I’m sure many of us have had this experience- you come across a person online who looks interesting, decide to follow them on Instagram, Twitter, or any various social media sites, and become fast internet friends. From this point on you either keep the friendship digital, or decide to meet up in person, in which that could go incredibly well or you could totally end up getting catfished.
Fortunately for me, I ended up having a wonderful experience with my next Nickel City Gritty interviewee Caralyn Mirand. Looking at Caralyn’s Instagram account, you’ll see that she is a successful plus size model, securing campaigns with huge clients like Macy’s. Not only is she a model, she started her own business called Buffalo Beautiful. She could have easily moved to New York City to work full-time, but instead stays true to her roots and is a Buffalo girl through and through, living here and commuting weekly for jobs. She is a beautiful person both inside and out, and I’m so happy to share this fun interview with you all.
This is Nickel City Gritty and this is Caralyn Mirand.
How did you start modeling?
I started when I was a senior in High School. I applied and was accepted to Clarkson University. My mom told me to go online and look up scholarship information, and instead I posted my pictures on the Tyra Banks website. She was having a teen plus size modeling competition. So if you were a size 12 and you were a teenager, you were eligible. So the next day I received an email saying “Please submit the correct images.” and I was like “Woah, that’s crazy!” because when you were posting the pictures, people were posting them so quickly that my picture went from page one to page ten when I refreshed it. It was crazy that somebody noticed mine! So the next day I posted the correct ones and was told “Congratulations, you are in the top 100!” and I was like “Oh my god, that’s crazy!” Next day top 50, then top 25, then top 10…things happened very fast. They flew my mom and I to New York for about a week to compete on the Tyra Show. It was a total whirlwind experience and we filmed two episodes. We did three photo shoots and we did a model walk that had to be creative. We also did a video about Tyra’s beauty campaign that was all about exposing your natural beauty. So long story short I was the runner up of the competition, and being 17 years old I was heartbroken! But it’s kind of crazy, I’m the only one out of two cycles of this competition that’s still a working model. After the show, I met with a modeling agency and they said if you’re not willing to move to New York then you don’t really have a future, call us after college and maybe we could work something out. That was kind of a bummer, but I was still able to negotiate myself to work with Seventeen magazine, so I would say “If you could pay for my flight, I would work for free.” and that’s how I got my start! I was feature in Seventeen four times, which was really fun.
How long have you been doing your side business, Buffalo Beautiful?
Living in Buffalo, post college, I thought okay I wasn’t modeling full time, what’s my passion? What do I want to do? And I wanted to start establishing something here, so that I didn’t need to rely on modeling. So, to not necessarily fall back on, but to put some roots here again. So it’s so cliche, but it came to me in a dream. I woke up and was like, Buffalo Beautiful! And I started writing stuff down in the middle of the night. That’s how it was born. It is a consulting company, but that idea is evolving, for sure. I kind of threw everything at the wall to see what would stick and I’m in the process of updating my website. I launched it in 2015. Right now I’m focusing on helping people develop their confidence from the inside out. So you could wear great clothes, but if you don’t feel good on the inside, you’re not going to feel good on the outside. I love working with women and men of all ages and helping them become the best versions of themselves.
Describe your style to me.
Oh gosh. Okay, my style would be classic, easy but polished. And versatile. And always evolving. I think my favorite thing is to invest in pieces that will never go out of style. Jeans, a leather jacket…I like to buy trends cheaply. I don’t invest in trends unless it’s something that I’m really stuck on. One of my goals this year is to invest in better basics. Better white shirts, better pairs of jeans and getting them tailored. Being smarter and not just buying to buy, but to actually curate a wardrobe that will last.
Do you have a favorite outfit or favorite piece of clothing?
Right now, I don’t know what it is, I’m all about my black jeans. Whether it’s regular black jeans or ripped black jeans. I bought like six pairs of black jeans this year…it’s crazy.
Where’s your favorite place to buy jeans?
I used to be a die hard Gap person, but not as much anymore. This is crazy to say this, but I’ve actually had a lot of luck at American Eagle this year for jeans. I recently bought jeans there, and I wear a lot of Fashion to Figure jeans and they start at a size 12. Every once in a blue moon I will have good luck at TJ Maxx and Marshalls but I don’t really count on it. I’ve also been all about the little white sneaker.
Do you have a style icon?
Ummm…I feel like I should. This is hard, because I really find my inspiration through street style. I love looking on Pinterest, and let’s say that if I buy black jeans, I’ll type in “black jean outfits” on Pinterest and I’ll search that and get inspiration from that. I also love to look at magazines and finding inspiration through normal people, as silly as that sounds. It’s hard because there are people who I love the way they dress, but it wouldn’t look good on me. Like Olivia Palermo, I love all her outfits, but I could never wear it. Also, people that I work with, too, Like everyone is always dressed so cool. And it’s funny, because they’re not wearing anything crazy. It’s simple and classic.
What is currently on your playlist?
I am obsessed with The Highway on Sirius Radio. Backstory, never loved country music, moved to the furthest point north in New York State, fell in love with country music up there somehow. I love Top 40 pop music, stuff you can jam and move to. I love being able to sing along. My boyfriend and I have bonded over country music. Drake White is so good, I listen to him on repeat. I like feel good music and the old early 2000 jams.
Do you have a favorite or most memorable concert?
It’s a tie between my first concert ever, which was Britney Spears at Darien Lake or every year my boyfriend and I like to get to Pittsburgh to see Kenny Chesney, he does the stadium tour. It’s a fun vibe in the summer and a fun atmosphere. Everyone’s drinking beer and tailgating. It’s the kickoff of summer.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
So, I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always loved Adam Levine. I’m not really even that into tattoos, but I think he’s really good looking. Blake Shelton’s personality really cracks me up, and it’s funny because I don’t even watch The Voice that much, but those two are good looking. I’m all about the tall, dark and handsome, though. It’s kind of my jam.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Buffalo?
I love Sinatra’s in Kenmore. You know you’re going to get a good Italian meal. I love Acropolis and La Nova. Tempo I love for the fancy date night. I also love Andersons, is that bad? Also, I will gladly get a health problem for Paula’s Doughnuts.
What’s your favorite place to grab a drink?
I would say Vera is a really good place to get a drink, and my boyfriend and I would go to Templeton when we first started dating. That’s more for scenery. The patio with the fire pits…that’s where my boyfriend and I fell in love. We go once a year on our anniversary. Or even just Canalside or Liberty Hound…that area is just fun.
What’s your spirit animal?
A turtle. So I was a Delta Zeta in college and turtles were our mascot. Ever since then my parents would buy anything with a turtle for me, to the point where it got a little excessive. I have my spare bedroom that’s tastefully turtle themed. I have this really beautiful turtle keepsake box from Room and I have little turtles all over my house. And slow and steady wins the race, I guess! So yes, a turtle. Or my dog is my spirit animal, because he doesn’t get out bed until noon and really has one hour of active time…so maybe he is. His name is Walter. He’s a 30 pound pitbull mix.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
I’ll tell you the best and the oddest. The best one, I’d have to say, is that I know how to make people feel good, and that relates back to my Buffalo Beautiful. Helping people feel good about themselves after I help them. The oddest one is that makeup artists tell me all the time that I have really good spacing between my eyes and my eyebrows for makeup. So I’ve never thought about that, but that’s cool!*
*Editor’s note: The instructor who taught me in makeup school called this orbital space*
And, always my last question. What do you want to be when you grow up?
My go-to answer to this is usually a stay at home dog mom. I actually want to be happy and be able to travel and have a family and improve my cooking even more…I’m an amateur chef. I want to find happiness and laughter every day, and family for me is number one. As long as you have your health and your happiness and family…that’s all I could ever ask for when I grow up. I wish I was funnier *laughs* It’s never been about where I am, it’s who I’m with. I would rather be sitting with someone like you in a shack than being with low quality people in the most beautiful place in the world. It’s important to surround myself with good people, especially in the industry that I’m in. I want to continue to surround myself with people who challenge me to do better and to care about important things. That’s all I could ever want and ask for. Man, that got me in the feels!