This week’s StyleCrush is the impeccably dressed Tessenie Mowatt. Mowatt is a Jamaican-Canadian plus-size model. This amazing StyleCrush discusses how her Jamaican background has influenced her gorgeous style, as well as giving a bit of inspiration for those struggling with body issues.
Name: Tessenie Mowatt
Current Location: Toronto, Ontario
Hometown: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @tesseniemowatt, Snapchat: @teja2406
Wear Your Voice: How do you describe your personal style?
Tessenie Mowatt: My personal style is heavily influenced by my background. I am a Jamaican, so I prefer a relaxed, chic or girly style.
WYV: What inspired your fashion career?
TM: My mother has [been] and continues to be my biggest fan! She has always told me I can become whoever I choose to be. Also I used to read Ebony and Essence magazines, and I was inspired by plus models Liris Crosse, the late Joanne Borgella and Anansa Sims.
WYV: Who are the people close to you that have shaped your style?
TM: My mother, my grandma and my best friends.
WYV: Who are your top three celebrity StyleCrushes?
TM: Dascha Polanco, Demi Lovato and Jazzmine Sullivan.
WYV: Which stores/brands/designers are your faves?
TM: My favorite designers are Pheline, Jibri and Christian Omeshun. I’m also a big fan of Your Big Sister’s Closet, Forever 21, Asos and G-Stage Apparel. I love these designers because they are unique and I am inspired by their stories of how they pursued their dreams. I love how passionate they are about dressing the full-figured woman and showing that plus-size women can be sexy and classy. I love the stores mentioned because they match my personal style.
WYV: Which big-name designers would you like to see move into the plus-size market?
TM: Carolina Herrera (her gowns are just breathtaking) and Tom Ford (I love his edgy style).
WYV: What do you hope to see more of in media and fashion?
TM: I hope to see more representation of shapes. I think the trend has been the hourglass shape since I first learned of the plus-size community. However, I feel more consideration needs to be given to the reality of various types of bodies, rather than what is seen as the ideal. Most women with round tummies or skinny legs find it hard to shop online and in stores because their favorite model or personality, most times, does not look like them. I think it can send the wrong signal to the women and girls who seek inspiration from the community.
Related: StyleCrush: Saucye West
I grew up watching my mother dress herself in the most classy outfits, and she has more of an apple shape. I was inspired by Joanne Borgella because we have a similar shape (thick waist and broad shoulders) and I saw her make waves in the plus modeling industry. I want other women to be able to see a representation of themselves in media and fashion, because I believe this truly helps boost their confidence.
WYV: How do you feel representation can help big-bodied people?
TM: Relatability is so essential in the body positive journey. I feel if you can find someone in the media who looks like you, then it is easier for you to relate to that person. It can help big-bodied people to understand that they are not alone and, just like others have overcome self-doubt, so can they.
WYV: What advice would you give to a plus-size kid having a hard time?
TM: I would say, “Do not get too caught up in what you look like right now. Focus on who you are on the inside. Are you kind, loving, honest? Do you treat people as you want to be treated? What are your dreams? It is important to work from the inside out, because as we grow, our looks change, and so you may not like what you see today, and that is okay, but tomorrow is a new day, and if you like who you are on the inside, then tomorrow it is highly possible that you will love what you see on the outside!”
WYV: How do you wear your voice?
TM: I wear my voice by being an unapologetically happy fat black successful woman in a world that may try to teach me to hate my skin or my hair or my body or the fact that I am a woman!