AWM Spotlight: Crystal Wallace

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AWM Spotlight: Crystal Wallace

Curvy carnival queens, we honor you! Next up in the AWM spotlight is Crystal Walace, founder of The Curve Experience. Read about how she was inspired to create this platform, her thought s on curvy-girl inclusion and how TCE is not just for plus-sized women.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your upbringing/development in the Caribbean community.

I am West indian-American and Carnival/Soca addict. My upbringing in the West Indian community would be through my parents who are proud West Indians. 
 
I was born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York that has a very dominant West Indian Community from my friends to my teachers down to my neighbors. In addition to my upbringing, my parents would send my brother and me to their native countries to spend most of our summer with our Aunt, Uncle, and Big cousins. so that we can get away from city life. My mother even sent me to live with my aunt for an entire year in Trinidad because in her words she was not able to find someone she trusted to watch me while she was at work. 

2. As a curvy girl in mas, what challenges have you faced?

 I have been told a few times that unfortunately the frontline costume only goes up to a certain size, to falling in love with a costume only to be told that a high waist panty or full coverage option is not offered, plus-size options lacking creativity and execution even when we at times required to put out more, My options are even limited to the bands that I can jump with simply because my body type does not fit the image they want, even being passed by photographers on the road, and last dealing with anxiety for costume pick up hoping my costume is ready and fits me perfect. 

3. What made you start the platform, The Curve Experience?

I started the TCE because I was tired of not seeing enough representation of women who looked like me (plus-size) be featured on other carnival platforms. There is a phrase in the Carnival culture “Carnival is Woman” but I found out this phrase only applies to a certain type of woman. I know My Curvy women were tired of working overtime to pay for a costume, stockings, makeup, hair, sneakers, and jewelry to look just as good as our smaller peers only to be overlooked and not celebrated.

4. Other than body positivity, what other topics does the curve experience cover?

TCE has covered colorism in the West Indian Community, Fetes, Carnival Horror stories that have come from our followers, and even vlogging our experience for Trinidad Carnival 2020. We want to expand the content we offer our audience as we grow to have something for everyone that supports the TCE.

5. Is your platform only for the curvy audience?

TCE was created for the plus size community, however we would like to pride ourselves in being inclusive to all body types.

6. Why is it important to you to have more curvy representation at band launches, and options for curvy masqueraders in all mas bands?

Just think of it as shopping for a new outfit. You always try on more than one to see what flatters your body. Having a curvy model who has the same body type as a plus size customer will help that person make a better decision on what costume will flatter their body and what won’t.  

7. If you had your own mas band, what would you do differently from most?

I would offer more creative designs for men because I personally feel they would like more options and I would have a rotation of body types and skin tones modeling the costumes. 

8. What was the most useful tip you have ever received as a curvy masquerader?

I was advised once by a family friend to bring a costume that similar to the one I purchased  as a backup just in case there was a problem during production. 

9. How is TCE fairing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and what future plans do you have for your platform?

Just like many carnival lovers I was going thru bad carnival tabanca. I felt sad feeling that the growth of TCE might possibly be put on hold due to carnivals being cancelled. However it has forced me to be more engaged with my audience by doing lives. It feels more personable because they know they are interacting with a human other than a page.

Keep up with The Curve Experience

Follow TCE on instagram

AWM Thanks You!

Crystal! I met you back in Trinidad this year, you are sweet and your energy is infectious! Thank you so much for this amazing platform. Its important to represent all curvy women in mas, and I am so happy to know you! Wishing you many blessings upon you and TCE.

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