can’t stop at just three — Jennifer Lopez, because she always delivers! Come through Jenny from the block!

WYV: Who are some of the Instagram fashionistas and bloggers that you love?

TT: There’s a bunch of women that I love! Marie Denee, Jessica Torres, Kelly Augustine, Essie Golden, Nazira Sacasa, Farrah Estrella, Maui Bigelow, Chasity Garner Valentine and Melissa Gibson. I’ve never met Melissa, but she’s from my hometown which is pretty cool!

Related: StyleCrush: Maui Bigelow of Phat Girl Fresh

WYV: Which designers or brands are some of your fashion faves? What do you like about them?

TT: I know I can get unique, fun and edgy pieces from indie designers like Tru Diva and Jon Marc. I am the queen of mix and match. F21, Charlotte Russe, Target and Nordstrom Rack have inexpensive and reasonably priced pieces I can mix with statement necklaces, a cute jacket or blazer and fun shoes.

I also really admire Christian Siriano because he understands a women’s body and designs for all sizes. Byron Lars has great textures, Carolina Herrera is truly timeless and Zac Posen does flirty/feminine perfectly. I would love to experience an Alexander McQueen show. His work is pure art!

WYV: Regardless of whether they are in the plus-size market or not, if you could work with any designers, who would be your dream collaboration?

TT: It would be an honor to work with any of the designers I already mentioned. I would love to do some work for Rue 107. They have one-of-a-kind prints and super fun skirts and swimwear. I’ve been wanting to work with Pamela and Lamarr Nanton from PLY apparel since I met them at Plus Night Out in 2014. They make some amazingly effortless pieces.

WYV: What advice do you have for other up-and-coming models in the industry? How can they stay authentic as they carve out their space in the industry?

TT: Modeling is a craft that you have to work at. It’s not just about being pretty. Get used to no’s and rejection — some brands know before you step in the room what they are looking for, so you can’t take it personal. What is for you is for you.

They can stay authentic by simply being themselves. Don’t try and be the next Ashley Graham, Precious Lee, Liris Crosse or Candice Huffine. Learn from these models but BE YOU; there is only one. You are a limited edition! You bring your own magic. After all, that is what makes you special.


WYV: How do you wear your voice?

TT: I wear my voice by being true to myself. Knowing the ins and outs of fashion isn’t a requirement for being stylish, but knowing yourself and being true to yourself is. I don’t pretend to be a fashionista or something I’m not. I’m not going to wear a trendy piece just because it’s in if I think it looks dumb or doesn’t flatter my body. I’m not going to go broke trying to keep up with Joneses because my financial goals/freedom are more important. I wear my voice by doing me and loving it!


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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