Q: As a model, you’ve molded yourself to fit a role and you did it for a reason. Tell me about the journey briefly from then until now, and how it’s made you a better person?

Tracie: “Don’t change a thing” Those four words uttered in 1993 changed everything for me. All my life I just wanted to be a model, there were no classifications back then outside of Male or female.

I wasn’t at all comfortable with the description “Plus” when I first started, but after working for a few months, doing fashion shows in Toronto, and meeting the consumers buying the clothing I was wearing, I heard the phrase “Your size is attainable”. This is when I knew who I was meant to be in the business.

For years after that, pre social media, pre digital photography, the models of my generation were the best examples of what was beautiful. We were flawless. We had to be. There were no other options. We had no photoshop. No digital photography. When you saw our portfolio’s, the pictures looked like we did when we walked through the door.

My career over the years has revolved around me being authentic to my brand. Being me. Unapologetically.

There are many who have come and gone, but I’ve managed to stick around, and I believe that is because I never surrendered full control of my brand. After all, there is only one Ford NY, but there are dozens of plus size models in the making.

I’ve been mentored by the best in the business through agencies such as Elite Model Management, IPM, Click, Ford and Wilhelmina. The agents, the owners and the clients that I’ve had the privilege to work with through the years have all helped to mold me into the business woman I am today.

This is a new era for the industry.

There are no rules anymore.