EDITOR’S NOTE Aug. 25, 2010: To read about Chenese Lewis’ nude photo shoot with Whitney Thompson on behalf of Love Your Body Day, click here.
If Chenese Lewis isn’t already an inspiration to plus-sized women everywhere, she certainly should be. In 2003, the PLUS Model Radio host, who makes her home in Los Angeles, made history by being the first woman crowned Miss Plus America. Since then, she has created Love Your Body Day, an annual event that promotes self-acceptance and positive body images, which takes place in October in Hollywood. And if you missed Chenese in those roles, you may well have caught her on BET’s mock-dating show, Hell Date, or as an expert commentator on Dr. Phil. On that less-than-justice-doing introduction, we now give you the lovely lady herself.
Chenese: Oprah puts the "o" in her show's inspiration.
Give us a 15-second pitch for your show – why should listeners tune in?
PLUS Model Radio is geared toward women sizes 14 and up. The show title comes from my association with PLUS Model Magazine, where I’m on the editorial board. Neither the magazine nor the show, however, are limited to the topic of modeling. The average American woman wears a size 14 or above, yet plus-sized is still a niche market that’s fairly untapped. So my diverse audience has been growing steadily because there are few, if any, shows out there with the same focus. Guests on the show are successful plus-sized women, or someone whose product is geared towards that market. Notable guests have included Emme, Kimberly Locke, Mia Tyler and Whitney Thompson.
Tell us two things listeners would be surprised to learn about you?
Besides interviewing curvy celebs, I’m a budding one myself. I am pursing a career as an actress, television host and motivational speaker, with the occasional modeling gig on the side, along with other projects/events that I produce. I’ve actually had the opportunity to work with or meet several of the people that I’ve interviewed on the show!
Who’s your broadcasting hero?
Oprah Winfrey, hands down. Not only is she great at what she does, she’s a role model and philanthropist. I totally use her for inspiration when producing PLUS Model Radio. I try to have guests who cross all walks of life, ages and ethnicities. Many guests have inspirational stories of success, and about learning to love their bodies. I’ve also been able to use the show to help raise money for charity, and I try to keep the overall tone professional, positive, and uplifting.
If you could book any person on earth as a guest on your show, who would it be and why?
Oprah! Other than her, I think all the other celebrities on my list are attainable. Sometimes I’m shocked myself with some of the guests I’ve been able to book. I’m in entertainment, so I have lots of friends in the industry who aren’t in the plus market. But they tell me they’re going to gain weight to be on my show. I take it as a compliment.
As we speak, what are you wearing?
I’m on the way to an industry event in Hollywood, so right now I have on a fabulous dress and heels. But when I host the show I’m real casual.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done while in the middle of hosting your show?
Wow. I can’t think of anything really strange. Maybe being sick with a virus, on antibiotics and feeling horrible, but it being too late to cancel the scheduled show. As they say, the show must go on. So I tried to sound upbeat and into the interview. And thank goodness, it came out great! But as soon as that interview was over, I ran to the bathroom and, well, I’ll spare you the rest of the details. (lol)
To sample PLUS Model Radio, click here.
To learn more about Chenese, click here.
To read PLUS Model Magazine, click here.
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