By Darius Baptist
In Hollywood, it’s not often you come across people that are truly as genuine and down to Earth as they appear on television with the characters they portray. But Kim Coles is that rarity. Most known as the loveable Synclaire on the successful series Living Single, this comedienne, actress, author and playwright has found a place in America’s heart, and with her caring and bubbly personality she has continued to keep you watching and supporting her in whatever she chooses to pursue. With a new co-hosting gig on the much buzzed-about game show Are You Normal, America?, Coles has found herself once again doing what she loves, and warming our hearts as only she can. I had the honor of sitting down with this hysterically funny woman to discuss everything from love and laughter to what it feels like to have Oprah as your boss. Believe me when I say it, this woman exudes humor.
Darius: I have to start off by saying I did not know you began in this business as a model. Not saying that you aren’t beautiful, but can you tell me how that started you to where you are now? Kim: When I was about 18 or 19 years old, my first job was working in Macy’s in the cook wear department. There was a sign in the employee dressing room that said someone was looking for models for a fashion show. I had finished high school, dropped out of college, thought I would work for a bit until I figured out what I really wanted to do, and this seemed like something fun to do. This wasn’t a major big time fashion show that I’m talking about, it was one of those church basement shows, but either way I figured it was important and I would give it a try. The thing about me modeling is that I always had a sense of humor with it, and the audience took to it well. This was long before the plus-size industry really took off, but I ended up modeling for BBW magazine and winning a beauty pageant because I did stand-up as my talent. Stand-up comedy and modeling are very closely related because as I was modeling I would always be making people laugh and one time the commentator didn’t show up for a fashion show so the designer was like “Kim, you’re funny, why don’t you go perform for people and keep them entertained before the show starts?” I started performing and making people laugh and it was good enough that I stopped being booked as a model and started being booked as a comedian.
Darius: How would you say the plus-sized industry has evolved? Kim: Well there’s a lot more opportunities. It felt to me like plus-size was an afterthought. Though people will tell you that it was special and it was wonderful, I got a sense that it’s a service they were providing because they had to. It wasn’t as fabulous as it is now. It’s gotten bigger and better and more chic. Back then, if you weren’t a size 14, 16 or 18, you weren’t a plus size model. Now, you could be a size 10 or 8 and be a plus-size model. It’s definitely grown. The meaning and definition of beauty have definitely grown, and so has fashion. Where it used to be an inconvenience, now it’s an industry that seems to respect the customer more. There’s room for change and growth, but I think it’s definitely better than it was in the ‘80s.