FYI…Tory Burch and video director, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, appropriates from Black music without using Black models

FYI…Another marketing campaign created without forethought and inclusivity.  Why Tory? Why?  We love Tory Burch for her adorable TB flats, she even has them in size 12, and her quality ready to wear collections but her Spring 2017 campaign video, directed by Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, was offensive and lacked diversity.

Click on this link to view the video: Instagram @theshelahmarie Tory Burch video post.

Tory Burch apologized via twitter but then removed the apology, along with the video.

My question is why are we not asking the video director, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, what she was thinking when creating and editing the video? Was she not aware that using the line from the song ‘nappy hair’ and then having an all white cast of models singing it would be even remotely offensive?

By using the monkey purse as an unusual object in the scene, she created a focal point in the video with the aforementioned purse. The monkey purse stands out and demands attention. That’s video 101, you knew what you were doing with its placement. Her use of the song bite from “Juju on that beat” that refers to ‘nappy hair’, a negative term for African American hair texture, sung by three Caucasian women becomes even more offensive.  It was cringe-worthy.

Here are my questions to, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, the video director:

  1.  Why did you not use a person of color in your video? There was obviously room in the shot for a third person.  Which leads me to the next question…
  2. Why a monkey purse?  As a professional creative director and videographer, mood boards are used and 99% of everything in a video is purposeful, why the monkey purse, if you were using an Afrocentric song?  Did you not realize that a monkey reference is offensive to the Black community?  Click on this link for you to understand why: Huffington Post: Comparing Black People to Monkeys
  3. Why haven’t you apologized for your creative choices that were in a national campaign?  If you’re objective was to make a “fun” video and you were told that you offended someone with your choice, should you not apologize?

You may ask why am I taking this further after the video was removed by Tory Burch. Ms. Burch and her company acknowledged their mistake, apologized and removed the video.  Meanwhile the creative behind the video and person responsible for the final cut, hasn’t acknowledged her offense.  Why is that important?  She is the creative director for several magazines.  An influencer in advertising and magazine editorials, as an Italian fashion editor and creative director to international luxury brands, her opinions and creativity feed the funnel of fashion content.  Her past videos for Tory Burch have over 10 million views.  She needs to apologize to a faction of people she markets to.  If she doesn’t acknowledge the offense to us, who will? Who really does?

That’s my FYI…

Here are more links on the same topic:

Please feel free to give your opinion in the comments below.  Offensive comments will be deleted and reported.  We are all here to learn from each other.

Jovanna Reyes


Eloquii Shop is open for business!


Eloquii, the brand known for its great selection of Plus clothing for women sizes 14-28, opened its first Brick and Mortar/Test Shop(they don’t want to call it just another pop-up) at the Fashion Centre in Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia.The location is on the second level next to Macy’s.  Why DC?  Mariah Chase, CEO of Eloquii stated “DC is our number-two market,” Chase says.When we found a great space at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, it was more a question of ‘Why not DC?’” as told to  of the Washingtonian.

“Our customers have been asking us for a physical location since we relaunched Eloquii nearly three years ago,” chief executive officer Mariah Chase said to WWD. “We’re excited to test what our business’ offline experience will mean to our customers at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. D.C. is one of our best markets and we hope to become a worthy component of our D.C. customers’ offline lives, understand their omnichannel behavior as well as generate many new long-term Eloquii community members.”The store is offering iPads for digital signage and styling tips.”

eloqui2The event hosted by Ms. Chase and Creative director, Jodi Arnold was a tremendous success with tasty cocktails, appetizers(by Gina Cherservani of Buffalo and Bergen), gift bags and amazing guests.  The shop had bloggers from all over the U.S. including top fashionistas from the DC area(make sure to follow them on the links below!).  The faves of the evening? Anything denim, of course!  Their bird embroidered denim jacket will live on through many seasons and their cotton ruffled blue and white striped dress was a hit amongst the bloggers.  Click here to see it on Dionna Humphries of MadeMePretty and posted below.


DANI SAUTER, BLONDEINTHEDISTRICT.COM wearing Eloquii’s Off the shoulder Midi Dress eloqui5eloqui26

#WomanCrushWednesday with April Shari



Curvysta’s #WomanCrushWednesday is April Shari from the Tristate area.  April Shari is a Plus model, photographer, mother, wife and social worker.  A Bicoastal Management model, April can be seen on the runways of PNO, Ashley Stewart and more.  Presently pursuing her Masters degree, she never stops learning to enrich her mind, body and soul.  As a social worker, April dedicates her work to helping those in need of assistance and in crisis. Veterans with post traumatic stress disorders are closest to her heart, as a former veteran herself.  She is the example of beauty on the inside and out. #WomanCrushWednesdays 

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”
― Audrey Hepburn

Follow April Shari @AprilShari on Instagram  Bicoastal Model Management 

Photos: Ivory Jackson @lucivoryphotography  MUA: Alfena Williams @Aw_Mua



Chearice Vaughn in Lane Bryant

Lane Bryant is known for celebrating the body of a Plus woman.  Their capsule collections with top tier designers like Isabel Toledo, Christian Siriano, Sophie Theallet, and now Prabal Gurung are unequivocal.  They have their finger on the pulse of a curvy woman’s needs and wants. Their new #ThisBody campaign  is a movement to reflect the power and influence of women. Chearice Vaughn is that woman, which is why she’s in our Lane Bryant editorial.

Chearice Vaughn is an MSA Curves model in NYC. We chose to showcase Chearice in our Lane Bryant editorial because she exudes the confidence, elegance and strength of an LB woman. She’s worked with Curvysta magazine for years and can be seen on the covers of several Plus media outlets, including Plus Model Magazine’s, The Black Issue, Skorch Magazine and more.  She was one of the first Plus models to officially walk during New York Fashion Week for Cabiria in 2013 and a featured model in Plus Night Out(2011-2013).

Curvysta copy 2



Black mesh sleeved top and pleather culottes by Lane Bryant; Shoes model’s own



Denim jacket, Cacique bra and Cacique high-waist panty by Lane Bryant; Dress by Zara


chearice312201723Top and Jeans by Lane Bryant




#ModelFocus:The Jose Pagan Tour

Curvysta magazine sponsored Jose Pagan’s Photo Tour in Maryland.  The sponsorship included featuring the amazing models that participated and here they are!  The models were from the Washington D.C. and Baltimore Maryland area.  Their occupations vary from the medical field to finance and are the true example of the complete package!8a7a6092-edit-edit

Kristina Denise of the Curvygirlchronicles & IG@_KristinaDenise


Tazah Richardson, Plus model from Washington DC @TazahRichardson  IG@Tazahthemodelvixen


Yasmine Arrington, Plus model from Washington DC @YasmineArringtonScholarchips & IG@YazzieSpeaks


Aysha White, Plus model from Baltimore Maryland @AyshaMWhite & IG@QueenAysh


Rae Nicole, Plus model from Baltimore, Maryland @RaeNicole & IG@MissDavis

Here are the behind the scenes with the one and only Jose Pagan:

Follow Jose Pagan @JosePagan and at

BTS Images by PCW Images-Paul Wiliams

“Exclusively Inclusive” with BYRON LARS BEAUTY MARK at KiaStyle360NYFW

Byron Lars of Byron Lars Beauty Mark presented his collection during New York Fashion Week at Kia Style 360.  Mr. Lars goal for the season is to be “exclusively inclusive”.


The runway was culturally diverse and body positive.  Byron Lars featured a variety of Curvy models on the runway and each dress just as fierce as the straight size models. Sommer Green(@Sommerboogie), a Plus/Curvy model, opened the show in a “Gele”, pronounced gaye lay, an African head wrap, wearing a body conscious, multi-patterned dress.  Her silhouette at the start of the runway, set the tone for the entire show.

Mr. Lars embraced ethnicities, shapes, races and sizes.  His presentation was an easy example of what may be done and must be done in all runway shows.  He didn’t tease us with possibilities, he made it happen.

The show included Kristi Castlin(@kristihollywood), Bronze medal winner in Track and Field in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  She wore a patterned dress of stripes and florals accessorized with her solid bronze medal and track shoes.


Model extraordinaire and Hello Beautiful, style and beauty editor, Danielle James(@TheIslanDiva), walked in the show in her signature converse sneakers.  Mr. Lars was inspired by their last meeting when she wore her converse with a dress and appreciated her laid back, ultra-feminine style.


Celebrities, models and fashion’s finest were all in attendance.  Fern Mallis, Ana Maria Sandegren of, Ashley Dobson, Supermodel Denise BidotBonang, Geneva S. Thomas of Bravo’s “Blood, Sweat & Heels” and many more.

Models seen on the runway were from MSA Models, Major and True Model Management. TMM was the official model management sponsor of Byron Lars Beauty Mark. Jenna Rusnak(@thecurvyrebel), Frankie Tavares(@frankietavares), were just a few of the True Model Management models gracing the runway. As hard as it was to take your eyes off of Byron Lars’ beautifully patterned dresses, Tiannia Barnes, a luxury shoe designer, sponsored the Italian made stilettos featured in the show.  My favorite, the mustard fringe heels. The handmade, couture accessories were created by The Sheila Gray Collection. The best of accessories to compliment the best of NYFW.


All photos by Alec Turner and Jonathan Rodriguez

Written by Jovanna Reyes

The Beauty of Afro Punk 2016

The Afro Punk Music Festival, held at the Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, NY, embraces the alternative music, fashions and lifestyles within the African American community.  This year the festival hosted Janelle Monae, Ice Cube, Gallant, Earl Sweatshirt and more.  The festival is not only about music, it draws creatives from all over the city and is a visual feast of artistic beauty.

All photos by Jovanna Reyes










I also had the fortune of running into THIS IS DOPE! fashion truck @newdopeness on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  The truck is a collection of one of a kind designers, accessories, retro records and more.  The items were curated in partnership by THIS IS DOPE! creator and The Global Style Gypsy, Latisha Daring(designer of the amazingly, original headphones).

Necklaces by The Sheila Gray Collection