An original article from our Bold Mini-Zine during the Love Yourself Weekend.
When most people in their 60s are asking their children to teach them how to use social media, Michele Caprio (@michelekay) has amassed almost 100,000 followers on Instagram! We’re so excited to interview her about her life as a Renaissance woman, influencer, and all around badass! Without further ado (did you know this is the actual way to spell it? We always thought it was ‘adieu!’):
Bold Magazine: Michele, let’s jump right in. You’re a 64 year old plus size influencer. This is not something we see all the time. How did you amass such popularity?
Michele Caprio: I was told by one of my followers that I have a pleasant demeanor and I could be anyone’s friendly, fashionable friend. I’ve always loved fashion. Consistency is key for Social Media Marketing. I try and post every morning creating content that my followers will like. I’m also trying to be more personal and talk about myself present and past. I also answer and interact with my followers thanking them for their time in commenting, etc.
BM: Awesome! You discuss being a renaissance woman. Tell us what you do!
MC: I am a Retired Interior Decorator of 25yrs. I was a Ballroom Dancer/Teacher. I teach Wedding Couples a simple routine for their first dance as Husband and Wife. I also teach part time swimming lessons to children under 8yrs.old. I am very patient with my students. I also sing at Open Mics with a Full Band. And within the last 1 1/2yrs I have been on Instagram. I’ve only been blogging for 10 months. And now I’m going to be a Speaker at Your Event!
BM: Yes, you are! Michele, what made you want to go into modeling, influencing, and performing when most people are retiring?
MC: It has been a lifelong dream of mine. I modeled when I was 17yrs old, and life changes happen. College, married life, baby, etc., divorce. My mother, Maxine wanted me to go back to modeling in the ’90s when model “Emme” was popular. I said but ‘Mom, I want to do the ballroom dancing.’ She approved and wow! What a wonderful experience! From the dancing I started taking acting lessons, and singing lessons, kinda like a triple threat. Well my dance teacher went with DWTS and I started teaching beginners and wedding couples. I also wanted to sing, so from karaoke, choir to open mic and BAM! What great fun singing at open mic with a live band! All of my dreams have come true…and then Instagram started…and here I am!
BM: Yay! Modeling, plus modeling included, is not a very diverse field. Why do you think that is?
MC: Because media has this ‘stereotype’ model. Tall and thin, but things have changed. Women have changed. Men have changed… the plus size modeling business is a ‘20 Billion Dollar Biz’ Well…the designers better wake up and start cashing in and making clothes for both plus size men and women, and teenagers, and children!
BM: We hear that! What is your goal in putting yourself out there in the plus universe?
MC: I want both men and women to ‘accept’ their bodies in a positive way. Quoting one of my absolute favorite role models, Ashley Graham ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 22, you can be healthy, as long as you’re taking care of yourself. Find an activity that you like and DO IT!’
BM: Heck Yeah! Tell us a story about positivity.
MC: I had a gentleman contact me on social media. He is a very prominent figure in the NYC area. I was extremely flattered… He wanted to know how I went from 2k followers to 85K followers in a year. I told him that I’m very tenacious and I try and post content that people would want to see and read. He said that he is professional at social media and by this time next year I will have doubled my followers…he told me that that my time is NOW, that 2019 is going to be my year! And guess what Christopher! You contacted me to speak at your event!
BM: Has there been any pushback from brands? Fans? How have you dealt with that?
MC: I did do work for a brand as an influencer and I did everything they asked me to do. They even wanted me to shoot with their photography team in NYC and when it came time to do it…they just ignored me…I feel that it was my age… oh well… such is life…their loss!
BM: Who are some of the influencers that you look up to?
MC: I look up to Maddy Jones @plusjones on Instagram. She is the editor @plusmodelmag. She has been a pioneer in working with plus models for the last 12 years! She doesn’t give up!
BM: She’s awesome! But,you’ve also had such incredible career. What’s been your favorite to do and why?
MC: To be quite honest… I’m enjoying Instagram. I’m constantly learning and growing. I’ve made a lot of ‘online friends.’ I’m constantly thinking of what to post next! I would like to do more video…possibly sing…I have ALL kinds of ideas…
BM: We want to see it all! Michele, why are you BOLD?
MC: I feel that beauty comes from within. Inner beauty makes me unique and beautiful. And inner beauty shines thru outer beauty. Beauty comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. I am an artist. I have an eye for beauty. Success is when opportunity meets preparation. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. You get one life, so make it the best!