Liris Crosse, “The Naomi Campbell of Plus,” Releases Her First Book

Photographer: Ted Ely Stylist: Chaunielle Brown Hair: Alejandro Bradley Makeup: Christopher Michael

Liris Crosse, dubbed “The Body” and “The Naomi Campbell of Plus,” is a model, actress and pioneer in the fashion industry for full-figured and African American women. She released her first book, Make the World Your Runway, which includes a foreword by Tim Gunn. In the book, she drops top model secrets for everyday confidence and success. Liris was also a featured speaker at the 25th Annual ESSENCE Festival.

Liris is known for being one of the first plus-size models to win the model portion of Project Runway. She launched Life of a Working Model Boot Camp, which offers numerous classes to provide a new generation of models with tips and strategies on how to break into the fashion industry and maintain and improve their craft. In addition to modeling, Liris is also the spokesperson for Maggie Sottero Bridaland has had acting roles in The Best ManBaby Boy, The Wire and Law & Order: SVU.

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BELLA chatted with the Baltimore native, who now resides in New York, about her new book, her career, and her idea of self-love. Find the full interview below and follow along on social here.

Photographer: Ted Ely, Stylist: Chaunielle Brown, Hair: Alejandro Bradley, Makeup: Christopher Michael

Writing a book takes lots of dedication, self-discipline and time. Aside from all of the tedious, and detailed work that goes into publishing a book, what would you say was the most rewarding and/or satisfying part of the process of writing a book? 

Thank you! It’s been two things actually. First, I’d say reflecting on my career and life to find the stories to use as examples in the book definitely encouraged me and showed me how far I’ve come. Secondly, I’d say the affect after it was released with people having ‘AHA’ moments, new mindsets and deepened purpose shows me all my work was worth it.

In your book, you often brought up the topic of following the path/purpose that was meant for you. For people who don’t really know what their purpose is yet, what advice do you feel would inspire someone to find their true calling? 

For starters, read my book for more in depth tips on following the path that was meant for you. What do you want to do, even if you weren’t being paid? What do people say you’re good at and what brings you joy? Start with those questions and then go read the chapter on it. You may surprise yourself and dig deeper on the levels of how you can make a path for it in your life. It’s never too late to change course. Just because you started in one lane it doesn’t mean you can’t change lanes or have more than one.

Photographer: Ted Ely, Stylist: Chaunielle Brown, Hair: Alejandro Bradley, Makeup: Christopher Michael

In your book, Make The World Your Runway, you discuss the importance of self-care. I love that you pointed out that self-care isn’t selfish. As women, we tend to believe we should handle everything else before we take care of our well-being and if we do otherwise, we feel selfish. What does self- love and self-care look like for you? Is there a ritualistic skincare routine or mindfulness routine you do that you can’t go a day without doing, if so, what experience made this such an important part of your self-care habits?

Self-care and love are essential to my existence. If I can’t take care of me, I’m no good for anyone else. Sometimes I go to the day spa and lay in the sauna or steam room to restore my body and turn my phone off. Other times it’s something as simple as watching a bunch of funny videos from my favorite comedians on Instagram so I can laugh so hard, I cry. Laughter is a healing balm. I also love music, especially gospel and jazz. They can help to feed your soul when you feel weary. Sometimes I dance in my apartment by myself and have the time of my life enjoying me and expressing my emotions physically. You deserve to tune into you and know you fully, your good and your bad. Work hard but take breaks because remember YOU DESERVE IT! I also sometimes just have full blown conversations with God in the shower. I feel like he washes my worries away in that instance.

Your book is not only an opportunity to read and learn from your experience, it also has sections that you engage the reader to write down and reflect on their own experiences and behaviors that they can improve in to become better versions of themselves. During your journey of growth and becoming the successful, trailblazing model you are, what message or piece of wisdom have you gained that you are passionate about expressing to the world with your platform?

I know life can get hard for us at times, but just keep showing up! Models experience so many “no’s” from casting or being on hold for jobs that never happen, but we keep pressing forward! If someone is reading this and has been denied from a job they wanted, a club they wanted to join or a house they wanted to get, I pray they keep finding the faith to keep going. Try again! The rain doesn’t last forever and remember everything happens in God’s timing so try again. Show up and show out. The best is yet to come.

By: Nazhaya Barcelona

Photographer: Ted Ely, Stylist: Chaunielle Brown, Hair: Alejandro Bradley, Makeup: Christopher Michael


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