Model Lauren Maksimovic Talks About Feeling Self-Conscious, Societal Misconception of Plus-Size Women, Beauty, Fashion, Books, and More!

Lauren Maksimovic on set at Virtu Shoot

Lauren Maksimovic is an Australian plus model who is signed with BELLA model management and is in talks with agents in both London and Germany. She is the face of the new label Virtu, which is a wonderful clothing line for ‘life after work’ for women sizes 12-24. (www.virtushop.com.au)

Last year she was heavily involved with the Big W launch of Peter Morrissey’s line of clothing for every day women. She was lucky enough to appear in his lingerie TV commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lSZfAg6ZVU.

Here’s Lauren…

Photos for ‘Insalada’

Please tell us where you are from, and how you got started in the modeling business.

I am originally from Adelaide in South Australia, and I moved to Sydney to pursue further study in the field of Education.  I never had any intention of modeling, but after being scouted out by Chelsea Bonner (my agent) in a Sydney bar, my life has never been the same – and I have never looked back!

What misconceptions do you think society has of plus-size women?

I would say the biggest (and most frustrating!) misconception of plus-size women is that they are overweight or lazy. As defined by women, “normal” in our society is a size 6 – 8, which is represented by “normal” models. Therefore, plus-size women in our society are a size 12 – 16, which is also represented by plus-size models in this size bracket. We are all individuals; each one of us coming in different shapes and sizes. Seeing images of thin starving women in magazines and in the media gives women a false hope that they can look like that and that has set the standard in our society of what is considered beautiful or worse, “perfect.” Plus-size models are a representation of real women wearing clothes that real women can buy (not just for down the runway) and they set an example of being healthy.

The most beautiful plus-size models in the world are toned, gorgeous women, with curvy bodies!

Madison images, Madison Magazine. Photographer Jordon Graham

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues in the past? If so, how did you reach the point of accepting and loving your body as it is?

Of course! In high school, I went through a phase of being very self-conscious. I was much taller than all my friends who were tiny, petite, beautiful girls. I always joked that I could start an agency of my own with just my school friends on the books! From this, I formed a bit of a complex about what beauty was, and I never actually saw myself as fitting this ideal of “beauty.” I took a leap of faith moving to Sydney. The first few months were incredibly tough and I felt very alone. I missed my friends and family every day. Although I thought of myself as being strong-willed before the move, I realized that this experience made me into a stronger person, and I realized that I could achieve anything I wanted to if I set my mind to it. I gained a whole different sense of self and since then, I don’t give up on anything I set my mind to. By the time I met Chelsea and signed to BELLA model management, I was in a whole new state of mind and since then have grown in leaps and bounds. I have gained a new level of confidence and embrace that people see me as being a role model for healthy women.

What advice would you give to young women who are struggling with self-esteem, confidence, or body image?

You are BEAUTIFUL! Each and every woman is beautiful in her own way. We should be placing less value on what we look like and more on how we feel, on our attitude about life, and what is really important to us. Life is too short to be wasted on worrying about things we cannot change – you can only be the best you can be and love yourself for who you are! I am always looking to better myself; physically by working out and eating healthy, but also in other ways to be a better person. I am blessed to have the most inspiring family. Both my parents are strong, smart, and wise people who have steered me to believe in what is really important in life and doing things that shape you into being a better person. No matter where my career takes me, I will always be grounded and grateful because of where I have come from and the way I have been brought up. I was once told by my agent words that I will never forget, “As a model looks will only take you so far; it is your personality and attitude that will get you further.” This has proven to be true over and over again, and I believe this to be true in everyday life as well.

L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Unzipped Parade, wearing Rio!

What does being healthy mean to you?

Being healthy should not be about striving to be thin or to lose weight. It should be to strive to feel good about yourself and have energy to be able to do whatever you want to do. I treat exercise as part of life. I love exercising in the mornings as it makes me feel good for the rest of the day. When I feel good physically, I generally also feel good emotionally and mentally, which are both just as important in having good health. We all know what is good for us and what we should do/eat in moderation. We need to make good lifestyle choices to give our bodies maximum health.

Out of all the places your modeling has taken you – where is the most memorable?

I went to New York last year to visit some agencies and while I was there, I fell in love with the city. There is something magical about New York City that I will never forget. My long-term goal is to get back overseas to experience shoots with people from all over the world, but right now, I am so passionate about building plus-size influence in the Australian industry.  I am really happy living and working in Sydney, and I am enjoying the challenges of building a profile for plus-size models and real women.

Madison images, Madison Magazine. Photographer Jordon Graham

Where do you like to shop for clothes and who are your favorite designers?

I am blessed that one of my best mates, Annabel Wendt, happens to be a creative genius and has come on board this year to be my stylist for different events! She is a master at putting together mixtures of vintage and modern pieces to create a unique, beautiful outfit. She has her own style blog at http://lovemoreblog.blogspot.com/

Fashion has a certain power; the way garments can make you feel can change everything about a woman’s confidence and sense of self. I find Oscar de la Renta and Stella McCartney’s garments to be inspirational in this regard, and my favourite Aussie designers are Peter Morrissey and Collette Dinnagan.

Please tell us about your Ambassador role with Peter Morrissey.

Peter is a wonderful man and an incredible designer with a vision to produce clothing that is wearable not just on the runway, but on a real woman in everyday life. Working with him so closely throughout 2009 was a dream, as he has always been one of my favorite designers, and to see his passion for reaching out to real women of Australia, through fashion, was inspirational.

Photos for ‘Insalada’ – photographer unknown

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I try to mix up my workouts with weight training and cardio. I love cycling and swimming and my boyfriend just bought a surfboard so I want to start surfing on the weekends!   I used to be into Water Polo in a big way. In fact, I represented South Australia in the Women’s Open National League, and although I am not as heavily involved with Water Polo now, I still love being in the pool!

What are some of your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

I have really sensitive skin so I am always on the look out for products that don’t dry out the skin and are really nourishing. Dermalogica’s cleanser is fantastic. Cetaphil moisturizer is great for Winter, especially when our skin is more prone to drying out. I try not to wear makeup if I’m not working, but I can’t live with out Clinque blush, and I love Chanel’s new lipstick range (a little bit of color on the lips makes you instantly look fresh)!

Do you have a favorite book that you would like to recommend?

I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which had me hooked until the very last page! But my favourite book would have to be Shantaram, as I love books that are so powerful they can move you to be happy, sad, and inspired.

How would you feel being the first plus model to grace the cover of an Australian magazine?

Since I have been modeling, my determination to change the ideals of beauty and knock down barriers that have been instilled for far too many years in the fashion industry, has continued to grow. To be on the cover of an Australian magazine would be a dream come true. It would be an incredible honor, but more importantly, it would create a buzz in the industry. I believe it would create a turning point for the Australian fashion industry to include real women on more than just a single token page in a magazine.

What are you excited about right now?

Being the change I want to see in the world!

Article from the Melbourne Age newspaper showing Lauren Maksimovic and Penelope Benson, with a straight size model in the middle, after the massive success of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Unzipped!

*Thank you, Lauren!

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8 Responses to “Model Lauren Maksimovic Talks About Feeling Self-Conscious, Societal Misconception of Plus-Size Women, Beauty, Fashion, Books, and More!”

  1. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after
    browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  2. where exactly can i get hold of the picture you are using on your website please?

  3. […] that only so called “freaks” or “failures” feel. Successful people, beautiful people, “well-adjusted” people often feel self-conscious. Author K.L. Going has felt that way much of […]

  4. Lovely women, but plus size? No. normal. I suppose if the bar is 90 pounds.

    The worst aspect of modelling today is that no women with a ‘bit’ of meat on their bones are represented. They are either 20+ pounds overweight or not plus sized at all, just not anorexic. I’d like to see size 12s (the average size) as normal, not models who are14+.

    The middle group of us, who have a love handle or 2 seem to be no where – and when we are, we are ‘plus sized’.

    Drives me crazy.

  5. nice job and nice girls

  6. Brazy Moda Says:

    This is an awesome article, and very inspiring thank you so much for sharing it and how this article will inspire others 🙂 (wonderful)

  7. Lauren Maksimovic is an inspiration!!!
    I see her work popping up everywhere how lovely to get an insight into her life and to see she is a wonderful passionate women changing the world.
    What a fantastic role model for women and she is one of the most beautiful women with such a gorgeous body!
    xxx

  8. Lauren is fantastic and so full of energy! What a wonderful role model she is for future generations. xxxx

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