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‘I love my big, beautiful life’

Anesta Henry

‘I love my big, beautiful life’

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Deborah Bartlett sees herself as a beautiful full-figured woman who has what it takes to advocate for plus-sized ladies, especially those who are self-conscious about their size.
It is because of such ambition that the 23-year-old decided to enter the Miss Big and Beautiful 2013 pageant and won the crown on October 28 at St Leonard’s Boys’ School.
“I am honoured that I won the pageant and will wear my crown well during my reign because from a child I always loved the glitz and glamour world.
“I love meeting people and making friends, and being involved in the pageant allowed me to do all of these things,” she said.
Bartlett was speaking to EASY magazine during an interview at her Christ Church home where she was looking her best from head to toe.
Still glowing from her win and proud of the young woman she has become, Bartlett noted that growing up she was always full-figured and had chubby legs, hands and cheeks.
“And even then I would always try on mummy’s shoes and make-up. I remember starting to wear actual make-up when I was in secondary school and would sneak on an application of face powder so nobody would notice.
“When I went to PomMarine [Barbados Community College Hospitality Institute] the attire was business wear, so that was another reason for me to wear make-up and then I just kept growing in the make-up industry.
“I would go on YouTube and do my own face. I worked at Mac Cosmetics,” she recalled.
But there is much more to this beauty queen. She is involved in a plus-size modelling group and this year graduated from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and aspires to a career as a human resources manager.
And she is adding sweet decadence to her big and beautiful life with her Cup Cake Heaven Barbados business, offering a variety of cupcakes. The business was conceptualized in her kitchen as she tested her cake-making and decorating talent.
Bartlett said that while preparing for the pageant she was privileged to build and develop relationships with nine contestants who all had different characters and she will always remember them.
“All ten of us, in my opinion, are queens and we all did very well on that night and the competition was very tight. I think it took bravery to do what we all did. I will always remember them and communicate with those I have made friends with”.
She will also never forget the boot camp session all the competitors had to participate in.
“Boot camp would make me sweat and stuff and though I know I have to be fit and healthy, I prefer to walk up and down my gap [but] I am not trying to discourage plus-size ladies from exercising,” said the former Deighton Griffith student, laughing at the memories.
“But for me personally, I don’t like to sweat and lift weights, I will find another way to exercise like going to the beach and swimming,” she added.
As for being an advocate of plus-sized women, Miss Big & Beautiful 2013 believes a woman should be respected regardless of her size or social status.
She also believes that although a woman is full-figured she should never neglect to pay attention to her looks.
“I find that since I always keep up my appearance, dress well and always look respectable, people compliment me. People would tell me you look very nice or I like how your hair and your nails are done.
“Yes, there will be negative comments because you can’t stop people from having their own views and opinions. Some might prefer a slim lady rather than a thick lady.”
Of course Bartlett wants children, preferably through marriage.
She wants to have “a little girl so that I can dress her up and put on make-up”.
“I still have my dolls, you know, I don’t play with them but I still have 18 because I am not throwing them away,” she said.