Interview with Olga Gonzalez-Ramos

Plus-size model, Olga Gonzalez-Ramos is successfully balancing a family and a hectic career. She was gracious enough to play 30 questions with me. What follows is that interview.
Let start off with some easy questions:
Interview with plus size model Olga Gonzalez Ramos.What’s your favourite colour?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Orange.
What’s your favorite song right now?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Crazy in Love, Beyonce.
Are you a morning or late nice person?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Late night.
What is your favourite comfort food?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: A Cuban sandwich.
What size are you?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: 20/22.
Have you always been plus-size?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Yes.
Is modeling your full-time job?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Modeling is my part-time job; I work for Corporate America in the General Services Department as a Customer Service Representative.
Is modelling something you always wanted to do?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: No, not in my wildest dreams.
How did you get into modelling?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: My hubby kept telling me I should give it a try so I did.
Describe your first gig and how you felt.
Plus size model Olga Gonzalez Ramos as a bride.Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: My first gig has been the one that has opened so many doors. I was chosen by author Ms. Chamein Canton as her Signature model of the first ever Bridal guide for plus size women. I landed that job with my own pictures but later on I needed to shoot for the actual book. I was there with about 6 other models, all lovely girls, some male models and even some children. We shot for a bridal guide in Long Island and I modeled like 5 gowns and each gown needed a different look. I had a sweet and fun make up artist (KIKI) and the photographer was Daniel Stauch of NYC. Of course Chamein was there to make sure everything ran smoothly. I arrived at 8:30 and we were done at 4:30 but it was so much fun. My fondest memory was when Chamein allowed me to model with my husband and son Roman. They are also in the bridal guide.
How long have you been modeling?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I have been modeling for 17 months this coming October it will be two years.
How do you see your role as a plus-size model?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I see myself more as a role model, but I also have a fashion sense and when I dress up and look sexy, professional and confident I am representing all the big girls out there.
What has modeling brought into your life?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Confidence within myself. I promised myself I would give this a try for at least one year but I would give only my best and I have grown strong from this commitment. It has also blessed me with some wonderful friends and fans.
Do you feel there is any discrimination against plus-size models compared to the skinny minnies?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Absolutely but it’s something that will never go away but we as plus size women/models need to understand that we have every right to be and feel beautiful and share that beauty with the world.
What makes you feel beautiful?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: The perfume I wear Cartier along with my style whether it’s a nice business suit or my PJ’s. I enjoy seeing the look on Raul’s face when I enter the room. It’s complete adoration and I just have to smile. I also like to see myself all done up at the photo shoots I change completely and then when I see the final pictures I am like, “Not bad Olga, not bad.”
Do you think plus size models are more realistic for the general public?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Yes, we are more realistic because statistics prove that 70% of the women wear a larger size, so everyone is touched by this. Who doesn’t have a plus size mom, aunt, girlfriend or sister?
Do you have any advice for young girls who might like to follow in your career path?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Research the industry from top to bottom and set yourself a strategic plan. Focus on yourself, within and make your skin real thick, it gets pretty cold at times as a plus-size model.
How old are your children and how do they feel about their mother being a model? Does it help with their level of self-confidence?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Anthony 11, Devin 8, and Roman 4. My boys are so happy and proud of me. The youngest has done several shoots with me and he is so used to the attention and working with the camera. Now Anthony is the oldest and he is chubby for his age, but since he has seen me grow in this business he feels much better about himself. He also sees that I eat healthier and do yoga so he also does this.
Do you follow an extensive daily skin regime to have such a wonderful complexion?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: You are going to kill me! LOL! It’s all in the genes, my father had fantastic skin and my mom hates admitting that. I have his skin and just last year I started using skin cream. But I keep forgetting, my trick is just soap and water. If there is something I favor of my looks it is my skin.
Plus size model Olga Gonzalez Ramos modeling plus size outerwear.What do you do for fun?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I love the movies! I go at least once a week with Raul, hubby. I love Yoga it has taken my spirit and physical being to a warm and stable place.
What was the best movie you seen recently and why did it appeal to you?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Oh my Gosh, the Passion of Christ. What a movie. I will never take another bad day for granted. I will never forget that movie and how it broke my heart. To hurt the man that loved us more than his life is beyond my comprehension.
Do you practice yoga in a class or on your own?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I practice at home but I have been in a class and I love the atmosphere. With my busy agenda it is very difficult to plan ahead so much and attend. But as a treat to myself I am searching for a class right now.
With such a busy life, do you find it difficult to spend quality time with your family?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Now, I can say it’s getting hectic, but I spend quality time with all three of my boys every night and I have a special language with them. I don’t favor one over the other. I include all three of them in all of my projects and agenda’s. I work at the office with my hubby, so we get to eat lunch together and chat about everything and also email each other most of the day. I try and spend some quality time with my mom at night while the boys sleep. We talk about her favorite Latin soaps and about me and modeling, she is my best friend.
How did you come to “appreciate” yourself? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I kind of abused myself emotionally almost all of my life. By not having healthy eating habits or any exercise I also hurt my body. I learned to love and respect myself when I turned 30, right around the time I decided to start modeling. It happened one morning nothing was different but I felt different. I recall telling my husband I wanted to eat healthier and appreciate myself more. I had been too hard on myself. I believe when someone is down or insecure about themselves it’s up to them to wake up and make the proper changes.
Who is your role model and why?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: My husband, Raul. Throughout all these years and the 350 pounds that I use to weigh, he never stopped loving me or pushing me towards a healthier life. He is so proud of me and our boys. He is my walking cane and I know he will always be there to support me.
How long have you been married? Where did you meet your husband?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: We have been a couple for 11 years and married later on into the relationship. Why? Because I refused to get married being so fat and one day I realized that I was missing out on one of the truest blessings in the world, so we had a gorgeous big wedding and our three sons walked down the aisle as my ring boys. We met at work and we still work together and I love that.
How do you “treat” yourself (What special thing do you do for yourself, just because)?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I am a speed reader and I can read about 8 books in one week, so I love heading to the book store and just getting tons of books and magazines. I am also just fell in love with lip gloss and I tend to favor Lancome, it’s kind of expensive.
What is the most insulting thing someone has said to you?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I was unattractive, ignorant and that I just did not have what it took to make it in this business and it came from a stranger wanna-be-professional in the industry. Now I just laugh at him.
What is the most considerate thing someone has said to you?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Thank you, for making them see their self-worth. I was miserable in my own skin and never discussed it with anyone and I feel good being there for someone in need.
Who in the world would you most like to meet?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I would have liked to have met Princess Diana, and tell her how much I admired her and how much the world needed her. We lost an angel when she passed away. Living, Cristina Saralegui she is a very famous Cuban writer and show host. Her shows have helped me and inspired me for years.
What advice would you give to another woman suffering for low esteem and body image?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: The pain will not leave until, you release it. By release I mean drop it from your life. You need to love yourself, your mind, body, and your mistakes. Give it your best and do not settle for less if you do, this action will become repetitive and you will go on for the rest of your life, living only 30% of your true potential and 30% is not enough for true happiness.
A headshot of plus size model Olga Gonzalez Ramos.Give us one word to describe you.
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: Different.
How do you want to be remembered?
Olga Gonzalez-Ramos: I’d like to be remembered as a stubborn yet loving, big girl who never stopped just because she was told she would not succeed. Most of all, I’d like to be remembered as the best mother/wife/daughter to touch my family’s life.
Visit Olga Gonzalez-Ramos’s official facebook.

Photo Credits: first and fourth photo-Wayne Summerlin (2003), second photo-Ray Hagans (2004), third photo-uncredited (2003).

Originally published 3/15/2004 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline.

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