Clémentine Desseaux

Clémentine Desseaux

by Melissa Magsaysay

The model is making diversity mainstream as the norm, not the exception

“We want girls to know how beautiful and powerful they are regardless of what society tells them or makes them feel like. They are the future and we have to invest in them.”
-Clémentine Desseaux

Models are often subjected to the intense scrutiny of the fashion industry, traditionally treated as “coat hangers” to showcase designer clothing; a black canvas for creative teams to “paint” in the vein of their vision for the season.

While models have become more diverse in terms of size, ethnicity and age, the growing pains of the industry’s evolution are still felt during castings, fittings, shoots and shows.

Plus Size Designer Fashion Leesa Evans

Muse model Clémentine Desseaux knows first hand what this feels and looks like. She began modeling before the runways were more blended between various looking types of men and women and when there was a clear disparity between the categories of “Plus” and “Straight Sized” models.

She noticed the division between women of different sizes in the media, opportunities given and the type of clothing offered and decided to use her growing success and social media platform to speak up about it.

Plus Size Designer Fashion Leesa Evans
Clémentine wearing Brandon Maxwell

Along with fellow model, Charli Howard (who at a size 6 was told she would never succeed in the fashion industry), the two have formed the All Woman Project, a 501-c organization aiming to bring more diversity and awareness of all types of women through un-retouched photos and video presentations (featuring Iskra Lawrence, Paloma Elsesser and Quincy Davis) throughout the year as well as through events, workshops and meetings for girls elementary age to college.

Here, Desseaux shares how the All Woman Project started, plus favorite designers and her no-nonsense personal style.

Plus Size Designer Fashion Leesa Evans
Clémentine wearing Haney

Q & A With Clémentine

What was the impetus to start the All Woman Project?

Charli and I were shocked by how plus size and straight size were so divided. We kept on noticing the heavy one sided ideal of beauty circulating in fashion and media. We just were not in agreement with this ideal of beauty and believed that diversity should be showcased more regularly. We believed that we belonged in the same campaign along with all of the girls that were from various ages, colors, types, size and even genders. We wanted to stop playing around with labels and show the industry what was possible. So we created our own campaign, with almost no budget and not much experience. We turned it into a viral campaign with more impressions than most brands fashion campaigns out there. We proved our point. Diversity sells. It's worth it for brands to work on it and make everyone happier and healthier doing so.

What types of projects have you done in order to reach more people? Do you have any plans in the works for AWP?

We're now turned into a 501-c charity and are getting organized to go to school and spread our message of empowering diversity to schools. We're launching our first clothing collaboration next year and are working on more social media content for our channels. We're set to make a change not only in the industry but also in society. We want girls to know how beautiful and powerful they are regardless of what society tells them or makes them feel like. They are the future and we have to invest in them.

Describe how you got into modeling and how you feel the industry has changed since you've started.

I started modeling when models did not have a voice, when agencies were asking us not to post too much on social and when plus size clothing was really not something I would ever want to wear off set.

Now we are using our voice and have messages.

How would you describe your personal style?

Chic, minimal and boyish. Comfort is first. Always.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a successful model in this industry?

Being able to juggle everything I do is the biggest challenge. Between managing my production company, growing the All Woman Project, still making time for the blog and my modeling... and my new puppy! It can be overwhelming sometimes. It's all about priorities in the end. I still want to be at the top of my modeling game while being able to do all of that, so I need the right team around me to help me do that. Muse is good at helping me managing my busy lifestyle and finding time for awesome shoots in the middle of everything else going on. My partner is handling everything I can’t. I am lucky I have all of them.

What has been your career highlight thus far?

The first time I booked H&M. It was my dream client when I started in the industry because I use to only wear H&M. It was a little girl’s dream. I’ve gotten many (campaigns) since then, but that was a biggie!

Who are some of your favorite designers to wear?

I love Max Mara, Baja East, Michael Kors, Hebe Studio, any one that makes dope suits and of course, YSL!

What are your other hobbies when not working?



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