Women in the Full Contact Fighting Federation

Glena Avila punching Janna Piper

Glena Avila punching Janna Piper

The Female Champion, Glena Avila is scheduled to defend her 125-pound Women’s Title for the first time at Rumble @ The Roseland 50 on Saturday, March 6th.

Portland is an epicenter for female action in mixed martial arts.  It all started in 2008 with the debut fight of  Kim Couture, wife of MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture. In 2009 six women battled-it-out in the 25-foot steel cage known as the “Slammer”. Glena Avila reigned supreme and took home the only Women’s Championship belt in FCFF history.

Kim Couture, with husband Randy Couture in her Corner

The Recent History of Women in the FCFF:
On April 5th, 2008 at Rumble @ The Roseland 34, Kim Couture (with Randy by her side) entered the cage to battle Jessica Cruz of Reality Combat. The 125-pound fighters went for three rounds of action – with the crowd almost silent watching with a mix of curiosity and anticipation. Couture came out on top with a TKO due to strikes in one minute and 43 seconds of round number three. Couture went onto fighting in a “smoker” fight in Las Vegas, and has rumored to have dabbled in the Professional MMA arena since then.

Jody DeSimone gets the RNC

Next up in the slammer was Jody DeSimone against veteran trainer Christa Shaffer of Touch M Up MMA in December of 2008. DeSimone was brand new to the MMA scene and came with fanfare coverage from the Willamette Week newspaper. When the fight began DeSimone overwhelmed the taller and more skilled Shaffer and ended the bout in a Tapout due to Rear Naked Choke in only forty seconds of round number one.

Janna Piper wins against Jody Desimone in 2009

In 2009 long-time fighter Janna Piper came onto the FCFF scene.  At Rumble 44, on June 13th, she took on Jody DeSimone who was 1-0. Piper began training in mma in 2000 with her brother Greg Piper. She bounced from boxing to mma and has been very frustrated with the amount of waiting due to canceled fights.  Piper took the victory when DeSimone was unable to answer the bell of round number three. It seemed DeSimone was simply exhausted.

Glena Avila gets her first win in the FCFF

On September 5th at Rumble @ The Roseland 46 Glena Avila debuted with the FCFF. Trained under Stormy Back in the Dalles. Glena ferociously attacked her competition: Hadley Griffith. This bout in the 130-pound division was over by TKO quickly in one minute and 17 seconds of round number one.  After this swift victory it was clear that Avila was all business.

Glena Avila wins the FCFF Women's Championship

Glena Avila wins the FCFF Women's Championship

On December 12th 2009 Avila and Piper met for the first FCFF Women’s Championship bout. This rare Championship bout was covered by Oregon Fox Sports. Even though an ice storm shut down the highway, Glena Avila was present and ready for this bout.  Piper, who had fought for almost nine years and faced endless set backs due to canceled fights was finally getting her chance. You could tell both women wanted this – when the bell rang all bets were off. Avila and Piper battled for three solid rounds of action and it went to the judges score cards. Avila came out on top via a split decision. She is scheduled to make her first title defense on Saturday, March 6th at Rumble @ The Roseland 50. Tickets available at www.ticketswest.com.

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V Magazine Cover Battle Misleads Plus Size Debate

V Magazine Cover 2010

V Magazine Cover 2010

V magazine just launched a size issue, trying to cash in on the national interest in American plus sized culture. Two covers were released to newsstands across America. One cover was titled “Little Lady” and featured A-list movie star Dakota Fanning. Fanning has been a household name for over 10 years and is best known from her roles in War of the Worlds ($592+ million worldwide gross), Man on Fire ($130+ million worldwide gross) and most recently the Twilight series. The “Big Love” cover featured Gabourey Sidibe, an unknown actress who starred in one limited release movie in 2009: Precious ($40 million to date).

These two competing covers will ultimately become a permanent fixture of the size-versus-beauty dialogue in America. It’s hard to understand why an unknown actress, so far from the shape of a working plus sized model was used on the V Magazine Cover. There are a number of other full-figured celebrities with more star power to better match Dakota Fanning.  For example: America Ferrera of the Ugly Betty Series and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Raven Symoné, Jordan Sparks, Kelly Clarkson, Queen Latifah and Crystal Renn, the most famous plus sized model in America. Additionally, big hair and lumpy clothing hid Fanning’s size zero frame, while the photographer chose to zoom in on Sidibe’s neck fat.

Does V Magazine want the “Big Love” cover to fail? Is this V Magazine’s social commentary on their distaste for all plus sized models in high fashion?  The Big Love cover instantly reminded me of Velvet D’Amour in 2006. D’Amour walked the runway in Paris for Jean-Paul Gaultier wearing unflattering lingerie. She was considerably older then the other models, a size 28 and 300 pounds – dramatically out of size range for working plus sized models that are a size 12 and weigh less then 170 pounds. I believe it was Gaultier’s response to Europe’s trend to eliminate dramatically thin models from the runway. D’Amour’s famed walk in Paris had many interpretations but I think it was the fashion industry’s way of saying “What would you have us use, obese housewives?”

Jacquelyn on the left Crystal on the right

The real question posed by the ‘Size Issue’ in V Magazine was finally addressed via the editorial with Crystal Renn and Jacquelyn Joablonski. They were photographed wearing the exact same clothing, posing in the exact same manner. This illustrated the REAL question “can we accept true plus sized models in the fashion culture?” The comments I have received from peers about this side-by-side editorial is that Renn looks fabulous – and so does Joablonski. There is room for both, and standards should be kept for plus sized models, just as they are kept for straight sized models.

V Magazine Crystal Renn Size Issue

V Magazine Crystal Renn Size Issue

I was involved in a similar social experiment in June of 2007. The Seattle Times, the biggest newspaper in the State of Washington did a “Size Issue” in the Gender “F” special section. They also released two covers with two different questions: “I Think I’m sexy. Do you?”  and “I Think I am Fat. Do you?” The people of Seattle were asked to vote.

Chandra Chase Seattle Times Size Issue

Chandra Chase Seattle Times Size Issue

The voting has since been disabled but the article states that 58% of people agree that I was sexy and 56% agreed that I was Fat. And the article further says “many readers suggested that fat and sexy aren’t mutually exclusive, and the model, Chandra Chase, projected confidence that contributed to her allure… There’s nothing more sexy in a woman (or a man) than self confidence… And it looks to me that this woman has it!”

New Plus Sized Model: Tara Lynn

Tara Lynn, Plus Sized Model

Tara Lynn, Plus Sized Model

A few years ago I was working in Europe as a plus sized model. I first started in Portland at Ryan Artists and moved onto Heffner, who placed me in Munich, Germany. I always like to keep an eye out of new plus sized model and a picture of Tara Lynn came across my computer screen. I literally froze – she could be the most beautiful plus sized model I have ever seen.

I am secure in myself and can VERY EASY give compliments to other women. And, Miss. Lynn has it all. She is a Plus Model “to watch” I am sure she will be working at an international level – close to Ashley and Crystal by the end of 2010. GO TARA!

Entry #2 on Friday, March 26th.

Tara Lynn, Plus sized model Elle Magazine in FranceI posted the above entry in January, and I am happy to report Tara Lynn is living up to the comment I made only a few months ago as a plus sized model to “WATCH”. She has a spread in the new French Elle Magazine and its INCREDIBLE.

Tara Lynn in Elle Magazine in France

She has one of the biggest spreads I have ever seen for a plus sized model. The quality of the shoot rivals the work of Crystal Renn. Tara Lynn is here to stay.

I am happy to see a plus sized model accelerate to the top of the game that is not six feet tall and a size 8/10. This woman has a real pear shaped body, one very similar to my own when I was working in Europe. She is intoxicating.

Tara Lynn, Elle Spread in France

Rumble @ The Roseland 49

Rumble @ The Roseland 49 was an event for the Heavyweights. It’s not often you get to see two “big-boys” (who are current or former HWT Title holders) face-off and have the results be so explosive. A lot of the times it can be a slow “chess match” without much action. The Heavyweight Championship Fight at the FCFF’s Rumble 49 only lasted a one minute and 38 seconds. Willie Walden, of Team Quest and Vancouver, Washington knocked out Shaun Mirjavadi cold. Mirjavadi fell like a tree, 18 inches in front of me.

I got this video:

In other Heavyweight action two guys new to the FCFF faced off in what Kevin Keeney, the co-owner said “was one of the best rounds of heavyweight action ever.” George Jordan from California, fought Mike Moreno in the 205 pound weight class division. The first round was a whirlwind of all-out punches – without much logic to it. Each fighter was completely tensed – giving and receiving blows that would be ‘lights out’ for most fighters.

I took this clip:

One of my favorite new fighters got a chance for the 145-pound featherweight championship at Rumble 49: John Alden of TSN. He walked into TSN in 2009 and started training with FCFF veteran Erik Wander. He went up against Chris Beacock, a very skilled fighter out of the Armstrong MA – another great fight club producing great talent like Dennis Parks, former FCFF Champion turned professional. Alden, at first seemed a bit overtaken by Beacock in a very intense battle. He came out on top and book the Featherweight Title back home to TSN.

I took this clip:

What are cage fights without a little blood? Lee Flores and Nathan Allen battled for three rounds in a fight that was full of painful holds and gushing blood. Allen finally ended things with a tapout in two minutes and 40 seconds of round number three.

I took this clip:

Young, Broke and Aboard: Texas Hold’em in Munich, Germany

Young, Broke and AbroadMunich, Germany – Sometimes after a few to many days in Germany, among all the German sites, German people and the German language you need an English break. Germany is glorious, amazing and strapping, but after weeks and weeks, English can be a sound for sore ears. The great thing about going to English pubs in countries other than the England  is the ease in which friendships are created. You enter into a very friendly environment where you quickly make friends in minutes instead of hours. I think the struggle of traveling or living in a country with another language, bonds people of the same tongue together almost instantly. If you are lucky enough, you can be entertained by stories of immigration, work visas, thoughts of the culture they now live in, their own, and the endless banter of United States popular culture and politics.

After meeting an Israeli woman, who speaks five languages, and Scottish man, who could barely speak English *wink* I knew this pub -in the middle of the trendy schwabing district of Munich- was going to be fruitful.  Here I got introduced to an English speaking network. In the course of the night, my Texas Hold’em addiction popped its head out and was met with the best news possible. I hadn’t played since I landed in Europe and this network organized small Texas Hold’em games! I met the right people who introduced me to the next game’s host over email and after they “vouched” for me – I was in.

Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany

After a journey on the subway and connecting tram ride (deep into a neighborhood I knew nothing about) I took a nerve racking walking in the dark, all alone. I arrived at an English businessman’s flat: whom I never met. It was a great night of conversation with interesting 20-something people from all over the world (England, Australia, Germany, Texas,  etc) that all now live in Munich. I went all-in with pocket Jack’s off a weak flop, in which I had top pair, but ended up loosing on the river card to two-pair. You win some, you loose some – it was the best money I spent in a month long trip to Germany.

“Never hold to an agenda and abandon adventure.”

Young, Broke and Abroad: Experiencing the Birth of ‘Beauty Reborn’ in London

Beauty Reborn

Beauty Reborn - London's First Event

London, England – Body image…. We hear about it in the USA all the time, and abroad. It’s a constant issue among teens, and women everywhere. While recently in Spain, they have taken strides to dramatically decrease anorexic
women on the runways (thus eliminating 30% of the models who worked before the new law), the rest of the world has yet to follow suit. The issue popped up again, when “VELVET,” a size 28, (300 pound) plus sized model – which is out of the range for professional plus sized models- walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gauliter. Some call it a shameless publicity stunt and I
agree. The debate of women who are: too thin, just right, and too big will always be around. The real issue at hand is self-esteem; and low to nonexistent levels that exist now in our youth.

In London, they have taken a different step towards increasing the self esteem of their young women. I was lucky enough to be present at Beauty Reborn; the first beauty contest for women sized 16 to 26. Hosted and created by international plus sized model: Charlotte Coyles.

Beauty Reborn is the product of Charlotte’s vision to see women in London, over the size of a UK16 (USA 12/14), embrace their bodies and become stewards of positive body image for all women in the UK. With her clout as an international plus sized model, she compiled an impressive list of backers from  the event, including: designers Anna Scholz, Daniel Galvin, and Elena Miro, Benefit Cosmetics, and giants in the plus sized industry Marks and Spencer. Plus, top publications and UK based television helped Charolette to spread the message further then just the audience.

Beauty Reborn was held in Piccadilly Circus in London, at Café De Paris. Twelve amazing women were featured; all extremely intelligent, confident, beautiful, and ranged from a UK size 16 – 26. It was a marvel of London’s commitment to diversity, love, and individuality. There is so much more to London then Big Ben, the River Thames, and all the amazing history that surrounds you there.

2010 Plus Sized Swim Suits

Black Suit from Swim Suits for All

Black Suit from Swim Suits for All

This season I started looking for swim suits early because I will be heading to Belize with the girls in February. The first thing I noticed is that the majority of plus sized suits are either ugly floral or neon stripped. Also, I noticed this year is especially bad for the actual cut of plus sized swim suits. They all seem to be boxy and unflattering.

I ordered this Black Plus Size Swimdress (CO3003-08X-1717) on sale for $43.98 from Swim Suits for All. A fun company that uses a variety of plus sized model – yes, ones that are over a size 12! But, I am sad to report it didnt have a good fit. The breasts fall down and the mid section is loose – when it fits everywhere else. Plus, it cost me about $8.50 to return. I did not have the best experience. However, this is my first time ordering from Swim Suits for All.

Newport News Brown Suit

Newport News Brown Suit

Next I ordered this sexy looking Brown number from Newport-News Swim Shop online. I am pear shaped so swim dresses usually work the best for me.

It was priced right at $39.00, but it had to be the worst fit ever – in the history of swim suits. As a pear shape you expect the bottom to be tight and top to be loose – somehow it was opposite in my size 22. I sent it back for an exchange for the black swim dress- which I havent received yet.

Chandra Chase in Costa Rica

Chandra in her Favorite Swim Suit

MY GO TO SUIT IS BACK!

Okay, I love this suit so much that I literally wore it out. Here I am in Costa Rica with it on – I felt amazing and

confident in it – and I think it flatters my size 20 body as best as any suit could. I originally got it at Walmart, of all places. But I have only been able to find it again on Always For Me.

Always for Me Suit

Always for Me Suit

It runs $79 but is worth every penny!

The worst swim suits so far for the 2010 season have to be at Target. Which is sad, because I bought a good amount of tops for work from them last year. I tried on the pink suit, pictured to the left. If you can image it was more horrible then this!

Target Swim Suit

It was almost impossible to pull the super tight top over my hips, then the hips were cut too generous to fit…. it was hands down the worst cut, design and fit of any suit ever. All the suits at Target lacked enthusiasm and flair.