The B-Styles Curvy Girl of the Day & The Plus Academy VIRGINIA Instructor: “Model/Actress Liris Crosse”
My “Curvy Girl of the Day” goes to plus-size model and actress Liris Crosse. I have chosen Liris today for a number of reasons. Firstly, because she has accomplished so much in the modeling/acting world as a “curvy” model and secondly, Liris has just signed on to instruct one of The Plus Academy VIRGINIA Fall classes for me on “Acting and Modeling in the Plus-Size Profession”. You may recognize Liris from being in movies and TV shows such as, “The Best Man”, “The Wire”, “Baby Boy” and “Brooklyn’s Finest” and from music video’s with artist such as Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes and Lloyd Banks. But today I’m gonna have a little one-on-one with Liris to get to know her on a more personal note:
Few people start at the top, and Baltimore native Liris Crosse is no exception. She certainly came from humble beginnings. When starting out, her statuesque form, cat-like eyes, full lips and caramel complexion got Liris in the door of most model agencies, but her derriere landed her on the shelf. Liris received rejection after rejection due to her voluptuous shape. And even though she chose an east cost giant, Wilhelmina Models, as her mother agency, casting reps were still requesting that she first lose weight and then come back in six months. The industry did not know how to market her powerful curves.
Instead of giving into their demands or giving up on what she believed was her calling, Liris took matters into her own hands and created the vision for them. She became her own agent and utilized the urban market to achieve her dreams.Liris began to spread like wildfire. Essence, Honey, XXL, The Source and Black Elegance magazines were the first to believe in her vision. Men, women and young girls of all walks of life started to buzz about the impact Liris had in the mainstream magazines since she was the only model who represented reality!
With these successes, Glamour, Seventeen, YM and Girl soon caught on to her refreshing image and began requesting Liris for editorial and commercial layouts. With all the sudden attention, Liris knew to ride the wave, generating enough energy to land the much sought after Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Pelle Pelle, Karl Kani andDavouchi campaigns. This cemented her as a pioneer in the modeling world representing for the women with curves!
Before all this, the hip-hop community was the first to embrace her fierceness, and Liris crossed over into the world of music videos. She booked top videos such as 98 Degrees, Jennifer Lopez, Luscious Jackson, JayZ, Beenie Man, Puff Daddy, Lil Zane and The Big Pun Memorial Video.
Once again, interest grew and Liris’ exposure increased with commercials like Sony Mini Disc, Charles Schwab, Amtrak and guest appearances on MTV Jams with host Tyrese and BET’s 106&Park. Impressed by Liris’ appeal and stage presence in videos, MTV asked her back to do an up-close and personal interview for “Dude”.
The experience and exposure gained from music videos and commercials primed Liris for the silver screen. Although modeling is her first love, when asked what she enjoys most in the entertainment industry, movies win hands down. If you had a chance to see “The Best Man,” Malcolm Lee’s number one box office hit starring Taye Diggs and Nia Long, you definitely agree that this young starlet has much to offer the silver screen. Even more proof of her on screen presence is Liris’ role in the John Singleton film, “Baby Boy,” in which she has a steamy scene with Tyrese.
Until her next big role, she continues to stay busy with cover stories and beauty layouts for magazines. She was the first inductee into XXL Magazine’s Eye Candy Hall of Fame. Liris also contributed the female voices for the videogame “187: Ride or Die” alongside Larenz Tate & Guerilla Black. Recently she was asked to have a character made in her likeness by body and voice for the Def Jam Icon video game which they even named after her. She had the lead role in a film called “Eye Jammy” which hit the film festivals as well as an appearance in the Spike Lee film called “The Inside Man.” Liris appeared in The Source Magazine as “Dimepiece” and also was chosen as 1 of only 5women ast the Topy Eye Candy models of the decade for XXL’s Magazine 10th anniversary issue. The premier fashion bible, Vogue Magazine, shot her for their beatuy insert last fall! Liris was featured in the 15th Anniversary issue of Vibe Magazine for her trail blazing efforts in the video vixen/urban model market. She filmed lead roles for the DVD films “He Who Finda A WIfe” and “Women Do It Better”. She has a cameo out now in the Antoine Fuqua directed film “Brooklyn’s Finest” and “Mama I Want to Sing”!
In February 2009, she was the lead in the 1st of its kind hip hop musical “The Jim Jones Project” along with infamous rapper Jim Jones which got rave reviews ! That month, Liris appeared in a role on Law & Order SVU which is one of her favorite shows & will be wrapped filming her starring role in the indie film “Abidjan” which will be shot in Africa! She also just wrapped filming along side acclaimed actor, Gbenga Akinnagbe, in the film “Knucklehead”and just booked a role in the upcoming indie film “Disciple” aside Taral Hicks. Liris also completed the film “Conspiracy X”.
My Q & A session with Liris:
1) How did you get started in the modeling business and how did you end up working for the wilhelmina agency?
I moved to New York after high school to try my luck at commercial modeling & was referred to them by a company called Model Search America. I had went to 2 model conventions that Model Search America had & got callbacks from major agencies like Elite but they all wanted me to lose weight. Wilhelimina had a plus division & once they met me, they wanted to sign me that day!2) Did you always consider yourself a plus-size model?I consider myself a model PERIOD! I have fought to get curvier body shapes in the mainstream media for years. But I embrace the plus size name as well because I’m plus hips & lips & I always give the plus the sexiest appeal I can! We shouldn’t be denied!3) What have been some of your biggest accomplishments?
Shooting in the morrocan desert for Lane Bryant with famed photographer Walter Chin, shooting a advertorial for American Vogue with all plus models, appearing in the movies like “The Best Man” & “Baby Boy” & TV shows like “The Wire” & Law & Order SVU”4) Have you faced many obstacles in this business?
Everyday you face obstacles in this industry but I use my positivity & hard work to overcome them. It’s hard being an African American model & even harder being a plus African American model but where there’s a will there’s a way!5) While working on music video sets, what advice would you give other models on how to maintain self-respect when it comes to dealing with the artist?
When you handle your self with respect, they have no choice but to obey it. Have fun but remember it’s still a job & people are always watching you & bad news travels faster than good news!6) Do you find it difficult transitioning from modeling to acting?
It’s like starting from scratch all over again but within the same industry. The great thing is I have more contacts & “know-how” from my modeling career which helps make things easier! I’ll expound more upon that in class!7) What are some of your upcoming projects?
My short film I went to Africa to shoot called “Abidjan” is an Official selection of the Williamsburg International Film Festival, which takes place on September 23rd – 26 2010 and the 27th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which takes place October 22rd to October 31, 2010. I’m in the October issue of Essence Magazine on news stands now! I also have a showcase I’m producing but it won’t be out till 2011. But most importantly I’ll be teaching at The Plus Academy VIRGINIA on Oct.16th! Be there!
With Liris’ career well on its way, she hopes that her story will provide the motivation needed to fuel other young girls hopes and dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. Her motto, “If you can think it, you can do it,” is more than just a motto. Liris has proven that she can make her own dreams come true. As her career continues to move forward, whether model or actress, Liris Crosse is definitely hot and the one to watch!
Be sure to follow Liris on Twitter at @LirisC or contact her for bookings thru her website at http://www.liriscrosse.com
For more info on The Plus Academy VIRGINIA, please visit the website at http://www.plusacademyvirginia.com, on Twitter @plusacademy_VA or Facebook under “The Plus Academy Virginia”
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