Take me back to The Glamazon’s experience of being on one of the biggest shows on television, “America’s Got Talent.”
Tina: The original Glamazons, founded by Meryl Sherwood, brought plus-size beauty and talent into the homes of millions of viewers during season two of “AGT,” and they were a hit! What that original group did was nothing short of inspirational, courageous and super fierce. At that time, Emma, Kenya, Megan and I were just little kids watching along with the millions of fans awestruck, realizing that history was being made! It gave us hope. We realized we were not alone, anything is possible, and if you work it right, your dreams can come true, no matter what society thinks of you and your size. Now that I have gotten to know the original women behind The Glamazons, I hear it was an epic whirlwind of an experience, a magical time, and an important moment in pop culture. Emma, Kenya, Megan and I are so thankful to be carrying the torch for this new generation of The Glamazons, spreading our message of love, acceptance and the idea that talent and beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, with no apologies.
Does the group collectively write songs together? Tell me about the process.
Tina: Currently, I arrange all the music for the group, but we are lucky to have an amazing crew of songwriters and producers who work with us. Because the four of us are so different and unique from one another, we all have a voice when it comes to putting together a piece. Michelangelo Sosnowitz, who wrote and produced our first single, “Movie Star,” was a champ working with us, taking our ideas and bringing them to life. Each girl in the group inspires me in so many ways, so when I get new material, I am always thinking, “Wow, this part would sound amazing on Kenya! What if Emma did this?! How cool if Megan threw her stank on this lick, and, ooohhh, I have to do this!” We are super collaborative and always working to fine tune our parts and make sure each person’s part makes them shine the brightest! There is no lead singer in this group; we are all Beyonces.
Which celebrity or personality has come to you personally to say they are a fan or show support? What was the more surreal experience with that?
Emma: I’ve had so many fangirl moments since I joined The Glamazons. Working with Bianca Del Rio was such a dream, because I never thought that I in a million years would ever have the opportunity to work with her. She was nothing but supportive and positive and truly wonderful to work with. #girlcrush I also geeked over getting to meet Harvey Fierstein, Thelma Houston, Anthony Rapp, Debbie Harry and Fred Schneider from the B52’s.
Megan: One year after getting off stage, one of the other performers came up to us in tears and began to share with us a struggle she was going through, and wanted us to know how much she admires what we do and to say thank you for helping her feel confident and beautiful in her body. That right there meant the world to know we had impacted someone and gave them confidence and strength. To truly know our message was clear and going out there for love, acceptance and body empowerment!
Tina: I think the most emotional experience for me was when Melissa Etheridge surprised everyone at Albany Capital Pride last year and did a pop-up a capella performance. I really had that moment of, wow…here we are…on the same stage…in front of the same audience…impacting all of these beautiful people. It was a very humbling experience, one of those quiet, special moments I’ll hold with me forever. But honestly, for me, it’s not about the celebrities, it’s more about the fans that come up to us afterward: when they come up to us, pull us aside, in tears because we have changed and touched their lives in some way. That. That makes it all worthwhile, and I still pinch myself when I find myself in those powerful moments.
I greatly admire the fact that your group flaunts your confidence and sexiness by not being shy about your curves and encouraging women to embrace themselves for who they are, which as we all know doesn’t have to be a size 1. That being said, have you ever faced adversity in regard to this?
Kenya: Thank you! We all as a group have been teased about our weight, people saying we can’t make it because of how we look. When I was in middle school/high school people would say to me, “You can’t be a star being that size,” and I remember feeling really bad about myself. When I discovered The Glamazons I was amazed, because I never saw this type of group before. They were confident, sexy and curvaceous! I said to myself, if those girls can be sexy and confident on stage, I can too! Now I get messages from random people, friends and family telling me I inspire them, and they get inspired from The Glamazons. They see a group of curvy girls doing what they love with confidence and rising above how society says we should look. I’m so grateful to be a part of a group like this.
Emma: Woo! I feel like I have this conversation almost every day, because adversity is still something that I deal with on a regular basis. It’s not necessarily adversity that I find from the outside world; it’s the adversity I find from myself. I still have to fight the voice inside my own head telling me no. So now, I’m so happy to be a part of a movement that encourages human beings to be themselves, because I feel like I have to fight that fight so hard everyday. I’m not perfect, nor do I want to be. I just want to let other people know that your struggle is OK. It’s worth it. It makes us better.
Tina: The moment I discovered that I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to be me was life changing. It was a game changer! The minute I gave up that power I was finally able to be free. There will always be people that don’t like what I look like, sound like and act like. But I am not doing this for them. I am a forever work in progress. Sometimes I mess up, but that’s OK. I am learning! We all are! We are human. It’s hard in today’s age because everyone hides behind their computers, and somehow that gives people courage to be assholes. Well, I don’t have time for that! I can’t give in to it. We just have to push forth with our message of positivity, and hopefully it will spread like wildfire worldwide!
Tell me some of your entertainer influences (i.e., singers, actors, etc.).
Tina: My American idol is Bette Midler. End all. Be all. But I have been seriously influenced by female singer songwriters of the past like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. I love a strong female point of view.
Emma: My biggest influence is absolutely David Bowie. All the girls know this. Everyone knows this. It’s no secret. I love David Bowie, because I truly felt like he was ahead of his time. I feel like what he did 30 years ago is still innovative. His music was complex, his sense of style was out of this world and he attempted and accomplished things that I am still afraid to do to this day.
Megan: There are so many people who influenced me from Doris Day, Michael Jackson, Adele, Whitney Houston of course, Tina Turner, and so much more. I am inspired by those who work hard and break the mold of what people think the norm is. And, performance wise, who delivers every time right now: Beyoncé, hands down. Also, Celine Dion. I can’t with her. And from the dancers and choreographers, people that I would just love to share the stage with or have the opportunity to be a part of their magic and creativity would range from Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Twitch, Derek Hough, Ciara, Chris Brown and so on and so forth.
Kenya: Growing up I listened to oldies, reggae, R&B, pop, hip hop, jazz, blues and country music. I Iove any type of music that touches my soul, like Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and The Pips, etc. Their music touches me. Whitney Houston was like my vocal coach, and I love Tina Turner and Beyonce. I’m just always amazed of what they do on stage. They have so much energy and sex appeal and attitude. I always try to keep that in mind when I perform. They definitely inspire me to always be a better performer, because they can work a stage and sing their butts off!
Each of you tell me something about yourselves that our readers might be surprised by.
Tina: I have been professionally working in musical theatre for 20 years. I grew up in the theatre, and thank God for it. It saved my life! I am also obsessed with social media and the bridge it builds to our fans and followers. If you ever tweet us or message us, know I will always respond and keep the dialogue going!!
Kenya: I’m the youngest in the group and come from a Jamaican background. Both parents are from Jamaica. So I love trying to put on an accent like I was born there, and I love to dance to dancehall music!
Megan: One of my passions is to work with kids from troubled backgrounds/rough neighborhoods, just helping them see the light at the end of the tunnel, giving them courage and hope to keep going. Letting them know that anything is possible, and you have to believe in yourself.
Emma: I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. I moved to China when I was 18 to teach English before I went to college for political science, and then moved to New York. And the rest is future history. I love animals and the color yellow. I’ve always wanted to be famous in Korea and have my own daytime talk show.
Tell me about the documentary that you all are producing.
We are actually working on a documentary produced by Mattioli Productions. The documentary is called “Words,” and it will be tackling the subject of perceived gender in today’s society. Mattioli Productions is an LGBTQ-based production company that also produced our first music video for our single “Movie Star”! “Words” will feature an amazing array of talents from Miss Fame to Carmen Carrera and yours truly!
Emma: It’s truly an honor to be a part of this production, because it is about time this topic is being heard. I grew up as an LGBTQ ally and never thought that I would be able to be a part of such an amazing group of artists who are voicing their feelings on this topic as well.
Tell us about your Go Fund Me campaign.
The LGBTQ community has always been huge allies to us, so all we want to do is give back to the community that helped build us. Across the country there are Pride festivals, and we want to perform at as many possible. Most Pride organizations are non-profit, so although some may pay, some don’t. But we don’t want that to stop us! So we are campaigning to raise money so we can hit as many Prides as possible! As the new generation of The Glamazons, we are in a way starting a new chapter, paying our dues, so hopefully with this Pride tour and the help of our generous contributors we can make our mark and take the country by storm! To donate, you can follow this link: gofundme.com/gettheglamztopride
Will you be releasing an album anytime soon?
Tina: Ah! We are so excited! We are about to embark on an exciting journey working with the fiercest of songwriters and producers to bring you our debut album. Check our website for official updates and announcements. We can’t wait to finally announce! It’s gonna be EPIC!