Long and lean with shoulder-length blonde hair, Larissa Schot is a rising force in the making. Accessorized with a wide and cheerful smile, Schot is the model whose carefree aura graces your phone screen. While many of you are familiar with her from America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), I’ve known her as the volleyball player who used to sit tables away from me in zoology class during high school.
Years after we graduated high school, we reconnected via Facebook. In place of a uniform and a volleyball, she’s swapped them for skinny jeans and crop tops. Packed with determination and laser-sharp ambition, Schot still has the same precision of a volleyball player by aiming her ball towards the bigger goals in life. While it’s every girl’s dream to work with the biggest and boldest names, she also uses Instagram as a platform to promote body positivity with #ThickandThin, which focuses on raising awareness of the plus size community inside the fashion industry.
We chat about what really happens behind the cameras at ANTM, why she started #ThickandThin and the top body confidence boosting tip she swears by.
When I first met you, I remember that you used to play volleyball in high school. I wouldn’t imagine that today, you’d end up being a model. What made you want to pursue it?
I’ve always been interested in modeling, but I didn’t pursue it until after I graduated high school. As a young girl, I was always interested in the role the models would play in advertisements. I was a big magazine reader back then, and was frequently fascinated by how they framed the advertisements; they drew the reader’s attention. I still have a whole box of those magazines saved back home in Texas.
Since ANTM, you did some photoshoots with Smashbox, Urban Decay and now, you’ve landed a new gig as a video girl on Vic Mensa’s new music video “Dark Things“. Looking back at it, how do you feel about your recent milestones?
Woah! ANTM feels so long ago, it’s crazy. I’m definitely happy with what I’ve accomplished so far. It’s been a journey filled with a lot of hard work and persistence. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many amazing people. I always have big goals for myself and am always striving to accomplish more. There are still so many things I want to achieve.
What were some experiences (or lessons) that you picked up at ANTM? And how did it prepare you for bigger projects?
It’s been so long, but I’d say living in a house with 26 other strangers with no access to outside communication tops the list. Although I didn’t make it to the top 12, I can still think positively about the experience. I used it to motivate me even more to push myself in the modeling industry.
Apart from your career, you started #ThickandThin with your friend, who is a plus size model. How did that idea develop?
My roommate really opened me up to the issues the plus-size community faces. As someone who has (fortunately) never struggled to find items that fit, I never knew how difficult it was for her to shop. It makes me upset that my gorgeous friend does not have access to the same clothes as I do, and that many of the stores I frequent don’t carry her size. It was ignorance on my part, but I never realized how limited clothing options are for the plus-sized community. With these stigmas in mind, we decided to use this as a platform to bring more attention to plus-size clothing and support retailers that size for both [straight and plus sizes]. Plus-size clothing looks just as good, or can look just as bad haha, and we wanted to reinforce this to people like me, like you and the people running the stores we shop at.
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To this amazing women and my closest friend. You have helped me realize how crazy difficult it is shopping and being an everyday women as a plus size model. I am so happy we are showing how cute outfits can be in plus and straight size clothing. 💕 through thick and thin we will always support one another. You’re amazing and I love you @xsophiacosettex
Was there a moment in your life when you struggled with body positivity? How did you overcome it?
Of course! I think being in an industry where appearance matters will do that to you. It’s been a topic I’ve struggled with for so many years. I think once I got older, I learned to stop comparing myself to others and learned to start caring less about what others thought of me. That’s how I started to feel more comfortable with myself and my body. With time, I decided to take on a more positive outlook about myself and began to realize how beautiful I could feel.
For anyone who is struggling with body positivity issues, what’s your top tip for boosting confidence?
Easier said than done, but I’d say it’s about wanting to change your mindset. In the long run, constantly comparing yourself to others does you nothing but harm. As I mentioned before, this is something I struggled with for so many years and sometimes I still do because making comparisons is so natural and easy to do. Whenever I notice myself doing this, I tell myself, “Larissa! We look different for a reason and you are beautiful in your own way!” They say bad habits die hard, and it definitely holds true here.
Since you focus on fashion and beauty, do you hope to release a collab in the future? If so, who would you like to work with?
YES! There are so many brands I would love to collaborate with. To name a few: Revolve, Glossier, ARE YOU AM I, Calvin Klein and Juicy Couture. The list goes on. There are so many amazing brands out there that have amazing work and people I would love to be a part of.
Now that you live in LA, how is the modeling scene different from NY and Singapore?
The modeling scene here in LA is definitely more commercial than NY. Singapore has a mix of both. Having grown up in Singapore, I miss it a lot, but I think I connect more with and have grown more in LA.
Among all the cities you’ve lived in, which one do you prefer?
I’d say I prefer LA. I feel happier and more confident being here. Not only that, but in the few months I’ve been here, I feel as though I’ve already grown and been able to experience so much.
Lastly, if you have a $1 million paycheck, what will you spend it on?
Ooo this is a great question! There are so many things that come to mind. I would pay off my college bills, invest in a company, and buy my mom the first car she ever owned.