Do you know the designer Rock and Republic?

Rock and Republic is a cutting edge denim company based in New York City. Besides making kick ass clothes, they were also famously sued by Posh Spice when a beef erupted over their butt flattering jeans collabo. Anyway, more importantly I recently was dressed by them for Paper Magazine.

Like most women I had supremo body issues growing up, and heck, on occasion now. I was one of the only brown faces in my schools and at that point the Kate Moss body was in style. Bods with boobs that come with hips, thighs, and boodies which I developed in Middle School were not cool at all. Add to that teen modeling and pageant drama, a raging case of eczema due to stress and I was a mental mess. I remember around 2001 being at a shoot for Esquire Magazine and the photog was African so he loved my look but the annoyed stylist acted like I wasn’t there. Pretty difficult when there were only 3 of us modeling on the shoot.

Fast forward to this year when Paper Magazine selected me as one of their 50 Most Beautiful People. Rumor has it that I was nominated by Rolling Stone glam goddess Beverly Smith — if you don’t know Bev you’d better ask somebody. She is a style diva and confidence personified.

What many people fail to realize is that there is a difference between confidence and an attitude. Confidence is a knowing. Attitude is a defense, an armor. If you have a knowing then, trust me, there is no need to have a defense. I have finally reached that place where, like Bev, I have a knowing. Confidence also loves to see beauty and confidence in others. That’s what the Goddess Factory and the Goddess Lifestyle is about, us learning, nurturing and sharing that knowing, and living well and with joy.

I was on a panel recently and introduced myself to the only other black woman on the panel. When she was nasty and abrupt with me, I didn’t do what I would’ve done in the past — question myself or make her try to like me. I wished her well and bounced with the confidence that not everyone will like me, and that is ok.

On the set of the Paper Magazine Beautiful People shoot, many of the dresses they pulled were built for a size 0 body. As you will see from my upcoming fitness journals, I am a life-sized girl: Big Eyes, Big Dimples, Big Mouth, Big Butt, and Thick Thighs. Before I reminded myself of who I have a become – a woman who loves and appreciates herself (we all need reminders) I was almost in frustrated tears to see the pretty things that couldn’t fit my hips.

Then they pulled out the gorgeous jewel azure Rock and Republic dress and Bruno Frisoni shoes. You see here on their model how it’s supposed to fit, right? They put it on me and it was totally bustin’ loose, more revealing than I wanted to be, but for that reason it worked. I felt like an amazon, a war goddess, a strong, confident woman and a real girl who was wearing the dress differently than intended, making it all her own. And I love that. The incredibly supportive and encouraging team: editor Whitney Spaner, photographer Jacqueline Di Milia and stylist Darren Kinoshita loved it too.

Now, most people, maybe even the designers, prefer the model’s take, but that’s fine. It took me a long time to say this but I am not a model. I am a goddess.