Archive for the Entertainment Category

Rebekah Brambila Says, “The people you love, who love you in return, are not lying when they tell you how wonderful you are!”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Liz

Meet model Rebekah…

Please tell us how you started your career as a model?

My cousin told me that you could apply to work as a model for Torrid.com through their internet site. So, I took the chance, sent in some pictures my mom took of me on our front porch, and I was called in for a go-see!

A bit later Torrid sent me and some models to Katie Halchishick and Bradford Wilcox (founders of Natural Model Management) for a modeling class. The class went great and at the end of the day, we set up some future test shots, and I was signed from there!

What does being a part of Natural Model Management mean to you?

To me, being a part of Natural Model Management means being a part of a team, and a movement that shows girls how to dream big! Natural doesn’t just say, “Love your body”; it gives girls role models who actually live out their commitment of self-love…no matter their shape, or size!

Natural Models and Healthy is the New Skinny recently went to Placer High in Auburn, California to talk to their students about its new program Perfectly UnPerfected. You were a part of this amazing experience. Please tell us about it and why this movement is so important.

Let’s face it, high school can be a really hard four years for teenagers. Their feelings can be so tender during this time as kids are trying to discover who they are, and how they fit in.

Previous to this event, we were told that 80 percent of girls at this campus wished they could be skinnier, and that they hated their bodies. 80 percent! That shows just how important it is to find a solution to this way of thinking and feeling.

What the PUP Program and Healthy is The New Skinny are trying to do is help students foster feelings of individual worth. It was amazing to me how well the students took to heart our message of self-acceptance, and they did so in such a short amount of time. After only one set of assemblies, the students showed such positive signs of how they felt about themselves and each other.

Students also realized the absolute power they have in changing what the fashion world views as beautiful. Many girls were told for the first time that there really is no standard or size when it comes to beauty. Beautiful is just perfectly unperfected people striving for a healthier lifestyle.

What do you enjoy about modeling? What is it about your career that brings you joy?

Everything! Haha! But in all honesty, as much as I love taking pictures in fun clothes and pretty make up, I really love meeting new people. I love talking to people about their lives. Everyone has a story, and it’s always really inspiring to hear them.

I also love how unique and hard working my agency is. The people I work with are so passionate about making a change for the better. I couldn’t be surrounded by better people. 

Currently, you are attending college in Hawaii at BYU. What has your experience been like in college so far? What is your major?

College has been a huge learning experience for me. I went to BYU-H not knowing a single person, hoping things would just work out. At school, I learned how to be a part of a family wherever I am. Friends, roommates, and even the people I work with became my family away from home. It’s amazing the strength that can bring to a person.

I am majoring in Exercise Sport Science. I LOVE it! The professors I have are so helpful and really care about my success as a student. Plus I get to take some fun classes like flag football and rugby!

On a day off, in Hawaii, what would your perfect day consist of?

Sun, sand, and surf! I love the North Shore and could spend all day there! At night, I love going to my favorite snack shack “Kava Roots”, ordering an acai bowl, and listening to locals sing at open mike night. I would definitely end my day with a late night long board ride around campus with my roommie.

Have you ever suffered from body image or self-esteem issues?  If so, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?

Body image and self-esteem issues were a big part of my life from my late high school years, into my college years. I could not get past that feeling of not feeling good enough. The people I loved most could tell me a million times how perfect I was just being me, but I never could take it to heart. It took being sick and tired, of being sick and tired, for me to make a change.

If I could give any advice to girls and women struggling with body, or self-esteem issues, it would be to trust the people you love, and lose yourself in doing good for others.

The people you love, who love you in return, are not lying when they tell you how wonderful you are! Listen to them and lean on them for support.

Even in times when I felt the worst about myself, when I fully divided into helping others, I felt worlds better. It’s amazing how you can find your most beautiful self when focusing on the needs of others.

What kinds of pressures do you see the girls in your life facing these days? What can we, as mentors, do to better address these issues?

I really think the list is never-ending. But, a huge pressure I see right now is the struggle between the modern and tradition values of what a women should be. Today there are so many standards society pressures on women: being thin, beautiful, mothers, successful businesswomen, educated, homemakers, etc.

I think the example mentors need to set is that a women can be many things in one lifetime, even if not at the same time. We need to experience joy in what we do accomplish, and not beat our self’s up over what we have yet to fulfill. 

Who taught you about real beauty?

My momma. She is the kind of lady who takes dinner to our neighbors when they have a baby, and who gets up numerous times in the middle of the night to check on her kids when they are sick. To me, that’s true selfless beauty.

What do you wish you would have known at the age of 13?

Thirteen was a happy age for me. But, I do wish I would have known what a bad idea it was to wear my hair in a pony-bun everyday that school year!

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

I feel fortunate to have so many, but one of them is my older sister Lizzy. She is one of the most kind-hearted people I know. She is my best friend, and has always stuck by me and taken care of me. There is nothing in this world like a sister.

What is a fun fact about you?

I can po-go stick with no hands.

If you could travel anywhere in the world on a vacation, where would you go?

Oh gosh, too many places! Some on my list are Ireland, Greece, Bali, Jerusalem, India, Brazil, Morocco, and New Zealand. But for starters, I would love to visit New York!

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Chapstick! haha! I’m a chap stick junkie! I love Burts Bees Pomegranate chapstick. It has such a good tint of color but looks really natural. When I want to look a little more bold, I always turn to MAC Russian Red lipstick.

What beauty invention has made the greatest impact on your life?

Tweezers! Oh gosh, I have always had huge eyebrows. I remember my mom plucking them for me when I was in sixth grade! Talk about a great beauty invention!

What are your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

I love Olay’s daily defense face lotion. It has SPF 30, which is really important, since I spend so much time in the sun.

Do you have a quick beauty tip to share with us?

Drink lots of water! I know people say it all the time, but it really does work wonders.

What is your go-to outfit?

Jeans, a peasant top, cute sandals, and turquoise jewelry. This is coming from a hippie at heart.

What are your favorite pair of jeans?

I love my dark wash super skinny jeans from the Forever 21 Plus section. They are cute, AND they were only 11.50!

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I like to thrift shop for cool vintage pieces, but I also love it when my grandma goes to Mexico and brings me back cool peasant blouses. I love fabrics that I can breathe in.  

What does being healthy mean to you?

To me, healthy is actively doing what’s good for your body. Its more than eating right and exercising. Healthy is laughing, loving, learning, exploring, serving, creating, hugging, singing, playing, and just being plain silly! 

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I love playing flag football! I can definitely hold my own while playing with the boys. I love playing different sports too. I grew up playing soccer, and last semester my roommates taught me how to play tennis and basketball, which I loved!

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I love that I come from two very different ethnic backgrounds. I am half-Mexican, and half Irish. I think that diversity makes me beautiful.

In my purse you would find…

Sharpie markers, lots of Chapstick, and receipts with gum stuck in them! haha!

What are you listening to right now?

Right now, my favorite songs are Let’s Get Together by The Youngbloods, San Francisco by Scott McKenzie, and Peace Train by Cat Stevens. But my all time favorites include U2, Stevie Nicks, and Coldplay.

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

I LOVE the blog put on by my agency, Healthyisthenewskinny.com. It is such a fun place to share ideas, get fashion/beauty tips, and build confidence. The best part is that everyone can be a part of the blog!

I also love the blog colormekatie.blogspot.com. It’s so creative and it can’t help but to make you feel good. 

Favorite beach on Oahu?

Sunset Beach is one of my favorites. The water there is just so clear and blue. I also like Castles beach because it is a great beginners surfing spot. But you can’t visit Oahu without going to Waimea Bay, it’s a must!

Is there something you have always wanted to try or learn, but haven’t yet?

Don’t laugh too hard, but I have always wanted to learn how to Krump! haha! I’m not much of a dancer so I am sure I would look ridiculous, but it just looks like SO much fun!

Where would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?

Ten years from now, I would love to be married and have a family. I want to be done with my Masters, and have a job working with and counseling teenage girls.

What has been the best advice you have ever been given?

I hated hearing this when I was younger, but my parents would always tell me to “thicken up my skin”. Basically, not to take the bad things people say to heart, and not to listen to all the negative things people can say. It’s a lot easier said than done, but it sure does come in handy!

What is Rebekah’s philosophy?

I just believe that life is a journey meant for happiness. Trials along the way make us stronger, but I’ll never come up against anything I can’t tackle.

What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

I remember being about seven years old, sitting on top of my playhouse in my back yard. I loved feeling the wind from up high. I can still see myself with my arms spread out like a bird, pretending I could fly. Whenever I feel down on myself, I think of that little girl. She reminds me to be more carefree, to be a little kinder to myself, and to remember how great life is.

What are you excited about right now?

After taking a semester off, I’m really excited to go back to school! I’m also excited about being a part of Natural Model Management, and the Healthy is the New Skinny movement. I’ve got a great feeling about it all. :]

One more thing… A Recipe

I LOVE making Green Drink in the morning! Drinking a glass in the morning helps me to feel really energized. Plus, its super simple to make and super good for you!

1/2 peeled cucumber

1 peeled apple

1 stalk celery

1 handful of spinach

Juice of 1 lemon

Fresh mint leaf to taste

Blend ingredients together. Add water until you obtain desired texture. Keep chilled in the refrigerator, and shake it before you drink!

*Thank you, Rebekah!

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International Model Tracie Stern Says, “For me, my journey has been more about self acceptance and less about size acceptance.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Entertainment, Events, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Lane Bryant, Media, Models, My Story, Parenting, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Trade Tips, Travel, TV, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by Liz

Tracie being awarded the Female Pioneer Award at the Virginia Fashion Awards.

Please tell us about Understudies Consulting.

Understudies was developed by my brother and I. I wanted to create an outlet that encompassed everything I have learned in my life and that would give me an opportunity to share it with people.  Understudies Consulting consists of 3 workshops to primarily bring focus to the inner beauty of society.  I know that sounds so broad, but our programs not only reach out to young aspiring models and designers, but also to kids ages 8-18 and to women as well.  Each program has specific focuses, whether it’s healthy living, regaining self confidence, learning about oneself or accepting your inner beauty and learning to work with it, instead of fighting it…the most fulfilling part is getting to work with the girls and seeing their eyes light up when they ‘get it’…it’s such an awesome and privileged experience to work with them.

You were awarded the Female Pioneer Award at the Virginia Fashion Awards, Congratulations!!!  Please tell us about he event and why this award is so important to you.

THANK YOU!  It was a lot of fun…the red carpet and everything.  The Virginia Fashion Awards works to honor local VA talent, including designers, photographers, up and coming models, hair and makeup artists, etc., who are working to make a difference in the fashion community here.  In 2010, I was awarded a “Special Achievement Award” as a Female Pioneer.  Over the past two years, since I arrived here in VA, I’ve tried to work hard to mentor young talent and help guide them to a prosperous career in Fashion.  By doing this, I’ve been privileged to have been welcomed into the industry here as a local and treated as such.  When the committee notified me of the award, I was thrilled!  The reason I am so proud of this award is because I was given the award not based on the fact that I am a “plus size” model, but because I am a model.  Period.  It’s very refreshing to not be recognized because of my size, but instead, to be recognized because of my talent and accomplishments.

Set photos from “The Fire that Sweeps the Pine”

What do you wish you would have known at the age of 13?

Growing up, I was always taller than the boys in my class.  It wasn’t that I was ‘bigger’ per say, just taller.  In high school, I accepted my size and build by playing sports and found out that was an advantage and not a shortcoming.  I earned a lot of respect because of my athleticism.  For me, my journey has been more about self acceptance and less about size acceptance.  I think that is where our focuses need to be. If you accept yourself, others will too.

What kinds of pressures do you see the girls in your life facing these days?

A lot of the same pressures we faced at their age, but on steroids!  LOL  Girls are learning to sacrifice their innocence a lot sooner than we did.  In my generations, girls were losing their virginity at 16, sometimes 15 (which wasn’t approved of, but accepted.)  Today, girls are experimenting so much earlier. I think the youngest I’ve encountered was 12!  Drugs will always be around, but I don’t think they are as predominant in this generation as they were in mine.  There is a lot more support and knowledge out there on this subject.  Last but surely not least is bullying. My generation called it teasing.  I was a victim of it and it definitely had a hand in shaping me into who I am today and how I handle things.  I recently wrote a blog on this topic, it was very therapeutic to see it out there and to know that my words may have helped someone.  Bullying is a frightful way to see just how powerful words are. Again, it’s about self acceptance, if we are secure in who we are, there is not room for others to knock us down.

What can we as mothers and mentors do to better address these issues?

First, keep the lines of communication open. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that my kids just want someone to talk to, without having to worry about being judged.  The worst attitude to take with them is an “I told you so”…I hear that a lot from the moms when referring to specific issues.  Second, spend more time with your kids!  In today’s world we are moving faster, getting busier, and generally falling completely out of touch with the younger generations.  The less we participate, the less influence we have, results in the less our opinion matters.  Kids want to be talked to, not talked at.

Set photos from “The Fire that Sweeps the Pine”

Did your mother teach you about real beauty?

My moms generation was taught to never leave the house without lipstick on…my mentality at 13/14 years of age was to basically leave the house with the goal of not drawing attention at all.  I developed very early, grade 3 I believe, and I always stood out.  Not knowing what I had to work with, not accepting myself, affected my outlook on day-to-day life.  I embraced and lost myself in sports and was perfectly fine with being tagged as a ‘jock’.  It was low maintenance, I was respected amongst the guys and I wasn’t talked about or compared too.  I didn’t have to be the cheerleader or the skinny girl, I had to live up to the jock tag and that worked really well for me.  Until I was about 16/17 years of age when catching the eye of a certain guy started to make me focus on my appearance more and my mom was there ready and waiting for the opportunity to take me shopping and share the joys of being girly.

Who is your role model or hero and why?

I don’t think I have just one role model.  For me, I try to take the best of everyone I meet or love and adapt that into my personality and way of living life.  Whether it’s being as honest as I can to a friend or taking the bull by the horn to move a business idea forward.  All of me is made up of little bits of everyone I know, good and bad…Heroes…WOW that’s such a big word for someone to live up to.  To start, my dad is one of my ‘heroes’ for his perseverance and strength, my mom for her unconditional love and devotion to her kids and now grand kids.  One of my long time and closest friends, Trish, whose world crashed around her a couple of years ago and instead of curling into a ball and letting it consume her, she stood up and controlled the situation to the point of success.  My husband, who has sacrificed his family time and watching his babies grow up so he can serve and protect this country.  Again, there is a hero in everyone who is in my life…each one for a different reason.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Hm…I guess that depends on what part of my life the advice was for.  Being married with kids, I get advice all of the time…where business is concerned, “What you look like might get you in the door, but it’s what you know that will keep you there.”  This is a mantra of mine, I teach it to my kids/students and I try to live it.  Where work is concerned:  “You aren’t successful when you book a job, you are successful when you get re booked for the same job.”  That’s one of my favorites.  Ooh, ,the one piece of advice I got very early on in my career, it was given after I had book a series of big jobs in a very short period of time and I will admit that my head got a bit inflated…my agent at the time sat me down and said “Who do you think you are?  Do you not realize that there are 10 other girls standing behind you and waiting for you to fall so they can step up and take your place?”  That statement has stayed with me all of these years and has helped me to keep me grounded because it’s very true and has motivated me to try to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Tracie with a few of the girls she mentors.

What has been your proudest moment?

These are really great questions!!!  You guys are making me really think here…As a mom, I have proud moments frequently, could be when my six-year-old hits a home run or brings home a piece of artwork that is beyond his age.  Or when my baby got potty trained! LOL  When my husband make Chief in the US Navy, I was very proud.  As a model, I’m very proud of my body of work.  I’m proud of the clients and models I’ve worked with, I’m proud of the runways I’ve walked, and I’m proud that I’m still around.  LOL

On a day off, what would your perfect day consist of?

When my husband is home and my kids are in school, that’s the perfect day.  I get some quality time before and after school with my kids and during the day, when my husband and I are alone, we have our own time to do whatever we want.  Sit in the quiet, shop, have lunch…my perfect day is balanced between all the men in my life.

Do you have an all-time favorite model?

Linda Evangelista.  She has always been my favorite model and motivator. Linda is one of those models that can transform herself into almost any look and sell it.  She’s been a blond, brunette, and red head and she rocks each look as if she’s looked like that her whole life.  To me, Linda was the model who taught me about diversity and branding.  She was the one model who never conformed to just one look, she took chances and made them work for her, when other models of her generation remained safe.

Favorite Jeans?

Victoria’s Secret. I have an hourglass figures, long legs and a high waist. It’s VERY hard for me to find jeans that fit my curves properly and flatter me to my standards. The only jeans  have found, so far, are from Victoria’s Secret.

Tracie’s husband on deployment.

What is your go-to outfit?

Anything neutral.  I don’t do a lot of color in my clothes, only my accessories.  This way, no matter what is dirty, I always have my favorite things to wear…LOL…Right now, my favorite outfit is:  Nude colored leggings, white tunic tank top, and a long, cowl neck camel colored sweater with leopard flats or tall brown riding boots.

Favorite online sites to visit?

Craigslist, my husband and I are remodeling our house and you can find some great stuff for sale.  It’s like going to a garage sale from your couch! LOL  Alloy.com, this site is great for all ages. They carry junior sizes 0-25 I believe and have pant lengths to 37″.  Hips and Curves is becoming one of my new favorites.  They offer really unique pieces and their models are realistic and flattering.  I love to window show on the net, so I tend to jump from site to site…just depends a lot on what I’m looking for.


Photographed by Marco DiFlorio

You have been married for seven years.  What do you believe is the key to a happy marriage or relationship?

Love, compromise, trust, respect, and sacrifice.  I lived a life for so many years involved in only me.  I traveled the world by myself, only had to get myself up, and I just had myself to shop for.  Now, I have a family, mortgage, school fees, etc.  It’s not all about me.  I’ve had to set my own priorities aside on occasion to help my husband achieve a goal, but he has had to do the same in order to keep the balance.  My husband is currently deployed for 9 months.  Honestly, trust and respect are huge components to our marriage right now.  He is doing his job, not only protecting us, but providing for us. It’s my job as his partner to do what needs to be done back home.  It’s not easy, and there are days, trust me when I want to quit. I think him, our love, four kids, our home, and our future and know this isn’t permanent.  It’s a compromise on both sides.  You do what you have to do, just as you would for anyone you loved who needed  you.

What do you love about motherhood?

I think that should read ‘love and hate’ LOL…as I mentioned my husband is deployed.  So I am a single parent until he returns.  Some days are harder than others. I love that everyday I wake up to little Scotts running around my house, giving me hugs and kisses.  That last sentence can also go in the other directions…waking up to literally little Scotts RUNNING around…I love the uniqueness of my children.  They are these future leaders in my care.  God entrusted me to raise these children and it’s AWESOME to see who they are each morning when they wake up.  As they learn it’s like seeing multiple personalities emerge.  There have been days where I wold like to change my name…and sometimes I tell the kids my name isn’t MOM anymore and that they need to call me Jen.  It’s funny to watch their faces twist up…*snicker*…


Photograph by Marco Di Florio

What makes you a Domestic Diva?

Some days the fact that I had a shower!  My job in life is to be all that God wants me to be.  It that’s a mom one minute, a fashion consultant another, a volleyball coach, chauffeur, nurse, cook, cleaning lady or model..I take each minute as it comes and when it’s too much, I stop.  Take time to reflect, prioritize and then continue on.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have focus, a plan and gas.  (In the car…not personally..HAHAHAHA)
 
What is a fun fact about you?

I have modeled since the age of 5.  I was studying to be an RCMP (Canadian Mounted Police) officer in school.  Modeling offered me an opportunity before law did and so I decided to take it.  I figured I was only a failure if I didn’t try.  I guess I made the right decision…


What are you thankful for?

How big do you want this article to be….? Haha.  I’m thankful for my family.  I’m thankful for the opportunities they gave me growing up that put me in the right direction.  I’m thankful for my career.  If it wasn’t for modeling, I wouldn’t have anything that I have in my life.  I met my husband in Sydney, Australia while I was down there modeling.  Had I not gone down there, fate may not have stepped in and I wouldn’t have my beautiful children.  I’m thankful for the privilege of being a model.  I’ve traveled the world, lived life most people couldn’t even dream of, and now I have a husband, children, and stability.  I truly believe I have had the best of both worlds.  I could really go on and on…everything in my life has been brought to me because of the choices I have made and the guidance I’ve been given, I’m thankful for every person that has come into my life because good or bad, they have changed my life and been a valuable part of where I am now.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about the future.  Recently my career has been moving me away from the traditional print work side of modeling and has been opening up the doors to film, television, and spokes modeling.  I mentioned earlier that I have been cast in a film.  This film will be submitted to film festivals and also to the Academy.  It just premiered this week.  I know I’ve done a lot in my lifetime, but there are some days I wake up and just have this feeling that I haven’t even scratched the surface yet of what is in store for my life.  That’s what I’m excited about…tomorrow.

Tracie Stern ~

www.understudies.us
International Plus Size Model
http://www.factorwomen.com/Chicago.aspx
Recipient of the Female Icon Award Virginia Fashion Awards 2010

*Thank you, Tracie!





Cheyney Barrieau Says, “Beauty is from within you. It’s not make up, highlights, or the newest trendiest clothing and shoes. Beauty is honesty, beauty is love, and beauty is caring.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Movies, My Story, Parenting, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Shopping, Wilhelmina, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by Plus-Size Models Unite

Cheyney Barrieau is a veteran of the modeling world. She has worked with many high profile clients including: Brooks Brothers, Talbots, GUESS, Ross Simons, Playtex, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Brookstone and Casio just to name a few.

It all started for Cheyney while walking down 5th Avenue in her hometown of Manhattan one day. She was picked off the street by an editor for Seventeen Magazine and was offered her first job at age 13 – and the rest is history! Her long hours in front of the camera blossomed a fascination and love for all things photography. As a working model, she knows the impact and message a photograph can have and thrives to create beauty and intrigue in all her work. Visit Cheyney Barrieau Photography to learn more about her passion and talent of photography.

Cheyney now resides in West Hartford, CT with her husband Gib and two kids, Lulu and Max and is represented by Wilhelmina NYC.

How did you start your career as a model?

It sort of fell into my lap, actually. An editor from Seventeen Magazine approached me on the street and gave me my first job. I was 13 and had no experience whatsoever, but I was SUPER excited!

What do you find most enjoyable and most challenging about modeling?

I cannot lie – I love the catering! It totally makes my day to walk into a studio and see a complete layout of food just waiting for me. The hardest part is having people constantly point out your flaws straight to your face. It has taken a while to develop a thick skin towards it, but there are still times it feels as if I’ve been slapped in the face. And, for the record–yes, I have been brought to tears at a casting by comments made to me by a potential client. But ONLY once.

What was your most embarrassing modeling experience?

It was early in my career. I was in rehearsal for a runway show I was booked on when during my ‘walk down the catwalk’ the designer shouted out in front of everyone that he thought my thighs were too fat for his clothes. Every hair on my neck stood up on end and I felt a huge burning sensation come over my entire body. I was humiliated beyond belief. Everyone, including other models, had heard this but, by the grace of God, my face didn’t react and I held my cool. Somehow, I stayed straight-faced even though I was SO close to tears. I didn’t want to let anyone see me crumble–I had to handle it elegantly. I have never forgotten that incident and, unfortunately, never will.

When you started out, where you a “natural” or did it take quite a bit of practice? What advice would you give to aspiring models, as they pursue their own careers in the modeling industry?

When I started out modeling, I went from zero to sixty in one job. It was a crash course in modeling 101, and I was terrified. I knew nothing and tried not to show my rookie status. I remember faking that I knew what to do, how to walk, how to pose, etc. but I’m sure someone must have seen through it at some point. Modeling always takes practice–You can start a natural, but to evolve. You need to practice no matter who you are. Lots of people approach me and ask me how to break into the business. I tell them to start right at the beginning. Get some pictures and start submitting to agencies. I do warn them about the commitment level they need to have and to also know that there is a huge percentage of rejection. It would be wrong of me as a mentor to mislead aspiring models in saying it’s an easy business and everyone is trustworthy.

When you tell others that you are a ‘plus’ model, what is their reaction? How do you define the term ‘plus’ model?

I get bewildered reactions. Most people I tell are not in the industry, and they don’t understand that a size 8 is plus in the fashion world. You should hear what people say when I tell them about that–they are appalled! It’s hard having to explain the plus-size modeling/straight-size modeling issue to people; they don’t always understand.

Do you have an all-time favorite model? Why?

I don’t have an all-time favorite model, but I do have an all-time favorite modeling era–the 90’s. The music video for George Michael’s Freedom was one of the best music videos ever made. Those four gals are icons.

What would we find in your handbag? (Since you are a mama, I’m sure you have just about everything in there! lol)

Besides the sea of diapers, sippy cups, and snacks, I always have my phone, wallet, sunglasses, a Pellegrino Limonata, several chapsticks, and my iPad. Whether I need to pull up Sesame Street episodes on iTunes or just mess around on Facebook while waiting at a casting, it’s the most convenient piece of technology ever!

Favorite movie?

Toss up between Back to the Future and Weekend at Bernies. 

Favorite Books?

Frank McCourt’s books make me laugh out loud.

How do you like to start your day?

C.O.F.F.E.E.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is from within you. It’s not make-up, highlights, or the newest trendiest clothing and shoes. Beauty is honesty, beauty is love, and beauty is caring. Beauty is putting others before yourself, and realizing that good deeds are returned tenfold. 

Tell us about your beauty routine…

Hair ~ I have a TON of hair. It’s daunting. John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde products and Acai Brazilian Blowout Conditioner are a MUST. Frederik Fekkai’s Glossing Cream is always within arm’s reach at all times. My hair gets grumpy when I let it air dry because its wavy, so I blow dry it straight then use a 2′ barrel iron for those Victoria Secret type waves. SO worth the time and effort. I always get asked for lessons!

Make-Up ~ If I’m lucky enough to have a few minutes to put on make up in the morning, concealer, and eye liner are my must haves. I don’t get a lot of sleep with a three month old, so I need all the help I can get to make my eyes look refreshed and cheery!

Skin ~ I always exfoliate–it makes a HUGE difference in your skins appearance (and also how make up sits on it). After that, toner and moisture are my staples–you can never have too much moisturizer in the winter months!

Fragrance ~ Issey Miyake. Enough said.

What is your go-to outfit?

Jeans and a black V-neck Sweater.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

When chapstick isn’t dressy enough, I’m a lip gloss gal. MAC lip gloss in Prrr.

You have been married for 4 years…what do you enjoy most about married life? What is one thing you love about your husband?

Married life is great. We were married at 22 years old, right out of college. Most people looked at our situation with wide eyes and dropped jaws–they couldn’t understand why we would get married at such a young age. We are both very old school traditional and we really wanted to start a family. My husband is my best friend. We do everything together. We can finish each others sentences, or look at each other and just know what were thinking without saying a word. I love his sense of humor and he can always make me laugh!

What do you and your husband enjoy doing together?

We both have our hands full right now with work and kids, so just sitting with each other on the couch at night to watch our favorite TV shows is a real treat. 

You are a mother of two BEAUTIFUL children. What has motherhood taught you?

Wow – being a mom is no simple task. It is 24/7 on duty and making sure everything is the best it can be, given the circumstances. Motherhood has taught me about what is REALLY important in life. Sweating the small stuff is SO overrated–there is a bigger picture that you need to see. It’s not about me anymore – it’s about my kids and what they need. 

What is your favorite part of being a mother right now?

My 18-month-old daughter has just learned to hug. It is the most amazing thing to feel her little arms wrap around your thigh and squeeze tight. 


On a day off, what would your perfect day consist of?

No diaper changing, silence, and an antique store.

What are you passionate about?

I love photography and getting that perfect shot that speaks to you. 

What is a fun fact about you?

My grandfather, Nunnally Johnson, was an Academy Award nominated screenwriter and producer. He was under contract with 20th Century Fox and launched the careers of Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and, Betty Grable among others into super stardom. He has written and produced many films such as, How to Marry a Millionaire, The 3 Faces of Eve, The Dirty Dozen, and The Grapes of Wrath. You can find more at films at imdb.com. He cast my grandmother, Dorris Bowdon Johnson, as Rosa Sharon in The Grapes of Wrath against Henry Fonda. Dorris and Nunnally were Hollywood royalty back in the day. My grandmother would tell me story after story about Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Humphrey Bogart–who she lovingly and comfortably referred to as “Bogey”. My grandparents were a super social couple back in the day. She always had the behind the scenes stories and anecdotes that no one else new.

I loved the story of Marilyn and my grandmother crammed in a bathroom stall at the film premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire desperately trying to get Marilyn out of a dress she had been sewn into because she desperately needed to go to the bathroom. Designers would bid to make gowns and clothes for my grandmother for all her film premiers and gala events. None of those gals had model bodies in today’s standards. They were all size 8-10-12 and they were considered the most beautiful women in the world. Marilyn had a chest the size of Texas and that would never hold up in today’s world of modeling. The girls of the past used their womanly curves to their advantage–and boy did it work for them! Nowadays, plus-size models are compared to Marilyn Monroe and that’s an honor to me!!

Not only are you a model, but you are a photographer as well! What inspired you to get into photography?

I LOVE taking pictures! Modeling has really taught me so much about photography and what it means to take a great picture. I love how people can speak through the lens.

Do you find it hard to balance work and family life? What have you found that is helpful in keeping a balanced life?

Working while having a family is difficult. There seems like there is never enough time for both. Making sure you have time for yourself and your interests keeps you sane.

What are you excited about right now?

Right now, I am excited about the simple things in life: Preschool for my daughter, belly laughs from my 3 1/2 month old son, and a date night for my husband and me!

Thank you, Cheyney!

Kamari Brown Says, “My advice to women is instead of letting society and the media define your beauty, let it help you see how beautiful you are, just the way you are, by surrounding yourself with positive role models and people.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by Liz

Kamari Brown is a twenty-five year old plus-size model who grew up in Seattle, Washington; England; and Germany. Kamari’s father was in the military and her family is European. She is 1/4 British, 1/4 German and 1/2 African-American. Kamari currently lives in New York City. She is signed with agencies in smaller markets and overseas in Europe and South Africa, and she is currently developing her book with her mother agent to approach the larger agencies.

How did you get started as a plus model and what does being a plus model mean to you?

I started plus-size modeling for two reasons. First, I’ve always been a creative soul, having started in acting, moved to dancing, and now modeling. For me, modeling allows me to be a different character and tell a story using the clothes, my eyes, body movement, and facial expressions. I actually find it more challenging than acting because we have less mechanisms to tell a story. But that is also why I love it more.

Second, I wanted to be part of the movement that is helping women love their body, no matter if they are a size 2 or size 20. I know personally I’ve struggled throughout the years with accepting my body the way it is, having seen only skinny models/women being deemed as beautiful. The more we infiltrate the media, the louder we are and the more lives we change.

Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice would you give to girls and women who are currently struggling?

In Seattle, where I spent a lot of my time growing up, most, if not all the women, around me were thin.  Additionally, the media was pushing images of Barbie like women in our faces, deeming them as the most beautiful. It was very difficult being a larger or big-boned (that term always made me feel better) mixed girl there. I was really uncomfortable in my own skin and body for so many years and it wasn’t until Destiny’s Child came into the scene that my views started to change. For the first time, seeing Beyonce, a woman of my complexion with hips, thick legs/thighs just like mine, being hailed as beautiful by the media and my peers around me, made me start to accept my curves and see how beautiful they were. My advice to women is instead of letting society and the media define your beauty, let it help you see how beautiful you are, just the way you are, by surrounding yourself with positive role models and people.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My biggest role most is Bono from U2. I love everything he stands for and I aspire to be like him. He found a way to use his love for music to help bring world issues–another one of his passions–to the forefront of the media. My biggest passion is fighting for human and animal rights. In college, I studied Human Geography, where I focused on human rights/trafficking and slum/squatter settlements. After moving to New York, I became very active with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and ran their Tap Project campaign last year. I more recently started working with the ASPCA, an animal rights organization. I always wanted to find the vehicle to really make a difference, much like Bono, and I hope that in time, modeling can be that vehicle for me.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I’m blessed to have lived in so many places growing up from Seattle, Europe, Miami, and now New York. It changes your perspective on life and give you an insatiable appetite for life and success. I know some people I went to high school with in Seattle only ever wanted to stay there and get married. I was and still am the complete opposite of that. I want to explore the world and help people along the way and in many respects, feel like my potential and desire to conquer the world is never ending. I know no boundaries and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

My mum bought me a Clarisonic Mia for my birthday and that is the best thing I’ve ever used on my face! While it’s a bit expensive, it’s well worth every penny because it leaves your face clear and refreshed.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

I have to admit, I’m an online shopping gal! I buy mostly from English stores that deliver here, ASOS is one of my favorites and they just opened an American version of their site. I also love Dorothy Perkins, Monsoon, Top Shop, and H&M. I’m a walking advertisement for them (H&M). They really should hire me to model for them, I rock out their clothes like nobody’s business. 😉 Plus, they just started a plus line… there is no reason to not hire me now!

Celebrity Crush?

David Beckham!

What does being healthy mean to you?

I believe being healthy means feeling good in your own skin and being confident. For me, feeling good is a balance between getting all the nutrients I need as a vegetarian, working out about 3-4x a week, and treating myself to my favorite foods once or twice a week.  I don’t believe in diets because they are gimmicks to lose weight fast in an unhealthy manner. If you eat well, work out, and treat yourself occasionally, you’ll feel good on the inside, which shows on the outside.

I could never have enough…

Protein shakes and Indian cuisine! Being a vegetarian, I’ve always struggled getting enough protein, so protein shakes are a great way to get the daily protein I need and recover from my intense workouts.  Plus, they taste like dessert, and who doesn’t love that? And Indian cuisine has the most vegetarian options on a menu, all of which I love. I’m not a big fan of soy meats, I actually just prefer true vegetable dishes, which Indian and Thai restaurants have.

What do you love about NYC?

I love being around all the different cultures and having access to some of the best food in the world, except I haven’t found a place yet that has proper English Chips! I will say that New York City is the only place in the States that I felt like I fit in. Because the norm here is being YOU and not conforming to anything, I feel really comfortable here.

You also work at MTV. Tell us about working at MTV and who are you currently listening to?

I work in Integrated Marketing at MTV, where especially we integrate clients into our programming and/or build custom programs for them on-air, online, on-the-ground, and mobile. The best example of what we do is the MTV TJ Search, which was a custom program we built for ZYNC from American Express, and the winner was actually a beautiful plus gal, Gabi Gregg. I have to say, I’m really lucky to have a job that I love and am excited to go to each day. There are always celebrity sitings in our building and concerts on my floor – Graffiti6 was the most recent. I have the biggest crush on the lead singer, Jaime Scott, he’s delicious!

As far as what I’m currently listening to, I would say I’m listening to a lot of Graffiti6 and Ke$ha. I’ve also been listening to a lot of 90’s grunge/alternative music, like R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Oasis, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc. I was lucky enough to live in Seattle during the 90’s when these bands were up-and-coming and it was an incredible time to be there and be part of the movement.

Where would you love to see yourself in 10 years?

Married to David Beckham, living in London with our beautiful mixed children. That’s pretty realistic, right? 🙂  I would love to a successful plus model who is traveling the world, working with NGO’s to help people in developing countries, and be a visual and influential advocate for human/animal rights.

Thank you, Kamari!

Plus Model Radio Host Chenese Lewis Says, “I think women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful and should all be celebrated without limitations.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Entertainment, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Media, Plus-Size Modeling, Radio, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2011 by Liz

Chenese Lewis is a positive body image and self-esteem advocate. She is the current President of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Ambassador of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), sits on the Celebrity Board of the non-profit organization Fed Up, Inc., and made history by being the first woman crowned Miss Plus America in 2003. Her unique story and prestigious career have been featured by countless media outlets such as Dr. Phil, The Insider, E! News, EXTRA, The National Examiner, iVillage, Figure Magazine and USA Today. Lewis is the creator and host of Hollywood NOW’s “Love Your Body Day,” an annual event where women of all sizes come together to celebrate a day of self-acceptance, to promote positive body image and to show that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be beautiful. Her 2010 Love Your Body Campaign, where she posed nude with America’s Next Top Model, Whitney Thompson, garnered international media attention and magnified her role as a leading positive body image advocate. Chenese attributes her success by not conforming to society’s ideals of beauty but rather showing by example that you can be beautiful and confident regardless of your size. Chenese Lewis is the epitome of the plus-size woman.

Please tell us when and how you got your start in the modeling world.

The first time I learned that plus models exist was in the summer of 2000 when a convention came to my town looking specifically for plus-size models. I went to the open call and was chosen to go to their convention, I thought I was on my way to the top! But it turns out nothing much came out of the convention, besides lots of money gone down the drain. After I came home, I decided to research more online, through which I discovered the plus community. Through my research, I found that I didn’t have the stats to be a agency repped model at the top agencies. I was very disappointed and confused as to why I was the right size to shop in plus-size clothing stores but not the right size to model for them. However, I didn’t let it discourage me, and although I still have limited  opportunities available to me as a plus size model, I’ve found my niche in the community in other ways and try to get in front of the camera whenever I can!

Do you feel plus modeling is helping to redefine beauty?

I think it has helped to redefine beauty to a degree. I think plus models have helped by showing curvier, healthier physiques in main stream media, which is great. But in all honestly, a lot of industry plus models should be on the straight board, and some women who would be fabulous plus-size models don’t get a chance.  I understand that models don’t represent the average woman, however that in itself perpetrates unrealistic ideas of beauty in some ways. The fact that a plus size model and a plus size woman is not necessarily the same thing, limits the amount of redefining the industry truly has. I think women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful and should all be celebrated without limitations.

We would love to hear about “Love Your Body Day”!

The National Organization of Women created Love Your Body Day in 1998. When I joined the Hollywood chapter they weren’t doing anything to celebrate the day, since I was already doing things to promote positive body images and it’s my passion, I was appointed Love Your Body chairperson of the local chapter and was able to completely create and execute what I envisioned a Love Your Body Day celebration to be. 2010 marked the 5th year I produced the event and every year it gets bigger and better! Hollywood NOW Love Your Body Day is a free community event for women of all shapes and sizes that promotes positive body image. The day consists of entertainment, free goodies, vendors, and a fashion show. Hollywood NOW Love Your Body Day has grown into a weekend of events that includes a launch party and body image panel discussion as well.

Hollywood NOW’s Love Your Body Day is not only about promoting healthy body image, but also promoting diversity, ending racism, stopping violence against women, and marriage equality.  When you meet others who are struggling with these issues, what advice do you give to them? Where do you tell them to go to find inspiration and support?

Love Your Body Day is basically about body image. However, that day is only one small part of what the organizations focuses on and fights for. As you mentioned, the organization, in addition to promoting healthy body image, also promotes a host of other issues that are important to women. Besides inspiring women to be better the organization focuses on action by working to change laws and fighting injustice.

The photographs of yourself and Whitney Thompson are gorgeous. Not only showing both of your individual beauty, but also the beauty of women supporting women…friendship. I think the feelings behind the photographs and what you both stand for is truly beautiful. Please tell us about the photo shoot with Whitney.

Whitney is a champion for positive body image and passionate about it like myself, so I thought she would be a perfect fit to host this year’s Love Your Body Day festivities. Every year I have a photo shoot with the celebrity host, but none have gotten close to the attention of this year’s photo shoot. Whitney is a top model so I let her create the concept for the photo shoot and she suggested nude, although I had reservations about doing it, I was all for it because I knew it would get a lots of attention, but I had no idea how much! The nude Love Your Body campaign we did together literally created an international media buzz; it was on every major blog and entertainment website in the world. We even got to do an interview for E! News and all the attention helped make this year an overwhelming success. It was really great working with her and I think she’s an awesome model.

As the host of Plus Model Radio, have you ever been star struck by one of your guests on your show? If you could interview anyone in the world, who would it be? Why?

Yes, I have been star stuck before. The one interview that comes to mind is Emme! You would have never known listening to the interview because I know how not to let my nerves show and move forward with whatever I’m doing. Besides the radio is a breeze compared to being on camera or publicly speaking at an event. If I could interview anyone in the world, it would be Oprah! I love her and she is such an inspiration to me. She is plus size, so she would totally qualify to be a guest on the show.

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 yourself? What advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?

No, I’ve never had that problem. I am very fortunate that I was never criticized or belittled for my weight growing up. As a result, I never thought there was anything wrong with me because of my size. I had a very happy childhood and in high school was very social and popular. A lot of people ask me this questions and I think the question we should start asking women is when did you learn to hate yourself and your body, because I don’t think a child comes into the world with those insecurities, it’s a result of your environment and influences. I would tell someone struggling with low self-esteem and body image issues to stop being your own worst critic, you are beautiful just the way you are, and if anyone in your life is telling you otherwise, get rid of the negativity.

Have you read any good books that help promote positive self-esteem and healthy body image that you would recommend for girls, pre-teens, teens, or women?

Yes, I would recommend “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat” by Dr. Robyn Silverman

What do you wish you would have known at age 13?

I wish I would have known that I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, so I could have gotten started earlier and be further along in my career! However, I believe everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t change a thing about the path that has led me to where I am today!

What kinds of pressures do you see the girls in your life facing these days?  What can we as mentors do to better address these issues?

I don’t have kids, or sisters, or nieces so I don’t really have lots of young girls in my personal life. However, I think young girls these days have tons of pressures on them that goes beyond body image. With the internet age they have everything at their finger tips, good and bad, so they know everything and see everything weather it is appropriate or not. I’m a firm believer that it all starts at home and we as mentors have to set a positive example by not only what we say, but more importantly our actions. For instance, you can’t tell a girl that she is beautiful regardless of her size but then you are constantly obsessing about your weight and criticizing yourself, which has a greater impact on her.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have our own individual standards of beauty, which is influenced by our families and cultural backgrounds. For me personally, I rely heavily on inner beauty. I’ve notice the higher regard I hold the person, the more attractive they are to me and just the opposite if their personality or behavior is less than desirable. Although I’m human and there are certain physical attributes that I prefer, especially with the opposite sex, at the end of the day I need the inside to match the outside.

What is your secret to happiness?

By living a purpose driven life and not sweating the small stuff! I am extremely blessed and living my dreams, instead of focusing on the negative I focus more on the positive and try to keep an optimistic outlook on life.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

Literally any where that carries my size. I will shop anywhere from K-mart and Target to Nordstorms and Saks, and everywhere in between. But my three go to stores are Macys, Torrid, and Lane Bryant, and when I’m in the South I go to Dillards. When I have the time I like to go dig through Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Ross as well!

Favorite jeans?

I love Applebottom jeans! Not only do they fit me very well, they are hip and stylish.

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

I love MAC cosmetics, for my hair Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Smooth -n- Hold Pudding,  I use Nair on my legs. I always have French Manicure on my nails and toes.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Lip gloss, I threw away all of my lipsticks a couple years ago. I like my lips super juicy! I love MAC lipgloss in C-Thru, Oh Baby, Red Russian, and Pink Poodle. I also like over the counter lip glosses like Milani Buzz Worthy Lip Gloss and L’oreal Colour Juice Sheer Lip Gloss.

What beauty invention has made the greatest impact on your life?

That’s a tough one! I would have to say hair weave/extensions…LOL

What is your signature scent?

White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor, I’ve worn several other fragrances, but that’s what my mom wears and I just started doing the same.

On a day off, what would your perfect day be like?

Either a pamper day where I get my hair, nail, toes, and eyebrows done or a day full of shopping! Hanging out on the beach is fun too!

What achievement are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of having the guts to pose naked in front of the world!

Who is your role model or hero?  Why?

My ultimate role models are my parents because they are who I look to for characteristics and qualities to emulate in my life. However, for career and business Oprah Winfrey!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I’ve been given is to never compromise my morals and values, and to live my life with integrity.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I literally love everything about myself. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, I think I’m absolutely awesome! I’m created in God’s image, no reason not to like myself!

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about the New Year and all the potential it holds!

Visit Chenese online at:

www.cheneselewis.com

www.plusmodelradio.com

*Thank you, Chenese!

Model Danielle Redman Says, “Beauty is in your character. It’s about your knowledge, your humor, how you deal with daily situations, and how you carry yourself.”

Posted in Art, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Ford +, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Travel, TV, Unique Beauty, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2011 by Liz

Danielle Redman is a plus model with FORD Models. She is from a small farm in Iowa. Danielle has an older sister, two older brothers, two half sisters, and two half brothers. She grew up riding horses and playing with any kind of animal that she could find from a snake or lizard in the garden to cows in the pasture.

How did you start your career as a model?

When I was fourteen and shopping in a mall, I was scouted by Mother Model Management who asked me if I ever thought about modeling. They put on a modeling contest and I got runner-up.

What advice would you give to aspiring models?

Be confident and believe in who you are whoever you are. It’s about being yourself.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m doing what I always dreamed of, which is travel the world meeting new and interesting people while it’s getting documented.

In terms of your career, what has been the best advice you have ever been given?

A photographer at a job once told me to be myself because no one else can be that.

Out of all of the places your modeling career has taken you, where has been the most memorable?

My favorite place is South Africa. We had a shoot at a cheetah ranch and we were able to go in and pet the baby cheetahs.

Have you ever struggled from self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?

I’ve had and am still working on self-esteem issues. Do what makes you feel good and happy. Really get to know yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and adore you but who will also tell you the truth. Good friends are irreplaceable. Also, if you eat a box of Oreos, like I do sometimes, don’t feel bad about it. I’m not saying do it all the time, just don’t tell yourself that you won’t have something, life is too short for limitations; just keep it balanced.

What do you love about yourself?

My big ass and my big lips.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is in your character. It’s about your knowledge, your humor, how you deal with daily situations, and how you carry yourself.

What is a fun fact about you?

I was raised on a small farm and grew up riding horses.

How do you stay fit and healthy?

I run and do yoga on occasion. I have two dogs that I walk on a regular basis. As a child, I was always active and constantly on the move so I think the muscle memory helps, but what it really comes down to is the food. I love fresh smoothies and salads. I’m a big fan of anything fresh and raw. The more the better.

What would we find in your make-up bag?

Cococare lip balm, YSL mascara, and Cargo concealer right next to my own personal hand cream concoction.

Do you have any quick make-up tips to share with us?

Keep it simple and show your skin. I think all skin is beautiful so don’t cover it up. If you do a lip, go light on the eye and vice versa.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My mama. She raised four kids on her own.

Style Icon?

I love older classy gentleman’s style. Really simple clean lines.

What is your go-to outfit?

Mens oversized button down, skinny jeans, and oxfords with my arm full of bracelets.

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I like to mix it up between thrift shops and small shops wherever they may be.

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

Besides Plus-Size Models Unite, I love tumblr blogs. There are a few good ones: my blog~ http://www.horsewithwings.tumblr.com .  Also, http://www.thesweetdreamer.tumblr.com and http://www.hummingbirdlovegorilla.tumblr.com.

What are some of your favorite books?

Just Kids and all of Chelsea Handler’s books.

Who do you have on speed dial?
My mama.

What is your signature scent?

I love Bvgaria Jasmin Noir. It’s a clean musky scent.

 

On a day off, what would your perfect day consist of?

Riding horses in the forest.

What music is on at home?

Florence And The Machine is on repeat at the moment, along with one of my good friends Theophilus London. Also big fan of Mark Ronson, Kanye West, Edward Sharpe, The Magnetic Zeros, and Phoenix.

What do you enjoy most about living in NYC?

It’s amazing how you really can do anything in NYC. There’s so much talent and history here. Live music, poetry, someone’s painting, someone’s crunching numbers…in every cube of space there is someone.

What do you miss most about home?

I miss the fresh air and all the green open spaces. I love seeing my family and my two little nephews. Also, I left my horse Oscar at my mom’s farm, so I always love going home and seeing him and going for a ride.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

I would love to see myself on the big screen. That’s what I’m striving for.

What is one of your most favorite childhood memories?

Riding my horse around the farm with my older brother. We would make our own trail rides and be gone all day.

What are you excited about right now?

It’s exciting seeing the industry changing–adding more diversity in the girls between race, size, and age. It’s amazing seeing all types of women. We are all beautiful.

*Thank you, Danielle!

Model Randi Graves Interview is Smart, Funny, Serious, and Insightful. Randi Says, “You CAN change your life in one second by changing your mind.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, New Jersey, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by Liz

Randi Graves is a plus model who is represented by Dorothy Combs Models, in Miami and several other agencies around the world. Lane Bryant is her oldest client of many. She was the tummy for the Lane Bryant Venezia Jean line and the face of their reversible fabrics. She has done shots with Walter Chin, Ellen von Unwerth, and many other well-known photographers. Randi has traveled the world. She is originally from Morristown, New Jersey and said that she is “beyond proud of that. I’m a cheeky Jerseyian.”

How did you get starting in the modeling industry?

On a dare, 13 1/2 years ago. It went like this…my husband said, “If you go to some agencies and see what they say, I’ll buy you dinner.” I said, “And drinks?” He said, “No. You drink too much.” I said. “Fine, but we’re drinking! First this bet, then my tongue piercing, and then dinner.” He said, “Deal.” And, that’s exactly what we did. Wilhelmina was the last agency we visited. We were at the front desk waiting for the receptionist to get off the phone so we could ask about open calls. Susan Georget, my agent for nearly a decade, came to the front desk for some reason. She gave me a stern gloss over. Asked me my size (I was size 10 at the time), wrote her name and number and a photographers name and number down (Michael Keele), told me to get some pictures taken, and to come back when I had done so.

My friend was elated. Me, sadly, all I could focus on was that she had written I was a size 12. LOL! Seriously. I had worked so hard to get into the size 10 jeans I was wearing. My muffin top and I were workin’ it. It wasn’t until one year later that I got those pictures taken and went back to Wilhelmina. They gave me a contract on the spot. I told them I wanted my aunt to look it over and left in a complete state of shock. Numb. You see, I had sat in the front area for nearly an hour as one person after the other was rejected. Some left crying. I had sweat all my makeup off and began to drip copious amounts of water from my under arms and chest. By the time they came for me to go to the back, I was ready for a shower and my great escape back to New Jersey. That moment, with the contract in my hand, has been and will remain to be one of the high points in my life. Someone besides my mother thought I was worthwhile and pretty. It was a nice ride.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

Oprah Winfrey and Julia Sugarbaker (from Designing Women) are lovely role models to me, and I am my own personal hero. I do hope that doesn’t come across wrong. The hero part, not Oprah and Julia. Oprah is my role model because of her journey. Because of the vessel in which she has walked this earth and accomplished so very much. She’s not white or light, she’s not the stereotypical beauty queen; although, I do believe she once was a beauty queen (http://www.people.com/people/oprah_winfrey/biography), and our society caters to and favors the anti-Oprah vessel. She has crawled and struggled up hills and through valleys. Let no one stand in her way of what she knew she was worth, and she admitted her mistakes along the way. Julia Sugarbaker, oh man! What a spitfire. Controlled and respectful, always with a smile and the utmost lady of southern ladies. But, when the time was right and a verbal ass beating was required, she would let someone have it! LOL! Specifically, articulately, and often with, “Have a good day”. I admire that. Aspire to be that. But, through all my days, I have been the one who saved me. My faith and the life lessons I have learned have held me strong. The people I have met, loved, and loathed have schooled me well. But when it came down to picking myself up, pulling myself together, and getting ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ may be) done; it was me that was there for me. I think a lot of women can relate to that. This isn’t me saying I’m so wonderful that I give no one credit for aiding me to being who I am today. No, that is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that I count my blessings and thank all those of you who have helped me to help myself to be the woman I am today who is my own personal hero.

Do you feel that ‘plus’ modeling is helping to redefine beauty?

Redefine? No. Beauty truly, is in the eye of the beholder. Whoever he or she may be. What plus-size modeling or outsize modeling for our UK sisters has done is given the masses a window into other beholders. Our societies’ vision of what beauty is has always been oxymoronic at best. “Be healthy and stay fit” is what we are told and have been told. But, what we see on and in magazines are young girls, very different from women, who are anything but fit. They, as I once was, are consumed with eating disorders and phobias about food, nutrition, and diet. Museums around the world are filled with paintings and sculptures of voluptuous women with their broad hips and ever so slightly plump bellies; I call mine Sheila. These women with their round plump bottoms and thickened waists were adored– goddess-like. They were the definition of beauty. Someone’s definition of beauty. I personally hold that idea of beauty to be self-evident. As I feel others would agree with me. And others won’t…and don’t and that’s ok. It really is. For beauty is not merely defined by a look or a smile, or a firm breast, or an ass for that matter. Beauty is the essence of the vessel within the body and how another sees it and identifies with it. Full-figure models/plus-size models…we are simply saying to our sisters of the thicken thigh tribe, “I see you. And you are beautiful.”

Out of all of the places your career has taken you, which has been the most memorable and why?

Argentina for a Lane Bryant shoot with Mia Tyler, my dearest friend Phillipa Allam, and makeup done by Linda Hay who now works with Heidi Klum and Victoria’s Secret. We stayed at a private resort at the base of this massive mountain where you could ski right into the restaurant and hot tub area, which was just below the restaurant. On our days of shooting, we took a van to the second level of the mountain, and then we took snowmobiles to the top. Clouds were literally passing through us as we shot. It was magic.

Have you ever suffered from body image or self-esteem issues? If so, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?

Welcome to the club if you have or had an eating disorder or self-esteem issue. Unfortunately, it is quite common. Young girls and women have so much on our plates. We are mothers, sisters, friends, and lovers. We are workers, survivors, saviors, and nurturers. We are wives. AND we have to be thin?! Please! Minus being a mother (I am godmother to two lovely boys and one girl), I am all the above, including having dealt with body image issues. I still am. I’m not perfect. Not in mind or body. But what I would say to any young girl or woman who asked…It will be okay. You are perfect just the way you are. Perfectly flawed with a long road ahead of you to laugh away the silly B.S. of yesterday. For tomorrow, you will be stronger because you hopefully learned that you cannot live your life according to what others think of you. Because someone else’s thin, may not suit YOUR body’s structure of thin. That you are defined by what you think of yourself. Period. If you are angry with your thighs, your arms, or your waist…let it go. Replace that pain with love and say to yourself, “Self, I love you just the way you are. But we can be better” and then start from there. Because hating yourself keeps you in a bad place. Stuck. And that’s no good for anyone.

What kinds of pressures do you see the girls in your life facing these days? What can we, as mentors, do to better address these issues?

Well, first we can (and need to) accept the fact that we are ALL mentors. Whether you are on television or not. We are all in this together, regardless of your political affiliation or financial position in life. And, the pressures I see young girls experiencing today are HEAVY. “Am I the prettiest because I received more votes on FB, or whatever social network, than my friend?” … “Will I be more liked or loved if I perform the best sexual act at an orgy party?” …”Am I better than whomever because of my parents car(s), home, jobs, or lack thereof”….”Can I be famous if I do this one sex video, get paid, and parlay it into something else?” These are real issues affecting our girls today. It’s sad. Their hair, their face, their youth, the size of their skinny jeans, and the price on their designer bags are – according to the young – defining who they think they need to be or who they actually are. And, that is so far from the truth. How is it possible that MTV has a TV show about young men and women – and I use those terms loosely – who are in debt ranging in the $10,000’s when they don’t pay mortgages or taxes on  owned property? It’s insane! Whether an individual wants to admit it or not, women hold the power. We teach others how to see us and treat us.

Our young girls are more valuable than they know. They are mentors. Every young girl that crosses my path is in my life through means of direct communication or six degrees of separation. And, I want them to know this… You CAN change your life in one second by changing your mind. The physical act will be longer and more grueling, but to better yourself is worth the climb. Our young girls are faced with the pressures of being something they are not. And, that translates to them thinking they are not good enough. That is not okay. We, as adults, must take the time out of our day to listen, learn, and guide because we also have pressures and don’t always have the right answer and that is okay. As much as we can teach our young girls and boys, we can also get an education from them. So what do we do as mentors? We also learn to be students and move forward from there.

Who taught you about real beauty?

My mother, my aunt Gwen, and my momaran (my mother’s mom). My sisters, my friends, and those that were my enemies. Every broken soul I have ever met and all those tougher than nails broads. 🙂 The animals I have loved and kept and definitely my husband. The world I have experienced, really.

What do you wish you would have known at the age of 13?

Just because you are watching “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, Randi, does not mean you have to eat as if you are there. LOL! But, seriously, that I was worth more than I believed. I didn’t have knowledge of self, let alone esteem. I wish I had known that it would all work out so I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself, and I could have enjoyed the ride of youth a lot more.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

From my aunt Gwen. My mom’s youngest sister. She told me years ago that the worst thing anyone can ever say to you is no (and that ain’t so bad) and then turn their back on you. Because they are saying, you are not worthwhile, you hold no threat, and you are not my challenge. She said, double R, when they do that to you, take a deep breath, and show them what you are made of. Give them the element of surprise. For they will not see you coming. And, she was right because in life, which is competition, fortunately and unfortunately – the element of surprise is a lovely card to hold.

What is a fun fact about you?

At any given time, I bust out in song and love singing to my cat Shelby. Sometimes she bites me, other times she just gets kissingly close to my face and stares…How I love my furry babies.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love cooking. Adore it! It’s my way of saying, “I love you”. Writing, brainstorming, playing with my cats, reading, Bikram yoga, talking with people, analyzing people and their experiences, nutrition and how it affects the body, and taking care of my husband. Honestly.

Do you have a favorite beauty tip you can share with us?

I have tons! First and foremost, hydration. It will save your life and skin. Use a washcloth when cleaning your face. It’s the best inexpensive exfoliant you have in your house right now and it works wonders. Peroxide is wonderful for achy ears, throats, funky breathe, and whiter teeth. Adding baking soda to the latter as toothpaste is magic. And, having something or someone to love will make you a more beautiful person.

What beauty invention has made the greatest impact on your life?

Bumble and Bumble the curl conscious line. Sadly, I cannot live or work without it.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Lip gloss. Forever! Generally, any thick sticky brand will do, but I am loving my Chanel Brilliant Levres. It glosses so good. It’s a fantastic fire engine red in the tube, but if put on sparingly, just a bit to coat the lips; it’s the softest pink with magnificent shine. With a heavier hand, VaVaVoom. I am applying it as I think and type.

What is your go-to outfit?

Dresses, dresses, dresses. Even when I was a tomboy, fighting boys for all womankind, I did it in a dress. My closet is over flowing with dresses. Short ones, plunging ones, strap-less, long ones, maxis, and wrap dresses. I can’t get enough or have enough dresses. I think I have a problem.

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I am a creature of habit, and adore Victoria’s Secret. I’d say 40% of my closet is Vicki S., 20% vintage and/or thrift, and the rest, well, the other places, lol!

What does being a good friend mean to you?

Showing up for your friends lives. That you don’t have to be everything to any one body and vice versa. That sometimes, a little white lie, is what you need to tell, and other times, the truth is the only gift you can give.

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

That I can and will, with my face beat, hair done, and dressed thoroughly to impress, have an in-depth conversation about bowel movements. Anywhere. Any time. What goes in must come out people, and if you are not having a poo at least once a day, something is wrong and we can talk about it. Seriously, call me. I will talk with you about it.

On your day off, what would your perfect day be like?

Getting my “to do” list done. I cannot rest in a messy house and chill out if I have things to do. All I think about is that I’m not doing my to do list.

Do you have a favorite book?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Juices by John Heinerman. The first, I read so many times my aunt forbade me to read her second copy that my heavy hands shredded, and the latter I refer to often. It is absolutely life changing to read and practice the benefits of juicing. God bless the parsnip.

Do you have a favorite karaoke song or favorite song of all time?

My favorite karaoke song is “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks and my favorite song of all time is “Stay Gold” by Stevie Wonder.

What does being healthy mean to you?

I love this question, because I have struggled so long with this body. To me, healthy is a sound mind, active body, and a soul at peace. A balanced diet with more live foods than dead and an active sex life that gives you enough pleasure to spread joy. Can I get an Amen!?!

*Thank you, Randi!

Tracie Stern and Randi Graves

We asked Randi’s long time friend and fellow model, Tracie Stern what she loves about Randi.

I’ve known Randi for years, our first shoot together we laughed so hard our client were getting mad at us. I think they stopped booking us together after that…

Randi has been in my life through love, loss, and life in general. She is the god mother to my boys, and she takes that roll very seriously, which is something I love about her….she doesn’t half ass anything.
Everyone should have a Randi in their lives. What I love about her is that she always keeps me in check like a true friend should. She never judges. She comments, she suggests, she challenges you, but she never judges. Plus, her life is like a soap opera so whenever I need a good laugh I call her because I know there is something going on in her life that beats whatever is going on in mine…and her storytelling abilities make even her serious problems come out funny. 🙂

**Thank you, Tracie!