Ballitore’s model mum Vicki Mooney is on a mission to dress the curvy ladies of Ireland.
The glamorous plus-sized model has launched a new book, ‘Curve-A-Licious – the Curvy Girl’s Guide to Looking and Feeling Delicious’.
The guide, published earlier this month, is flying off bookstore shelves across the country.
It is packed with practical hints and tips for dressing for plus-sized ladies of all shapes and heights.
The book was written with Vicki’s childhood friend, Anna Carroll-Browne and draws on the duo’s personal experiences balancing fluctuating weight with their love of high fashion.
Vicki has had a whirlwind few years. The mum of three, originally from Jobstown in Tallaght, is a well-known face to viewers of Xpose and Ireland AM.
The flame-haired 36-year-old is one of the country’s best-known curvy models.
However, it was a different story a scant decade ago. Vicki weighted 22-stone when she married at the age of 22.
By the time she reached her late 20s, she was chronically obese and underwent a gastric bypass in Loughlinstown Hospital in 2005. Within the first six months after the operation, she had shed seven stone.
Her weight loss opened up a whole new world, as she quit her desk job at Vodafone to become a make-up artist, while dealing at the same time with the break-up of her marriage.
She decided on a whim to enter the Ms Curvy Ireland competition in 2010, and although she did not win, it led to a successful modelling career.
Vicki is now planning the second stage of her career as a stylist and motivator, having featured on television, catwalk shows and as the face of boutique ‘Tempted’.
The mum lives in Ballitore with children Andy, 11, Josh, 9 and Mia, 5, plus Ruby the puppy.
Curve-A-Licious’ was originally due to be published this time last year, but the date was pushed back due to the publisher’s illness.
However, Vicki said that the enforced delay lead to a revision by the authors of some of their original work, which she believes makes the book a better read.
“Between myself and Anna, we have been a size 14 to a size 32,” said Vicki.
“We realised that a lot of what we had written was our own personal opinion, but certain opinions we had did not fit any other plus-sized women out there.
“It was personal stuff about different styles, such as peplum dresses, which can suit certain small shapes.”
The model says that larger ladies sometimes have problems finding great tops to wear.
“If they are too short your tummy can protude, so the best style depends on the shape of the lady, whether they are an apple or a pear,” she said. “
We dedicated 16 or 17 pages of the book to tops.
“There are an awful lot of woman who say they just can’t find a top in their wardrobes.”
Vicki said the reaction to the book has been “unbelievable”.
“Myself and Anna and some friends went into Easons in O’Connell Street incognito, dressed up in bog wigs and trench coats and sunglasses.
“It was the first time we had seen it on the shelves.
“We saw a lady in the queue with it, and there were shrieks and screams from us!”
Vicki featured on a recent edition of RTE’s Late Late Show, talking about the book and her experiences as a curvy model in Ireland.
“It was so surreal, I was stopped in Tescos afterwards by people saying ‘I saw you on the Late Late, you are such an inspiration, I thought you were telling my story’,” she said.
However, it wasn’t Vicki’s first television interview – she last year did a Skype interview with Oprah Winfrey in the United States, sharing an experience of carrying guilt about not checking up on loved ones.
One of the producers contacted Vicki after she posted about the show.
“It was surreal but absolutely lovely, “ she said, but added, “I haven’t watched it myself, it’s just the fear of seeing myself on TV.”
Vicki and Anna’s next move is into running courses on fashion and styling, which they plan to run in hotels around the country, starting this summer. They also want to get a second book on party dressing onto the shelves before Christmas.
Curve-A-Licious, published by Blackwater Press at E14.99, is available online and at all good bookshops.
- Laura Coates