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Brand Stories / Demetriad Studios © 2013

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Mary Duffy is a lucky women and she knows it. A fashion expert and author, for millions of women she holds the key to creative image-building and positive self-esteem. Her exciting career began in the mid-70s, when she, rather accidentally, became one of the first large-sized models. She like the work so much, she decided to start her own modeling agency—Big Beauties/Little Women, the first agency for special sizes. In 1988, her career reached "American Dream" status when she sold her company to world-famous Ford Models, where she now serves as Executive Director for Special Sizes.

And there's more...

Duffy's own career as a model had included national campaigns for Gloria Vanderbilt, L'Eggs and Weight Watchers. In 1980, she ventured into motivational speaking. Devoted to the enhancement of women's self-esteem, she has served as a commentator at more than 1,250 fashion shows and seminars and has appeared on more than 800 television segments over the span of her career, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah, Sally Jesse Raphael, Hard Copy, Jenny Jones, and CNN and You. Her wise fashion advice and expertise as a public speaker has made her a favorite expert source for dozens of women's magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Duffy has also written three books, named "The H-O-A-X Fashion Formula, "The Complete Petite" and "The MakeOver."

Her message is consistent: "Mattel made the Barbie Doll and God made you. God doesn't make mistakes!" Concerned with what she perceives as a widespread, oppressive image of unattainable "perfection" generated by much of the fashion industry, Duffy offers practical advice on fashion and beauty options for "real" women. "Any woman—regardless of her age, size, height, finances or features—can and should develop her own unique personal style," Duffy says.

But that's not all. Duffy's prescriptive and motivational presentations in print and on video blend humor and realism with her unique approach to each of the four elements of style—color, body type, personality and grooming. Her credo is: "It's not what you've got, how much of it, or how old it is, but what you do with it that matters!"

In 1993, Duffy introduced her highly successful pattern line for Simplicity Patterns, a collection of large-sized patterns based on her H-O-A-X body shapes. From 1997-99, she designed and presented a ready-to-wear clothing and accessory line for The Home Shopping Network, called "Personality" by Mary Duffy. The line was based on her theory that there are four distinct fashion personalities, which are defined by individual motivation: The Classic, who dresses to be approprirate; The Dramatic, who dresses to be noticed; The Casual, who dresses to be comfortable, and The Artistic, who dresses to be unique. Duffy finished her HSN presentations with the highly successful "20th Century Style," a unique collection of updated clothing and accessories honoring the best of fashion in the century. It was a labor of love and a sentimental salute to the arduous journey of American women who entered the 20th century demurely perched on the passenger side of a horse and buggy, and left it at the control module of the Space Shuttle.

Born in New York and raised in New England, Duffy is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and lives in Manhattan, where she is a member of The Junior League and The Fashion Group. Since 2010, Mary has been launching a company and video-digital platform to inform and encourage the self-esteem interests of all women, called Fashion for the Rest of Us.

This year, Duffy celebrates 35 years as a pioneer of special markets and as a bright, warm, witty and motivational voice for all women in fashion and beauty. Says Duffy: "My American Dream just keeps getting bigger."

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