Runway Pioneer: Stella's size didn't slow her down: In the '90s she modeled for Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, and appeared in Madonna's Sex book and video. "I used to walk around in a tight dress, looking gigantic, alongside skinny supermodels like Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell. I felt totally confident because of my inner strength."
Weighty Issues: Despite a recent 40-pound loss—"No big deal; I just wanted to be lighter and healthier"—Stella isn't interested in sylph-hood: "I'm not about to be a size 8. I'm still a big girl. I like to say that my hourglass figure is more like an hour and a half!"
She Knows Drama: Stella isn't the tailored-suit type; she's inspired by Old Hollywood glamour (red lips, plunging neckline) and advises larger women to avoid oversize clothing: "It's so wrong to cover yourself up." Nor is she shy about jewelry. "A teeny band on my finger would disappear; my look demands something chunky."