Although Precious Lee always followed fashion, the now famous plus-size icon never imagined pursuing a modeling career… let alone making it into Vogue and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Lee shares her inspiring journey, as well as some helpful tips on how we can all join in on her revolution.
An Amazing Journey Out of Nowhere
Lee was discovered during her freshman year of college when she accompanied her aspiring model friend to Atlanta’s Elite Models agency. Since Lee’s curvy body type was not the “standard” model size, she was caught by surprise when they wanted to sign her. “It was so out of nowhere because I never aspired to be a model or have representation,” she explains.
An Empowering Body of Work
Lee has been a part of many inspiring advertisements for Lane Bryant that challenge society’s traditional beauty standards. It started with the #ImNoAngel national TV and print campaign that included a gigantic billboard in Times Square featuring Lee and other top plus-size industry models in lingerie. The #PlusIsEqual campaign positioned Lee as the first African-American plus-size model in the September issue of Vogue in 2015. Lee shared that she started crying on the street corner when she saw herself in the magazine for the first time. “The feeling was indescribable because it was about much more than my picture; [it was about] all the people that helped me and also everyone else it impacted.”
As a part of Lane Bryant’s latest #ThisBody campaign, Lee was featured as the first African-American plus-size model in the most recent Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. These ads are much more interactive, Lee explains, citing the growing importance of creating new campaigns and hashtags to involve the audience. “With the message of ‘#ThisBody is made for’, the ad turns the mirror around and asks people to search more of themselves in a process of self-love and acceptance,” she says.
A Model Advocate
Before modeling, Lee wanted to advocate for others as a sports and entertainment attorney. Now as a model, advocacy has become the most important part of her career. “My job means so much more than looking fabulous in a magazine.”
The next step in her movement? To revolutionize the fashion industry, Lee reveals. “By not making clothes for plus-size women, fashion designers are missing out on a billion-dollar industry.” By tapping into this market, she says. they will profit from fashion-loving customers while doing their part to make the world a more inclusive place.
Precious Lee’s 5 Secrets to Self-Confidence
- Confidence Takes Consistency
“You can go from confident to insecure and insecure to confident on a daily basis, so staying self-assured is something you need to work on every day.”
- The Fit Makes The Look
“Everything off the rack might not fit perfectly, so take it to a tailor and get it adjusted!”
- Style in a Cinch
“My style is constantly evolving, but I love mixing a glam piece with something super casual, and I always love the look of a cinched waist.”
- Kettlebells Are a Girl’s Best Friend
“They have entirely transformed my butt. Everybody needs to invest in kettlebells!”
- Respect Yourself, Constantly
“If you struggle with body acceptance, you need to vocalize daily what you love about yourself, not what you hate.”
Contributed by Sari Beth Rosenberg