Archive for the Lane Bryant Category

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!





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The Women Behind Madison Plus

Posted in Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Ford +, Hobbies, Lane Bryant, Media, Models, Music, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by Plus-Size Models Unite

Aimee Cheshire

MadisonPlus.com is the premiere fashion website for the modern plus size woman. Created by Aimee Cheshire and Erica Young, fashion professionals, who were frustrated with the lack of excitement and choice in the plus market. In 2008, Aimee and Erica, who are based in New York City, started brainstorming what is now MadisonPlus.com.

Kari Hansbarger, Aimee Cheshire, and Erica Young  photographed by Myung Choi

How did you and your business partner Erica meet and come together to form Madison Plus?

Erica and I were both students at LIM College in NYC. We would chat in class and that’s when I told her about my internship at Roaman’s, a plus-size catalog, and how much I enjoyed working there. I gave her a brief introduction to the world of plus and all the amazing untapped opportunities. She signed up for an internship soon after. Before we knew it, we were sitting next to each other in the office and working on the same sportswear team. We did not expect to be put on the same team together, and our working relationship grew from there. Very quickly, we were both promoted to managerial positions at a new brand within the company, but we started to grow tired of fighting the system in regards to the lack of cool and exciting plus clothing options. So, we decided to build it ourselves.

Where did the name Madison Plus come from?

Coming up with a name for a business can be a fun challenge. We had baby name books that we found ourselves browsing through to find the “name” for us to run with. We had temporary names that we would sit with for a period of time and practice saying it, to see if we would get sick of it. One day when Erica and I were doing research at the SIBL library on Madison Avenue, we had a light bulb moment and the Madison Plus name was born.

What is the most frequently asked questions you receive from your viewers?

Many women want to be plus models, and that is definitely the number one question that we receive. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a plus model. What I really interpret from the “plus model” question is that they actually want to be in some way involved with the development of the plus-size industry. There are so many ways to bring your view and your expertise to the plus industry and there is so much room to grow.

What has been one of the most unforgettable moments Madison Plus has experienced, one that you will never forget?

We have worked so hard to develop a brand that we can confidently stand behind and feel that fully represents what the plus industry was craving. There are two amazing moments that mean a lot to me and to MP. The first being when we teamed up with Ford+ Models to launch the “All Ashley” issue that broke just before the ‘boobgate’ controversy with Lane Bryant’s commercial, which featured the talented Ashley and allowed everyone to get to know her. Before we knew it, we saw “MadisonPlus.com” up on Entertainment Tonight. To see that type of recognition made all the work worthwhile and helped fuel the fire to continue with what we are doing, which was relaunching Madison Plus.

Before the holidays and after a year of building the brand Erica, Kari (our creative director), and I re-launched the new Madison Plus. We wanted to create a shopping website that was curated by us. We wanted to expand beyond our blog, bring the best of plus clothing to you wrapped up like your favorite fashion magazine. A day after we relaunched, I went to Mexico. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on the beach, but what I enjoyed most was knowing that the new MP was live.

Plus-Size Models Unite is ultimately about inspiring others to love their own unique self. What do you love about yourself and why?

Perseverance! My whole life I knew that I would be involved in the plus industry, that there was no reason for it to lack the same attention that the straight size industry gets. Growing up plus size and having to experience the common situations that plus girls find themselves. Every summer for many years, I would go to weight loss camp in California and I remember sitting on the steps of the stage with the owner asking her if I could come back when I was older and put on a plus-size fashion show. I had this bug hit me at a young age and it stayed with me though all my experiences of growing up. It was my way of making the struggles worth it. This feeling of perseverance that I always had to push through, knowing that it may be pretty crappy now, but when I make it, it will be worth it. What an amazing reward it has been.

Your site covers everything from fashion to beauty tips to celebrity news–you name it! Please tell us what your favorite beauty products or must-haves are?

I have never been a huge product girl until recently. The flood gates were open when I discovered dry shampoo. Whenever I would read about people washing their hair every other day, I could never grasp how they could do that, well dry shampoo is the answer. I use Rene Futerer Naturia Dray Shampoo, when I use it my hair immediately becomes voluminous and holds whatever styling I need it to. The days I do wash my hair I add some Sam Brocato Beach Spray, and it gives me that texture I crave. I keep an easy routine of Cetaphil to wash my face, Nars moisturizer, and Nars skin brightening serum, which I am addicted to, it just brings my skin to life. Also, I cannot leave my apartment without a spritz of Bond no9 perfume called Nuit De Noho, it’s just part of my personality now. I may freshen it up a little for spring by layering on some Highline another fave from Bond.

I love when the girls stop by and talk about their favorite outfits!!  What are your go-to outfits?

We do too! It’s amazing how much inspiration you can find from the lovely ladies that stop by our office. Each season, I tend to switch up my trendy pieces but I do have some go-to pieces that are season-less. Right now, it is my bondage skirt from Topshop, black ponte sheath dress, and last but not least, my Paige denim skinny jeans.

What is your definition of beauty?

I like pure, non-fussy beauty. I want the real nose, the real boobs, and real bum, which allows for the real you to shine through.

What are you listening to right now?

Music is my escape, and I love being surrounded by amazing bands and live shows in Brooklyn. I try to see a show at least once a month. The bands that have been getting the most play on my ipod have been The Constellations, Gogol Bordello, The Black Keys, and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

Favorite books?

My lovely husband just bought me a Kindle and I have been reading nonstop since I opened it. When you own your own business, sometimes the only way you can relax and unplug is by keeping it occupied with books. If you were shopping my bookshelf I would insist on these books; The Girls, Rush Home Road, Chesapeake, Dominion, The Glass Castle, Cutting For Stone, and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Favorite places to shop online?

It is a very rare thing to see me actually shop in person. I have been shopping online since the beginning, originally it was due to my size. I was a size 20 and then when you layer on a 35″ inseam, and size 11 shoe your selection becomes limited. So quickly, I was trained to go online for my shopping. Right now, I am shopping The Outnet, Net-A-Porter, JCrew, and Anthropologie. When I go shopping in the city, I love to hit up Topshop and DVF.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am obsessed with card and board games. I am in the process of learning bridge with my husband and some friends. I figure by the time I’m in an old age home, I will be an expert. When my husband and I started dating we would play games for money, and I bought some kitschy piggy banks from Vegas, and whoever had the most amount of money in the end of the year won. I never won, my husband always took home the pot and the winnings were definitely not big enough for a trip back to Vegas.

Favorite restaurant?

I am truly spoiled with amazing restaurants living in NYC and being surrounded by so many delicious restaurants which have lead to a discerning palette.  I love it when you go for a meal and you leave with an experience. The best dining experience is at the Kabob Café in Queens. It seats no more than 12 people and the kitchen is right next to you while you eat. The amazing owner/chef Ali keeps you entertained for hours! When my evening out demands a little more “fancy” you can find me at Junoon, Marlow & Sons and Dresslers. To compliment, I enjoy pairing my meal with a nice cocktaiI or bottle of wine.

What are you excited about right now?

I am so excited for the year ahead, 2010 was so good to me and the MP team. So many personal and professional goals were accomplished. It really gives me so much momentum into this new year. Stay tuned…we have more exciting developments at Madison Plus.

Best,

Aimee Cheshire
Co-Founder & Co-Owner
www.MadisonPlus.com
Your Style Discovered
facebook.com/MadisonPlus
twitter.com/MadisonPlus

Video Link

http://www.vimeo.com/19135791

*Thank you, Aimee!

Model and Actress Celina Lorenz Talks About Her Definition of Confidence; Feeling Beautiful, Smart, and Sexy on Your Own Terms; and Much More!

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Inspiration, Lane Bryant, Movies, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Unique Beauty, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by Liz

      

Photographed by Patrice Casanova      

Celina Lorenz has graced the pages of Elle, InStyle, Glamour, Figure, Prevention, and Plus Model Magazine. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, The View, Fox News, The Queen Latifah show, and broadcasted nationally, via satellite, to local TV stations showing plus-size clothing. Celina has traveled the country and the world for her long and steady career. She looks forward to continuing to be a representative of fuller figure women and reshaping the standard of beauty. Here she is…      

      

Photographed by Stanley Debas      

Please tell us about your first modeling job with Emme on the Oprah Winfrey show.      

That was my very first job! I was very “green,” and I literally was star struck when I met Oprah! I spent two days at Harpo Studios preparing for her show about beauty “in all sizes.” Emme and Christine Alt were the guests. My first thought about Ms.Winfrey was, “Wow, she’s a lot shorter in real life!” lol. It really was surreal to be there, in the Green Room and in the dressing room. I think Oprah does a lot of good things with her show, and she certainly does that for the fuller figured woman. She was super nice and very down to earth. Meeting her was amazing!      

What was that experience like for you?      

As I said, it was surreal. From a modeling perspective, it was a great “first job,” because I did have some hesitation when I first started modeling. For instance, would I be able to make a living, etc. Being that this was my first booking and on such a global scale, I think the appearance helped give me the confidence I needed to continue pursuing this as a career. But, don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of drive and determination.      

Eventually, when I moved to NYC, I remember saying to myself, “Quitting is NOT an option.” Like any model, rejection is all part of the job. Whether you are a plus-size model or straight size, you become so in tune to “your look” as we are constantly picked apart by photographers, make-up and hair stylists, art directors, and the clients themselves. If you don’t have a thick skin, or some sort of healthy coping method for this kind of continuous scrutiny (whether you are on set, at a show, or at a casting), you risk letting it get into your head and get you down. Women who are not models may do this as well, with all this nonsense in the media these days, so it’s my belief that we professional, working models really have to remember to have perspective on the scrutiny we face on a daily basis.       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

Please tell us about your experience as a television hostess and other TV appearances such as Comedy Central and the Chappelle Show.      

Working on the Chappelle Show was great fun! I’ll point out that they weren’t looking for a “plus-sized model”; they were looking for the blonde “bombshell” type to play off of Paul Mooney’s character. It was really cool that Mr. Chappelle, Paul Mooney, and the producers totally saw me as THAT: as a sexy, beautiful model, not a sexy beautiful “plus-sized model.” That rarely happens. The “sexy” part is usually cast with a straight size model, but not this time. They didn’t see me as a size 12 model who was sexy; they just saw a beautiful woman. In casting me alongside the other model, who happened to be straight size, they sent the message that it didn’t matter our size. A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman. I love that.      

How did you transition from modeling to TV?      

As far as the “transition” from film to television, I haven’t crossed over entirely. I’ve worked on other Comedy Central shows, filmed pilots, etc., but my main work is fashion. If anyone needs a spokesperson for a clothing line or anything of that sort…let me know!;-)       

How has the plus-size modeling industry changed over the last decade?      

Great question! When I started, there was nowhere near the emphasis on “beauty in all sizes.” It seems like it has really taken off in the last several years, and I’m amazed at the positive feedback we get. The irony is that the “plus models” typically (and on the average), don’t wear plus sizes in our everyday lives, but that doesn’t matter to me as much. What matters is that we are seen–with our curves! If you look back at Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe, all those voluptuous starlets from decades ago, they were incredibly vivacious, curvaceous, sensual, and so feminine! Honestly, it’s my experience that men love curves. Now, I’m not saying that curves are better than “no curves,” but that the media should stop sending the message that you have to be “thin” to be pretty. It’s just so old already! I don’t even think like that anymore. When I look in the mirror, (and this is the God’s honest truth) I don’t look in the mirror and think, “I’d be prettier if I got down to a size 6.” My mind doesn’t even enter that realm, as it may have years ago. I am, who I am. I try to stay fit, and I take care of myself. I love dining out, drinking good wine, and enjoying life’s pleasures too much to deprive myself. I have no problem being a “renaissance woman” and not missing out on life.       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

Has plus-size modeling become more or less competitive, more or less accepted in the industry, more or less ageist, racist, etc?      

Let me say, that I don’t think that being a plus-sized model condones an unhealthy lifestyle. To me, it’s more about being beautiful in your own skin, rather than blindly following what the media wants you to. The plus-sized movement definitely has become more accepted in the industry! Being that I’ve been working for quite awhile, I see the “togetherness” that “plus girls” have with the “straight girls.” It’s my experience, and others may disagree, that when we are all working together, or at a casting together, there is no “separation” between the plus girls and the straight girls. I’ve never had an experience where I felt that there is an ‘”us” and a “them.” We are all women, from all over the country, enduring the same crazy career that we all chose, and we are all in this together. Sometimes we even have the same clients, so I see that we are all lumped in together. As far as plus models are concerned, we are working hard just as the straight girls are. I have quite a few straight size model friends, and there is no differentiation in their mind. We are all out there traveling, working, and making’ it happen. In fact, they are all supportive of us! One of my girlfriends’ friends was asking her about her “plus-size model friend” (me) and asked if that gives me the freedom to just “let it go” and eat whatever I want. My friend said, “Heck no! She brings her rear to the gym, just like the rest of us!” That is so true!      

How do you think plus modeling is helping to redefine beauty?      

Just being “out there” in the media. I remember what it was like to be taller and bigger than everyone else was in Junior High. Thankfully, I came from a really supportive family and they never made me feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t suffer from “low self-esteem.” I just had the usual feelings girls get in those pre-teen years. But, had I seen and been exposed to seeing the plus-sized models (as in a size 8-16 model) out there today, I think that really would have helped in terms of seeing an additional standard of beauty. There is a lot farther to go though.      

I think that the “sizeism” that we see in the media and the attention that female celebrities receive when they gain or lose weight is not perpetuated just by the media now. Women themselves perpetuate this by not supporting other women when they don’t look like the “standard” that is seen on TV and in magazines. Often, when a beautiful woman walks into a room, and everyone stops and looks at her, I’ve seen women be the first people to criticize her or measure her up to the “standard of beauty” we see in the media. It’s tiring really. I literally get knots in my back just thinking of how other women can be worse than the media itself when it comes to assessing a woman’s beauty. And, of course, everyone knows that the people who criticize others are just insecure and have their own issues they need to deal with on their own. Just saying. 😉       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues in the past?      

 As I said earlier, when I was a kid, I was literally taller than my teachers were. The thing I hated most was not being able to wear all the cute clothes my friends were wearing back in junior high! At that age, that is considered social suicide! Ha ha! But, my “body image issues” weren’t any more than any other girl at that age. What I’ve learned since then; having carved out a career in this field, and having been privy to hearing women’s personal body-image stories; is that ALL women have them. It’s not just the “big” girls or the “flat-chested” girls. It’s all girls. And, the girls who outwardly fit the mold of the “standard” of beauty are just as critical of themselves too! Body image issues are not just for the “plus-sized” woman. Women of ALL sizes and shapes experience these issues, but perhaps it’s the “plus-size” industry that gets all the heat, because it is the most vocal, and at the forefront of changing the way women look at themselves. I’ve had very slim women give me serious props for doing what we do, and have been told how awesome they think our work is. The “plight of the plus model” resonates with regular, everyday women. I just love that, and I have no problem being a representative of a movement that is all about being who you are, being healthy, and making a statement that says beauty is not one type and certainly not what an ad agency has concocted for you. The strong, often demeaning images that we see in ads, online, or on TV, don’t discriminate in terms of who they are sending their messages to. If you can read or look at a picture, you can get the message loud and clear; that beauty is considered “thin.” That’s not the case. I’m not “thin,” and I think I’m pretty. So there!      

Also, be smart enough and media-savvy enough to take it for what it’s worth, and not let a bunch of people in suits, who are in a boardroom, tell you how you should feel about yourself. Just say, “To hell with them.” And, if someone has a problem with you and calls you fat, skinny, short, ugly, etc…they aren’t worth your time anyway, and well, they are just a negative person who needs to get a life, if you ask me!      

How did you reach the point of accepting and loving your body as it is?      

Through realizing that I can be just as beautiful and sexy on my terms because that is what is most important to me. I know how I want to look, so I try my hardest to be that because that is most comfortable for me. How did I get there? I have self-esteem and a sense of humor. I think that is where it all starts. When you don’t think much of yourself that affects your life in every aspect, not just your body image.      

       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

What advice would you give to girls and women, who are struggling with body image and self-esteem issues?      

Wow. That’s a tough question because the answer varies from woman to woman. I don’t think there is a set equation to having self-esteem. But, to start, and something that is universal, (and I tread lightly here because I’ve been in beauty magazines, but here goes)…don’t buy beauty magazines that don’t represent you in them. Until certain magazines start putting models in the editorials and until the companies start making sample sizes bigger than 4-6; so that larger models can be featured alongside the tiny ones; they really aren’t that beneficial to a young woman’s psyche when she is flipping through the pages. Especially a young woman who doesn’t understand that this is marketing — all so she will buy a product. Until beauty magazines start consistently using plus models, or models with a variety of body types (who will fit the samples for the shoot), spend your money on magazines and products that do.       

Also, let’s start taking the emphasis off how we women look all the time. What about our talents, our brains, and our achievements? If we could encourage the young women in our families to develop their talents, their skills, and their brains, instead of commenting and/or focusing on their looks, I think that would make a difference. If this “beauty obsession” is perpetuating itself, then we should try to perpetuate within our own circles, the notion that we, women and girls, are so much more than how we look. Let’s give positive reinforcement for talents, skills, good grades, etc. Perhaps if young women saw, in their own lives, that as much praise was given to girls that achieve things rather than “hotness” then they can relax and not feel so much pressure. Also, get the word out that the girls in all those magazines are airbrushed. Even they don’t look like that. Models are paid to look beautiful. But, the make-up artists, stylists, hair stylists, and photographers are paid to make us look beautiful. It takes a village, people! lol. Also, for the teen girls out there, don’t allow your self-image to be defined by guys in your school or other girls. Don’t listen to them. I know it’s hard, but the sooner you stop allowing others to give you your self-worth, the sooner you are empowered. Okay?        

      

Photographed by Patrice Casanova      

Where do you like to shop for clothes?      

I love J.Crew for everyday type stuff. They have timeless pieces that you can make your own with accessories. Also, the sale rack at Saks and Barney’s is great. Bluefly.com is a great website for designer pieces that have been marked-down, and I shop for hard to find vintagey stuff online. If I get inspired, I’ll just Google whatever it is that I’m looking for and find it online. I’m a big fan of DKNY and I admit, I’m obsessed with Herve Leger dresses.       

What are your beauty must haves?      

Sunscreen! Seriously, I don’t leave home without it. I also wear sunglasses even on rainy days, as the added SPF in the lenses will protect me from getting wrinkles. Also, sleep!      

What are you excited about right now?       

I am very excited about photographer Jessica Lavoie. She is based in NY, and she is a model herself, so she already understands it. She gets what it’s like to be in front of the camera, and she knows how to photograph a fuller figure. It was evident to me, when I tested with her, that her career as a model has taught her how to capture someone’s best features. It’s comforting to know, when you are shooting, that the person behind the camera has an understanding of what it takes to make you look your best. Also, I like that Glamour magazine shot a cover with a plus girl, (Crystal Renn), Alessandra Ambrosio, and Brooklyn Decker. That is a statement. Thank you, Glamour magazine! Oh, and also, thank you Heidi Pratt for being such a wonderful role model to young women, and displaying such a great amount of self-love, by not giving in to silly industry standards of beauty–NOT!!! Lol.      

      

Luas Jones Photography      

      

What does being confident mean to you?      

For everyone, feeling confident means different things. For me, confidence comes from the inside. I’ve felt more confident after a strong run than I have all dressed up just looking good. For me, it’s not about how I look, it’s how I feel. I’ve been a long distance runner for years now. I took a couple of years off a while back, but I’ve always come back to it. When I first moved to NYC and had no money, no gym membership, and was an “aspiring” model, I would run in Central Park. After a while, I’d go farther and farther; soon, I’d run the whole six miles. Then I started to run around it twice. When I am finished with a fast six miler or a strong fourteen miler, nothing defines that moment more for me than feeling confident. It’s my own way of saying to myself, “I’m healthy, and I’m strong.” Also, and I’ve said this before; let’s not underestimate the power of great posture, natural warmth, graciousness, and a beautiful smile. Seriously, if you could bottle that, let me know, because you could make millions for what that does for a woman, in terms of looking and feeling confident.       

Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?      

As my late grandfather used to say, “Don’t let the bastards get ya down.” I think that pretty much sums it up. Be true to yourself, be healthy, and tell anyone who tries to steal your sunshine or says that you are only pretty if you are “this” or “that” to take a hike. 😉      

* Thank you, Celina!   

**You can learn more about Celina at http://www.celinalorenz.com

***How do you help yourself develop a positive self-esteem and body image? What does being confident mean to you? We would love to hear your comments and questions.

Hello, World! Angela’s Journey – Part I. (Written by Liz Nord)

Posted in Art, Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Events, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Lane Bryant, Models, Movies, Music, My Story, News, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Uncategorized, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2010 by Liz

Photographed by Lindsey Bowen

Hello World,

I am Angela Jones. I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, partner, and a plus-size model. I have not always felt great about my body, but I have gained strength, and learned to love myself – just the way I am.

My friend, Elizabeth, and I decided to start Plus-Size Models Unite to create an on-line community where women can share their personal stories; exchange ideas; discuss the plus-size modeling world; create a supportive and positive atmosphere; and promote self-acceptance, positive body image, and self-love – no matter what our size or shape.

Plus-Size Models Unite is for women who have struggled, do struggle, will struggle, or have attained self-acceptance, self-love, healthy living, and a positive body image. Our hope is that you will find comfort in reading the stories and advice other women share, and that you will contribute your stories, ideas, tips,  pictures, videos, and modeling experiences to help inspire other women along their journey.

My Story

When I was a little girl, I remember being referred to as sturdy, strong, bigger-built, and big-boned. I remember my grandparents commenting on my build, and other people commenting on the physical differences between my sister and me. I did not think about the comments or comparisons when I was a child. It did not faze me.

I was in fourth grade the first time someone made fun of me. One of the neighbor boys called me “fat,” and I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. However, after a few times, I started to realize that he was being mean, and I ran home crying to my mom. My mom was wonderful, supportive, and my greatest advocate. She called the boy’s mother, and the boy apologized. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of my trouble with body image.

In sixth grade, I started to become frustrated with my body. Our class had to “weigh-in” for P.E. It was the first time that I was embarrassed about how much I weighed. I couldn’t relate to any of the girls in my class. My classmates were sharing with each other how much they weighed, and I was horrified. My weight was up there with the boys’, and I was embarrassed. It was the first time, of many, that I lied about how much I weighed. I ate healthy food, exercised regularly, and took good care of my body. I was active in sports, and loved the feeling of being part of a team. I should have felt good about myself, but I did not.

Kids teased me and laughed at me because of my freckles, mole, and body. My mother called my mole a “beauty mark.” I took pride in that, and I felt unique and special. On the bus, boys would tease me about having a “big butt.” I never had a comeback – I would just take it. I did not know what to do, and I was shocked that people could be so mean. It hurt.

I had great family friends that attended both elementary and high school with me. They were boys around my age, and they stood up for me. They were respectful and always nice to everyone. I will never forget their kindness, and we are still friends today. Other kids were so mean. I knew a girl at school who was overweight. Kids called her “Heavy Evy,” and that made me furious. I remember watching her run into the bathroom crying. I knew how she felt.

In high school, I remember a girl calling me a “whale” and a teacher telling me that he “liked my butt.” I did not understand why people were making such inappropriate comments because I did not feel that I was overweight. I had many friends, and I was active in school activities and sports. It was all so confusing and made me feel self-conscious. I didn’t like to wear snug, tailored clothing or draw attention to myself. I was embarrassed. I tried to cover up my mole with foundation and thought about having it removed many times. I felt like I never looked good enough.

Every morning, I became frustrated when trying to get ready for school. I searched for something to wear that seemed acceptable, and I would panic and sweat from anxiety. I would become so frustrated that I would throw a fit and yell at my mom. It was horrible. I did not feel pretty. In high school, I constantly asked my mom if I was fat.

I continued to struggle with body image, even though I had my mom as a solid role model. She treated her body with respect, took good care of herself, and was never controlling about what we ate. As time went by, I went through many different eating habits. I would only eat a potato with mustard or cabbage with mustard. I would eat only salads and no carbohydrates. The only condiments I used were mustard, ketchup, and salsa. I never starved myself, but if I started feeling hungry, I would preoccupy my mind with a bike ride, walk, or run.

My bout with bulimia started right after I graduated from high school. I moved to Hawaii to attend college. I was living by myself in a dorm room, I did not know many people, and I was lonely. I met some girls, and I immediately noticed how skinny they both looked. I wondered how they stayed so slim. I soon found out. They would eat tubs of ice cream and then throw up.

I had never heard of such a thing, and I was disgusted. I went home alone, and started picking myself apart. I stood in front of the mirror grabbing my fat, thinking that I would feel so much better if I could only make “it” go away. The first time I made myself throw up I was in my dorm, and I threw up in a grocery sack. I didn’t binge and purge. I would eat healthy and purge. My problems with body image intensified, and I began throwing up in the bathroom at work. A co-worker caught me purging once. She was very kind and offered her support. I moved back home, to Washington State.

I started receiving positive reinforcement regarding how “good I looked.” I was always confused by the compliments because I felt like I was dying on the inside. I put on a happy face, and said I looked “good” because of healthy diet and exercise. I was running religiously. I ran a marathon, several half-marathons, and worked out constantly. I eventually ruined my teeth from all the acid that I produced while throwing up, and I have two fake molars now because of my bout with bulimia.

I moved to Beverly Hills to become a nanny. For the first few months in California, I did not purge. I didn’t know anyone there, and I became lonely again. I didn’t feel like I fit in and the purging started. My frame was the smallest it has ever been. A woman, who I worked for as a nanny, called my mom to express her concerns. My mom had already suspected something was wrong.

When I moved back home, I confessed to my mom, and she was heart-broken. I continued abusing my body up until the day I met my husband, Taylor. The timing was good, and I was ready to make a positive change. I promised Taylor and myself that I would never abuse my body again, and I have kept that promise. I have thought about doing it, but I have kept my promise. I had my priorities wrong, but I am not ashamed of what I went through.

After having children, I developed a deeper respect and appreciation for my body. I realized a woman’s body is amazing and capable of creating wondrous miracles.  I have a daughter now who is looking up to me as her role model. I am teaching my children to respect and love their bodies.

I pretended for a long time that the unhealthy part of my past never existed, but I am hoping this experience helps bring me closure, and will help other girls and women, who may be going through a similar experience. We want Plus-Size Models Unite to be a great place for women to inspire each other.

We will be posting more articles regarding Angela’s journey. Share your story!