Suzanne Fatta, or Carmina Suzanne to those in the fashion industry, is an international plus model who has participated in campaigns and runway shows around the world. Carmina has traveled the world under the representation of Agence Plus Paris. She is one of many women in the industry that has served as a model for those who wear a size 12 and above; sizes that today’s society and fashion industry has dubbed as “plus size”.
After living in London for five years, Carmina returned to her home in Buffalo, but still remains at the top of her game. Carmina was in a fashion spread for Buffalo Rising with models Jessica Lahr, Mrs. New York America, and Angelea Preston, an America's Next Top Model All-star. Carmina, a size 14, has walked the Uptown Fashion Week for Serita Bell in New York City and also modeled for Dede Allure at New York Fashion Week SS'15. She has also worked with a number of photographers including Bob Zielonka, Co-Owner of RJZ Photography, who offered kind words when asked about the model: “Carmina is one of absolute favorite clients. She is the consummate professional, who can pull off any look or style! No matter what we can always count on her to produce the highest quality images, but to also have a blast while doing it. Models, both nationally and internationally, could learn a lot from Carmina.”
Although Carmina got her start in modeling in college, she did not really get into it until she was in her early 30s. Once Carmina moved to London, her career picked up. Since then, she has walked a number of runways, including Pulp ‘Fashion Week Paris, done numerous fashion shoots, and has even been the face of a campaign. She was very prominently featured in the documentary “Celebrating Curves - Inside Pulp Fashion Week Paris.”
Carmina shared her feelings about the future of plus fashion in the industry. “It’s getting better every year. So-called ‘standard agencies’ are adding plus divisions or just signing plus girls as is. There are still agents, agencies, designers, magazines, who won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole; doesn’t matter that two plus girls just did the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar, you know, it doesn’t matter that a lot of these girls have reached the pinnacle of what they can do, there are still designers that won’t touch them,” she said. Carmina would also like to see plus models and standard models be called just that: models, rather than a separation of the two.
Carmina talked about the definition of plus and what it means to different people. Many designers start their plus lines at a size eight or ten, rather than at a size 14. Also, many young women get turned down because what an average person would consider standard, the industry views as plus. “The terms themselves really need to get worked out, but people need to understand that industry terms are not that same as what Joe Blow down the street is going to understand. So, it’s not helpful to take it out on the model who’s a size 10; she didn’t cause a problem, she didn’t make people confused about the term, she’s just trying to get a job booked,” she joked.
Although, Carmina has had an accomplished career, she was not always so confident. “This,” she said as she gestured to her body, “I wouldn’t have known this girl if I met her eight years ago. My confidence is extremely hard won and well-earned and it took a long, long time to get here.” Listening to her story, it is easy to spot her warmth; many women would be able to relate to her. It was inspiring to know that Carmina promotes and supports a healthy body image and confidence.
One thing Carmina has learned about herself throughout her career is that the more confident she becomes, the more that she can “see the beauty in others.” Hearing her say that was very inspiring and was also a beautiful message not only for plus women, but for women and men everywhere. As my time with Carmina came to an end, I realized even further that being plus is not just about a particular size or shape, but it is also an attitude of confidence and positivity and spreading that message for the world to see. The fashion industry really does have a gem in Carmina Suzanne, not just with her talents, but with her personality and intelligence.