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Model Tabria Majors Is Breaking The Mold And Breaking Boundaries

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Get used to seeing Tabria Majors. The accomplished model has made her presence known with her work ranging from Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show to Forever 21, and even an exclusive swimsuit collaboration with Fashion to Figure. She practically broke the internet when she channeled Beyoncé for Halloween, and she also happens to be plus-sized—which, quite frankly IMHO, is one of the least interesting things about her.

Sure, her beautiful figure and the curvy representation that she brings to the industry are inarguably worth celebrating, but her work ethic and production mastermind are what really set her apart. While others are trying to fit the mold, Tabria carries herself with an heir and confidence that requires the mold to adjust to her. We caught up with the Nashville native to see beauty through her unique lens.

Her Rise to Fame

From the outside, it might seem like Tabria’s rise to success was sudden, but she is a motivated hard worker and her accomplishments are not a fluke—they’re the result of long hours and lots of creativity. She was initially discovered on Instagram, where she “was just taking pictures for fun. Instagram was new and exciting, and I was just on it just like everybody else. I was doing yoga a lot back then and that's what I was posting.” She never took it seriously until her friend entered her into a national competition for Wet Seal. When she won, she realized she was onto something. She decided to sign with the same agent from Instagram and has been working with him since—but it didn’t start off easily.

“My first three years modeling was so hard. I started working as a housekeeper for different people, just because I didn't know when I was getting paid next. Eventually, I got in the groove of things, and now everything is great and stable. I also practiced a lot. I would time myself taking pictures then see how many photos were good enough to use—like a batting average. It sounds silly, but I would do that a lot, mimic other models, and even look up poses on youtube.”

“I don't know where this mentality came from, but I've always been a hustler, even in middle school. I would make mixed CDs for kids and sell them for $5. I did whatever I could to make money. But I will say that I work too hard, and I need to find a balance. I don't think that the rise and grind mentality is healthy. I definitely need to enjoy life more. I don’t really have as much time for self-care as I’d like, so I should definitely practice what I preach a bit more.”

Honoring the Queen B

All of her hard work has clearly been paying off. It’s possibly most evident in her famous 2020 Beylloween production, an 11-minute short film where Tabria paid homage to Beyoncé by recreating several of her iconic videos for Halloween. The self-produced project has almost four million views (and counting!), and it has garnered the attention of fans and Beyoncé herself.

“It was so stressful, but it was totally worth it. Looking back, I’m not sure how we pulled it off. My photographer and director Matt and I did everything. He would be googling locations, and I would be googling outfits. We prepped for a month, rehearsed for three weeks, and shot everything in eight days. It was definitely life-changing.”

Before the Following

Growing up, beauty was the furthest thing from Tabria’s mind. Having good grades was far more important than a flawless makeup application. “My beauty was never on my mind growing up, ever, '' she says. “I wasn't a tomboy, I wasn't a girly girl—I was just somebody who went to school and did their work and went home. My education was the most important thing that my parents instilled in me. I remember feeling sort of left out when it came to beauty because anytime somebody would compliment me as a kid, my parents would always retort with ‘Oh, but her brains are more important! She has to stay in those books.’ I was raised by my grandparents—and they were amazing parents—but I think it’s also important to instill confidence in your children’s appearance.”

It wasn’t until Tabria’s time as a music major at the University of Memphis that she became aware of beauty standards and began to feel the comparative pressures of fitting in. “I became super aware of myself in college, and I always felt like I was so much bigger than everybody. Now when I look back on my pictures, I was so small! It's insane how I thought of myself when I was younger.”

On Body-Neutrality and Self-Love

Tabria has always been an advocate for inclusivity and uses her platform to shed light on inclusivity and body positivity, but recently, her feelings on the latter have started to shift towards body neutrality. “As a plus-size model, people always ask me, ‘How do you get so confident?’ I think they expect me to say something like, ‘Oh, you just say this three times and turn around, and there you are,’ but it’s so much more than that.

Recently, I feel like body positivity has been co-opted by people that it wasn't initially meant for. It was created by fat women, and specifically fat Black women. That’s not to say that everyone can't be a part of the movement—but still, thinner white women have become the standouts of the movement. Certain women talk about body positivity but never mention anyone outside of themselves, and that’s not what it’s about.”

In contrast to body positivity, body neutrality supports accepting your body at whatever state it currently is in, without the need to strive to be excited or overly enthusiastic about it. It also focuses more on the functionality of your body—what it does for you every day, rather than how it looks. “Body neutrality resonates with me a lot more. I was practicing it for a while, and I didn’t even notice,” says Tabria.

While Tabria is an advocate for loving yourself, she admits that even she can fall victim to being self-critical. “Now that I’m a model, I’m hyper-aware of everything, and I kind of hate that I notice every imperfection about myself. I don't try to correct everything, though. I accept most of my flaws, but I have my picture taken hundreds of times a day, and then someone on set will comment on something and make me notice it even more.”

Tabria also admits that she has a tough-love approach when it comes to encouraging herself and others. “I used to complain internally about the way that I looked and things that I didn't like about my body. I hated hearing myself complain all the time because I don't like hearing other people complaining about the same thing over and over again. If my friend keeps complaining about the same man, just leave him, sis! So I apply that same energy to myself: Either accept it or change it.

For example, I don’t like my cellulite, but it is what it is, and everyone has it. I won’t complain; I’ll just accept it. But there are other things I’m working to change. I recently became vegan because I was feeling really sluggish. Now I have so much energy—it’s crazy. If you don’t like something, accept it or change it. Do whatever makes you happy.”

Inclusion in the Beauty Industry

Representation has definitely increased in our post-2020 world, but Tabria expresses that the industry can still do so much better behind the scenes. “There is definitely a huge lack of Black beauty professionals in the industry, and it is so infuriating,” says Tabria. “I don't know how we're still dealing with this, even after everything that happened last year. I’m somebody who can voice their opinion on set and not be afraid to do so, but I know what it feels like to be a new model and not be able to voice your opinion because you don't know the ramifications.”

“I have lighter skin, so I’ve only had one bad experience with makeup. I will always ask dark-skinned models about who does their makeup well, and it’s always the same five artists that they mention. There’s so much talent out there, but the industry has to catch up. I've been modeling for six years now, and I've only worked with three Black makeup artists and three Black hairstylists.” Unfortunately, this is an experience that several Black models have expressed relating to. “Something has to change, and the barrier to entry needs to be demolished. It shouldn’t just be about who you went to dinner with last week. It should be about who’s the most talented for the job.”

Tabria’s Minimalist Approach to Beauty

When Tabria isn’t getting her glam professionally done for another campaign shoot, she likes to keep her routine pretty simple with a less-is-more approach to skincare and hair care. “I used to follow a Korean skincare regimen with ten steps every day and night. It was so intense, and it gave me great results, but I've definitely scaled back to a more minimal routine. I use about four products every morning and every night: cleanser, hyaluronic acid, moisturizer, and sunscreen, of course. Oh, and retinol from Paula’s Choice. Outside of that, I rotate products. I’m not much of a brand loyalist. I feel like a lot of skincare is about marketing.

As far as her natural curls go, Tabria big-chopped her hair in 2018 after years of straightening damage. “I used to put oil in my hair, and then straighten it. So stupid. These days, I wear my hair curly 99 percent of the time outside of work. Wigs have also been very helpful with protecting my curls, but I’m a pretty lazy natural. I don’t do a lot. The most I’ll do is a deep conditioner. I also love to make my own flaxseed gel. It gives you the most hydrated, juicy curls.”

Tabria’s Bright Future

So what’s next for the model and multi-talented star? Tabria is just getting started. “I would like to explore acting more, and I’ve even tinkered with the idea of a production company. I also want to have my own clothing line eventually, but whatever I do, I just want to be able to extend opportunities to other people. Wherever I see a gap in the industry, I want to work to fill it. Whether it's with design, acting, modeling, or production—whatever, I just want to give opportunities and bring as many people along with me as I can. Who knows what's in store?” But we know one thing for sure: We’ll be staying tuned to see what iconic looks she’ll deliver this Halloween.

Interested in reading more stories of Beauty Through The Black Lens? Read how celebrity stylist Lacy Redway is changing the beauty industry. Want in on all the IPSY Glam Bag fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated July 29, 2021 12:00 AM