Washington DC native, Nina Taylor is much more than just a beautiful face! In May 2006 she completed her bachelors degree in Psychology in Pittsburgh, PA, December of 2009 she went on to complete her Master’s degree in Human Resource Development focusing on education and training. Full time, Nina has a career in medical education in the field of Oncology and Virology (Cancer, HIV and Hepatitis.) She is responsible for the organizations, continuing medical education program accreditation as well as managing an educational tool for Cancer and HIV physicians domestically and internationally. “I have a mindset of, ‘I’m just gonna try it. I remember my very first photo shoot. I was super nervous and really over prepared. (laughs) I had outfits, had practiced my posing and faces, you know just kind of over doing it. When I got there the photographer was just told me to act like he wasn’t there and he just went to work. I think it helped that I didn’t have ant experience and a background in theater. I just went for it!”
I asked her about any challenges she has faced on her road to success and how she dealt with them. “Well, one challenge I’ve come across is that I’m considered a petite plus size model. I’m not a 5’9 or 5’10 girl. I’m only 5’5 and most people in the industry look for girls that are 5’7 and up. I wanted to runway but would get stopped because I didn’t meet their height requirements. When you are that short they are looking for a specific body type and because I’m and 18 plus model, there isn’t a whole pool of opportunity like there is for the models that are a size 10 to 16. That definitely has been a hump, but in finding the right people and networking is where I’m finding the opportunities.”
Having faith in her undeniable talents and surrounding herself with positive and goal-driven people has definitely worked for her. Not only is she the newly crowned Face of Full Figured Fashion Week, but she is the reigning Miss Plus Size America DC. “When I got the crown I was over the moon! I felt like this is going to allow me to give back to my community. My platform is HIV Prevention, Awareness and Supportive Care. Aids is something that is very prevalent in Washington, DC. I wanted to do something that really spoke to the needs of my city and I could also shine a light on something that is an epidemic in our culture. I wanted to help get rid of those misconceptions of what the disease is.” Nina is and has always been a very active in her community and even acts as mentor to two young women. “They completely enrich my life! Where they are, I have already been. I have a mentor, her name is Laverne J Chapman, she is the CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League. She came into my life and she bought along 15 other women who were just like me. My dad raised my brother and I so I didn’t have a ton of female influence while I was growing up. My dad played the perfect role of both dad and mom. He was and is so supportive and he never missed or misses a thing. There is just a different bond when you get together with a group of women. So, to be around these like minded women and seeing how much changed happened in me because I had a mentor who is just over the top dynamic, I just wanted to start giving that back. I have two girls one 13 and one 19 and in very different parts of their lives. It’s just having someone to talk to. As long as you have someone to talk to, show interest and push you towards your goals, I think it is very valuable to them and it may pass on to another girl later on.”
Nina’s well manicured hands are dug deep in serving others. She not only takes time to mentor, she also works with YoungLives, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority incorporated in conjunction with the March of Dimes, assisting needy pregnant teen moms, and very involved with various organizations helping children with special needs. “Just donating a few hours of your time can make a huge difference. If you have a specialized talent, you should definitely share it.”
Nina says she gets her inspiration from a host of sources. “My dad inspires me. He’s so funny and just an amazing person. I call him community dad. There’s been so many guys in the neighborhood that don’t have dads and my dad literally opens his house to everyone. He touches the lives of so many people and it’s not anything he thinks about. It’s just naturally his style. I also draw inspirations from celebrities like Oprah and Queen Latifah; curvy women whom have made their mark in the world in very big ways all while staying humble and grounded. I had the chance to meet Mo’Nique and she was fabulous! She is just so down to earth and grounded. You would not think she was a super-mega star. I look at those women and am just inspired by them. I’d like to thank the talented Qevn E Arr for his continuous support over the past two years. Maria Georgieva who is an amazing and creative photographer with a work ethic that is unmatched. I’d like to thank Full Figured Fashion Week™ and the panel of judges. As well as family and close friends for their support.”
Being the fashionista she is, I would be remiss not to ask her for a few fashion tips. I first asked her what her fashion pet peeve was amongst plus size women. “O…M…G! (Laughs) I’m all about fitting. It literally sends me to the moon when I see a plus sized woman and her clothes are two sizes too small. My motto is that nobody knows the number on your tag, but you so there is no need not to buy clothes that fit properly. Get a size up and go have it tailored. People tend to think that having clothes tailored is expensive, but it’s not when you look at how long they last and how great they look when they’re finished. Buy clothes that fit your body! It you feel uncomfortable you probably look uncomfortable.”
You can get more info about Nina on her Twitter page @PlusModelNina and on Facebook at Miss District of Columbia Plus America 2011.