divalineOver half the women in this country are overweight–and the other half seem to think they are. Can we safely say this is NOT a niche market? Illustrator Amy Flynn thought it was high time for designs that glorified REAL women–big beautiful divas with voluptuous curves and a larger than average zest for life. She calls her collection “DiVaVaVoom”, and it’s available at her CafePress site, www.cafepress.com/divavavoom .

There has been a growing trend to accept a standard of beauty that is not stick-figure thin. The backlash against fashion models with tiny BMI’s has been front page news lately. Jennifer Hudson recently became the first full-figured woman to grace the cover of Vogue magazine. One Life to Live’s Kathy Brier has won over a legion of devoted fans by playing a woman who more closely resembles her viewers than her chic co-stars. And–gasp!–her character even has a romantic storyline! Who’s the plump heroine of today’s hottest TV show? Golden Globe winner America Ferrera as “Ugly Betty”. Rosie O’Donnell preaches the gospel of size acceptance every day on The View. Even the medical community is slowly coming around; a recent study claims that “people who are overweight (though not obese) actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight”. After decades of Barbie tyranny, the pendelum has to swing the other way.

“A few years ago, I developed a line of greeting cards that featured tiny, twiggy little people, and I felt a bit guilty about it”, says Amy. “They were fun to paint, but they didn’t look anything like my friends–or, indeed, most human beings. A lot of my friends are big girls, and there wasn’t anything out there they could relate to. When I started painting my Divas, they went absolutely nuts!”

The women of DiVaVaVoom are based on Amy’s fabulous gal pals, and feature humorous copy, such as her favorite quote by Dawn French; “If I had been around when Rubens was painting, I would have been revered as a fabulous model. Kate Moss? Well, she would have been the paintbrush.” The Divas are brassy, glamorous, sexy women who love life and know how to have a good time. The first twenty designs were published by Paramount cards, and further designs are featured on card lines by “Leanin’ Tree”  and “Karto Oy” of Finland.

“Beauty comes in all sizes” says Flynn, “and it’s ridiculous to assume that you have to look like a supermodel in order to be attractive. Not too long ago, women who looked like my Divas would heve BEEN supermodels.” As Camryn Manheim joyously proclaimed when she won her Emmy, “This is for all the fat girls!”

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