It wouldn't be Star In A Bra without our top ten interviews and even though I didn't quite manage to fit myself into one of the Curvy Kate teams suitcases and do the interviews in person, nothing would stop me from chatting to our gorgeous top ten!
So the girls kindly obliged to do the interviews via email and finally they're ready to go up! Want to get to know more about our contestants and find out how the photo shoot really was? Here's your chance!
And without further ado, we start the interviews in alphabetical order, so first up is the beautiful Brittany Jencks!
Hi Brittany! Well congratulations from across the pond on making it through to the top ten of our first ever Star In A Bra USA! Why don't you start by telling our readers all about you?
My name is Brittany, I live in Asheville, NC, and I'm 22. Other than bra fitting and body image, my interests include art, computer science, psychology, and sociology. Basically I am a big nerd! I also write the bra fitting and body image blog Thin and Curvy.
I'm a huge fan of Thin and Curvy, and hopefully the competition will highlight the issues with being smaller but still having killer curves. What size do you normally wear when it comes to lingerie?
I wear roughly a 28H/HH bra size, although I could do with a 26 band, as I have quite a small ribcage! I wear a UK 10-12 on the bottom.
Who knows, maybe the competition will bring to light the need for sub-28 back bands? There's certainly a market for it! Now even though you're a bit of an expert when it comes to bras, were you refitted at the shoot? A lot of people end up going home with a new bra size...
At the shoot, they thought I would be a 28H, but there was a mix-up and there weren't any! So I had to wear 30GG's.
Oh no! Although sadly it's an occupational hazard of only being able to bring a restricted amount of stock to the shoots, if only we could bring all of it! I happen to know you're a bit of a Curvy Kate fan, but do you have any particular sets or styles?
I actually think that just about all Curvy Kate sets are utterly gorgeous - that's one of the things I love about the brand! At the shoot, I found that I especially loved the padded styles, such as the Tease Me/Thrill me. I also really liked the Princess bra, especially in nude, because it doesn't show under white tops, but it's still a really pretty and sexy design.
You can't go wrong with the Princess, although I absolutely love the pictures of you in the blue Tease Me from the shoot, it's really flattering on you and looks gorgeous!
I have always thought that Curvy Kate's designs were beautiful, but I had never had a chance to try any on until the shoot! Having tried them on, now, though, I can honestly say that they were just as beautiful as I thought in person, and they gave me a really nice shape, as well.
That's so lovely to hear! So, how did you find out about the competition?
I have watched and voted in the UK competition for several years now. I always wished I could enter, so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that Star in a Bra was coming to the US!
I bet you were thrilled when we finally announced it! So why did you decide to enter?
I have really struggled in the past to accept my curves. My mother always hated her chest and I used to hope and pray I wouldn't inherit it! After becoming busty, I decided I wouldn't stand for feeling ugly and frumpy in badly fitting clothes and bras. I want to celebrate my body for what it is, not what I wish it were or what society thinks it should be. I also think this contest is a really great chance to bring awareness to America about bra fitting, and the fact that curvy women can be beautiful, too. I knew that I wanted to be a part of that!
I can't think of a better reason to enter! You obviously have followed the competition and know what it's all about, so how does it feel to be a part of our first EVER USA competition?
It's so exciting- I feel like this contest is history in the making! It's also been a bit scary, because Americans are a bit more prudish than Brits in terms of things like underwear, so there's this major fear of being judged harshly for participating.
I think anyone entering a competition like this - regardless of country - is going to find it a little terrifying but it's great that everyone who entered rose above and beyond that in the name of all things curvy. How have your loved ones reacted to it all?
My fiance has been really excited and encouraging. He says I am his sexy lingerie model, whether I win or not. My immediate family have also been positive. I've had a few assorted people accuse me of doing it "just for attention," and a few people have expressed concerns that doing this will hurt future job prospects. But I've also had a lot of friends be supportive and vote for me, even people who I wouldn't have expected to care that much. I was really afraid of a negative reaction, but instead I've been really touched and grateful for the support I have received.
It's strange how those closest to you have been SO lovely about it all, yet there are some people who view it in a negative way, such a shame. But it seems like most people are really supportive, just as they should be. OK, so the shoot has been and gone, how did you feel beforehand, and after?
Before the shoot, I won't lie, I was super nervous! It really hit me that I only had one chance to get some great photos! As the day went on, I relaxed more, though, and I felt happy with my photos. Afterwards, I was tired, but happy, and excited to see how it all turns out!
That's great! I admire all of you, I'm not sure I could do it! And what were the best and worst parts? Hopefully nothing too horrendous!
The best part was getting to hang out with some amazing and gorgeous girls... the worst part was having to leave them! I especially hit it off with Cristyen - people kept asking us where we knew each other from, because right away we were acting like old friends.
That's amazing! I love how every year some of the contestants leave with some really close, new friends and it gives off such a positive message that women can be so supportive of one another, even when technically they're competing against each other. Are you proud of your size and shape?
This is a hard question for me to answer. I am working on feeling good about my curves, and I know that I've made a lot of progress in that area. However in some ways I feel like saying that I'm "proud" of my shape would imply that I think my body shape is more attractive than other people's, and I would never want to say that. I truly believe that there are different kind of beautiful and that my type is only one way of being beautiful! I do feel pretty comfortable in my skin, though, and I like to focus on what I like about myself, and I try not to compare myself to anyone else.
That's a really good way of looking at it. I think people misinterpret the word curvy all too often - you can be whatever shape and size but we're all women and we're ALL curvy, and as long as we're healthy and happy, nothing else really matters. Now I know it's one of the focuses of your blog, but for those who haven't read it, do you struggle to dress for your curves?
Definitely! That's what my blog is all about - my struggles to find clothes and lingerie that fit me. Some people tell me it must be nice to be so curvy, but they have no idea how hard it is to find things that fit! I dream of one day being able to just walk into a store and find clothing and lingerie that fits me.
Tell me about it, I'm still waiting for that day to happen! What do you think a Curvy Kate girl is all about? Like, what do you think makes someone a Curvy Kate kind of girl?
Obviously, a Curvy Kate girl should be curvy, but I think it's more than appearances. I think that it's also about being a role model and being confident in your curves! I also feel like a Curvy Kate girl should be intelligent and passionate, care deeply about the brand and about bra fitting, and that she should believe that any woman can be beautiful.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there! There's so much more to just looking great; Curvy Kate girls are representing body confidence and a brand so focused on that. So, what would be the best part about winning?
Winning would be an absolute dream come true! There's a lot about it that would be wonderful - getting to go to London and be photographed, being able to wear such gorgeous lingerie for the photos, and being able to meet and play around with the Curvy Kate team. But I think that the very best part would be being able to play such a major role in bringing awareness about larger cup bras and bra fitting! I have been doing by best on that front for several years now with my blog, and I think that winning would allow me to do so in a whole new way.
It's great that the competition to you isn't just about taking part and being model, but about body confidence and the fitting issues and highlighting them! Speaking of fitting issues, what's the situation like in America?
Oh goodness, it's terrible! There are very, very few women here wearing anything close to the right size. Very few stores sell anything larger than a DD cup if you're lucky, and the pitiful selection of D and DD cup bras are all horrible, hideous minimizer bras. All of the most popular lingerie chains do a horrible job with fittings, and will just shove women into the closest thing they have to their size, whether it actually fits or not. A lot of ladies think that that counted as a "bra fitting" and so if you suggest that they could use a better fitting bra, they will say they already tried getting fitted and it didn't work. Women here are also in denial about bra fitting, so even if they happen into one of the rare shops that does a good job, they often will refuse to believe they could be bigger than a DD cup. There's a big stigma, and women assume that they are freaks or that bras are just painful, and that there's nothing that they can do about it. And it's hard to even talk about, because Americans get really embarrassed or offended. They think that lingerie is all about being sexy for men, and don't understand that it can be about feeling comfortable and pretty, for yourself.
There's also a major misconception that curvy means you are overweight, which is another reason women here don't want to accept larger cup sizes- they think that, say, a G cup must mean that the bra fitter is calling you fat! The inspiration behind my blog's name was this- to try to show that curvy is a shape, not a size. I do, however, believe that all different shapes and sizes are beautiful.
And I thought we had it bad in the UK! Taking that into account, how would it feel to be the first ever American Star In A Bra?
It would be so exciting! I seriously think that I would cry. I really want to make a difference with bras in this country. The first ever winner will be in a very important position to educate women that bras can fit, be pretty, and that curves are OK!
It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it! Do you have any advice for women considering entering next year, or the UK and Australian competitions?
My advice is just to go for it - so many women don't enter because they are too scared. Even if you think that you are too short, too old, have too many tattoos, etc; to be a model, this contest is all about diversity! Who knows, maybe you can be the one to inspire somebody else to feel okay with their body. So grab a willing and supportive friend to take photos, maybe a bottle of wine, and just do it!
Very sound advice - especially the win! OK, one last question, and the one everyone hates me for! Why do you think people should vote for you?
All of the girls in the top 10 are beautiful, and I know that winning would be such a big deal, for any of us. I wish we could all win! What's unique about me, though, is that I've been advocating for better bra fitting and bigger cup size availability, for years now. I've helped hundreds of girls find better fitting bras. I have a good understanding of what a difference the right bra can make in somebody's life. I think that I have shown that I can be a passionate and capable advocate.