Emma Medeiros is the President and founder of Medeiros Fashion Public Relations, the very FIRST PR firm catering to the plus size fashion industry!
Launched in 2015, Medeiros Fashion Public Relations subscribes wholeheartedly to Coco Chanel’s belief that “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” by only taking on clients who offer something truly unique.
The firms’ clients include KeepYourPantsOn.com, the only website that offers a personalized shopping experience for women’s belts, Kelly Shibari, adult film star turned plus size model, who was the first porn star on the cover of Penthouse Forum and who created the first sex education film for the plus size community, and JustRaymona, plus size designer, stylist, pattern maker, and star of Lifetime’s reality series, “24-HourCatwalk”.
Emma sums up, “My goal with Medeiros Fashion Public Relations is to put plus size fashion on an equal footing with straight size fashion. There’s absolutely no reason for them to be separate, and, once I accomplish that, I can die a happy woman!”
Check out our Q&A with this pioneer for the plus industry!
Natasha: You have diverse clients in the industry; how did you decide which clients to represent?
Emma: I look for clients who bring something truly unique to the industry; with all the competition and growth, you need to be able to differentiate yourself. One of my professors in college told a story that really stuck with me. When he went on an interview, he was asked, “What makes you so f**ing special?” The professor was stunned and couldn’t think of anything to say, so he was asked to leave. That was brutal but it really stuck with him and me, too. You often have just thirty seconds to grab someone’s attention and convince them to buy, promote, or hire your brand, so it’s important to be doing something that no one else is.
Natasha: What attracted to you to the fashion industry initially?
Emma: First and foremost, I am plus sized and I always had trouble finding fashionable, cute clothes. I remember when I was in a Sears store looking for the plus size section and I was brought to a section in the dark, cramped corner in the back of the store. Looking at the clothes they offered, I had to hold my tongue from saying, “I asked for the plus size section, not the grandmother section!” Thankfully, things are getting better. Plus, I saw there was a need in the industry for representation of plus size models, designers, etc, as there was no other PR company in the US that specialized in the plus size fashion industry.
Natasha: What are some of the biggest PR challenges you deal with?
Emma: On the business end, I often struggle with the lack of communication from some professionals in the industry. We’ve never before had access to so many means of communication (phone calls, face-to-face meetings, texts, Facebook, emails, etc), and it is absolutely astounding how many people simply don’t communicate effectively, taking weeks to return a simple message and then being surprised when opportunities pass them by.
As corny as it sounds, we need to remember the Golden Rule; to treat others as you want to be treated. The lack of professionalism needs to be talked about and not tolerated because it’s really hurting the fashion industry as a whole.
Natasha: What are some changes you would like to see in the plus size fashion industry?
Emma: There is a lot of juvenile backstabbing and talking behind each other’s backs in this industry, although that’s probably not limited to just the plus size industry, and I really find that to be disheartening. So many times, people at the top are afraid of getting edged out so they think they have to prevent others from succeeding by spreading rumors about them or keeping them from advancing in some way. We are working together for one cause and this behavior has to STOP because it is holding us all back. We need to have respect for each other. Petty bickering is so unnecessary and unprofessional. This industry is still small enough that this kind of behavior will come back to haunt you in the end and will only end up hurting you and your business. We have to work together to prove that we are worthy of being in the mainstream spotlight and I really hope I can make people realize that. Even the people who are competitors should be working toward the same goal of growing and promoting the industry.
Natasha: Do you think more PR agencies will dedicate to serving the plus size industry?
Emma: I hope so! I have seen some firms take on plus size designers so there is starting to be more acceptance of the industry. And I love to see plus size models accepted by traditionally straight size modeling agencies, as well as more agencies opening up that cater exclusively to plus size models.
Natasha: What is your overall message at your firm?
Emma: I really look for people who know their point (or points) of difference. For example, one of my points of difference is that I used to have a plus size fashion blog so I know what the media is like from a journalistic point of view. I’m able to pinpoint what is truly newsworthy about my clients and therefore I don’t waste time pitching “stories” that will never be published.
Natasha: What are three things people don’t know about you?
Emma: 1) I’m THE quintessential crazy cat lady! My cat is named Jezebel and I have ten times more pictures of her than my husband, Adam. Thankfully, he accepts this as inevitable and says, “At least I know where I stand.”
2) Adam and I have been my best friends since I was 18 and now he is the most supportive husband in the world! We got married in 2012 in a Renaissance-themed wedding, which included features like a purple wedding dress, my nephews as knighted ring bearers, and a castle-shaped cake which we cut with a real sword. I think this shows that I am not afraid to step out of the box and take risks, although it was certainly challenging to plan the wedding while working full-time and going to school. I am so grateful for having such an amazing partner who does whatever it takes to help me further my business.
3) I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 13 and, thankfully, have been completely stable on medication since I was 16 years old. I believe it is really important to talk about this because a lot of people with mental illness think they can’t do something or live a normal life. That is not true!!! I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would not let it ruin my life or stop me from reaching my goals.
I really owe this mindset to my parents; since I was a juvenile when I was diagnosed, the doctors spoke with them about options for me, one of which was going on disability. My mother said absolutely not because she knew I would make something of myself despite having this illness and she didn’t want me to think of disability as a backup plan because I would never reach my full potential. She never even told me about that conversation until years later when I had already established myself, for which I am VERY grateful.
Depending on your circumstances, you can have a normal life with a job and a healthy relationship. It comes down to having the right communication with the right doctor. You can take medication and get therapy if you need it; even if you have no health insurance, there are programs that will help you get the treatment you need. Everybody has issues, but you can’t let them stop you from pursuing your dreams. I don’t think of myself as sick; I am not a victim or crippled. Although every situation is different, you simply cannot allow whatever baggage you have to determine the outcome of your life.
Emma is a woman not afraid to make a change in this industry. She saw a need in the industry and she is making a difference with each and every client!
You can learn more about Medeiros Fashion Public Relations at the following links: