Archive for the Parenting Category

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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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!

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

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

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

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

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

How did you start your career as a model?

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

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

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

What was your most embarrassing modeling experience?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite movie?

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

Favorite Books?

Frank McCourt’s books make me laugh out loud.

How do you like to start your day?

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

How do you define beauty?

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

Tell us about your beauty routine…

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

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

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

Fragrance ~ Issey Miyake. Enough said.

What is your go-to outfit?

Jeans and a black V-neck Sweater.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

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

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

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

What do you and your husband enjoy doing together?

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

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

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

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

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


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

No diaper changing, silence, and an antique store.

What are you passionate about?

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

What is a fun fact about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you excited about right now?

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

Thank you, Cheyney!

It’s Plus-Size Models Unite’s 1-Year Anniversary Today ~ Plus Model Angela Jones’s Personal Story…

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Family & Friends, Fitness & Health, Food, Parenting, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by Liz

One year ago today, Angela and I published our first piece for Plus-Size Models Unite. We have both put our heart and soul into creating this community for women of ALL sizes to share their personal stories; exchange ideas; discuss body image, self-esteem, confidence, fashion, beauty, health, and a plethora of other topics.

Plus-Size Models Unite embraces women of every shape, size, ethnicity, and age, which includes women who are short, tall, plus, thin, and every woman in between. We applaud diversity and support women to find the inner strength to accept, respect, and embrace their uniquely beautiful self. We encourage self-empowerment and confidence.

On our 1-year anniversary, we decided to re-publish our first piece, which is Angela’s personal story that we wrote together.

Thank you to all our readers and contributors who have made Plus-Size Models Unite what it is today. We appreciate your love and support!

I started an additional website for parents called www.secretsofmoms.com; I’d love for you to visit us there or share the site with all the moms you know.

Thanks again,

xx

Elizabeth

Here is Angela’s story…

Photography by Marc von Borstel

 

Hello World,

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

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

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

My Story

 

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

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

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

Kids teased me and laughed at me because of my freckles, mole, and butt. 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 really 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.  To this day, I wish I would have followed her in there and given her a hug…I still feel bad about that.

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 about my body.  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 always 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.  She always told me “Angela, you are perfect just the way you are.”  I never believed her.

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 told her I was fine and it wouldn’t happen again.  Shortly after that, I moved back home…to be with my family.

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.  The timing was good, and I was ready to make a positive change. I promised him 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.

Photographed by Lindsey Bowen

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.

The days that I deal with body image issues are far from over, I do have those days where I wake up and feel blah, or wish a shirt wasn’t so tight or jeans weren’t so snug, but I deal with those feelings differently now and I acknowledge the fact that it is completely normal to feel this way and it isn’t the end of the world!  I realize now that is not a priority for me, my priority now is my health, my happiness and my family.   I have a family who needs me, a husband who loves and respects me and kids who adore me, they need me and I LOVE me.  I love me for who I am, I love my mole on my face, I love my butt, these physical features make me unique and different.  I have learned the importance of being healthy and living a healthy and active lifestyle.  I want to set a good example to our kids show them how to respect our bodies and take great care of them.  After all, they are the only ones we’ve got!

This blog has helped me grow so much as a woman, wife, mother, and friend.  I have also come to realize something else very important and that is having a passion.  For me, sharing this story and hopefully helping others who may be struggling with body image issues or an eating disorder is my passion.  I felt so alone during my darkest time and I want everyone to know that they are not alone, it will be okay, and it is possible to heal and make it through tough times.  Having a passion, helps us feel alive, gives us something to look forward to and work towards. A few months ago, I spoke to Placer High School in Sacramento, California, with the Healthy is the New Skinny team for our Perfectly UnPerfected project.  I shared my story along with my very inspirational team.  Those students needed us, they needed to hear our stories.  Kids today are wanting to see healthy, vibrant, and happy role models.  I am still on a high from our trip to Placer High.  There is no amount of money that could ever come close to the fulfillment I receive daily from being a wife, mother, and living with my passion.

*To view Elizabeth’s parenting blog, visit www.secretsofmomsblog.com. Please share the link with all your friends!

**Also, please pick up the April issue of Redbook magazine. Elizabeth talks about the long-term negative effects of dieting. The April issue will be on newsstands in the next couple of days, if it isn’t already there!

Thank you!

Paulette Osborne Says “Stop spending your time and money on trying to lose weight and enjoy your life.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Inspiration, Media, Models, My Story, Parenting, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by Liz

Paulette Osborne is proud to be one of the first mature & plus-size models. She is represented by Wilhelmina. She is the mother of two sons, Kent and Mark, who have both found great success in the entertainment industry, and the grandmother of two children, Maddie and Riley.

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

I started modeling at 40. There were only two agencies at the time–Plus Models and Big Beauties, Little Women. I was living in New Jersey when I heard someone on talk radio talk about modeling, and the first thought in my head was “models are thin, blond, and young”, but I kept listening anyway. A gentleman called in and said he was 40, and told he should start modeling. Then I thought about all those other areas where models are used. I rushed home (this was before cell phones, lol) and called the radio station. I have never done anything like that in my life.

The author was still on the air, and I asked him about women who weren’t a size 8, which was the norm at the time. He told me about Pat Swift and Mary Duffy. I went to New York, and Pat said she would add me to her board, but I had to lose weight and get my tooth fixed. After all, you hear about getting into the business, I was skeptical that it was so easy.

So of course, I had to go to big beauties. The woman who interviewed me was not Mary Duffy, but her assistant. She told me they were running a contest and I could try to enter. She wasn’t very accommodating and I innocently told her that Pat Swift wanted to sign me and she was incredulous. She said that Pat had someone on her board like me and big beauties had tried several models to compete with her to “knock her off her perch” and it never worked.

I left there and RAN back to Plus Models. I guess Pat Swift was smart enough to think if she could get the other model work then she could get me work. Pat told me it would be part time at best, and not to move to New York, but I didn’t listen to her. I moved to New York, never fixed my tooth, and the rest is history.

That’s how I started.

What did you do before you were a model?

I raised two sons in Vermont and when they were school age, I did just about everything there is to do in the restaurant business and ended up as Operations Manager for Bentleys Restaurants. I left Vermont in 1985 and took a 6-month sabbatical in Greece. Then I moved back to New Jersey and I worked in Princeton selling cars. When I first moved to NYC, I was nervous about the modeling industry and sold high-end cars on the Eastside, but I quit after I shot my first commercial for Gitano, Spirit of Family campaign. With that commercial, I got into SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and have been working ever since.

How has the modeling industry changed over the last 20 years?

When I started modeling over twenty years ago, there were only two modeling agencies now there are many more. There weren’t as many designers making plus-size clothing and there certainly wasn’t the respect there is now.

Is there ever a point where someone is considered “too old” to begin modeling or is there a market for all ages?

I think anyone can start modeling. I was over 40. However, there isn’t that much “high fashion”. I do a lot of commercial print and TV commercials. Pharmaceutical companies love me! I had to find all that for myself as my modeling agency did not have the connections for those opportunities.

What advice would you give to women who want to start a new career (any career)?

I would tell them it’s never too late, but find something you are passionate about. Also be prepared to work it, no one is going to hand it to you. However, it could be the best thing you have ever done for yourself. If not NOW, when?

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

When I look back at myself at 18, I wasn’t “fat”. I went from being a skinny tomboy to puberty and when I developed breasts and hips, no one told me that was natural and I perceived myself as “fat”. So the dieting began. At 18, I had a doctor giving me speed and some type of shot to help me with weight loss. I yo-yo dieted most of my adult life until I moved to New York and became a plus-size model because with all the dieting, each time I lost weight, I would gain it back and then some. So, when I walked out of Plus Models and they loved me for who I was, I began to feel good about my size. Over the years, I maintained a size 16/18 for about ten years, and then when menopause hit, I became an 18/20 and have maintained that for over ten years. I do yoga, bike, walk, and hike. I am always on the go with my grandchildren and traveling. I eat healthy and try to take care of myself, but no longer am I obsessed with diets. I haven’t dieted for over 20 years, and I get upset seeing all the advertising for the multi-million dollar weight loss business. I had a friend who almost died from gastric bypass. 

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

I try to be a role model for my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. I avoid talking about their weight and concentrate on supporting their health. When my granddaughter was six, she called me “fluffy”, which I thought was adorable. She is proud that I am a model.

If you could go back in time to your twenty, thirty, or forty-year-old self, what advice would you give?

I would say stop spending your time and money on trying to lose weight and enjoy your life.

How do you define beauty?

There are so many ways to define beauty. I knew a young woman who was not particularly attractive according to our society standards, but she did not have any self-esteem issues. When I met her parents, I found out that they told her she was beautiful from birth every day and she WAS. Sometimes it’s all perception. In other countries, their ideas of “beauty” are different from ours. I think the most “beautiful” are the people who love life, love people, are passionate about what they do, and are happy with themselves.

How do you define happiness?

Happiness is waking up every day and starting with a clean slate. Everything is possible!

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

I like big department stores. I think Catherines, CJ Banks, Fashion Bug, and Lane Bryant all have something for everyone. I just wish the designers would take what they make for straight-sizes and enlarge it. That’s all. I might make some enemies, but don’t add appliqués, sequins, and other ways that they make those same clothes less attractive. Plus-size women want to wear what everyone else wears.

What are some of your beauty must haves?

Great mascara, peppermint foot soak, and healthy food. It starts from the inside out.

Please tell us about your skin care routine.

Over the years, people ask me what I use for my skin. I would always tell them the skin care I was using at the moment. Now I have come to realize I have good genes. My Mom had beautiful skin and I inherited that. However, I love products from Clinque, Shishedo, MAC, Mary Kay, and my favorite eye cream is Anew clinical eyelift from Avon. It’s a gel for the eyelid and a cream for under the eye.

What is the best beauty advice you have ever been given?

My mother-in-law told me whatever you do to your face do to your neck. I know it’s kind of simple and sounds silly but it’s good advice. So many women spend a lot of time with their skin care and stop near their jaw line.

Do you feel plus modeling is helping to redefine beauty?

I think plus modeling is helping women who are not a size 0 to feel good about themselves. I think the Dove campaign was fabulous. I would have loved to have been a part of that!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would love to go back to Santorini and spend a month there. I would rent a villa and invite family and friends to visit. I spent six months in Greece and Santorini and it was magical and mystical. There are some that believe it’s part of the lost Atlantis. The sky and the sea are the bluest blue. Most of the buildings are whitewashed with brightly colored doors or trim, usually blue. Little churches everywhere–some only big enough for two people. They even have an archeological dig that you can visit. I still haven’t been to Paris and that is on my bucket list. ; )

What achievement are you most proud of?

I know it sounds corny, but I am most proud of raising two sensitive, healthy, and talented men!!  There aren’t enough of those around.

What are you excited about right now?

Being a part of my grandchildren’s lives. Since I raised two sons, Maddie is my first experience with girls and it’s FUN!! I didn’t know what I was missing, but I am happy she’s my granddaughter. I thinking raising a daughter is more difficult. In my experience, boys are easier. I also have a grandson and he is a joy! I love being bi-coastal and spending so much time with them and making new friends. I want to spend more time in Vermont, which is my favorite state. My years spent there were very memorable and I feel like it’s home.

*Thank you, Paulette!

International Model Laura Wells Says, “Emotional health is such a major part of being healthy. Learning to be happy with yourself and surroundings goes a long way towards leading a positive and stress free life.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, My Story, Parenting, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Liz

Laura Wells is a plus-size model from Sydney, Australia. She has earned degrees in both Science and Law. She is signed with BGM Models in Australia and Wilhelmina in New York. Her sister, Courtney, is also a model. Laura is currently living in NYC and modeling internationally. She has shared the catwalk with Crystal Renn and many other beautiful women!

We would love to hear how the both of you got into modeling.

Courtney, who is a straight-size model, went to NYC to go see agents about five years ago. I went with her and got asked by a few scouts if I was a plus-size model. At that stage of my life, I didn’t even know such a model existed and I really had no interest in modeling at all. That was my sisters department and I was busy at a university and traveling at the time. When I got back to Australia, I got in contact with BGM Models had an interview. My agent, Darrianne Donnelly, signed me. My first job came two weeks later and since then, I haven’t looked back.

What advice do you have for aspiring models?

I think one of the most important aspects of modeling is finding an agent that understands what you want from the industry and an agent that you can have a great relationship with. Go with your gut instinct as well. If you feel uncomfortable during a shoot, you should speak up and if you feel like you need more direction, you should always ask for it, as it is a great way to learn more about your body and your best shapes and angles. Be true to yourself. Love yourself and your body, and show how proud you are of yourself through your work. A good model exudes confidence in herself and should be able to convey that to her audience whether it be in print or in person.

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

When I first starting modeling and during high school, I was never really confident with my curves. I also thought of myself as a lot bigger than everyone else, especially my friends. I never really understood that curves were a blessing! Since modeling, I have become a lot more aware of my body shape and finally take pride in the fact that I have a curvy body. I dress to show off my curves and am now no longer afraid to do so. With the increasing awareness of plus sizes and curves in the media, I really think that a positive message is being spread and that anyone that is struggling with body image should take this on board. You have to learn to love yourself and what you have been given in order to lead a healthy life. There are many clothing brands out there now catering towards the plus industry, if you are not sure of how to dress to show off your best features, I think it is a great idea to talk to a stylist and find out what works best for you.

The Cosmopolitan editorial featuring the both you and your sister Courtney is beautiful. What was it like working together?

It was fantastic. It was the first time we have ever worked together and we had a blast! The shoot really showcased just how different our body shapes are and the team did a great job with the styling.

What effect do you hope this editorial, featuring a straight-size model and a plus-size model, will have on the fashion industry?

The shoot definitely shows a diversity of beauty between sizes and it would be great if this beauty were reflected more within the industry. Hopefully, this shoot can propel the industry into realizing that diversity is important and that the plus size industry is here to stay and should be included in editorial work more often. The plus size industry and models instill a great amount of reassurance and a sense of connection with the average woman and have the same ability to sell as the straight size industry.

Do you feel it is important to represent women of different sizes? Why?

Yes, it is definitely important to represent women of not only different sizes, but different ethnicities as well. By representing everyone, it gives people a sense of acceptance and self-assurance. Fashion is for everyone. Clothing is a part of everyday life and it should therefore include every type of person!

What is your go-to outfit?

I usually go for something that hugs my curves, otherwise I can tend to look like a brick. A figure hugging dress, leggings, and boots are at the front of the wardrobe right now as it is winter in Sydney.  I also love a good pair of fitted jeans. I love my jeans from Embody Denim. They fit perfectly and look awesome.

Where do you love to shop?

Since I have been in Europe for most of the year, I have been shopping in Topshop and Zara. We don’t have these shops in Australia and I absolutely love the range they have. The credit card has been hurting but I have bought some great pieces!

Favorite beauty products and must-haves?

Traveling definitely takes its toll on your skin, so I always have a good moisturizer with me. I think I must look like a freak on the plane sometimes because I am constantly re-applying moisturizer to my face every hour. It’s like obsessive-compulsive behavior, but I know if I don’t do it, my skin will break out, and that’s not always the best when you jump straight off a 36-hour flight into a shoot!

I have a big supply of cleanser and a strong eye makeup remover on me at all times. Sometimes eye makeup remover can be a life saver, especially when you finish a shoot with crazy makeup and have to get onto public transport (yes, we models often take public transport, none of this private drivers, haha) A little bit of remover can be the difference between you getting a whole lot of strange looks on the subway!

I also carry a concealer/ highlighter pen with me. They are great for covering those unwanted blemishes and adding a bit of sparkle under the eye!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Every piece of advice I get from both my mum and dad has usually been spot on. Even though there has been times and different ages in my life when I didn’t listen, at all, or though that it was completely ridiculous, their advice has always been right in the end!

What do you love about yourself? Why?

I love the fact that I am able to adapt to any situation I am thrust into. Modeling in different countries means dealing with language barriers and situations that are completely different than the norm. I have always been able to make the best of any situation and stay positive during the tough times. Being mindful and making an effort to speak in the native language, no matter whether it is a simple ‘hello’ or a full conversation, goes a long way to showing the client and the shoot team that you are an open-minded person and willing to make an effort.

My way of adapting to new countries and situations includes doing a little research before I get there, not only so I know a little about the country and people but so that I know I will be safe and know exactly where I am going and how I am getting there. Being one-step ahead and always prepared with enough money, a map, and a phone is a good strategy to keeping yourself safe and fitting in with your new surroundings.

What does being healthy mean to you?

I believe that being healthy is a mixture of physical and emotional health. Having a balanced diet and exercise routine is a must have. Its fine to treat yourself but over-indulging can get the best of you on most occasions. I try to mix up my diet and exercise so that I don’t get bored or stuck in the same routine. When I go to the gym, I usually do the classes they offer, as I need some form of motivation and the class and the teacher provide that.

Emotional health is such a major part of being healthy. Learning to be happy with yourself and surroundings goes a long way towards leading a positive and stress free life.

What are you reading right now?

It may sound nerdy but I am reading a book called ‘Heaven and Earth, the missing science of Global Warming’. I have a science degree and a law degree and try to keep up to date on current issues in the environmental science field. I am actually really loving this book right now. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction novels.

What are you excited about right now?

I am excited about my move to NYC. I have been signed with Wilhelmina in NY. I can’t wait to hopefully start working for some great American brands.

*Thank you, Laura!