Chenese Lewis is a sought-after keynote speaker, expert commentator and a positive body image and self-esteem advocate who made history by being the first woman crowned Miss Plus America in 2003. Her unique story and prestigious career have been featured by countless media outlets such as Dr. Phil, The Insider, E! News, EXTRA, The National Examiner, iVillage, Figure Magazine and USA Today.
As a philanthropist, she served as the Immediate Past President of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women. For six years Lewis produced Hollywood NOW’s “Love Your Body Day”, an annual event where women of all sizes come together to celebrate a day of self-acceptance and to promote positive body image. Her 2010 Love Your Body Campaign, where she posed nude with America’s Next Top Model, Whitney Thompson, garnered international media attention and magnified her role as a leading positive body image advocate.
As an actress, her work on B.E.T’s hit show “Hell Date” showed her impeccable improvisational and comedic skills, and kept millions tuning in weekly. She also won rave reviews for her dramatic portrayal of Connie Williams, a larger-than-life professional baseball player in the NAACP Award-winning play “The Girls of Summer”, set in the 1940s.
Chenese has worked with various plus-size brands in different capacities—as a model for Torrid, the Coast to Coast Curves Spokesperson for Ashley Stewart, celebrity face of Sizeappeal and the ambassador for Australian brand, Bennetts Boots. In addition, she is an in-demand host for plus-size fashion shows and events. Chenese’s unique perspective as a plus-size woman and role model enables her to connect with real women across the country. It’s no wonder PLUS Model Magazine called her “A leader in the curvy revolution!”
In March 2008 Chenese introduced PLUS Model Radio, the #1 podcast for plus-size women, which she served as host for five years, before renaming her podcast to The Chenese Lewis Show. Her podcast features programming for curvy women, including up-close and personal conversations with a wide range of industry experts. . The show’s in-depth interviews give the audience an inside look at the plus-size industry. Chenese was accepted to participate on Radio Row for the Essence Music Festival, the largest African-American music and culture event in the U.S. The Festival attracts an estimated 400,000 attendees, and is where she has had the opportunity to interview numerous celebrities and political figures, including Boyz II Men, Gladys Knight, Valerie Jarrett (Senior Advisor to Barack Obama) and many more.
As a keynote speaker, she lectures at national workshops, seminars and universities around the country, including the National Eating Disorder Association’s Teen Summit and University of California, Davis’ “Celebrate Your Body Week”. She also served as a commencement speaker at The Art Institute of California in Hollywood.
The Louisiana native is the Chief Creative Officer for Chenese Lewis Productions, LLC, a media company established in 2007. She is currently a Client Consultant for IPM Model Management.
Chenese attributes her success by not conforming to society’s ideals of beauty, but rather showing by example that you can be beautiful and confident regardless of your size.
Chenese Lewis is truly the epitome of the plus-size woman.