25 February 2013

A Chat With Gemma Cruickshank

Gemma Cruickshank
Last November the 22-year-old bombshell Gemma Cruickshank was crowned the winner of the Miss BBW International Pageant (now called Miss Plus-Size International).  As you may recall, I covered the story and expressed how inspired I was by finding out about the pageant and its mission to inspire body love and plus-size acceptance and pride.  I’ve been so lucky this year, because not only will I be competing in the pageant, but I’ve had the opportunity to speak to both Caroline Dawson, a finalist last year, and Gemma herself.  Originally in London, but now living in Essex, this English beauty says, “I have always been plus-size and I have also equally been on a diet my whole life,” but these days she is embracing her curves and hoping to build positive body image for plus-size ladies.

No More Diets

“I have been on diets since I was the age of 8 until 18 months ago.  I gave up on the yoyo diets and just accepted that this is me and I love it.  I have lost weight so many times – lost six stone and put on seven, even went down to a U.K. size 12 (U.S. 8), and it didn’t make me any happier being slimmer; it actually made me doubt myself.  My confidence definitely lacks when I lose weight.  At present I am at my biggest and I’ve never been so confident; I love it.  I totally understand the negatives associated with excess weight, but right now I live my life the same as everybody else, I have no health complaints, I’m happy and I enjoy being fat and fabulous.”

Joining Miss BBW

“I have had a Facebook page running of my work for a while, and I received a private message from a follower saying I should apply, so I filled in the online application out of pure excitement of the unknown and the rest is history.  I definitely think I was in the right place at the right time.”

Motivating Plus-Size Women

“It’s been the most important thing to me; knowing that I can represent other everyday plus-size women and that people can relate to me is one of the best feelings you can have.  It’s important to me that people can join in on my positive vibes and truly love themselves.”

An Experience of a Lifetime

“The competition as a whole is a memorable experience in my life I will cherish forever; it’s something to tell the grand-kids haha.”

New-found Fame

“Being thrown into the spotlight is an amazing feeling; I cannot describe how grateful I am to be given such an amazing opportunity and to have so much positive feedback come my way. The amount of personal messages I receive is immense, and I love hearing from all different people who say I have inspired them.  Inspiring other people to make the most of themselves and live their lives is something I really believe in and get an amazing buzz from doing.  I always try to reply back to people as quickly as a I can.  My Twitter and Facebook have both grown literally overnight, which is amazing.  However, I haven’t actually mastered the laws of Twitter yet, which can be a bit tricky at times. Facebook is my main port!”

Gemma Cruickshank Collexions

Gemma Cruickshank Collexions is in the start-up process; I’m currently working with The Princes Trust to launch my dream business.  I have recently graduated from university with a BaHons Degree in Fashion and Printed Textiles, and have been working with the Princes Trust scheme since October.  Gemma Cruickshank Collexions is a fresh new plus-size fashion label which will be available late 2013.  I am currently making bespoke items for clients, along with my day job within the cosmetic industry.  Ideally I would love to just work my fashion label and give up my retail-based job.”

Famous?

“I wouldn’t consider myself a celebrity; I’m still the same Gemma I was before I won my title.  However, I get recognized on a daily basis after appearing on the BBC Three documentary, “Britain’s Biggest Beauty Queens.”  It’s an amazing feeling to know you have reached out to so many different people, and personally, I have had really positive feedback.  As with everything, the good also comes with the bad. Reading negative articles about yourself is frustrating, but when you stand up for something as controversial as plus-size body confidence it’s definitely something you anticipate.  I’m very realistic and I totally appreciate that everybody is entitled to their own opinions and views.”

Day to Day

“I get recognized on a daily basis from being on the television, in national newspapers and in magazines.  I love being able to meet people and interact with people who have taken time to watch or read about me.  My inbox is still as busy as it was back in November; I love it.”

An Independent

“I’m very independent so it’s humorous to see how many people now remember my number, but everyone has been very positive and supporting, which is a great feeling.  My Nan is especially supportive; she carries pictures of me in my crown wherever she goes.  Bless her.”

The Ultimate Goal

“My main life goals at present are to be secure and happy.  I would love my business to be as successful as I desire and I want to promote body confidence through clothing and inspire people to love themselves regardless of their size.  I would love to work with community groups that encourage youth to understand that everybody deserves an opportunity, regardless of their appearance.  I think people need to know their true worth and appreciate themselves to get the most out of their lives.  Building other people’s self-esteem is an amazing achievement and something I would love to work on.”

You can follow Gemma on Facebook and Twitter!

1 comment:

  1. An amazing woman...very inspiring.

    ReplyDelete

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