UM: Tell us a little bit about your brand, and how did you get your start in the industry?
The vision for my brand was born when I made history by being the first crowned Miss Plus America in 2003. My platform of “positive body image” that I promoted as a monthly pageant obligation became the catalyst for me to become a trailblazer in plus size fashion and body positivity. I decided to pursue a career in entertainment full-time and take my brand to a national level by relocating from Baton Rouge to Los Angeles in 2004. Prior to the social media boom, I was making waves as an advocate though being a visibly plus size person breaking ground as a plus-size model that didn’t fit industry standards, an actress on a hit show, as well as producing events and campaigns that garnered national and international media attention.
My brand’s mission is to empower every person, especially women, to have a healthy body image and self-esteem, which I promote by being a positive role model and influencer, promoting body positivity through my podcast, The Chenese Lewis Show, and by hosting events that celebrate what our society doesn’t deem as the ideal of beauty. Even though I’m working with more mainstream brands and events now, they still embrace and incorporate the message of inclusivity that I promote.
UM: How did you feel when you received the call to host Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show in New Orleans?
I was ecstatic!!! I am truly grateful and honored to have the opportunity to host this legendary event. I’m also excited to be a part of the brand's history as this is the first time the event will be held outside of Atlanta in its 72 years of existence. More than 35,000 people will be in attendance for three exciting days of education, exhibits, competitions, and entertainment. This is a major opportunity for me that I am blessed to have!
UM: What are some things that make New Orleans unique?
The eclectic mixture of cultures, Cajun and Creole cuisine, the people, the architecture, and the rich history makes New Orleans a city unlike any other place.
UM: What are some great food spots that those attending the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show should check out?
When I travel to New Orleans it’s primarily for work and not pleasure. Having a full schedule when I’m in town doesn’t leave me much time to explore the city and enjoy as much local cuisine as I would like. However, one restaurant I’ve enjoyed on multiple occasions is Mulate’s, it’s a Cajun restaurant that’s close to the convention center.
UM: Do you have any other upcoming projects and where can we go to keep up with your latest?
Always! Next, I will be hosting the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo, July 6th & 7th during the Essence Music Festival weekend as well as the TCFStyle Expo August 9th-11th in Atlanta. More events are pending, to stay up-to-date with everything I’m doing visit my website www.CheneseLewis.com and you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @CheneseLewis