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Where was this celebration of curves and body when I was growing up? Acceptance, support, fashion and makeup – don't miss it.
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That time I was a plus-size model.

That time I was a plus-size model.

Curvy Expo would never have happened back when I was in the plus-modelling industry. A one-day event this Saturday May 14th at the International Centre in Mississauga, Curvy Expo is set to be an epic celebration of curves size 12 and up. Special guests include five-time Juno Award-winning recording artist Simone Denny, fashion expert and Cityline regular Lynne Spence, Breakfast Television/CityLine makeup pro Tracy Peart, fashion designer Jessica Biffi, and body-love advocate Liis Windischmann. The day's lineup (download the show guide here) includes two fashion shows featuring some of Canada's top plus models, as well as shopping fun with exhibitors such as Penningtons, Addition-Elle, Toni+, and more. Note: buy tickets here in advance; they're $4 more at the door.

Again I say Curvy Expo would never have happened in the mid-90s. Although gorgeous girls like Kate Dillon and Liis (one of Canada's most successful plus models, btw) were doing well, there wasn't a lot for curvy women. Mode magazine was a bright spot, filled with stunning editorial images of beautiful plus girls. Sure, we had Addition-Elle, Penningtons, Toni+, a boutique called Big, Bold and Beautiful, and, for a while, Holt Renfrew's 14-22 range. But women who wore larger than size 12 were still beyond the outskirts of fashion. Even when Crystal Renn became the new name in curvy beauty and fashion, nothing much changed for the plus everywoman.

But now we have Ashley Graham as the first plus model on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (She's followed that with a Maxim cover, and a Glamour cover too). Fiercely fabulous model Tess Holliday landed the cover of People as the first size 22 plus-size supermodel, and just released her own line of clothing in partnership with Penningtons. Also now in the clothing business is celebrated actress Melissa McCarthy, with a growing collection of stylish pieces she wears herself. Canada now has Dare Magazine, a digital publication full of plus-size chic, and a genius "street-style" approach that spotlights plus-size fashion bloggers here and abroad.

It's that network of plus fashion bloggers I particularly admire. Despite having dipped a toe in the modelling world, and being at least on the very periphery of the fashion world, I haven't a clue how to dress my body in something other than draping black or grey. My figure puts all its extra weight front-and-centre. I get asked all the time when my baby is due. #rude!* I could learn things from this community of bloggers I'm just now discovering.

[UPDATE: I was in NYC just this week, and a well-meaning stranger called me the "nice lady who's going to have a baby."]

See the gorgeous blonde up there over my be-flowered shoulder? That's Meghan Bradley.

See the gorgeous blonde up there over my be-flowered shoulder? That's Meghan Bradley.

The key reason Curvy Expo would never have happened back in the 1990s, however, is that its founder Meghan Bradley, then a busy plus model, hadn't developed the idea just yet. (That's her there beside me in the little black-and-white photo above, on the left.) How's that for a fun fact?

curvy expo squad goals

I see the Curvy Expo as a big, fabulous Squad Goals event, all about women supporting women, encouraging women, celebrating each other as beautiful whatever their size and body type. If that isn't the best kind of squad, I don't know what is.

Part of the day's events at this Saturday's Curvy Expo is a chance to meet a number of well-known fashion bloggers, such as Sarah Taylor (@sarahtaylorsjourney), Annika Reid (@thestylishreid), Thera Warren (@thera_cloud14), Lisa (@mustangsallytwo), and model @hourglasscath. I've raided Instagram for their photos as well as shots of some of the fashion-show models, because #squadgoals:

Model Keisha Marie, aka @keishamarie_cw will appear in the Curvy Expo fashion shows... will model Caterina, aka @caterinamoda...

...and model Melissa, aka @voluptuousmodel.

Assa, aka @mycurvesandcurls, will be part of the fashion-blogger meet-and-greet session... will blogger Thera Warren, aka @thera_cloud14...

...and Lisa, aka @mustangsallytwo, also a style blogger...

...and Amanda Montgomery, aka @amandamonty.

You'll also meet Sarah Taylor, aka @sarahtaylorsjourney...

...and model @hourglasscath.

These are just some of the personalities you'll meet; download the show guide to see a list of all the special guests.

win a pair of curvy expo tickets (UPDATE)

We're happy to announce that the winner of our giveaway is AMY FOSTER; congratulations, Amy! You've won a pair of tickets to the first-ever Curvy Expo this Saturday May 14th at the International Centre, Entrance 4, at 6900 Airport Rd, Mississauga. 

Tickets are still available and can be purchased in advance here; the price is $4 more at the door.

Have a gorgeous day, lovelies, whatever the label in your clothing says! xoxo