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A Special Message from Liz & Angela via Plus-Size Models Unite

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Family & Friends, Media, Models, News, Parenting, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Radio, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, TV, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2011 by Liz


Liz Nord & Angela Jones ~ Photographed by Lindsey Bowen

We would love to thank each and every one of you for supporting PSMU. We have really enjoyed being a part of such a positive site; sharing stories; and promoting healthy living, confidence, self-esteem, and self-love. Thank you to all of our contributors, models, agents, friends, mothers, writers, and our readers! We truly believe everyone can make a difference if we come together and let our voices be heard, as we have done at PSMU. We all need to be exposed to more healthy, happy, and positive ideas and role models. There are some extraordinary people out there doing amazing things and we need to hear more about them!

This will be our final post via Plus-Size Models Unite. We hope to see you at our new site!

Liz is now freelance writing and editing a wide variety of content both off and online. To learn more or request her services, please visit Liz Nord Creates.

Thank you!

Liz & Angela

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Jessica Leahy Says, “True beauty is when someone shows you generosity, kindness, or trust; it’s moments when you can think ‘wow, that was really beautiful thing to do’. Real beauty is seen in someone’s actions, not their reflections.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Fashion, Inspiration, Media, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2011 by Liz

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

It was through a modeling competition and the prize was a modeling contract. My aunt told me about it and I wasn’t really interested so I put it off. Eventually my aunty convinced me enough and I entered, but only after the competition was over so I didn’t win. But I got a call a few days later telling me that they got my pictures and they would like to offer me a contract. I was stoked and I’ve been doing it ever since.

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

I think plus modeling is certainly opening up what the fashion industry defines as beauty. I think that more and more people who influence the world of fashion are opening their eyes to the fact that beauty goes so much further than the inches of somebody’s waist. Plus models are definitely aiding in this effort to push the industry into embracing diversity, which is a fantastic thing!

How do you define the term ‘plus’ model?

To be honest, I don’t really like the term ‘plus’ model. The actual wording just doesn’t have the best ring to it, you know? It encourages sizeist connotations, when really most of us are just healthy women totally in proportion with our height. Just like how I know many ‘straight size’ models don’t like that term. There should just be ‘models’ with two categories– ‘male’ and ‘female’. Models should represent health, beauty, and confidence!

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

I enjoy the people and the creativity they bring. No two days are the same and every day you work, you get to collaborate with all these different people bringing all this different creative energy and experience. It’s certainly not a 9-5 environment and I love that too!

Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share with us?

Once I was shooting at a beach and was standing on the side of a rock pool. I was posing for the photographer, there were some people around, and pretty soon, I noticed that there was a group of these young guys watching what was going on. After a few clicks I noticed the boys were starting to get a bit rowdy and were shouting and I couldn’t hear them but I was trying to focus and just zone them out. All of a sudden a huge wave hit me and pushed me into the water! The boys were trying to warn me! I guess the photographer was only looking at what was in his lens so he didn’t see either and he was so apologetic. I was fine and luckily, my mascara was waterproof!

Where you ever teased as a child?

Hell yes! Not crazy teased but I was born in Australia, moved to New Guinea when I was two weeks old and came back at about nine, and girls are mean when they are nine! They already had their clicks and I just had deal with it. Now I look back and I think of it as lucky because I had to embrace my own company, I’m fine being individual and I think it made me stronger, but at the time it was so painful! Eventually, I settled in a made some great mates that I’ve stuck with since!

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

That being an individual is okay. Embrace your inner weirdo! It’s more interesting.

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?

I think everyone goes through some issues with body image and self-esteem. I definitely have but I think that it’s good to remember that you are very blessed if you have a working body, if everything runs right then you’ve already won the jackpot, and if you’re pretty, that is a nice bonus. But looks are not everything. I came to terms with the fact a long time ago that I am not the hottest person in the world, not even close! And I may never even be the hottest person in a room and that’s ok too, because I am the only me, and I will be the best me, better than anyone else on the planet!

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 think there are a lot of parallels portrayed by the media that the lives of young women should mirror the lives of the “celebrities” they see on “reality” TV and on glossy magazines. These parallels are unrealistic and put pressure on young women to feel like they have to look a certain way or dress in a particular brand to be successful in life. I guess there needs to more emphasis on individual journey and individual success. Young women need to know that their lives don’t need to be like it is in the magazines to be whole, fulfilling, and admirable.

Who taught you about real beauty?

My family and friends. I think it would be very hard to really give credit to someone in a magazine or on a screen for teaching you a true lesson in real beauty. True beauty is when someone shows you generosity, kindness, or trust; it’s moments when you can think ‘wow, that was really beautiful thing to do’. Real beauty is seen in someone’s actions, not their reflections.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Emma Kid “Scarlett”… It’s the best true red!

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

It’s definitely got to be hair moisturizer. My hair is crazy without it!

What are your favorite beauty products?

Any Kheils product! There face washes are a complexion lifesaver! And Lucas paw-paw ointment! Anyone who has ever tried it knows it’s a revelation!!

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

Wash your face just before bed and when you get up. While you sleep, your skin excretes so much of the junk that hits your faces during the day so you have to wash it off. It will improve your complexion so much.

What is your go-to outfit?

My Swimmers. In summer, I always have a pair shoved in my bag or my car somewhere because I’m always hoping at some point in my day to hit the beach.

What are your favorite pair of jeans?

My “Cheap Monday” Blue velvet jean; I’ve worn them to death!

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

Zara. It’s a joke how well they hit my fashion taste buds!

What features do you love to accentuate?

They are kind of the ones that are too hard to cover up, my boobs and butt. I could wear a sack and you would still know they were there, so I may as well accentuate them well.

What does being healthy mean to you?

Health means having a happy stable balance in your life that suits you. It’s not just about healthy exercise and healthy food; it’s about having inner wellness also.

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I mix it up all the time but I work out about 6 times a week. It’s not always tough and strenuous, sometimes it’s a solid walk or swim, but other times its weights or running sand dunes, which are killer! But I enjoy exercise, I feel so much better after it!

What makes you uniquely beautiful? What do you love about yourself and why?

I guess that one of the best things that I like about myself is the only thing that we all have in common, and its being unique. I am put together in such a way that no one else is. Whoever did my blueprint took the time to make me special and one of a kind.

In my purse you would find…

No money because I would have spent it, and paw paw ointment.

What are you listening to right now?

Jonsi. He makes music you can daydream to.

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

Mostly news sites and sports sites. I try to online shop but I’m too impatient to wait to have whatever I buy; the waiting is agony.

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

A prefect day would be a hot day at the beach with good friends, good food, and great wine.

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

I like to learn how to fly a plane. I’m not the greatest person to fly with, I question every noise and hiccup, but I think if I learned how to fly, I might be more comfortable with it.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Growing up in New Guinea we would all spend our weekends at my Granddad’s coffee plantation. It was a big family affair and I would be with my cousins running through the coffee playing hide and seek. It’s a great memory.

What is Jessica’s philosophy on life?

Life is good so live it well.

 *Thank you, Jessica!

Australian Model Fiona Falkiner Says, “If you put your mind to it–anything is possible!”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Movies, My Story, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by Liz

Here is the beautiful Fiona…

I grew up in a small country town in Victoria near the coast called Birregurra. After school, I went to university where I studied to earn a BA International Studies. But, my passion was always to become a makeup-artist, and I am currently undertaking a makeup course in Sydney, which I am loving. In 2006, I was a contestant on The Biggest Loser. After the show, I started modeling and since signing with Bella Model Management over a year ago, I have been working as a plus-size model and studying.

How did you start your career as a model?

I met an agent whilst in the Biggest Loser house who told me I would make a great model. When I came off the show, I was told I was too big to be a regular model and too small to be a plus model as I was a size AUS 10/12.

In one word, how would you describe your agency, Bella Model Management?

Superb!!!

Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share with us?

I am very allergic to cats and on a shoot recently I started sneezing and my eyes turned red and itchy, I was sure there was a cat in the house so the whole crew were searching the house for a cat, when the makeup artist realized that the blanket she was wrapping me in after each shot was the rug her cat slept on.

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

I grew up always being bigger than other girls my age; I really struggled with my body image all through my teens and early 20s. I guess being a contestant on a weight loss show demonstrates how much my size bothered me. On the series, I went from a size AUS 18/20 to AUS 10/12 but within six months I had put a lot of the weight back on.

It has taken many years, but I can say that the life I lead now is all about balance, and I know within myself that if I am being healthy, I will be happy, and it has nothing to do with what it says on the scales and when you let that go and love the skin you are in–your life will turn around. I am a healthy size AUS 14/16 now am at peace with my body and love my curves.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty comes from within, looks are superficial and will fade, but true beauty lasts forever as it shines from within.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Believe in yourself and pursue your dreams. If you are doing something you’re passionate about, you’re much more likely to be successful than doing something you’re not interested in.

How do you stay fit? Do you have a favorite workout?

I have done pretty much every workout in the world. These days I prefer not to work out in a gym as I like the outdoors and I live close to one of the most amazing walks and beaches in the world, Bondi

Beach. So, in summer I do the Bondi to Bronte walk 4 or 5 times a week. It takes an hour door to door and has lots of stairs and stations where you can do little exercises along the way. I also love swimming, netball, and tennis. In winter, back at the gym my favorite class is spin class thanks to Bob Harper!

What is your go-to outfit?

LBD, Killer Heels, and red lips.

Favorite pair of jeans?

I have a pair of Embody Jeans, which are amazing and I get compliments every time I wear them, they are designed by fellow plus-size model Natalie Wakeling so the sizing is amazing as she gets the curves.

Who is your style icon?

Marilyn Monroe, my Idol!

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

I am a bit old school. I love the old classics Marilyn and also Sophia Loren.

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

A really good moisturizer is essential. I get very dry skin and moisturize at least twice a day.

Can you share one of your beauty tips with us?

Drink lots and lots of water for a clear complexion, and I rub rosehip oil around my eyes before bed every night to help fight the wrinkles.

What is one thing that may surprise us about you?

I have a learning disability and can only retain a small amount of information that is spoken to me at any one time…makes life tricky!

If you could go back and talk to yourself at the age of 13, what would you say?

Stop being so critical of yourself, you have the whole world ahead of you, and you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Don’t let self-doubt cloud the way!

What do you love about yourself and why?

My easygoing nature; I get along with pretty much everyone and anyone.

What do you love about yourself and why?

My easygoing nature; I get along with pretty much everyone and anyone.

Favorite movie?

It would be a toss up between Gone With The Wind and Pretty Woman.

Favorite book?

I love anything by Wilbur Smith and Bryce Courtenay; love the epics!

What is your signature scent?

Miracle by Lancôme. I have been wearing it since I was 16.

If you could hop on an airplane and go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

A tropical Island where Gerard Butler would be waiting with open arms and a cocktail!

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My Uncle, John Falkiner. He has lived his whole life doing what he loves and loving life. He is a Mountain Climber Adventurer who lives in Switzerland and he let nothing come between him and the lifestyle he loves.

What are you excited about right now?

I am looking at heading to New York in the not too distant future, to pursue modeling and makeup. It will be a fun new adventure! Interesting to see if I can crack the US market! My dreams are in five years time to be published in Vogue as either a model or a makeup artist–either way big dreams. If you put your mind to it–anything is possible!

*Thank you, Fiona!

The Word “Plus-Size” ~ Guest Post by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano of The Beheld.

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2011 by Liz

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano writes about how we form our concept of personal beauty, using essays, histories of words we use to describe women (like “plus-size”!), interviews, experiments, and analysis of economics, sociology, and media at The Beheld.

Here is Autumn…

We use the term “plus-size” so frequently now—plus-size clothes, plus-size stores, plus-size women, and, of course, plus-size models—that it’s hard to remember that not so long ago, we didn’t even have the vocabulary handy to discuss wearing anything larger than a size 12.

“Plus-size” was first used as a technical fashion industry term for sizes 14 and up in the 1970s; plus-size clothing existed before then, but was referred to as “stout sizes,” “larger sizes,” “junior plenty” for Lane Bryant teen sizes, or simply listed by number. The phrase quickly spilled from the fashion world into the modeling industry. As early as 1976, modeling agencies began signing “plus-size” models and calling them just that.

Still, it was an insider term, along the lines of “go-see” and “comp card”—recognizable to people within the fashion and modeling industries, but not to the people purchasing the clothes those models might be wearing. Consumers were referring to “women’s sizes” through the 1980s, and in fact the euphemism for larger clothing sizes still occasionally causes confusion when shopping at the handful of stores that still use the term. (Did clothing retailers only figure out in the past 10 years that a woman with 34-inch hips and a woman with 44-inch hips are both women?)

It wasn’t just consumers who were coming up with weird terms to describe ladies of size. Women’s magazines in the 1970s gave style advice to readers who were “chunky,” “bigger,” “broad,” “big-boned,” “heavier,” and “fat.” Even a lifestyle and fashion magazine devoted to plus-size women, Big Beautiful Woman, didn’t embrace the term until after its 1979 launch. By the 1980s the word choices had become a tad more complimentary: “round” and “full-figured” began cropping up, along with “curvy all over,” particularly a favorite in annual June swimsuit roundups.

In 1989—the earliest instance of mainstream usage I could find—New Woman called out to “plus-size” readers, with Ebony following suit in 1990. From there, the term truly took flight: Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and other major players started using the term in the 1990s. Unsurprising, given the enormous surge in awareness of the needs of 14-and-ups at that time: Pioneering plus-size model Emme was named one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1994 (and again in 1999!), Lane Bryant went full-on fashionista in 1995 with celebrity endorsements, and Mode magazine launched in 1997.

But some feel that the term might have done all it can. “ ‘Plus-size’ is a word we need to bury at this point,” Queen Latifah told WWD in May when talking about her fashion line, which has a wide range of sizes. “The truth is, we all would like to wear the same clothes. We all want to wear beautiful, fly clothes no matter what size you are.” (Sing it, sister!) Similarly, model Marquita Pring said in an interview this March with New York Magazine, “I think we need to phase out the category ‘plus-size models.’ I’m a model… People are finally starting to embrace us, and we aren’t just being seen for our tits and ass, but for our overall beauty and ability.”

There’s a power in naming a need that’s gone unfilled—like, say, a cute size 18 tank top!—and in relabeling terms that are rather unhelpful. (“Junior plenty”? Really?) As Gloria wrote in 1979 about the progress of feminism, “We have terms like sexual harassment and battered women. A few years ago, they were just called life.” Having the term “plus-size” out and about in the world makes it clear that women over a size 12 aren’t  going to quietly sit on the sidelines in navy blue smocks ever again.

Plus-Size Models Unite originally used the term “plus-size” because it made sense at the time of the site’s creation. But the work that is being done here is toward a recognition of all women, in all their diversity, as being whole and beautiful.” The concept of plus-size? Love. The word itself? Eventually, maybe, we can let it go. For wouldn’t it be nice if someday, plus-size clothes were just called clothes, plus-size models were just called models—and plus-size women were just called women, as empowered, confident, and beautiful as they feel?

*Thank you, Autumn!

You can find out more about Autumn Whitefield-Madrano at her website: The Beheld, Twitter at @the_beheld, and on Facebook here.

Tara Laughton Says, “Be around positive like-minded people, and do things that you love and make you happy. Don’t try to change yourself for others or what is presented to you as beautiful by the media. Bask in your own difference—it’s what makes you, you.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Music, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2011 by Liz

I’m Tara Laughton. I love being a model with all the dressing up, makeup, and being in front of the camera.  I’m signed with Bella Model Management, Click Model Management, Okay Models Hamburg, and UK Model Management.   Some of my clients include, Cosmo, David Jones, Myer, Australian Womens Weekly Magazine, TVSN (Television Shopping Network), Bild der Frau, Maggie T, Ezibuy, Sara, and Prima Magazine.  I love summer, warm weather and sand, making bracelets, being with friends, enjoying great food, and I loooove to see a great movie.

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

I’m from Sydney, Australia.  I first went to a modeling agency when I was twelve as I stopped growing at eleven and was super tall.  However, I didn’t start modelling until I was seventeen. I met someone who knew an agency owner and was happy to take me in to see them.  I started working straight away.  However, I worked for a few years but then had trouble keeping my weight down.  So, I kept involved in the industry organizing parades, dressing models, and styling.  I’d often kept trying to diet, which disheartened me. It’s frustrating in hindsight that I kept trying to change myself.  So, I had someone mention that a plus model agency had started and Chelsea was the person to call.  My first job was David Jones Catalogue.  And I haven’t looked back it’s been a great journey!

Please tell us about the Model Mentor Program.

It’s about educating young girls about the modeling industry, teaching them what is expected of them as a model on jobs, and teaching them to treat themselves as a professional within it.  If you prepare and present yourself as a professional, people love that.  And also, about getting girls to nurture themselves in a positive way, to accept themselves as they are, and believe in themselves because within the industry there can be a lot of rejection and you need to prepare yourself for that.  I also have a course for girls who may not become models, but want to know all about how to learn tricks for taking great photos, how to walk like they’re on a catwalk, and to also get them to learn about themselves in a positive way and to accept who they are as they are to be more confident in their world.  Just wanting to spread the positive body image to all young people, how to be a lady, and present yourself well. 

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

I have struggled with my weight. It was really hard when I couldn’t keep my weight down for so called “straight sized” modelling, and I always got told you need to lose weight you’ll never be able to model unless you’re smaller.  So it’s a real blessing to be able to model for plus size, be accepted to do so, and to show women a different shape and size that they might identify with and just see the energy of the photo.  I hope they see my happiness, find their happiness and love, and accept who they are as themselves!  It’s taken me a while to accept myself at different weights and to just be happy no matter what!  I think the trick is kindness to oneself.  Do what you love–it will make you glow with confidence and positivity.  It’s always an evolving process of accepting and loving yourself the same with life always evolving, changing, and learning more.

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

Talk to other supportive women and friends or seek professional help!  Always remember you are beautiful just as you are!!! Be around positive like-minded people, and do things that you love and make you happy.  Don’t try to change yourself for others or what is presented to you as beautiful by the media. Bask in your own difference—it’s what makes you, you.

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

I love that I’ve been able to travel overseas. I get such an excited giddy feeling when about to get on an overseas flight traveling to New York, Hamburg, & London and to work there has been such a gift.

Who do you consider a role model or hero?  Why

All women. We all have a story, and I love hearing and asking questions about people’s lives.  But as far as women I’ve seen in images, I love Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Marie Cotillard, and Crystall Renn.

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

I like girly feminine skirts and dresses–nothing too short on me!  So I like to shop for vintage dresses from the 50’s, Country Road, and I like some Ralph Lauren dresses. I basically see what I like, and I’m not too fussy on the designers.  But I also love some jeans, little flats with a white singlet, add bright accessories, a great handbag, and sunglasses.

Do you have a favorite workout routine?  

I love the x-trainer at the gym, but I really like to do some exercise every day. It’s good for your mind and helps you sleep well.  So, I do cardio and weights most days of the week.  And if I get sick of the gym, it’s always great to get outside and walk or swim at the beach more especially in Summer.

Who do you consider a role model or hero?  Why

All women. We all have a story, and I love hearing and asking questions about people’s lives.  But as far as women I’ve seen in images, I love Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Marie Cotillard, and Crystall Renn.

What is your go-to outfit?

Either a great dress and heels or white singlet and jeans!

What are your beauty must haves? 

Moisturise, moisture–mist some paw paw ointment on my lips, and I love those makeup wipes so quick and easy when you’re in a hurry!

Lipstick or Lipgloss?

Gloss, but I love red lipstick!  I have a Chanel compact that has red in four textures, gloss, matte, metallic, and moisturizing lipstick!

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

Toe nail polish–the lovely colours so uplifting for my mind on my toes. I love Klorane dry shampoo–extends the life of a great blow dry and texturizes the hair when trying to make lush beach wavy hair!

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

The confidence I have now to speak up for myself and that everything would be ok.  I worried a lot.

What is your signature scent?

Philosykos by Diyptique and Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder.

What would your perfect day be like?

I love to go to the gym early to wake myself up. A nice omelette for breakfast.  Get myself ready. I love that getting ready part–doing your hair and makeup, and you just know what you want to wear and you feel good. Then go out with girlfriends for lunch and hear what they’re up too. Perhaps some time at the beach.  I really love a good movie too.


What is your favorite meal? 

Hmm. That’s hard. It could be a lush steak and salad or another day I feel like ice cream… I love macaroons and pear jelly belly beans! I have a sweet tooth.  But, I like the way more whole food make me feel and how good it is for you.

What is a fun fact about you? 

I think I’m pretty good and being silly in a fun way–just not taking myself to seriously, but maybe that’s not so much a fun fact!  Just check out this… my favourite song  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxzN5hB0Kqk

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

All the horse riding I did. I just love horses. They are so beautiful.

For those of us who haven’t traveled to Australia, please tell us a little about your homeland.

I guess it’s a pretty relaxed way of life. Everyone loves the beaches, coastal life of surf and sand, and then when you head into the centre of Australia—its vast dry red dirt and the magnificent Uluru and Northern Territory has such amazing wildlife. I spent some time camping there.  There’s a lot to experience here. Seeing Sydney Harbour is so amazing when you come home from overseas.  But I so want to travel back overseas to Europe and America. It’s always amazing seeing what you don’t have at home and experiencing new cultures and ways of life… all the diversity.

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I love my smile and eyes. They are what I most notice in other people to see how they’re feeling.  I’ve also been told that my laugh is pretty funny and memorable!
“I don’t diet. I don’t believe in it.”

Are there any special projects that you are involved with that you would like us to tell the readers about? 

I’m about to be the face of a fabulous product and that’s all I can say about that!  I’ve also been making some gorgeous bracelets made of semi-precious materials, silver, and glass with cute charms and medals, which I love making. I’ve included kids’ bracelets and hair clips. I’ve been selling them to local markets and people in New York and London purchased some. I’ve called it Ladybird T you can find it on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Ladybird-T/153538161328739.

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!





Olivia Coyne Says, “Be kind to yourself – you only have one body, one life, and only the moment to live it.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Eating Disorders, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, News, Parenting, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by Liz

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

Olivia Coyne is a plus model from Australia who is signed with Bella Model Management.

How did your career start as a model?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been told I should be a model. I took it as a compliment and never thought anything much of it, “thank you…how kind…maybe one day.” It wasn’t until my boss, a woman whose opinion I value very highly, said to me that I should try out to be a plus-size model. I knew that there were plus-size models in the market, but I never knew how to tap into it. I called BELLA late one night after work and Chelsea answered. We spoke for ten minutes, I sent off a few pictures, went in for an interview, and it’s just been a rollercoaster ride since then. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have a ‘scouted’ story, walking down the street, someone saw me etc. – but I think my story is one of ambition and having a goal and doing something about it. I would still be walking up and down the street waiting for someone to see me – hello, see me!! Ha!

Have you always known you wanted to be a model?

The fashion and media industry is always something I’ve had an interest in–catwalks, magazines, clothes, shopping, trends, designers, and of course the models, did I mention magazines? I used to read Vogue every month religiously and the models were untouchable. They were the girls that didn’t exist in this world; they were from somewhere else. I idolized them and wanted to know all I could about their lives. I think it when I hit 14-15 years old and I realized I could never look like those girls. I didn’t have the frame for it, and once I researched it a bit, I didn’t really care too much for the unhealthy lifestyle. I had to keep reminding myself that the size 4-8 models are built that way – you cannot change your body type, but you can change your attitude. Knowing that there are other young girls out there, like I was, idolizing these models, scares me sometimes. I only hope young women understand that international catwalk models are from, another world, they are born with a frame and structure that can hold minimum body fat – it’s not normal. Yes, they make it work for them, but for the rest of the population, a healthy lifestyle should be the main aim of the game – physically and mentally.

What are your thoughts on the term ‘plus’ size model?

I think the market is calling us ‘plus-size’ because they’re still coming to terms with the fact that ‘plus-size’ models have made it onto the scene and we’re making a breakthrough. The industry has really embraced plus-size models and it has all happened so fast – the demand was there and the models were waiting! I think in time, the term will fade, just as the idea of being plus size will become the norm and accepted as regular. Plus size is only used in the industry because next to the Vodinova’s, Kerr’s, and Buchanan’s we are plus size – the industry will adapt in time. It’s a positive step and every client that uses and embraces plus-size models should be recognized as making a conscious effort to improve the standards of Australia’s media credibility.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

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

When I was younger, I always knew I was different, taller, broader, and conscious of my demeanor; that I wasn’t like all the other girls. People, friends, and even strangers would comment on my physical appearance and the way I carried myself even before I opened my mouth or they knew my name. I just thought that this happened to everyone – apparently not. I knew that I could never be as thin as my friends or as skinny as the models on the catwalk, and that in itself took some time to develop – but still I beat myself up about it inside. I went through a period where I had a distorted view of what was right and wrong for my body. I would count calories and monitor my eating patterns and those of others. I was consumed by consumption. The light bulb moment for me, and I still have them, is seeing young women, thin young women who cannot exercise, have a fun night out, hold a conversation, or have no energy for life all because they are still obsessed by their eating habits and have no time to enjoy eating. The relationship I have with food is healthy and realistic. I view food as energy for living, one needs healthy nutritious food and often. Food is entertaining with friends, its long lunches, relaxing dinners, healthy lunches, and respecting food and nutrition.

What does being healthy mean to you?

Healthy means balance. Healthy means having a sustainable lifestyle and not living to excess – moderation is key. There’s not much to it really. Yes, it’s easy to stray off track every now and then, but that’s the whole idea of moderation and balance – off track, on track.

What are you currently dreaming of?

I dream of Sydney, I’ve dreamt of Sydney, I longed for Sydney – I love this city. I embrace this city with everything I have. I’m dreaming of New York though – I want to love that city. I want to live in New York – soak myself in New York and embrace and encourage New York – I want to love New York.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I love Oxford St in Sydney – untapped treasures and local designers. Some of my favourite everyday day brands include Country Road, Sussans (this goes with that), Witchery, General Pants Co for something different and edgy, David Jones for the latest collections, Myer for the sales, and Cosmopolitan Shoes when I like to dream.

What is your go-to outfit?

Every day, anytime is jeans, flat shoes, singlet top and cardi, necklace, and scarf. Nighttime – invited out – nothing to wear is long black strapless dress, high heels, messy tousled hair, smoky eyes, sparkly earrings, and clutch. It’s all about working with what you have, confidence but not too much. You’re out to have a good time, day or night; you have to be comfortable in your own skin. You have to love yourself first before someone else can. Be confident and others will see that in you and respect you for it.

What is your fashion obsession?

Okay, here it is – my fashion obsessions – through and through, for a number of years now, I’m prepared to admit it, just between you and me – scarves and necklaces. I wear scarves around my neck, on my head, tied to a handbag, around my waist as a belt, around my wrist as a top over jeans or a kaftan on the beach– anywhere. Thick, woolly, loose, thin, patterned, plain, beaded, decorative, warm, short, homemade, knitted, long with tassels or fringes, or silk. If you have it–I want it, if I own it, I’ll wear it. Necklaces are a guilty and my not so private obsession. As with the scarves, wear them any which way or whatever, big, small, heavy or light, charmed or simple, multi stranded–accessories are made to be worn and adored.

What are your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

30+ SPF tinted sunscreen, Estee Lauder Double Wear eyeliner, Avon mascara, and pale lip balm. I’m into dark eyes and light lips at the moment, I’m tapping into a 60’s mod theme, trying to make it work for me! I hope it’s working for me. Ha.

Do you have a favorite skin care line?

I believe in switching skin care regimes and brands every few months. One must keep the skin guessing, it should not get too comfortable. Just as your life and routines change, so too should your skin care regime, but keeping a few reliable staple items. I’ve always used a Garnier deep pore face wash and Nivea Crème. I add in Garnier Caffeine Eye Roll On, L’Oreal Night Cream, and L’occitane hand cream. Always drink at least two liters of water a day – good skin comes from the inside out – but great products always help!

What is a quick beauty tip you would like to share with us?

Always wear sunscreen; it’s plain, simple and makes sense. Australia has such a harsh climate that we cannot afford not to wear sunscreen, at least 30+, and if it’s tinted, that’s another plus! Also, don’t ever forget to wash your make up off – panda eyes are never a good look, not matter how much fun the night before was!

Favorite nail color?

Dark red. It’s seductive at nighttime, and fresh and fun during the day. It goes with most items of clothing and jewelry sparkles 10 times as much against the dark hue.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

Do you have a favorite workout?

My favourite workout routine is a run or walk – I have the route down pat!  I’m such a local, I love this city!

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

Vogue.com.au, has great info, latest trends, great catwalk clips from around the globe, good tips, and up to date product releases – what better way to love a magazine than to love its online sister! I also love Taste.com.au – 3 o’clock in the afternoon – quick, what’s for dinner!?

If I turned on your iPod, what would be playing? 

Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Miami Horror, the Bagraiders, Temper Trap, and Madeline Peyroux – nothing wrong with a bit of a mix!

If you had one piece of advice to give other girls your age, what would it be? 

Be kind to yourself – you only have one body, one life, and only the moment to live it. Respect your body for what it is. Don’t ever get hung up on what you’re not, what you don’t have, or where you’re not. Love your body and understand it. Respect your shape and make it work in your favour. Play around with shapes and styles, experiment with colours and looks – have fun with your look. Don’t be hung up on your appearance, there is more to a young woman than the way she looks. Personality and confidence is key and it’s something that people can sense. Others sense when you are not comfortable in your own skin and when you hide who you really are – be yourself and others can love you for it.

What do your friends think of your modeling career? 

My friends support my decision and are very excited in its developments – like most people they are astounded that as a size 12, is considered plus size. The term is not an accurate view of models in the industry today. 12 + is the average – it is about transforming the view of society to understanding that plus size is not plus size.

What is the best gift you’ve given to someone?

I think the best gifts are experiences. I’ve given concert tickets, centrepoint tower climbs, restaurant vouchers, and tours. The best presents are those you cannot buy yourself and when you share an experience with someone, the memories are endless.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

My attitude. I am a very optimistic person and I like to see the best in everyone. I believe in living in the moment and making the most of every experience. Learn from people and learn from mistakes. I think my attitude for myself has developed immensely in the last few years. I’ve learnt to love who I am and recognize what I have to offer others. One’s attitude should be reflective of values and morals, a way of life.

What is your biggest accomplishment? 

Buying my apartment. It was such an adventure to get to where I am now. The saving, the paperwork, the solicitors, the real estate agents, the open houses, the schedules, and finally the settlement, it was almost like a part-time job – glad to be on the other side of it. I learnt a lot about the industry and a lot about myself. About what I value, the lifestyle I was after, and what I wanted from owning an apartment. My family was very supportive throughout the entire process; I couldn’t have done it without them.

What is the best thing your family does to support you?

The best thing my family has done for me is support me in my decisions and respect my opinions. I was never forced to do anything I didn’t believe in. Never underestimate the value of a steady support network – friends and family that are there for you, through it all. Those who support your values and share common morals. Being able to make your own decisions, your own mistakes, and learn from them is a big part of growing up. The key is growing old without growing old. Always maintain a sense of youth and ensure those around you respect you for it.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My mother is my role model. Karen is supportive and strong. She is loving, caring, patient, and funny. My Mum has always been there for me–an ear to listen and advice for any occasion. Her sense of style, self-worth, and respect – I have learnt a lot and will continue to learn from her every day. We chat every other day and catch up on the happening of the week. Stories galore. She fills me in on the family life, and I update her on the adventures I have in Sydney.

Tell us a fun fact about you…

I’ve been skydiving in Prague. I have a tattoo of a star on my wrist that I got with my Mum. I lived overseas for four years when I was young; I went to American International Schools. Sometimes my American accent comes out when I’m telling a story or singing a song. If I ever meet an American, the accent comes out straight away – it’s tragic! I own my apartment, bought it 18 months ago; hello mortgage and principal & interest repayments! Is that fun ?

What are you excited about right now?

I am excited for Summer 2011! The word of the Summer is ‘balance’. Work hard, play hard, eat well, and sleep deeply (on Sunday nights!).

Thank you, Olivia!