Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When is losing 40 pounds a bad thing? When you're a plus size model!

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by the beautiful Nikki Muffoletto who is here to talk to us about her Kickstarter project Model DIEt.  Thank you for joining us today Nikki!
Thank you James, I feel honored that you chose me for an interview

Your project is one of those personal journey kind of documentaries like “Super Size Me” would you care to tell us more about it?  
For the past 11 years I have been a plus size model, about 4 years ago I started training to become a professional basketball player and lost almost 40lbs. Now I am stuck in the middle of both straight and plus size modeling. Through the years I saw many models do crazy things to try to reach this perfect size and measurement. I started personal training models and found that the requirements are very small, so small in fact that it is considered underweight and on the bmi charts considered criteria for anorexia.
So I decided to take a stand and see if it is possible to get down to the specific criteria to be a fashion model. I will need to lose 40lbs in 3 months, can I do this in a healthy way?

How did losing 40 pounds and 6 dress sizes cause 90% of your modeling jobs to go away?  What’s considered “Plus Size?”  What’s considered “standard size?”  One would think you could just continue modeling just with a more standard size clothing.
Plus size models are 5’9-6’ sizes 12-16 .  An ideal size if you will , is  a size  1 4 in the plus size modeling world. Standard size models are  5’9-6’ sizes 0-4, with  an  ideal  size of  a  2.   There are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part that is the standard sizing.
Why did I lose clients?  If I am a size  8 and the clothes I am modeling are a size 14 I simply cannot fit into them. I wear padding, but it only get’s me to a  size 12  and alot of clients want models that do not pad.
One would think I could just model for clients  that like a size 8, but there are very few of them out there. It’s really 2 extremes , you either have to be very thin or a little bit overweight to model.

My wife and I watch America’s Next Top Model now and then and I recently asked if she would let our son model and she was fine with it, but definitely not our daughter because of the negative self-image and weight issues you are addressing with your project.  What impact do you think the modeling world has on our young girls, and to a lesser extent, boys who are growing up with all these images of rail thin women?  
I know that the modeling world has a major affect on young girls. In our society if you are pretty and thin you are considered better.  You look at ads and see young, thin, beautiful girls and the ads are meant to entice you.  If you’re seeing all these images of thin girls,  it’s how you perceive beauty to be.  Stats below:
The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.
47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
If you take different cultures, you will find men  are attracted to the body type that is socially acceptable.  So if the women are getting  thinner, than boys will most likely associate pretty and desirable with thin girls.   
With the current state of modeling could you recommend it as a career option for the youth of today?  
I think if you maintain your own sense of self and have limitations and parents have limitations and are involved  then I think modeling can be recommended.  The problem is there are people  and alot of them willing to sell there souls in hopes that they will  have a modeling career or their child will have a modeling career.
How do you think your project can affect things?  
I’m hoping there will be some laws put into place after this Documentary. I think it opens the eyes of  the modeling industry, parents and children to know that there needs to be some changes made and that to accept extreme standards in any job is not okay.  Can your job tell you you need to lose weight and get down to an underweight state otherwise you can’t get work?
What are you plans for distribution once the project is complete?  Are you taking it to film festivals and competitions?  
Yes, my plans are to take my documentary to film festivals and get as much awareness as I can. That means Radio, Newspaper and Television interviews as well.
One of my big bugaboos right now is Budget Breakdowns.  These show potential backers that you’ve thought out the costs and have a plan for the money and help alleviate those feelings of folks just asking for money.  You address the costs in your only update, but why didn’t you have this spelled out in the beginning?  
This is my first documentary and there is a learning curve.  
How did you discover Kickstarter?

I spoke to someone who has done documentaries before and they recommended a few different places to fundraise. I chose kickstarter because I think an all or nothing approach works well for me.
A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

I have updated my kickstarter page about once per week with new interviews and new updates as well as stats and stories as they come.
What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

I have received a good amount of media attention.  I had a local Chicago newspaper write an article and from that FOX news contacted me and from that  PLUS Model Radio had me on. I will say though alot of people in media shy away from doing an interview with someone doing a “Kickstarter” project. I have a facebook page Model Diet and the video on Kickstarter is also on youtube. I have a twitter and Instagram account.  I track my progress by using the dashboard tool on kickstarter to see how many people view the video and where the donations are coming from.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

I would say, make sure you have all your fundraising and all your ducks in a row before you start. I rushed it a little bit too early considering I have never done a documentary before.
Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

If you believe in this cause please donate and/or pass on the kickstarter page I have; Model DIEt!
Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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