In an exclusive interview with StyleList, Ellis shares some of her juiciest memories from her upcoming book, "Size Sexy."
StyleList: Why do you prefer the term 'size sexy' instead of 'plus size'?
Ellis: I hate 'plus size.' Plus what size? The new name is 'size sexy,' which is what I'm titling our voluptuous girls of today. Enough of being called all kinds of funky names. We are sexy and feminine... It's time for all women of all sizes to stop it and embrace yourself.
StyleList: Did you ever feel insecure about walking the catwalk next to supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista?
Ellis: Most full-figured women project insecurities and they're a little scared, but I was projecting 100% fabulous, self secured, sexy, bubbly. Yeah I'm big, but you know, here I am! It was in Paris and the excitement started with the fittings and everything Jean Paul [Gaultier] made for me was just to compliment and to show my body.
StyleList: Were any of the models catty?
Ellis: Gaultier introduced me to everybody, like Naomi (Campbell), Linda (Evangelista), Christie (Brinkley) and Kate (Moss) and I did not for one second have a hostile feeling from anybody. I became friendly with Naomi and Kate. We had dinners, parties, cocktails backstage. Linda [Evangelista] and I never had anything. She was known for her dramatics in the business but to each his own. If you want to walk around with an attitude that's fine, but nobody ever made me feel like, 'What are you doing here?'
StyleList: What were some of memorable moments making the George Michael "Too Funky" video?
Ellis: [Thierry Mugler] directed the original "Too Funky" video. Thierry was in charge of everything from the creation to the clothing and he had a fight with George in the middle of the shooting so he left. If you go on You Tube you can find Thierry Mugler's version. There was a scene created by Thierry where I stand against the wall wearing all black except for my red lips, a long skirt with a bustier, a corset and black turtle neck with two totally naked black men standing facing me. One of them was Djimon Honsou!
StyleList: What is Madonna like in person?
Ellis: Madonna came backstage to Jean Paul Gaultier's show and we chatted a little bit. Everybody was cocktailing and having fun. She's a lot of fun and easy going, not what people project about her. Everyone has their own experience that they shared with her. Being Madonna or not, we all have our moments but people don't get to where they are by just being 100% sweet all the time. I have nothing bad to say about her. My experience with her was amazing. She was always kissing and hugging whenever she saw me.
StyleList: How did you end up working on Madonna's "Sex" book?
Ellis: A few days later I get a call from Steven Meisel's people saying Steven and Madonna would like me to be a part of the book. I definitely said I do not want to appear naked, but other than that everything goes. We shot four days in New York. There was lots of kinkiness. We shot at the Chelsea Hotel and at Hell Fire which was an S&M place, near the old meatpacking district. It was dark and musty because we were underground. I'm wearing vinyl with my butt popping out and Madonna is half naked with her boobs out wearing an S&M masculine outfit and she's spanking me. She really was spanking me with the whip and I was like, 'OK Madonna let's not get carried away here!' She laughed because she was getting into it a little bit too much.
StyleList: Did you shoot any photos that didn't make it in?
Ellis: Some of the scenes that didn't make it were me washing Madonna, giving her a bath in the Chelsea Hotel. She was leaning against the wall and I'm wearing a fabulous, sexy negligé bathing her with a sponge with a lot of bubbles. One scene we were sitting on the couch with an older man and she's playing the young girl and we're seducing Madonna.