Originally from Kosciusko, Phyllis Robinson, now in her 40s, has lived in Jackson for over 25 years; she now resides with her husband, two sons, and stepdaughter. With a paralegal degree, she has worked in the bankruptcy court system since 1989—but she's a case administrator who goes by "Peaches" on the runway.
But with an ounce of fashion-consciousness and a whole lot of confidence, Jackson's full-figured women need not despair. As founder of the city's only plus-sized modeling troupe, Robinson's experience in fashion goes back about 25 years. She started as a freelance model, but was later selected to be on the Fashion Board at Metrocenter after a competitive process. She then became a sponsor model for Stuarts Plus, an early retailer of plus-sized fashions at a time when the industry was beginning to cater to the needs of full-figured women. Picking up on the trend, Robinson gathered a few of her friends and created E&E Models almost two years ago.
Now, Peaches, Cinnamon, Cookie, Diamond and Queen Bee are showing how to dress as a totally chic, full-figured female. She explains, "You just can't wear a miniskirt, but you can look just as grand."
The group makes appearances at functions, benefits (like the 2005 JFP Chick Ball), church shows and even concerts. Last year, the Jackson City Council recognized the troupe for its efforts in youth-oriented community service.
"It's not all about modeling," Robinson says. One goal is P.L.U.S. (Professional Ladies Uniquely Sized), the group's quarterly newsletter, which outlines the group's goals and events and provides a forum for aspiring designers to get their fashions "out of the closet." Other top priorities for the ensemble are "Hit the Runway," a show on Public Access for which the group just completed their first taping, and a forthcoming 2006 plus-sized calendar.
As for Robinson, future plans continue to swim in her head, but for now, she basks in the glow of her group's successes. What has been the most gratifying? "Meeting the people that we've met, some we never thought we'd be able to," she explains, pointing to her encounters with celebrities. "(They) always have encouraging words. … they saw that we're trying to do something here."