Toccara: Big Girls Rule

Television’s newest reality superstar, Toccara, was recently eliminated from Season Three of Tyra Banks’ popular show, America’s Next Top Model. Regardless, that is not going to stop the Ohio native from achieving her goal of becoming the first plus-size super model of the world. Although naturally bodacious Toccara had to endure weeks of constant critique from a ferocious panel of judges, her personal disappointment has given inspiration to plus size women of color everywhere - and America has discovered a new sex symbol.

Week to week Toccara proved herself against a dozen other fledgling models from across the nation, but after a long and hard fought battle, the judges decided that Toccara did not fit their ideal. Fortunately, she suits Alternatives to a tee! A joyful and vibrant Toccara was more than happy to talk with us about her experience on the show, the importance of confidence, and the next phase of her career. Alternatives: So what’s in store for you now as you move on from America’s Next Top Model?

Toccara: I’m going to continue to pursue being the first plus size supermodel in the world. Then hopefully I can get some endorsements. I can endorse maybe Pepsi, Reebok, or McDonalds. I would love to do Lane Bryant, or Angie Stewart, maybe Versace, Gucci, Gap, and Guess.

AHHA: Who have been some of your inspirations from the modeling world?

Toccara: Actually, it’s hard to have inspirations from the modeling because there are no Black plus-size supermodels. Can you name a Black plus-size model? It’s kind of hard trying to be the first and breaking barriers. Hopefully, I’ll become an inspiration for the next plus-size model – [people will] be like, ‘I want to be like Toccara’, or ‘Toccara did that, so I can do it’.

AHHA: Do you think the judges had a valid reason for kicking you off the show?

Toccara: No, No, No, No, I can’t believe they did that. Do you believe they did that? They made a big mistake. Tough titty.

AHHA: Some of our readers felt that it seemed like you lost your spirit last during the show. Would you like to comment on that?

Toccara: I don’t feel like I lost my spirit at all - I came in with two snaps and left with two snaps. I left on a positive note - I was happy, I was energetic, and I just think that was their personal opinion. If that’s the way they wanted to portray that episode, then that’s just them.

AHHA: You commented about the ‘skinny b*tches’. Did that have an affect on you being in the house of just skinny girls, people trying to be low carb?

Toccara: I didn’t have a problem being in the house with all the skinny models. Actually, I think it was helpful that I was in the house because I was an encouragement to all the other models. You have Norelle who stated, ‘I wish I was more like Toccara, she’s so confident’, and Yaya says, ‘Toccara’s a great motivation, she’s very encouraging’. A lot of the girls are like, ‘I wish I was a comfortable as Toccara, she’s the biggest girl in here, but she’s the most comfortable’. I think I left them with something that they will carry with them.

AHHA: What is your source of confidence? Where do you think you draw all that energy from?

Toccara: I’m blessed… God, I don’t know. I’m just blessed. Thank the Lord.

AHHA: Did you feel that you gained a sense of kinship with Tyra Banks?

Toccara: I think Tyra is a great person, I’m very grateful that she chose me to be on the show. I gained so much publicity that I would never had gained. I think on the show she was very professional, and I commend her on that, because she can be professional and personal. It was a great experience.

AHHA: Do you feel that there’s anything you feel you have to conform to within that industry?

Toccara: No, I don’t feel like I have to conform to anything because I’m trying something new. I’m not trying to be the average video girl. I’m trying to break the norm and break barriers, so I can’t conform if I’m trying to make a change.

AHHA : Do you feel that Black men in general like larger women anyway?

Toccara : [Laughs] Of course! Right. Well I definitely feel that the Black community appreciates women with curves. Don’t nobody want a woman with bones. Only dogs eat bones and they throw them away. I’m a woman with curves and a lot of [Black] women have curves - whether you’re a size 2 or 13 we have curves and men love that.

AHHA: I want to go back to when you were at Century 21and you couldn’t find clothes your size on the rack. How did that make you feel?

Toccara: From day one on the show I had problems, but my purpose on the show was not to dwell on that. I’m Toccara and I’m fabulous. But week after week for like seven or eight weeks, it came to the point where ‘you chose me to be on this show’. The stylist made the comment ‘Do you think I could get a rack of clothes in your size?’ Yeah, that’s what you get paid for, that’s your job! It’s a shame, but I don’t dwell on it.