Archive for the Music Category

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.

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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!

International Model Robyn Lawley Says, “There is So Much More to Life Than Fitting Into Size 6 Jeans, and I’m Glad I Realized This Sooner Than Later.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Movies, Music, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Radio, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2010 by Liz

Cosmopolitan Magazine

Robyn Lawley is a plus model from Sydney, Australia. She is signed with Bella Model Management in Australia, Model Management in the UK, Okay models in Germany, and Wilhelmina in NYC, USA.  Some of her clients are David Jones, Nordstrom, Cosmopolitan magazine, Madison Magazine, Kohl’s, New Look, Spirito, Ezibuy, and more. Robyn enjoys films, music, making music, watercolor painting, cooking, eating, rock climbing, and traveling.

Robyn wrote, “I’m a model beyond a size 10 and I love my job. I get to travel the world, and at the same time promote healthy shapes and let audiences know that it’s okay to be who you are. Embrace your body for what it is, exercise, eat as healthy as you can, and have fun. There is so much more to life than fitting into size 6 jeans, and I’m glad I realized this sooner than later.”

Photographed by Kane Skeener for Cosmopolitan Magazine

How did you begin your modeling career?

She started modeling at the age of sixteen, when I won a modeling magazine competition, but I didn’t model for long, as I struggled to keep my weight down. Two years later after seeing success in Abby Valdes and Crystal Renn, I signed with Chelsea from Bella Model Management.

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

I think all women and men, for that matter, go through this most days. Try to focus on something else; sometimes we get so self involved that we miss out on everything passing us by. Take up a sport you enjoy or a hobby you would like to start. Confidence can come from achieving even the smallest of things.

Try not to compare your body to that of celebrities or top models because what you see is not always true (especially with Photoshop ruling the planet). Work with the body type that you have and just enjoy that you can see, that you can hear, and that you can walk. Both my mother and my older sister have worked, and still are working, with disabled people and it really can make you think that spending so much time pinpointing your flaws is hiding what you are really about.

Photographed by Simon Upton for Madison Magazine

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

I think the most troubling thing is the amount of concern that we have over beauty. We no longer even care if someone has a good soul; we care more if they have lost the most weight or are taking up a certain exercise. I hate when I start researching what a celebrity does; it gets so time consuming. Later, I think my god I could have been practicing guitar or rock climbing. I just wish the beauty/entertainment industry didn’t have such a hold over our self-esteem. I do remember, though, when I was fourteen, I had no idea what cellulite was until I saw a magazine in a grocery store harpooning females with it on their cover. I remember going home straight away to inspect my thighs. From then on, I always wore board shots; even in competitive swimming. Did I have cellulite? No, I didn’t, but that magazine made me feel ashamed of my body. I will always blame them for making women, especially teenage girls, feel ashamed of their bodies. We should be empowering women and pushing them further in their lives, not making them inspect their thighs.

Having just recently moved to NYC, what has your experience been like so far?

It’s tricky to say; I both love and hate NYC. It’s just so different from Australia. It can be a shock to the system. I feel like I’m riding a rollercoaster—from crazy parties to crazy people chasing you to awesome shopping. It’s definitely one of a kind.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

LONDON!!! It’s the best place to shop in the world. I love Camden markets and Topshop UK. I am finding Williamsburg, Brooklyn (where I live) has awesome vintage.

Photographed by Georges Antoni

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I love playing sports. One thing I miss is team sports. I can’t do any because my routine is so out of whack with modeling. I love rock climbing though because it doesn’t feel like exercise; it just feels like a fun challenge and boy it’s challenging. I try to hit the gym about four times a week. I really miss my personal trainers in Sydney, Australia. In NYC, they are so expensive that it’s not worth it. If you find you are a person who lacks the motivation or knowledge, investing in a trainer, even just for a month, is well worth it. Even just to learn the safe way of working out at a gym and what types of exercises are good for your body type.

What are your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

I love Benefits new High Beam face illuminating cream that you put on your cheekbones for the healthy glow, Lancôme’s New Définicils Precious Cells Mascara, and of course, good old trusted Paw Paw ointment for my lips.

Do you have a beauty secret or tip you would like to share with us?

Make sure you wash your face twice a day; tone and then moisturize. Sounds dreary, but once it becomes habit it’s second nature.

Photographed by Kane Skenner for Cosmopolitan Magazine

What are you listening to right now?

EVERYTHING–I LOVE MUSIC! The top five albums I listen to all the time are the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, The Boat That Rocked soundtrack, Juno soundtrack, the best of Janis Joplin, and La Roux’s first album. But, I like anything from Bloody Beetroots, to Jimi Hendrix, to Rolling Stones. Going to festivals is one of my favorite things to do.

Favorite movie?

Gah, that’s like favorite song–too hard to pick. I’m a movieaholic. My favourite thing is watching a good movie. They can make me feel comforted– especially movies from my childhood. When I’m homesick, I watch all my old favorites.  As a young girl, my dad and mum would drive me and my sisters about an hour to watch movies at the Royal Australian Air Force Base because my dad was in the air force, and tickets were $2 each and we would all get a killer python each. Simple pleasures in life tend to be the best. 🙂

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

Waking up to my cute boyfriend back home, then getting sushi with my best girlfriends, later catch a movie with them and my man, and then going dancing at a club with awesome music with my awesome sisters.

What do you love most about modeling?

I love the confidence it gave me. I do admit I was struggling to accept my weight. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was once an Australian size 6-8 (USA size 4-6). When I joined Bella, my confidence was pretty low, and I doubted that Chelsea, my agent, would sign me. I was lucky she gave me a contract on the spot and about a year later, my confidence was the strongest it had ever been, I felt unstoppable and still do. 🙂

What do you do to prepare for a photo shoot and what are your must haves in your modeling bag?

I wash my hair the night before and put a heat protector on my ends. The morning of, I wash and cleanse my face. I then use a good quality moisturizer and Paw Paw on my lips. I always take my own mascara because I have very sensitive eyes, and I don’t want to obtain any eye conditions.

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

I think most people find modelling very glamorous, but trust me it can be anything but that. I hate when I have to walk around or get something with my hair is in curlers and I look like an old grannie.

I had a funny week though recently, when I was in Fiji for a Cosmopolitan shoot. I decided to go horse riding on my day off. The horse they had was tiny, but I didn’t get to see it until I had paid. I felt sorrier for the horse because it would have to lug me around, but I didn’t want to seem like a chicken so I went riding anyways. Once I had finished my thighs were so sore– more than usual. When I reached the hotel, my inner thighs were blue and bruised so bad that when I showed the stylist, she gasped… LOL–not good for a swimwear shoot.

Photographed by Georges Antoni

We would LOVE to hear about your experience walking in the OneStopPlus.com Fashion Show!

Yeah that was so great, I knew it would be a bid deal, especially when I arrived to see where it was. I was so lucky, I only got the job last minute as I did not go to the casting, they spotted me at a go see and decided to use me.  It was very empowering experience and I hope they do more.

What is a fun fact about you?

I like to do voices. I can do Gollum from lord of the rings, exorcist chick (pretty scarily well, so much so that I shocked a boy that I was dating once; he got so scared that he threatened to punch me if I ever did it again, and naturally I do it to him every time I see him. ha-ha), Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, and E.T.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I suppose I love that I rarely say no to anything; consider me the yes woman. I have always been like that ever since I was a little girl. I would give anything a chance. I’m not sure why, but I just never wanted to miss out on something I might have found fun, whether it be sky diving, jet skiing, rock climbing, canyoning, or travelling; anything really deserves a chance.

What is one last thing you would like to say?

Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself and have fun. My mother always said laughter is the best medicine and by god, she’s right! 🙂

*Robyn talks about acceptance. This is a great video!

**You can learn more about Robyn at her blog: http://reviewmerobyn.blogspot.com/

***Thank you, Robyn!

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

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, Liz, 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!