Tears Began To Fall…I Had Finally Arrived by Angela Jones (Written by Angela Jones & Liz Nord)

Photographed by Marc von Borstel

This last year has been one of the most amazing years of my life. On a personal level, I have grown so much. I am constantly inspired through our Plus-Size Models Unite website and in my everyday life. Starting this website with Elizabeth was a way for me to use my story and my journey in to the modeling world to help inspire others. Now Plus-Size Models Unite has turned into a platform for inspirational women around the world to share their stories and to continue inspiring others.

For the last thirteen years of my life, ‘plus’ modeling has been something that I had wanted to pursue, but having a family, and being a wife and mother has always been at the top of my priority list and it still is. Last year, I felt it was the right time to do something for me. The journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. I have had many roadblocks along the way and many moments of self-doubt and felt doubt from others, but I pushed through. I made it happen and for that, I am so proud.

I do not know what the future will bring, but I do know that along this journey, I have met the most amazing individuals. Here is a little peek into the beginning of my journey from my start pursuing ‘plus’ modeling to eventually using my voice to help create a world of confident girls and women.

Pursuing plus modeling had everything to do with simply following my dream. I feel that as a mother, I am constantly telling our children that they can be whatever they want to be. Meanwhile, I knew deep inside that I had not given my dream a shot. For me, plus modeling has everything to do with making a difference and representing diversity. That is what I wanted to be a part of–the cause.

Growing up, I had no one to relate to and I never felt that I was beautiful because everyone in the media and magazines looked nothing like me–until I saw a picture of Emme. Honestly, it was a life changing moment for me as a teenager. I finally saw a woman who looked like me and she was considered beautiful. It was a breath of fresh air. I know what an impact that image had on me and I know that young girls and women are still longing to see more of those images in the media.

When the time was right (our kids were in school and I had a bit more ‘me’ time), I decided to pursue modeling. I went for it. I really had no idea how to go about it. I tried to do as much research as I could. I checked out the legit agencies, had my husband take some snapshots of me, and I submitted them to various reputable agencies. Many agencies said that I was not what they were looking for and I was okay with that. I was happy enough with just trying and giving my dream a shot.

When an agency contacted me and wanted me to come in for an open call, I was so excited! I was actually very calm and ready to do it until I got there, and then the nerves kicked in! I was signed that day, and I was thrilled! I did it! But, unbeknownst to me, there is a lot more to modeling than just being signed and many factors play into it.

When I signed with this agency, I had no idea what I was doing. So much of the information that they told me went in one ear and out the other! I was just happy to be there. After signing with them, I had my first test. I was a nervous wreck, but I did it and it was a great experience. The agency got my photos back and said that I was too small to plus model. So, I tested again and they said that they liked those pictures better and then they used both tests on their website! I was so confused, but just went along with it.

I really tried to keep a dialogue with them, check in, and just say hi, but I never got much response. I kept on testing and asked for some direction as far as what they would like to see and nothing…no response. I didn’t know if that was normal or not, so I just went along with it. About a month ago, I was on their website looking for my pictures, and noticed that I had been taken off the site. I was in shock.

I pulled myself together and called them. They said no clients had ever showed interest in me. I had no words. I got off the phone and cried and cried and cried. I felt so betrayed. I tried my best to give them what they wanted and they didn’t even have the decency to call me or email me. It took a few days to pull myself together, but eventually I realized that it was meant to be. I was already represented by three other agencies, and I was excited about that.

A week later, I got a call from The Campbell Agency, and they told me that I booked my first job! My son thought his mommy was going crazy…I was jumping around and laughing hysterically. I finally got my chance! I was on my way to Dallas to work for JCPenney’s!

On my way to the airport, I had to switch gears from mommy and wife mode to me mode! Usually, I am with my husband and kids. When I was alone, I realized just how much I rely on them to be by my side. I was sad thinking about my family, then I quickly realized what an amazing first job opportunity this was, and I was just so grateful for the opportunity and my family’s support.

After being completely humiliated at the security check, (they took each of my chicken cutlets (bra padding) out of my carry-on bag and ran them through the machine by themselves!), I finally made it to my gate and that is where I met my new friend, Andy.

Andy was just the beginning of all of the amazing individuals who I had the chance to meet on this trip. Throughout the entire flight, we talked nonstop. He told jokes, and we talked about life, love, kids, etc. I know we will be lifelong friends. Andy, thank you for taking my mind off my nerves, for making me laugh, and starting an unforgettable trip off in an amazing way!

My first job was nothing short of amazing. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that I was going to try my best and take any direction that I could get. I really wanted to perform well for them and do the best job that I could. I was just so excited to be there. I was really nervous. It was hard for me to go into a new environment and not have a clue what to do!

I had so many emotions built up: From the excitement of being there, to anxiety from doing my first job, to looking back on how I was teased as a child for my body, to coming to a point in my life where I am proud of my body, to being inspired by all of the amazing talent I was surrounded by, and finally…after all of my hard work and dedication–I got a job. I did it! I guess I was just so taken back that they had faith in me…I had finally arrived.

I worked two full days for JCPenney’s and it was a blast. I really enjoy watching all of the talent come together and produce such beautiful images. It is truly all about teamwork. I love seeing such inspiring people at work and it was so much fun to watch all of the models. Everyone has their own style and it was great to learn from them and incorporate what I had learned into my own style. I can tell you one thing–it is hard work. By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed!

Throughout my last day of shooting Beth and Gary gave me pointers, tips, and really calmed my nerves. As my last shot of the day arrived, my martini shot as they called it…I started to cry! I pulled it together and after I was done, I completely lost it. I could not hold back the tears any longer.

I don’t think they had ever seen a model cry as I did. It was all happy tears. I honestly was just so happy to be there, to have that experience as my very first job, and to meet all of the wonderful people at JCPenney’s: Lisa, Angie, Mindy, Al, Beth, Gary, Bobby, Whitney, Raymond, Marcia, and Kayleh. You are all incredible people and I feel very honored to have met all of you! Thank you! Every person I had the chance to work with inspired me in some way.

Lisa, I love your zest for life, your love of your family, and your random shout outs of “Work it girl, woohoo!” I love your energy! Marcia, I was told by a few of my friends what a generous and sweet woman you are and they were right. Thank you for your kind words and direction, and I am going to keep working on being “natural”!:) Beth, you were my angel that day.  When I looked into your eyes, I lost it. You did not have to help me as you did or give me encouragement as you did. Thank you. I feel very lucky to call you my friend. Gary, I loved listening to your stories. You take great pride in your work; you do an amazing job, and thank you for treating me as an equal. Thank you for being so kind. Kayleh, thank you for having faith in me! The Campbell Agency, thank you for your faith in me and for representing me as you do. I am honored to work with you. The entire JCPenney’s crew rocks!

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to Plus-Size Models Unite and give you all much thanks. I am so honored to have met you and thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for contributing. We are so thankful for your time and energy. Your inspiring words have really helped so many, including me.

Elizabeth, thank you for coming up with the idea of the website and for your friendship. My friend Marc, who is also a photographer and who I have tested with many times, I feel so blessed to call you my friend. Thank you for your friendship and guidance. You inspire me constantly. To my friends who are supporting me, thank you.

As one door closed, another door opened. I was so happy to return home and see my family. They deserve so much thanks, I feel so blessed to be a part of the family I have…thank you and I love you. I have many exciting opportunities coming up and I am so thrilled to share them with you soon!

*Here is a link to my JCPenney job pictures!



16 Responses to “Tears Began To Fall…I Had Finally Arrived by Angela Jones (Written by Angela Jones & Liz Nord)”

  1. Thanks for finally talking about >Tears Began To FallI Had Finally Arrived
    by Angela Jones (Written by Angela Jones & Liz
    Nord) | Plus-Size Models Unite <Liked it!

  2. What a wonderful story Angela!!! I’m still wondering…why did you bring chicken cutlets on the plane with you…? lol! You’re too much. Congratulations on your first job and may your future be FULL of success stories like these. Sending all my love!!!

  3. Tamara Walsh Says:

    Dear Angela,
    I am so glad that you are sharing your story. Your wisdom, insite, and courage has always inspired me. Thank you.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am going though the same thing right now! I am with an agency and I have been with them for a few months but still haven’t booked a job. I have applied to other agencies and haven’t heard anything. Sometimes I think about giving up, but stories like yours makes me want to keep trying. The photos are beautiful and I am very happy for you. I know 2011 will be an exciting year for you and hopefully for me as well!

    • Thank you! I know how I felt when I first got into this industry and it was a very lonely place to be. I have learned that there are some really amazing people in this industry and it doesn’t hurt to ask for advice! Everyone has to start out somewhere and I am wishing you a wonderful year ahead! Keep us posted and thank you so much for reading!!! xx

  5. I am proud of my daughter for her perseverance in following a dream. Most of all, I am proud of her desire to inspire young women to love themselves which will in turn enable them to pass this message to others. There is nothing better in life than helping, encouraging, and loving one another.

  6. Angela I am so proud of you! The chicken cutlets was my favorite part, I laughed out loud and sooo relate! Thank you for writing this piece. It’s so important for aspiring models to understand that being signed with an agency is merely a foot in the door, then comes the hard part of pushing the door open! I looked forward to reading this article even before you wrote it! It was an awesome piece and keep up the good work! You are a stunning woman and I truly believe that because you are a wife and mom your photos will be so much deeper because you have a wider spectrum of emotions to pull from!
    Awesome, awesome, awesome….

    • Thank you, Tracie. Thank you for all of your support and words of wisdom. The chicken cutlets just about put me over the edge! I was SO embarrassed! lol Love ya! xx

  7. So encouraging an inspiring Angela!! In your journey the best is yet to come and thanks for unite all curvy girls around the planet! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy 2011!!

  8. Angela, it was great meeting you, but there are a few things you left out! The amount of courage it really takes to do what you have done! I don’t think people truly understand how much of a whirlwind it is when you step foot in a studio. The minute you walk in you are pulled, tugged, brushed, painted, sprayed, dressed and pinned, then put out on a set with lights and we say now Model! It has to be so never racking! But you did it with class, and purpose and from the very start you let me know this was a mission for you! Since meeting you I promised I would pass along your blog to all plus models! The only thing is you guys are doing such a good job that all the models I meet are already involved with your site. Keep up the great work for a great cause! You are a beautiful person inside and out!

    • Beth, thank you so much for your message. You really have no idea how much you meant to me that day. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you and get to know you. You are a beautiful person inside and out too! xoxo

  9. Plus-Size Models Unite Says:

    Thank you everyone! xx

  10. Congratulations!! This is so exciting and you deserve it so much. I love reading your stories.

  11. congrats ang!!!! it is so amazing what you are doing and sharing!! you are an inspiration.

  12. What an amazing journey!!! So proud of you and happy for you!!!

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