Jchell: Where are you from?
Melinda: I am from Houston, TX.
Lakiesha: I am from New Orleans, LA.
Jchell: Where did you attend high school/college?
Melinda: I attended Clear Creek High School in League City, TX. and Texas Southern University & the Art Institute.
Lakiesha: I attended Alcee Fortier High School in New Orleans, LA. and I attended Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA.
Jchell: What are some of your main interests?
Melinda: Fashion, styling, sewing and designing.
Lakiesha: Fashion my way, crafting, upcycling and using my hands to create new things with whatever I have around me.
Jchell: Let’s talk about Curvii Addition, who thought of the t-shirt line and how long have you and Lakiesha been business partners?
Lakiesha: The t-shirt line was started on several pieces of paper that I kept tearing up and for some reason I kept rewriting and that’s when it hit me that I needed to go back to my spiritual roots and write the vision and make it plain. I had been writing the same thing over and over again for 2 years and then came to Mel and said,“ Hey ok, in a my most comical voice,"look, I want to do this for 2 months because I don't know what I'm doing and fashion isn't my thing, so she said" I will join in with you," I said ok and little did we know the plans that God would have for us. We have been at it for over 2 years.
Jchell: Curvii Addition started off as a t-shirt line. Who or what inspired you and Lakiesha to venture outside of your t-shirt line and start a plus size movement?
Melinda & Lakiesha: We haven't ventured out, The movement started with the t-shirts when these ladies got together … they made this, Curvii Addiction a movement and a sisterhood.
Jchell: Did you feel there was a need for Curvii Addition to become a plus size movement or did your customers give you the idea?
Melinda & Lakiesha : It actually started off with the “Thyck 13” the first group of ladies that took a chance on us. They saw the BIGGER PICTURE they saw what these tees could possibly do, whose life would be changed when they wore the tee, who it could benefit and how they could put a dent in the plus size industry by representing the REAL curvy woman… the stay at home mom, the nurse, the First Lady, the woman who is broken, hurt and can't tell you why she knows that she should not be overlooked, these tees speak volume for the voiceless … even our supporters and customers suggested that we make this a movement.
Jchell: Since starting Curvii Addition as a plus size movement, how many ladies have joined your organization?
Melinda & Lakiesha: We tell the ladies when they start that this isn't their life and we are open to them advancing in modeling and other things because we are not a modeling agency, so that means that our numbers fluctuate, but we keep our numbers over 35 ladies.
Jchell: Have you and Lakiesha expanded Curvii Addition to other cities besides Houston, TX.? If so, what other cities are affiliated with Curvii Addition?
Melinda: Yes, we have cities and states…. New Orleans, LA., Dallas, TX, Killeen, TX., Washington D.C., and now Lake Charles, LA.
Jchell: I know that you have models, how many fashion shows have your models participated in?
Melinda: 7 and counting.
Jchell: Essence of Curves had a model search in various cities for models for an upcoming fashion show during the Essence Festival in New Orleans. Is Essence of Curves under the same umbrella as Curvii Addition?
Melinda: No, it's not EOC is presented by 3p Consultants and Curvii Addiction is just participating in the EOC event in New Orleans, when the opportunity permits we will be and are networking with 3p Consultants and we have networked with them in the past.
Jchell: Will we see Curvii Addition tees on the runway for the Essence Festival fashion show?
Melinda : Yes.
Jchell: I have a modeling management company and I know working with a lot of women it can be challenging, how do you keep peace within your organization?
Melinda: We keep our faith in God, we as business owners keep all negativity with the business amongst ourselves, now when it comes to the ladies again each woman is an individual… they all have different personalities and we make sure that we can get to the bottom of the situation then it can be rectified. Remember we did say that this is a sisterhood and sisters do fight lol… but in the end they have each other's back, each CA model has a story of her own to tell.
Jchell: Besides Essence of Curves upcoming fashion show, what other events is Curvii Addition involved with?
Melinda & Ladies: The GGT Fashion Show which will be in Dallas, Big Girls Rock 2 Behind the Mask, and Southern Ego by Curvii Addiction.
Jchell: As a female business owner myself, our businesses can keep us on our toes. What encouraging words would you give to another female business owner that may be feeling overwhelmed?
Melinda: Remember why you are in business, Go for your dreams, prefect the promise of your brand and foremost keep God first.
Jchell: I want to thank you for your time Melinda and Lakiesha . Is there anything else you would like to add?
Melinda: This isn't about t-shirts … It's a word of advice about self love. Love yourself like no one else can, see yourself like no one else does, be true to yourself like no one else will be. Sometimes you are the only person that you have besides God because the way that society is set up they are set up to be judgmental, they are set up
not knowing how to love because someone or something is different. To the Plus Size Queen you are who God says you are, he knew you in the womb he knew that you would be a great, vibrant, beautiful masterpiece
formed into his image. Valerie Monroe once said "Real beauty isn’t about symmetry or weight or makeup; it’s about looking life right in the face and seeing all ts magnificence reflected in your own."
You can connect with Curvii Addition on the following social media outlets:
Facebook: Curvii Addiction
Instagram: Curvii Addiction
Snapchat: Curvii Addiction
Twitter: Curvii Addiction
Facebook fan page: Jchell Plus Size Model On Deck