It all started when Nadia Aboulhosn spent her work hours with her bestfriend at the mall checking out people’s outfits. “That’s how it all started, blogging about what we’d be wearing. I just started doing that three times a week and escalated from there,” she says. What began as a simple blog eventually evolved into a platform for her journal of personal growth and experiences. Currently a familiar face in the industry as a plus-size model, Nadia was raised in Florida in a Lebanese-American household. The 28-year-old recalls frequenting New York and New Jersey when she was a teenager and sites these trips and her diverse upbringing for her broad-mindedness. It was when she won American Apparel’s XL Model Search in 2011 and flew to Los Angeles for a photo shoot that she realized she wanted to try her hand in modeling. “It’s a fun job with a big impact. I’m able to have my pictures taken and translate it into a girl who feels better about herself,” she says. It wasn’t long before Seventeen Magazine got in touch with her for a photo shoot, thinking that she was based in New York. “I said I was in New York, but I was really in Florida, so I spent $400 on a flight to be there for one day and not get paid,” she recalls. “I did it because I knew that it was an investment for myself and that it was going to lead into something bigger.” And it did—because two weeks after the shoot, still with no definite plans other than a dream to be successful, she told her mom that she wanted to move to New York. “I had done everything from blogging and working on my modeling career to working on PR and marketing, building my network, and pitching myself to people,” adds Nadia.
“For a long time, I was afraid to be who I was fully…but people like authenticity that they could relate to.”
Building a cult following on social media that not only boast of numbers but of quality, she sheds light on what she’s doing right. “I show the genuine side of me by working hard and being in a loving relationship. For a long time, I was afraid to be who I was fully, because I didn’t want to lose brands who support me. But people like authenticity that they could relate to, someone like me,” shares Nadia. The challenge to be a role model is always there, but she admits to going back and forth from showing the best version of herself to being real. “In a way, I just feel the pressure to be good and positive, but I’m just human. The older I get, the more I realize that I’m tired of convincing people to see me in a certain way, to the point that if somebody thinks of me differently, I’m not going to take the time to convince them to think otherwise.” She goes on, “I try to do more for others, to give advice and let other women know what they’re capable of. My followers have been with me for a very long time and can really see who I am as a person.”
“[Modeling] is a fun job with a big impact. I’m able to have my pictures taken and translate it into a girl who feels better about herself.”
With one aspiration leading to the gateway of the next, the model struck gold when she struck out at a major design school in New York to pursue fashion design. “They denied me because I couldn’t draw,” confesses Nadia. That rejection only encouraged her to work harder. Gaining more and more recognition as a plus-sized model, she reached out to online store Boohoo and Canadian plus-size fashion brand Addition Elle to work on a collaboration, ending with her co-designing some clothes for both brands. But she also fought to have her own brand, and earlier this year, she launched By Nadia Aboulhosn, a clothing line for women with sizes ranging from small to 3XL.
From New York, she recently moved to Los Angeles to focus more on the production of her clothes. “The first thing I wanted to do was to come out with something feminine, because I don’t think people would expect that from me since my style is street and sporty. So once I launched that more feminine look, I really wanted to get into designing more of my style and what isn’t available in full range of sizes,” shares Nadia. For now, Nadia is taking full advantage of the network and continues to push her brand in the market, focusing more on designing than blogging and modeling. “The thing that I’m really, really proud of is that this was my end goal for what I wanted to do in the fashion world. At some point, when my fashion line gets to where I want it to be, I’d sort of fade away and just live a whole new life [laughs].”