Harlem women start ‘Stork’ magazine after success with Expecting Models
By Simone Weichselbaum | January 13, 2012
A GROUP OF Harlem women are building an empire one baby bump at a time — running the city’s only modeling agency for pregnant ladies along with a new mom magazine.
Expecting Models is in its 11th year and has just launched “Stork” online this month.
“We want women to embrace their curves,” said Lizette Alicea, 41, of East Harlem, who oversees Stork. “Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean your life stops. You are creating life.”
The webzine features leggy clients chronicling their glamorized gestations, and then life with a new infant.
“We are encouraging women to have a voice and interact in our community of moms and moms-to-be,” said Expecting Models founder Liza Elliott-Ramirez, who was born and bred in Spanish Harlem.
“I want women to become their personal best during their pregnancy and motherhood.”
The fortysomething mother of two thought up the agency while carrying her son Devon, when she noticed that bare pregnant bellies were rarely seen in magazine ads.
The void has led Expecting to dominate the maternity niche. Its current roster includes 150 pregnant women, 275 post-birth moms, plus 300 kids — many born to the model mommies.
Target and Gap use Expecting’s baby bumps for their maternity lines.
And Playtex bottles and Graco strollers have used Expecting’s infants.
The women, who are a mix of professional models and regular pretty faces — say juggling motherhood and work isn’t that tough.
“If you can nurse on the subway, you can nurse on a shoot. It’s no big deal,” said Heather Walker Falize, 32, who has worked as a breast-feeding model with her son, Sebastian. Now she’s six months pregnant again, and blogging about her experience for Stork.
Former Alvin Ailey dancer Constance Stamatiou, 27, quit the stage seven months ago after learning she was carrying.
But she wanted to stay active, so she searched online for modeling work.
“I knew that I didn’t want to teach dance. I want to be in the spotlight,” said Stamatiou, who was recently photographed by Target.
“As soon as this little one is born,” she said, “she is being put to work, too.”
(c) Daily News