5 Questions is our interview series that features extraordinary and accomplished women involved in the fashion and beauty world. For our inaugural interview we feature Michelle E. Alford writer, radio personality and 2014 Ms. Michigan Plus America.
1. Tell us how and why you got started in the Plus Size pageant world.
I first learned about the Miss Plus America pageant back in 2006 while living in Kentucky. This is when I really started feeling some changes in my body and realized that my weight was noticeably heavier than usual. It became very apparent that I was no longer in a size 8/10 when a person suggested I participate in a Plus pageant because I had a pretty face, great heart, and personality. At the time I did not no that such a thing existed and thought the person was really being colorfully cruel by adding insincere compliments. Later on the same day of
having this conversation someone on MySpace, unexpectedly, shared some information with me about the Miss Plus America pageant and there it was again within a matter of a few hours. Being a person who feels like nothing happens by mere coincidence I decided to look up information on the pageant.
Upon finding the website: my thought was, how inspiring, but I am going to lose these, then 50lbs. It was what I had to lose to get back down to 125 and I will not be able to qualify, so I dismissed the thought out of my mind of participating in the pageant. Fast forwarding to 2013 I saw information in my Facebook news feed again about the Miss Plus America pageant, immediately, I began to laugh at God—I then asked him, “God are you trying to tell me something?” After humoring myself I followed the link and it lead me to the website that I had once viewed years prior. I begin browsing through the site again, in search of information on how to competed as a resident of Michigan.
To my discovery Michigan did not have a chapter represented, stunned by my findings, I then reached out to the organization and I had the opportunity to talk with the husband of the creator of this event and in talking with him my heart begin to melt, slightly, and rapidly tears begin to roll down my eyes as he spoke so highly of his wife and why she created this event. After learning more about the passion behind what went into creating such an event, I found myself wanting to be apart of something so positive and uplifting.
We talked on the phone just over an hour. After I left that conversation, it was just like God had penetrated my spirit with a deep revelation—that told me to pay attention and compete not for myself but for those women who hide behind who they are because the world have told them they have no place in the paradigm of where beauty and self-worth exist. So, I am competing because I am a woman who loves the woman I am today, I no where I am in my life, and I no where I am going; I lived in both worlds as a thin woman and now as a Plus Size woman; and I’ve learned to celebrate my life in full vibrancy; living out my dreams and changing my world for all good on my own grounds.
2. As Ms. Michigan Plus America 2014 what’s your platform?
As Michigan Plus America 2014 I am a woman who has always had a heart for humanity and I find it challenging to narrow my platform to a few specific things because with my eyes I see the nurturing needs in many places and as I encounter things that need nurturing my heart is compelled to oblige the need. However, it is by specific choice I have elected to include in my platform issues on Fibromyalgia, cancer, and homelessness. These are some immediate issues that have impacted my life both directly and indirectly. However, as a servant of the Most High God, I will open my heart, resources, and time to participate in many worthy events that will positively impact another person’s life.
3. What will winning the Ms. Plus America Pageant mean to you?
It will be life changing for me as a woman went from a size 8/10 to the size I am now; it will validate that no matter what size I am; I am still the brilliant woman that God made me to be. Although it would be a huge honor to win the crown, for me; it’s not about winning the crown; it’s about who and what I will represent in wearing the crown. It will afford me the opportunity to be in attendance in places, otherwise, access denied to me. However, In winning the crown as Ms. Plus America it will be my great big hug to all my sisters, no matter—their race, color, creed, or nationality encouraging them to live a healthy vibrant life as who they are, understanding and making no apologies for being who God created them to be; with the self assurance that they are worthy and loved as plus size beautiful women. My winning will be a demonstration of how a plus size woman can be beautiful in the skin she’s in, empowering, confident and a winner because it’s in her to be a winner.
4. Outside of pageants tell us more about what you do and who you are.
I am a woman with many colorful layers. I am an author, poet, writer, speaker, certified life coach, 16 year real-estate veteran and business owner of Me-A-Happy Life Coaching, Living Life Well Publishing, I am the founder of a growing and ground breaking award show –The Spoken Word Billboard Awards and of Non-profit organization Coaches Leading Aspiring Sisters Successfully – C.L.A.S.S. and I am a radio host on WDRJ 1440 AM Detroit, starting a new show “She Speaks, and the owner of an online blogtalkradio network 109.9 Pen Station. I am currently competing as Ms Michigan Plus America and as of 1/27/2014 I am also representing the USA as Miss USA Plus Size International in Manchester, United Kingdom and I debuted myself as new freelance plus model Shae’Marie in this role I intend on empowering women by sharing my story of struggle with my sickness, depression, and weight issues.
5. You have a book coming out soon.Tell us more about that.
My new book is I Don’t Want to be a Twig; I Just Want to Be Healthy.” Subtitled: Fibromyalgia Sucks! This is my personal story about my struggles of my weight gain, depression, and fibromyalgia. Make no mistakes there will be no pity parties going on in this book it is totally a book filled with inspiration, motivation, dedication, love and a bit of humor. It’s not a book that promotes obesity; but a book that encourage my sisters to love who you are but make sure you healthy and happy. As long as you are healthy and happy then you need not be concerned about anyone’s opinion of whom they think you ought to be.
This book is my message of empowerment to live and change on your own grounds. This will be a three-volume book that will journal my weight loss and the transformation of my health. Most right the book when they’ve reached their goal and I’m writing the book while I am accomplishing my goal. Writing this book is one of the tools I’m using to stay on track with my weight-loss goal in anticipation of writing the next book with updates, with plenty of transforming pictures and new words of inspiration. I will be hosting a 7-week book tour in 7 cities, 7 venues, with 7 themes and a unique book-marketing event will jumpstart the tour with 100 women from across the globe helping me to tell the world I have a new book out. I will be touring in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Michigan, and Manchester, United Kingdom.