By: Alexa Riley

After a tornado of packing and getting to the airport, I text my friend Sasha to tell her I’m coming into town for a few days. My agency booked me a hotel room near the airport and then emailed me the info on the photo shoot.

Once I’m to my gate, I sit down and look over the details of the contract while I wait for my flight to be called. It’s a lingerie campaign for a company called Curved Intimates. I’ve heard a little about them, but I’m not too familiar with their company. They’re owned by a parent company called Breakstone Corporation, but I’ve never heard of them. I Google Curved Intimates and thumb through their website. It’s all pretty basic, some department store looks, generic styles. Nothing really stands out to me, and I’m a tad disappointed. Maybe this shoot will be different. I try to pump myself up about it because if I have to do one more spread for mom jeans, I’m gonna die.

My lookbook is small because most of the photos I’d had professionally done for campaigns weren’t ones I loved. Thankfully, I have a friend who lives close to me who does photography, and I’d lucked out by getting a few sessions with her. She does a lot of boudoir work for couples, and the ones she took of me are my favorite ones to date.

It’s hard being a plus-size model. I love sexy pictures, and modeling is fun to me. But the thinner girls tend to get the good clothes. Everything is always made for smaller sizes, which is okay, but big girls want to be stylish, too. I see comments sometimes where people say I’ve got the body of a “real woman.” I think every size is beautiful. Every woman is a real woman: tall, short, thin, and big. Beauty comes in different shapes. I’d just prefer it if the sexy stuff came in my size more often.

Flicking through my social media, I check in and say hello to everyone. As I’m typing away, my name is called over the intercom, and I get nervous. When someone calls my name like that, it feels like I’m being called to the principal’s office.

I grab my bag and walk up to the gate check to speak to the man behind the counter.

“Ms. Carr, we just wanted to inform you that you’ve been upgraded to first class. If I could see your boarding pass, I’ll exchange it for you.”

I must have a look of shock on my face. After a pause, I pull out the paper and hand it to him, getting the new first class one in return.

Going back over to the seat I was in moments ago, I try to think about why I’d been bumped up. Maybe the cabin is full or something. Hell, maybe they saw I was a big girl and thought I needed the room. Shrugging my shoulders, I let it go and go back to playing on my phone until they call me.

* * *

The flight from Atlanta to LA is long, but being in first class is nice. The extra legroom and snacks are the way to go. I just have a small carry on, so once I’m off the plane, I make my way through the airport and towards the exit. I have my hotel reservation saved on my phone, so I’ll just cab it there.

But before I can exit, I see a man in a suit holding up a sign with CALI CARR printed on it. I stop, thinking there must be someone else with that name, but he looks straight at me and smiles. He walks over to me and I stand still, waiting on the punch line.

“Ms. Carr, I’m Donald, your driver. I’ll be taking you to your hotel.”

I try to play it cool as he takes my bag. You know, act like this happens to me all the time, when really inside I’m freaking out at how exciting this is. This company must be rolling out the red carpet for this shoot. So far, I’m down with Curved Intimates.

Donald leads me out to a Mercedes SUV and opens the back door for me. I get in, and he puts my bag in beside me. He shuts the door briskly and goes around to the front. Once he gets behind the wheel, I tell him which hotel I’m staying at.

“Oh. You must have gotten a different itinerary. I’ve got instructions to take you to the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills.”

I lean back in my seat, feeling really confused. “Are you sure?” I check my phone but don’t see an updated email, so I sent a quick text to Rita asking her about the change.

“Yes, Ms. Carr. My instructions were clear.” He says it like he takes people there every day.

Well, he’s a driver, so maybe he does.

“And you’re sure you’re supposed to pick up Cali Carr? From Atlanta? I just want to make sure I’m not in the wrong vehicle.”

Donald laughs and shakes his head. “I’ve been employed by Breakstone Corp, specifically Mr. Flynn Long, to take you to the Waldorf.”

“Okay,” I say hesitantly, refreshing my phone for news from Rita.

I guess their marketing director is the Flynn Long guy. Maybe it isn’t a mistake. After a few moments, my phone vibrates in my hands, and I see a text from her.

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