A Woman of Influence
A conversation with Candice Christian, Ocala-based entrepreneur and plus-size model.
Candice Christian is turning 27 this month and is making every second count. She’s a publisher, influencer, plus-size model, online business owner, talent manager and motivational speaker. She was even invited to speak at a women’s empowerment event hosted by Mary J. Blige.
Recently, she’s added “visual artist” to her menagerie of vocational titles.
Her abstract watercolor “Eyes of Content” is currently on display in Ocala City Hall’s “Content of Character” emerging artists exhibition.
What inspired the work? “It’s kind of symbolic of my fun, crazy personality but also like a reminder of the consciousness that you do have to kind of rein in and home in on all of the crazy artisticness.”
Born in Brookhaven, New York, she grew up in Central Florida and attended Lecanto High School. A graduate of the school’s Lecanto School of Arts magnet program, she credits her mom for encouraging her and her brothers to follow their dreams: “She instilled in me to do what you want and do what makes you happy, do what you love.”
Dance lessons, pageants and modeling filled Christian’s upbringing. She posed for her first modeling gig at age 5, a Hungry Howie’s calendar girl campaign. As she emerged into womanhood, Christian began modeling plus-size fashions and later started blogging and posting photos on Instagram (@candicechristianfanpage). Companies nationwide took notice and helped take her page to the next level as an income-earning outlet.
The page’s first guest brand approached her at a networking event called CurvyCon. He was a marketing rep for Big Fig, a mattress company for plus-size adults, and yes, she got a free bed out of the deal.
But the road wasn’t always easy. Christian has endured ridicule growing up, online trolls and domestic abuse. She shares her experiences with other women to provide hope and inspiration, reminding them that feeling broken doesn’t have to be a permanent state of mind.
“I’ve unfortunately been through way too much in 26 years,” Christian shared, “but it’s given me that experience to be able to say, ‘Hey, I’ve been through this. I know how you feel.’”
Nowadays, Christian has a life and business partner, Dre Ben Frank, who’s also been a loving and present parent to her 4-year-old son, Phoenix. Frank, a recording artist, runs their talent management agency as CEO and co-owner of CD-CD Productions and Talent Management, and they’ve begun a new magazine called Luxe Style (luxestylemagazine.com), which encourages millennials to aspire to the finer pleasures from life, with features on travel, fashion and upscale goods.
“He focuses more on the artist development side and I do the modeling and acting development side,” Christian explained about their roles as talent managers.
“We were kind of trying to sit down and think, what can we do that can tie into everything that we’re already doing? … The magazine was really a way for us to bring other people into the platform and then be able to express ourselves through it, too. We’re able to write a whole magazine about all of the things we do while doing something good.”
When Christian spoke at the Ocala Style Women’s Expo in 2019, she impressed upon attendees the importance of self-love and body acceptance.
She shared that she was not always the confident woman standing before them, that through tragic experiences in her life, she lost herself but eventually found her path and destiny. Building confidence in others also helped change her outlook.
“I tell women to own who you are,” she added. “Just accepting who you are, loving who you are, doing self-care things like going to get your hair done or going to get your nails painted or just staying at home and doing a facial. … Just really taking time to appreciate you and focus on yourself for a while.”