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The Chenese Lewis Show

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The Chenese Lewis Show is the first podcast created for plus size industry! Established in 2008, the groundbreaking, live podcast features in-depth interviews with national brands, notable influencers, and celebrities.
286 Episodes
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Chelsea Kronengold, MA, is an internationally-recognized media spokesperson and expert on topics relating to body image, eating disorders, diet culture, media literacy, and weight stigma. She has been featured in over 50 media publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, People Magazine, and USA TODAY.  Presently, Chelsea is the communications lead for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), tasked with creating and executing the organization's communications and brand strategy. In this role, Chelsea also advises Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and NBCUniversal on eating disorders content and resources; trust and safety policies; and tips for responsible media coverage. NEDA just launched the inaugural Body Acceptance Week, which promotes body positivity, body neutrality, and body liberation for all, taking place November 1st  - 5th!
Melissa Mercedes is a celebrity fashion designer specializing in plus sizes, based in Los Angeles.  She has dressed celebrities such as Lavern Cox, Nina Parker and Nia Jax for events such as the People Choice Awards, Grammys, and much more. She is the winner of The Cultivate Award, an initiative from Eloquii and The Curvy Fashionista that supports indie designers of color in the plus-size fashion community. She won the opportunity to design a capsule collection with Eloquii that will be sold on the retailer’s site in 2022. Melissa Mercedes is also a 2021 Outstanding Female Designer nominee at The Virtual Full Figured Industry Awards happening Nov. 6th!
Heather McGarry is the AVP of Public Relations and Social Media for Lane Bryant and Cacique. Lane Bryant is the leading national specialty retailer for plus size women offering apparel, intimates, shoes, and accessories. Lane Bryant and Cacique operate e-commerce websites and over 600 stores throughout the United States. Heather has been with Lane Bryant for fifteen years in a succession of roles in marketing and has over 25 years of experience in apparel marketing.  As project manager for numerous Lane Bryant campaigns over the years including #ImNoAngel and #PlusIsEqual, she believes in a client focused strategy, meeting her where and when she is ready to shop. She has been active in the plus community since day one and is being honored at the Silver Fox Fashion Soiree on September 18th for her work as a woman in the fashion industry. Lane Bryant is being honored as the 2021 Retail Brand of the Year at The Virtual Full Figured Industry Awards happening Nov. 6th!
Renee Cafaro is the US Editor of plus size print magazine, SLiNK and designer at her new luxury brand RCA Public Label, serving sizes 16 - 32.  She has had a lengthy career in social justice and politics prior to her time in plus size fashion but finds both fields to be rooted in equality and advocacy. RCA Public Label is partly mission-based, not only to serve the sizes most forgotten by the industry but to aim to revitalize the economy in NYC’s Garment Center post-pandemic
Tracy Christian is the owner of TCA MGMT a Los Angeles based boutique talent agency and the founder of Sante Grace, a fashion forward luxury plus size clothing line. A veteran talent agent with more than twenty years in the industry, her past clients include Oscar winners Melissa Leo, Octavia Spencer, and Mo’Nique, as well as Emmy and Golden Globe winner Elizabeth Moss. In 2020, Tracy took everything she learned from years of working for textile manufacturers and designing her own wardrobe and poured it into Sante Grace. It is a fashion forward luxury plus size clothing line with garments ranging from Italian silks, cashmere, and transitional cottons, this means the line is also sustainable. Sante Grace is designed exclusively by women and pays workers a living wage, something that unfortunately is not the standard in the garment industry.
Nick Kaplan is the President and Co-Founder of Fashion to Figure (“FTF”), a leading plus size women’s fashion brand he co-founded with his brother in 2004.  Fashion to Figure, under Nick’s leadership, launched as a single store location and evolved to a $30 Million multi-channel private equity-backed venture which was ultimately sold to New York & Co, now RetailWinds, a publicly-traded company (Ticker: RTW). In addition to leading FTF as a key growth driver for the company, Kaplan also serves on the Executive Leadership Team of RTW and works closely with the company’s CEO and Board of Directors.  Over the lifespan of FTF, Nick has strategically led several areas of the business including design, merchandising, planning, supply chain, logistics, data analytics, store operations, and the customer experience and journey.
Actor, model, and activist Hayley Hasselhoff is known for being one of the world’s leading curve models and has made an impact within the fashion world committing to promote and celebrate inclusivity in the industry for all genders, races, shapes, and sizes. Hayley has designed for the plus size brand Elvi, which caters to sizes 14-38. She’s released two collections so far, which have been sold online, in Nordstrom, as well as international retailers Next and Navabi. Hayley began her journey into body positivity after starring in the lead role of Amber in ABC’s HUGE, and has since maintained her passion for acting, appearing in other TV shows such as WHY WOMEN KILL (CBS) and Disney’s PAIR OF KINGS. Hayley also previously appeared on Good Morning America as the Stylist Contributor, and is an avid writer, regularly contributing at Marie Claire UK as the Fashion and Wellbeing editor, alongside her Curve column. Most recently, she made history as the first curve model to appear on the cover of Playboy Germany!
Tawana Blassingame is the CEO and Founder of Queen Size Magazine, a monthly full figured fashion and lifestyle publication for both men and women founded in 2011. Under her parent company Cohesive Minds Inc, Queen Size Magazine has enjoyed ten years of success. She is also the Executive Producer of the Full Figured Industry Awards (known as the FFIAs). The FFIAs is a prestigious ceremony of awards and distinguished recognition honoring the craftsmanship and commitment to excellence across various platforms spanning the full figured industry. From models, makeup artists and designers, to bloggers, photographers, entertainers, influencers, productions and more. Through the magazine and FFIAs, Tawana and her team are continuously working to ensure that the full figured and the big and tall industry is seen, heard, respected and recognized. The Full Figured Industry Awards will be held virtually this year, November 6th!
Elyse Kaye is the Founder and CEO of Bloom Bras – a line of patented activewear for the well-endowed woman.  After learning the health risks and looking at the untapped market size, she developed a patented, fully-customizable sports bra built with NASA, shipping and packaging experts, and a celebrity costume designer. The aim is to disrupt the $184.6 billion athletic wear industry. The average bra size has risen from a 34B to a 34DD in 20 years. Mainstream brands do not cater to the majority of the population. Bloom Bras is now the most body inclusive line on the market ranging from 28C - 56L. Bloom Bras has been featured on various media outlets including The Huffington Post, Women's Health, New York Post, and Forbes.
Grisel Paula is the Founder and CEO of Rebdolls, an online fashion retailer committed to providing unapologetic fashion to women of all sizes. Born in the Dominican Republic, she moved with her family to NYC at the age of 10. Grisel started her career as a plus-size model getting to know the ins and outs of the fashion industry and noticed something important was missing from the market — trendy clothing suited to plus-size bodies. She launched Rebdolls in the Fall of 2015 and offers a full range of sizes up to size 32. The brand prides itself on #sexyforall size inclusivity.
Alissa Wilson is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Stylish Curves, an online destination that has been serving the plus-size community since 2009. She started Stylish Curves to create a space for plus size women to discover new plus-size designers, retailers, style tips, and celebrate the body positive movement. People Style named her blog, Stylish Curves, a go-to fashion hub for plus size women and she has appeared as a plus size fashion expert on Good Morning America. Alissa has been featured on Refinery 29, Bustle, Vogue Style, Essence Magazine, Redbook, Glamour.com, as well as a host of other media outlets.
Marjorie Gubelmann is a New York fashion and social A-Lister and now also Queen Bee of the DJs. As a DJ she goes by the name Mad Marj and has opened for Cardi B, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Liam Payne, Lil Jon, Rita Ora, New Order and Skrillex. She has worked with clients such as Dolce and Gabbana, Tiffany & Co, Cadillac, and many more. Her inspirational story has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, W Magazine, Vanity Fair, Town and Country, Vogue Mexico, Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue.com, and Style.com. Mad Marj has also appeared on the Today Show and Martha and Snoop Potluck Dinner Party.
Gaëlle Prudencio is a Paris based plus size fashion blogger and designer. She is one of the spokespersons of the body positive movement in France and the creator of the French Curves challenge, a monthly outfit challenge that brings together French-speaking bloggers. In March 2017 she launched Ibilola, the first line of plus size clothing in Wax, and recently released her first book, "Proud to be myself", about her path to self-acceptance.
Mallory B. Richardson is a Native American influencer and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe. She is the CEO of The Platform Experience, A North Carolina based fashion house that provides multiple services including wardrobe styling and model coaching. She is the Creator and Producer of North Carolina’s plus fashion week entitled Crusade of Curves. Mallory is alos the Founder of Beaucoup, Raleigh’s premiere plus size nonprofit support network for career development, wellness, and service. She is adding another notch to her belt, fashion designer, and recently launched the Nova Grace Collection, a duster collection, infused with her Indigenous culture with the designs and color stories for everyone to enjoy.
Kristine Thompson is the founder of TrendyCurvy.com, a body-positive fashion & lifestyle blog. Kristine started TrendyCurvy in 2013 as a creative outlet. It has since grown into a destination for fashion lovers around the world looking for style & inspirational content. Kristine's fashion has been featured in online and print publications including Vogue Italia, Glamour Magazine, People StyleWatch, and Essence Magazine. In October of 2019, Kristine extended her blog platform to include the launch of her own plus size clothing line, KinbyKristine.com.
Micki Krimmel is the Founder and CEO of Superfit Hero. She founded Superfit Hero in 2015, inspired by her experience playing roller derby. Through sport, she found a deep non-judgemental connection to her body that created space for a new sense of self possession and confidence. It was a transformative experience and she dove headfirst into the Body Positivity movement. The more she learned about Health At Every Size (HAES) and diet culture, the angrier she became about traditional fitness marketing.  She created Superfit Hero to exist as an alternative - a fitness brand that celebrates bodies as they are, not as they “should” be. Superfit Hero is continually evolving as a brand and learning how to best serve the community.   Superfit Hero has become one of the most trusted and highly-reviewed brands in activewear, and has been featured in Buzzfeed, NBC, Self, Refinery29, Shape, SELF, Forbes, and many other publications. Micki’s goal is to establish Superfit Hero as the go-to and most trusted brand for plus size activewear.
Gianluca Russo is a fashion and culture writer who recently moved from New York to Arizona. He currently works as a fashion reporter for Teen Vogue and runs a monthly column at NYLON titled PLUS US that explores the many ways the plus-size community is discriminated against in our society today. Gianluca’s work has also been published in GQ, Glamour, NYLON, InStyle, Fashionista, Refinery29, and more. His features discussing topics like size inclusivity and body positivity have sparked many conversations within the plus-size community, and his coverage of New York Fashion Week has received attention on a national level by outlets like CBS This Morning. In July, Gianluca and his team launched The Power of Plus digital community that has quickly grown to nearly 10,000 followers and counting, providing free virtual panels, monthly body positive book club, size-inclusive brand spotlights, and more. His debut book, THE POWER OF PLUS, will be out in 2022 from Chicago Review Press.
Ashley Nell Tipton won season 14 of Project Runway in 2015. She signed a contract with clothing retail giant JC Penny to design and be the face of their “plus-size” Boutique +. She has also designed plus sized patterns for Simplicity and her own jewelry line for K&M Accessories. Gifted in understanding the needs of the plus-size consumer Ashley released her first line of apparel and eyewear in November of 2017 and continues to work as a design consultant for other plus size establishments. Ashley has appeared in numerable media outlets, including Fashionista, Los Angeles Times, Glamour, InStyle, Racked, USA Today, People, and Cosmopolitan magazines, as well as Lifetime, E Online, and The Wrap TV shows.
Nadia Boujarwah is the Co-Founder & CEO of Dia&Co. Growing up, Boujarwah struggled to find stylish clothing in her size. She knew she wasn’t alone, so she teamed up with her Harvard Business School classmate Lydia Gilbert to transform the shopping experience for the 100 million plus-size women in America. Dia&Co stylists work with top brands — from industry staples to up-and-coming young designers — to provide each customer with curated looks to suit her unique style and shape. Dia has a dedicated and diverse customer base crossing all 50 states and more than 80 percent of ZIP codes. Prior to founding Dia&Co, Boujarwah worked as an investment banker at Perella Weinberg Partners, and most recently served as COO and CFO of New York-based jewelry brand Frieda and Nellie. With a Cuban mother and a Kuwaiti father, Boujarwah hails from both Miami and the Middle East, and is currently based in New York.
Yesenia Torres is the Design Director of ELOQUII, the trend-driven retailer for women sizes 14+. Beginning her tenure at ELOQUII in 2017 as Senior Designer, she was quickly promoted to her current position a year later as Design Director. A master in her field, Yesenia specializes in trend analysis, fit, textiles, and apparel in both straight and plus sizes. She played an integral part in leading the design for some of the brand’s most notable and successful collection partnerships: Draper James, Jason Wu, Cosabella, and Priscilla Ono. Under her direction, ELOQUII’s pieces have been globally recognized and worn by celebrities such as Chrissy Metz, Octavia Spencer, Rebel Wilson, and more.
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