Strong has definitely started trending like the new skinny. Full-time plus-size model, body activist, radio host and founder of the Embrace Your Curves movement, Candice ‘Candashian’ Manuel would strongly agree. When Candice came onto the modelling scene at 18, she had no idea what was on the other side.
After experiencing discrimination because of her size, she decided to turn a negative situation into a positive one, by creating an empowerment movement for women to break societal norms.
The Embrace Your Curves movement is a platform for all women, no matter their size, shape or colour, to inspire each other. The platform encourages women to send through their motivational stories to Manuel, who then arranges for an interview that includes make-up and a mini photoshoot, which is shared on the Embrace Your Curves Facebook page.
“We’ve created something to break all barriers. As women, aside from societal expectations, it’s also our own fears that get in our way of reaching our full capabilities. We need to step out of our own way and realise that we deserve and can achieve what we desire and more,” she said.
Women’s Health spoke to the Cape Town-based plus-size model about her side hustles, fitness regime and favourite activewear brands.
WH: Candice, fitness and health have played a large role in your life as a plus-size model. What does your fitness regime look like?
I struggle with weight training so I always take part in fun walks. At the gym, I often cycle and use the treadmill. I also enjoy Zumba! As much as working out is about sweating, it should also be about having a good time. The biggest misconception with society these days is that plus-sized people are couch potatoes… We work out too and want the best outcome for our bodies. My movement, Embrace Your Curves, had a boot(y) camp where we had a personal trainer show us workouts we could do to ensure we stay healthy.
WH: Any struggles with finding fashionable plus-size clothing?
I used to struggle indeed. I often decided to buy activewear from the men’s department so I would have shirts with sleeves that cover my arms.
WH: In your opinion, has the fashion industry evolved for plus-sized clothing?
Plus-size fashion has definitely evolved. Curvaceous women no longer have to wear those formal box-shaped items of clothing that don’t complement their curves. As a curvy woman, I can walk into a store and buy skinny jeans that fit my hips, that make me feel sexy.
WH: What are your favourite activewear brands?
As a small-busted woman, I’m fortunate to be able to easily find sports bras. I buy my sports bras from Mr Price Sport.
I also get them at Totalsports Women. Not many people are aware of this, but Cavendish Mall in Claremont, Cape Town, has its own store that only caters to women.
When I am in need of leggings, I go to Nike or adidas. Nike has increased their sizes and leggings go up to XL (shop the Nike plus-size sale).
Candice has released an activewear/athleisure range called EYC Active (short for Embrace Your Curves) that’s home to trendy crop top hoodies and high-waist leggings for women of all shapes and sizes.