Friday, December 30, 2016

AMPed Life Women: Mallory B. Richardson: Plus Model, Fashionista, Entrepreneur and Mogul in the Making

Mallory, Tell us about yourself.
I am from Rocky Mount, NC and reside in Raleigh, NC.  I'm a native of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe from Halifax and Warren Counties in North Carolina. I moved to Raleigh to attend NC State University where I earned two bachelor's degrees; one in English, Communication-Media is my second, and a minor in entrepreneurship.  I knew early on that developing my own career path was what my life long goal was. I am the eldest sister. I have an 18 month old niece that I adore and I am in a very loving relationship. I am a homeowner and I am very driven by fashion.  I am a plus size advocate as well as plus size traveling model, so I am experienced. I am a clothing stylist.  People pay me to consult with them about their wardrobe. It can be revamping for major life changes whether it be weight loss, a certain age they feel like is a milestone worth a change in lifestyle for them, or career change, you name it.  People who want to revamp their wardrobe contact me. I also coordinate fashion shows and work with models to do casting calls, coordinate routines as needed, and get the facilities set up for the coordinators' overall vision for their show.

Why did you start Beaucoup? 
I started Beaucoup because I was in the Ms. Full-Figured North Carolina Pageant in 2015; the first of its kind in North Carolina.  I have experience in pageantry.  I enjoy it and as an adult, I thought this is an awesome opportunity.  I'm fully loving the skin I'm in.  Why not do something to empower other plus women?  After being a part of the pageant, I began to realize that it's a larger calling for women that may not be pageant girls or they don't have that venue or the passion in that way to display their love for being plus size or contribute to the community or develop in their fashion and brand awareness. I decided to start a non profit also something that I went back to NC State for a non profit management degree as a graduate student.  I decided to apply and start something that I always wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to be a non profit, but earlier in life I thought children and educational were going to be my area of interest. But after this pageant I, decided there was a different calling and not to say the only calling, but the one at this time that presented itself available to me.  I started Beaucoup with a small group of the girls from the pageant that I became very close with and we took it from there with trying to get the philanthropic views of the pageant, but also merge that with fashion, health and wellness which is also a major thrust in our system for operation in the organization.  That's what really inspired me to start Beaucoup; to get women together that may not be so into pageants but they want to be a part of something bigger and they want and they want to support their communities and they want bond with one another without having a sorority tie.  It was a way for me to create something for the local area and stretching across  North Carolina. I actually have girls in different counties across the state

Did you always aspire to be a model?
You know I never thought I would be. I would have thoughts in my mind of what I would dream of being and being a pageant queen, a model, and a fashionista was a part of it.  Now being 30 years old and looking back to when I was 15 years old and seeing the vision for what I visioned was my reality, I don't think I quite committed to believing in myself at the time. I think that I was a big dreamer and I thought it was far-fetched.  I didn't think it was possible until now. I didn't always know.  I didn't always think I was a model.  I think people gave me a lot of credit for my clothing style for me being a heavier girl and being able to dress well regardless of my size. I was always very positive, but I had my own demons that I had to face.  I mean I did that throughout college as I gained weight and was probably at my heaviest time in life and now at 30, and nearly at my smallest point next to when I was 18, it's been a huge hurdle and still advocate for being plus size even though I am on the smaller end of the spectrum or a petite plus size, even segmenting more.

Have you always had a positive body image of yourself ? If not, how did you obtain that positive image?
I have not always had a positive body image, and as a young girl I was chubby.  I was always petite and short.  I went from friends that made comments, to the looks I would get for being the only plus size girl in my girl group, or from my family. Family can be very harsh and very instrumental to you loving yourself really early or despising yourself or not knowing where you fall in the spectrum.  I encourage people to really think it through when addressing people because the scars it leaves are lifelong and sometimes people decide to cut their lives short because of the way they feel about themselves.  A way I overcame is, it sounds cliché, but that whole concept of, "Her face is pretty."  I always felt pretty.  One thing I felt about me is that my face was a beautiful face. I was always told I look like my mom and she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, but I knew that I just had to work towards my weight and stop viewing it as losing weight and as becoming more healthy.  I come from a family that has MS(multiple sclerosis) , cancer, heart disease, and hypertension and I want to be around as long as I possibly can as long as God will allow me to be here.  Meeting other plus women, understanding what they went through, and knowing that they look to me as a role model than me trying to be one, it made me learn to accept and love myself even a little more.  So I'm thinking I'm helping them but they really did not know how much they were helping me.

Did you ever doubt yourself once your put your plans into motion?
I did doubt myself.  I think we all do at some point in time. "Is my idea good enough?"  "Is my idea big enough?" or "Should I scale back some because this is my first shot at it?" "Do I want to embarrass myself?"  "Who do I talk to?"  Those were some of the biggest questions I asked myself.  My personality is very giving, very understanding, and very loyal. I had to understand that not all people are quite that way.  When coming up with ideas to pursue, going into a public figure space, doing things that impact other people, and working together with other people, it can be a challenge.  When you are pursuing something as I am, that's bigger than myself, then it can't solely involve myself.  That's one of the things I had to get through to myself.  I have to be able to lean and trust somebody because we are in a society where unfortunately, entrepreneurs feel that we have to compete against one another.  Where they have to be the first one with the idea or have the biggest idea that produces the most volume and revenue.  I found myself trying to figure out who can I really trust.

"Am I giving myself enough time?" "Am I as known as I should be to produce what I want, and get the most support?"  Those were a lot of questions I had and then I had to think to myself. I am college educated from a top tier university.  I think things through and I know the right people and I have great networks.  I had to trust that all the things I have obtained as far as skills and knowledge.  Being crafty, being fashionable, and being the person that I want people be which is loyal, friendly, and kind to somebody is in turn going to return on its investment. I just want to build until I find my niche.  I feel like between what I do for my fashion consultation business the
Doll House and what I do for Beaucoup, I'm getting everything I want out of life. So many things are being thrown my way.  It's becoming a struggle to work that nine to five and come home and work all night at something that really drives you.  I thought to myself the other night. My nine to five may keep my bills paid for now, but my dreams keep me up at night. That's what keeps my wheels spinning.

What has this journey taught you about yourself
That if you don't risk something for it, then it doesn't mean enough to you.  This year has been so pivotal and trivial all at the same time.  It really made me wonder, "Are you going nuts? Is this the best thing for you to do right now? You haven't worked in months."  I took a period in between jobs and I really pushed to do some things which was awesome because it made me stretch my head to the other side of where I see myself. But then I also had to realize that I didn't work so hard to obtain the home I own, the car that I own, and the material things that I have to keep to keep myself afloat. I can't lose sight of maintaining those while trying to pursue the ambition.  That's what got me to working back at a job so that I could get myself suitable for a transition over time versus a hard stop. Nobody could really tell me anything. I was just going for what knew. I was working on 30 and tired of working for other people knowing that I had a blessing and a gift from God that I really needed to explore. I know for myself and probably many other entrepreneurs whether local, national or international, they will probably vouch for saying they gave something up along the way, and if they didn't do it, then they probably wouldn't be where they are at this point in their career. I'm not saying that I regret it one bit because I learned about myself within the last year.  People I think see the social media and get caught up in the hype and think that people are just posting pictures or saying the right things to get the right attention. But truly it's people that are working hard and believing in themselves and are trying to share that with the next person that may be able to be helped by what they do.  There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

Have you incorporated your Native American culture into your style?
I do! I am a very proud American Indian woman.  There are eight tribes in North Carolina.  When I told you I had prior history in pageants.  I ran for Miss Indian North Carolina where I received first runner up in 2010. I am a strong advocate for Indian people not only of this state, but of this world.  I was the only Native American in the Ms. Full-Figured North Carolina which was predominantly African American women.  In many platforms, I am the one and the only. Luckily I do share the forefront with a couple popular plus size models from North Carolina that are native American.  We are getting the word out that even though our population is small, or that people don't know that we exist anymore, that we are present and we are here to stay.  I do incorporate it into my clothing. I actually did a photoshoot not too long ago because the American Indian Heritage month is in November each and every year and it's honored by the state of North Carolina and has been implemented for several years now.  I did a shoot that was totally dedicated to traditional garments.

What advice do you have for someone about going after their dreams?
I would tell them to take a moment and pray about it and make sure it is the right path and that it is God led and not person led.  People talk about how their gut talks to them and I was talking about mine earlier today and that it is really and truly not the gut.  It is the instinct that the Lord instilled in each of us.  I would say take a moment and pray and really let him guide the path.  Once that happens and you have clear direction, reach out to people that support you. You know its not a bad thing to tie people in that love you because they can give you the real of the real.  Maybe all amazing news and some maybe critical feedback, or things that you should think about.

You always want to try and plan your steps. sometimes things happen spontaneously which are amazing. I love spontaneity, but I'm a big planner.  I've been planning for an upcoming event titled Crusade for Curves that I'm having March 30 -April 1, 2017 for at least a year now. Trust yourself.  Allow yourself freedom to brainstorm and collaborate, to partner, and to know the right resources.  Resources are instrumental in success.  No one can do it alone.  If you don't know how to do something, there is a how to tool just about everywhere and if its not written down somewhere, I'm sure a peer that's in that industry or interest group knows how to do what you are looking for. 

It is very important to keep a positive and professional rapport publicly.  Off the scene away from social media you can be a little more free forming, but you know you want to make sure that you are portraying the proper image in most accounts.  People let their guard down too easily and speak too freely and it can be received poorly.  So when you are talking business or thinking about what direction you're headed or you're brand new to an industry, you want to take all you can in.  Have some voice and thought about yourself, but take more in than you say is a good way to go about it.

There is just so much to learn.  People want to know that you're genuine . They want to see your zeal for your passion.  They want to see your authenticity. I would say that has helped me along the way.  People will see my pictures and hear about what I am doing, but if I was a bitter mean person nobody would care enough to reach out.  You have to be able to relate to people no matter their color, upbringing, or socioeconomic background.

How can you be contacted?

My website launches Sunday 1//1/17 at midnight.
Facebook: Mallory B. Richardson
Instagram: @malthemodel

The Doll House on Instagram: @largerthanlifestyling 

The Beaucoup non profit on Instagram @beaucoup919

Mallory would like to thank her family, faith, and significant other for their continuous support.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Tradition

Tis the season to be jolly!  I love this time of year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays because it brings families together.  What Thanksgiving and Christmas means to me has evolved over the years since I left my parents' home.  Now  I am blessed to spend the holidays with my husband, and we are learning to make our own traditions on top of bringing things along that we did growing up. 

Picking out a Christmas tree with my family shortly after Thanksgiving was one of the things I looked forward to growing up.  I enjoyed decorating our tree and our house with ornaments and lights.   My husband Nygel and I decorated our first tree together a few years ago before Christmas.  It was so much fun because it was his first time getting a live tree.

We now plan getting our tree around the time we get our son Jeremiah during or after the Thanksgiving holiday.  We alternate the holidays with his mom, but we want him to be able to take part in our family activities as well.  This year was the first year we had Jeremiah out hunting for the perfect tree and I think he preferred being in a warm cozy building instead of the outdoors.  He really got into the tree decorating part.  It was such a joy watching him meticulously deciding where each ornament would be placed.  Hubby and I decorated the top part of the tree while we let him work on the bottom.

This year Nygel suggested starting the tradition of each of us picking out our own ornaments each year.  We each took our ornament and decided where we would hang it on the tree.  As we add children to our household, I know in no time we will have a tree full of our personal ornaments.  I can only imagine how special it will be for us to look back at the ornaments as our children grow older and begin to start families of their own.

This time of year can also be tough for me because of the many family members I have lost during this time over the years.  I know this time of year is also tough for others for many reasons. My advice to anyone having a hard time is to look at the good times and do your best to find the positive in what you have right now.  When I look at my family and where we are now, it brings a peace to my soul for which I am thankful.