About Chenese Lewis
Chenese Lewis, dubbed “One Of The Original Plus-Size Influencers” by Forbes has been on the front lines of the body positivity movement for over two decades. As a positive body image and self-esteem advocate, she has solidified her spot as an industry trailblazer and pioneer. Chenese gained international recognition as an entertainer and entrepreneur by breaking barriers and advocating for women who didn’t fit into society’s narrow beauty standards before it was mainstream.
Crowned Miss Plus America in 2003, she made history as the first to hold the title. She went on to work with various national brands in different capacities, such as modeling for Torrid and being the Coast-to-Coast Curves Spokesperson for Ashley Stewart. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) featured Chenese in a campaign for the inaugural launch of Body Acceptance Week. A guru in the plus size industry, Chenese has appeared as an expert commentator on Dr. Phil and Huffington Post Live, as well as quoted in USA Today.
As a highly sought-after emcee and host, Chenese’s ability to engage her audience, her quick wit, and relatable disposition makes her an in-demand host for major fashion and beauty events. For five consecutive years she hosted the TCFStyle Expo, the largest plus size shopping event in the South. She has also hosted large-scale fashion events during New York Fashion Week, Los Angeles Fashion Week, and abroad in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Chenese’s style and eloquence help elevate events to unparalleled levels of success.
She diversified her brand by hosting the Bronner Brothers International Mid-Winter Beauty Show, which is the largest multicultural beauty show in America with over 35,000 attendees. In addition, for six consecutive years, she hosted the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo in which she moderated panel discussions with some of the industry’s top natural hair influencers and conducted interviews with CEOs of national haircare brands in front of a live audience.
Making a splash in the mainstream market as well, she graced the cover of VICE Magazine UK’s 10th anniversary issue, a publication distributed worldwide, and posed for the popular celebrity-driven NOH8 Campaign. In 2015 Chenese was honored by Baton Rouge Fashion Week with the Fashion Icon Award recognizing her outstanding achievements as a fashion trailblazer from Louisiana.
Chenese is also a trailblazer in the podcasting field. In 2008 she introduced The Chenese Lewis Show, the first podcast for the plus-size industry. For fifteen years, the groundbreaking podcast has helped to amplify the industry by featuring in-depth interviews with national brands, notable influencers, and celebrities. Recognized as a respected media outlet, the show has been quoted in the Chicago Tribune, featured in Podcast Magazine and the Podcast Business Journal for being a successful podcast in a niche market. Ebony Magazine stated, “The Chenese Lewis Show is an important voice in plus size fashion, providing a platform and outlet for those who are making moves within the community.” In 2010, Chenese was accepted as a media correspondent for the Essence Music Festival and participated for five years interviewing mainstream celebrities during the festivities including Boyz II Men, Gladys Knight, Chilli from TLC, Don Lemon, Tina Knowles, Tyrese Gibson, Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, and a host of others.
As a philanthropist, Chenese has been a national spokesperson for several organizations, to help raise awareness for charitable causes and shed light on prominent issues. She served as President of the National Organization for Women Hollywood Chapter (Hollywood NOW) for two years and produced Hollywood NOW’s “Love Your Body Day” event for six years from 2006-2011. The annual event to promote positive body image was officially sponsored by the City of West Hollywood. In 2010, the promotional campaign for the event, where she posed nude with America’s Next Top Model cycle 10 winner, Whitney Thompson went viral globally and was featured online, in newspapers, and on television shows including E! News, Extra, Daily Mail Online, People Magazine, CBS News, and more. The campaign magnified Chenese’s role as a leading positive body image advocate.
Chenese has also been praised as an actress for her work as a cast member on BET’s “Hell Date,” which was one of the most popular shows in BET history. The show allowed Chenese to showcase her impeccable improvisational and comedic skills and kept millions tuning in weekly. She also received rave reviews for her dramatic portrayal of Connie Williams, a larger-than-life professional baseball player in the NAACP Award-winning play “The Girls of Summer” set in the 1940s. She also has credits in film, commercials, and music videos.
The Louisiana native is the Chief Creative Officer for Chenese Lewis Productions, LLC, a media company she established in 2007.
Chenese genuinely embraces who she is, inside and out, and it shows every time she steps into the spotlight. Chenese attributes her success to not conforming to society’s ideals of beauty, but rather showing by example that you can be beautiful and confident regardless of your size. Considered an icon within the plus size industry, Chenese shows no signs of stopping her ambitious efforts anytime soon.
Awards & Honors
- Amra and Elma Social Media Agency NYC – 100 Top Body Positivity Influencers
- Podcast Magazine – 40 Over Forty In Podcasting
- The Drum Newspaper’s People To Watch For 2021
- Success Sisters Magazine’s Top 50 Entrepreneur Women to Watch In 2021
- The Full Figured Industry Awards – 2021 Outstanding Podcast
- Friends of the Capitol Park Museum – 2021 President’s Award for Board Member Excellence
- FORBES – Dubbed “One Of The Original Plus-Size Influencers”
- Empowered Diva Awards Honoree
- Baton Rouge Fashion Week – Fashion Icon Award
- Upstage Theatre Company – Star Award
- The Empowered Woman Honors Honoree
- Project Curve Appeal – Curvy Icon Award
- Miss Plus Top Model Awards – Woman of the Year Achievement Award
- Miss Plus America Pageant – Lifetime Achievement Award
- YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge Women of Achievement Honoree