What is your name?
My name is Karen Devereaux and let me
begin by saying that I am honored to
have been chosen as a cover model. With
this interview, I hope to provide and
inside look into my life as a woman of
color, a plus size model and social
activist against size discrimination.
LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from
and what is your current Location?
I’m originally from Chicago—a city rich
with diversity and renowned for its
architectural beauty. I grew up in the
Grand Boulevard Community which was home
to many great musical legends. About
two years ago, I relocated to Atlanta.
Although Chicago is and always will be
one of my most favorite cities, I longed
for an opportunity to branch out and to
further explore my artistic talents.
Over the years, Atlanta has made great
strides and continues to propel itself
to bigger and better things. In fact,
someone once described Atlanta to me as
the “Hollywood of the South”.
LargeInCharge.com: Can you give us some
information about yourself (Age, Height,
Size, Nationality, Marital
Status, Children, etc.)?
In terms physical characteristics, I am
5’10”, African-American and Hispanic and
a dress size 26/28. I am also single
with no children. In recent months, I
have begun to take better care of
myself. I am attempting to eat
healthier, I’m walking a bit more and
I’ve developed an exercise
regime—working to create a healthier
me. Many may not realize it, but heart
disease is the number one killer of
women; and when you think about it,
that’s very alarming. I plan to stay
around for a very long time, so
developing a healthier lifestyle is
definitely placing me on the right
LargeInCharge.com: Were you a big child,
or did you gain weight later in life?
I’ve been plus size my entire life. In
the beginning, it was very difficult to
deal with. I was always a very bright
child with a thirst for knowledge,
however, when you don’t fit into a
particular mold (one created by
society), people can be very cruel. I
was very self-conscious as a child. I
never doubted myself intellectually;
however I always second-guessed myself
physically. After a while, the
comments didn’t bother as much because I
threw myself into my studies.
Expressing myself creatively (whether
through writing, music etc.), was always
an escape for me. Today, I’m more
confident and self assured.
LargeInCharge.com: What made you decide
to enter the LargeInCharge model search?
Honestly, I really related to the name
of the organization: LARGE IN CHARGE!
Yes, I am a large woman, and there’s no
denying that. But, I am also in charge
as well. I live a great life, I travel
extensively around the world and I am
surrounded by positive and supportive
people that share many of the same
ideals that I do.
Additionally, I entered the model search
because I applaud the organization on a
job well done. I think there should be
more exposure to the plus size
community. Industry leaders are
beginning to realize that there is a
great deal of talent in our community.
They’ve begun to realize that beauty,
intelligence and talent defies any dress
or pants size. True, it’s long overdue,
but it’s better late than never.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you have any
experience in modeling?
so tell us about what you have done.
Actually, I do. I began modeling in my
late teens when still residing in
Chicago. As I began develop more
physically, the assignments came in less
and less. I’ve done hair shows, spokes
modeling, fashion shows, pageants…you
name, I’ve done it. I’m always looking
for ways of reinventing myself and
honing my craft. Ultimately, I’m
looking to sign with an agent so
hopefully that will transpire in the
LargeInCharge.com: It takes a lot of
confidence to model... What has given
you the confidence you have?
My confidence, first and foremost, comes
from my Lord, Jesus Christ. I know that
I am nothing without him. He has truly
given me the courage to do and be the
very best because I know that I deserve
the very best. I’ll be the first to
admit, whenever I take part in something
new, I’m a bag of nerves!! I just
really have to pray that I am giving the
client what he wants while staying true
to myself. After that, I just relax and
do what I know I’m capable of doing.
And this type of approach extends to
whatever I’m doing because you never get
a second chance to make a first
LargeInCharge.com: Did you find it a
hard journey to be accepted for your
Initially, yes. Now, I am definitely
more confident about who I am—and it
took years of hard work to get there.
I’m looking forward to the day when my
size will no longer be an issue. It
goes back to what Dr. King said; judge
me on the content of my character, not
based on the color of my skin or what I
look like for that matter. I think as I
have gained a bit more exposure, I have
broken down some of the stereotypical
barriers that surround our community.
And I face those stereotypes and
challenges head on.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find
acceptance among your family and friends
Absolutely! My friends and family
accept me for who I am and love me
unconditionally. There biggest concern
is to remain as healthy as positive
because of the number of risks
associated with be larger than average.
Thus far, I have not had any serious
medical conditions. I don’t take that
for granted because things can change at
any point. But, again they are very
LargeInCharge.com: What would you say
inspires you most in life?
I am inspired by so many people that
it’s difficult to pin point any one
particular person. For one, I’m
constantly inspired by people that
overcome adversity. I’m inspired by
people that have gone against the grain,
in an effort of making a change. I’m
inspired by the people that tell me I’m
wasting my time. I’m inspired by those
that believe in me and support my
efforts. For me, inspiration is
something that comes from a number of
avenues—whether directly or indirectly.
But, no matter where it comes from or in
what form, I always embrace it with open
arms and use it as fuel to inspire
LargeInCharge.com: What is your primary
Currently, I work as an Insurance
Underwriter for a great firm in
Atlanta. I’ve been with the
organization a little more than a year
and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I
work with a great group of professionals
and for an awesome manager, Carol
Carol understands my mission in the
industry and supports me in any and
every way that she can. I have never
worked for someone as supportive and as
flexible as she is. Without her
flexibility, I would have missed out on
a number of opportunities. So Carol, if
I have not thanked you enough, please
allow me to thank you publicly, because
you truly are a diamond in the rough!
LargeInCharge.com: How did you get into
this line of work?
That’s a great question! Ironically, I
came into the industry with no prior
insurance experience. I have never had
automobile insurance, a vehicle, a
license nor do I know how to drive.
Most people would have slammed the door
in my face but, Carol saw below the
surface. She saw that I had worked in
the service industry, as a manager, for
more than a decade—and that coupled with
my desire to give the organization 100%
of myself; warranted an invitation to
join the firm.
Today, I am doing quite well. I am well
respected and I have received multiple
commendations for being productive,
proactive, innovative, and for exceeding
the standards set forth by the
organization. I am looking forward to
taking on additional responsibilities as
I cultivate a better understanding of
the industry as a whole.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find
acceptance in the work force?
Again, absolutely! In fact, it has
never been an issue in the work force.
It’s one of the few places that
encourages you to utilize your talents
and rewards you for them. If only the
fashion industry could take on that
approach, plus size models would be held
in a much higher regard.
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you
believe should take place for Large
People in the work force?
Well, outside of the obvious (which is
providing everyone with the same level
of respect and opportunities) I think
employers should offer seating of
various sizes. I know that may sound a
bit out of the ordinary, but if you are
a full figured person then you know
exactly where I’m coming from.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than
trying to sit eight hours in a chair
that was ergonomically not built for a
larger frame. Corporations should be a
bit more sensitive to this issue because
we are not all a size 10. Yes, it would
cost a few pennies more to have these
chairs in stock, but it can prevent
embarrassing situations for full figured
people, which could otherwise be
LargeInCharge.com: Where do you regular
shop for your clothing? Tell us some of
the places you buy your clothes from.
because I don’t drive, most of my
shopping is done online. The invention
of the internet has been a lifesaver for
me. I can find what I want, when and I
want while being selective about the
items I choose to purchase. My computer
and I have a wonderful working
Some of my
favorite stores are Lane Bryant, Ashley
Stewart, The Avenue, Jessica London
(catalog) and Roamans (catalog) just to
name a few. I truly am a shopaholic!
In fact, I purchase something almost
EVERY day!! Additionally, I seek out
EBAY on a daily basis. I have found so
many great finds there you wouldn’t
believe it. My friends have nicknamed
me Miss EBAY because I’m always on their
site. You guys should really check it
out. You’ll be amazed at all the
treasures you’ll find!
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you
think will happen if plus sized modeling
for men and women were to expand?
I think it would be great to see. I
think that if plus size modeling for men
and women became more of a social norm,
people will begin to accept themselves
more because they are seeing a more
accurate reflection of themselves.
People will no longer feel compelled to
subject themselves to extreme dieting
measures but in turn will realistically
work toward creating a healthier,
fuller-figured individual. It truly
would be a great thing!
LargeInCharge.com: Look at Size
acceptance five years ago... look at
size acceptance now. What changes do
I think socially we have made some
strides for the better, be we are a long
way from hitting the mark.
Unfortunately, we are all living in a
society where people are image conscious
and perfection driven. And although I
do not condone this type of thinking, it
is what it is.
I think the least people can do is
accept the fact that there are
differences and work toward embracing
those difference positively. Despite
our size, we are human beings with the
same feelings and emotions. We are not
asking for special privileges; however
we are demanding that we be treated with
respect and as equals. We only want to
be treated humanely—and that doesn’t
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you
think will happen five years from now
with size acceptance?
That’s very difficult to answer. I hope
that we have evolved into a more
diversified community. I’m waiting for
the day when I’ll see a full figured
woman (larger than a size 16) on the
covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle,
etc. Will we ever see the likes of that
day? Maybe not in my lifetime, but we
can always hope for the best.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us about your
goals as far as modeling and other
Although I truly do love the warmth and
southern hospitality that Atlanta has to
offer, I realize that a move is
inevitable. Currently, I have my sights
set on L.A. as I have made a few
contacts there. Ultimately, I am
looking to go main stream and elevate to
a point where I am a household name. I
realize that I’m years away from that
point, however the beginning a great
journey begins with one step. This year
has truly been that first step and I
couldn’t be happier!
Thus far, 2006 has gotten off to a great
start. I’ve done a voice over for an
English as a second language audio
program, worked as an extra for an
upcoming show coming out this fall on
the TLC Network and worked with a great
photographer while building my
portfolio. Ultimately, I hoping to merge
more into acting because it has always
been a passion of mine.
Additionally, I really want to work with
several charitable organizations to give
of my self as much as I can. I truly
enjoy working with children and teens.
They’re in such a formidable stage where
they need as much encouragement and
positive reinforcement as possible. I
think it’s our responsibility as adults
to provide that support because it truly
takes a village to raise a child.
LargeInCharge.com: Give us a sentence
that inspires you.
Each one, reach one. That statement
says it all so what more can I say?
LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you
give to other people of size who want to
Breaking into the modeling industry is
extremely difficult. There are tons of
beautiful girls out there all vying for
the same opportunity. So, you have to
truly look inward and ask yourself is
this something you really want to
do--because it’s not all it’s cracked up
If you’re sure that modeling is for you,
then the first step is to do your
research. There are a number of great
sites out there that will provide you
with some sound advice about the
industry. Also, step back and assess
yourself. Do you know what your strong
points are…your weaknesses? What will
set you apart from other girls in the
industry? Are you abreast of the ever
change trends? There are so many things
to consider so really getting out there,
doing your research and being prepared
is the one of the best tools you’ll ever
Additionally, I don’t recommend people
spending a great deal of money on
classes, headshots, composite/zed cards,
etc. If someone is asking you to pay
them upfront to represent you, then nine
times out of ten they are not
reputable! Again, they are not
reputable! Do your research and find an
agency that has your best interest at
heart. When you make money, the make
money so they will always do their best
to find you work. Just keep in mind,
they only provide the leads; it’s up to
you to land the assignment.
LargeInCharge.com: What plus size figure
do you admire?
I must say that I admire comedienne
Monique the most. I applaud her for
being the first person to host and
create a national, televised Plus Size
Pageant. I admire Monique because she
does not conform to industry standards
and does not apologize for being
FABULOUS AND THICK! Most importantly,
she has provided the Plus Size Community
with an opportunity to be heard—giving
us a voice on broader scale.
Monique’s success has allowed her to
reach audiences, otherwise unreachable,
and forced them to take notice of the
plus size community. She has helped
many plus size women to realize just how
beautiful they truly are—and repairing
someone’s self-esteem is one of the
greatest gifts you could ever give to
them. Monique truly is an inspiration
and I would love to work with her. So,
if anyone can make this happen please
contact me ASAP!
LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself
with one word.
INSPIRATIONAL. My goal in life is to
make a difference and to live my life by
example. In doing so, I hope to inspire
someone else to take a stand and make a
difference as well. I want to inspire
people to do their very best and to be
the very best. If sharing my story
inspires just one person, then I have
made a difference—and that, first and
foremost is my goal.
Congratulations Karen we are please to
have you as a member of the
LargeInCharge Cover Model Family!