Archive for the TV 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

Advertisements

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!





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

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

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

How did you start your career as a model?

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

What advice would you give to aspiring models?

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

What do you love about your job?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you love about yourself?

My big ass and my big lips.

How do you define beauty?

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

What is a fun fact about you?

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

How do you stay fit and healthy?

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

What would we find in your make-up bag?

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

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

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

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My mama. She raised four kids on her own.

Style Icon?

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

What is your go-to outfit?

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

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

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

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

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

What are some of your favorite books?

Just Kids and all of Chelsea Handler’s books.

Who do you have on speed dial?
My mama.

What is your signature scent?

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

 

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

Riding horses in the forest.

What music is on at home?

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

What do you enjoy most about living in NYC?

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

What do you miss most about home?

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

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

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

What is one of your most favorite childhood memories?

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

What are you excited about right now?

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

*Thank you, Danielle!

Model Emily Nolan Says, “Real beauty starts with self-acceptance—loving yourself for who you are.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, My Story, New York, News, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, TV, Uncategorized, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by Liz

Photographed by Jose Amigo

Emily Nolan was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia. She is represented by CLICK Model Management (NYC), Dorothy Combs Models, Modelogic Wilhelmina, and The Campbell Agency. Emily has one older brother, Matthew (27), and two younger half-brothers, Riley (14) and Corey (13). Emily grew up playing softball as a catcher at the highest levels of competition. She loves to take pictures, scrapbook, and bake. She describes herself as a “model, entrepreneur, vegan, animal lover, and athlete”.

Photographed by Roberto Ligresti

How did you start your career as a model?

I was typecast as a character in a reality show in Washington, DC and I needed to send the production company headshots. Around the same time, one of my girlfriends convinced me to volunteer for a gig as a swimsuit model on the Fox morning news in DC for Saks Fifth Avenue. Coincidentally, Hilary Rhoda was being interviewed right before I went on. I was curious about how she got started, so I looked it up and discovered that she started at an event called ProScout. I went to ProScout’s weekend-long event, was called back by two big agencies, and the rest is history!

When people ask you to define the term ‘plus’ model, what do you tell them?

I am asked the question all the time, “What exactly is a plus size model?” My answer is simple; I jokingly respond that it’s any model bigger than a sample size 4 or 6. If they’re still curious, I just show them pictures of my beautiful curvy model friends. Most of my guy friends respond like, “Oh my Gosh, you know that girl? She’s your friend? Hook it up, Emily!”

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

People hear the word ‘plus’ and immediately assume the model is going to look like a whale and have five double chins. To our advantage, a lot of people don’t expect us to deliver beauty like straight models can, and when they see what we can produce; I think it shocks them…in a good way. It makes them think, “She’s a ‘plus’ model? She’s gorgeous!” 

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

Every model, actress, or entertainer will tell you the same thing. Learn to take “No” in stride, believe in yourself, and work like the devil!

Photographed by Jose Amigo

Have you met someone in the industry that has had a significant impact on your life?

In the beginning of my career, I was called-back by an agent from Elite Miami and I was thrilled to pieces. I sucked it in and stood tall and the first thing she told me was that I should gain five pounds and be a plus size model; not exactly what I had expected, nor wanted, to hear. Needless to say, I was determined to stay in contact with her and keep her updated on my progress. I trained as a fit model for Silver Models in NYC for three to four months, and during my fifth month of training, I called the agent at Elite and told her I was ready to make the transition. She sent my pictures to Dorothy Combs in Miami and I was asked to contact her directly. I literally stepped off the train I took up to NYC to meet with Click’s plus division, and I got a call from Dorothy saying that she wanted to represent me. The next day, a well-known photographer that I had tested with called Click and scheduled a personal meeting for me, I walked out of Click’s office with a contract and a shot at self-employment! …If the agent at Elite had not been so honest with me, I think I would still be putting in excessive hours a day at the gym, shaping my body as a fit model.

Do you have a funny modeling story you would like to share with us?

Oh my gosh. My first casting ever was for a huge jeans company and they were paying a lot of money; I had no idea what to expect. I wore their brand of jeans to the casting to show that I was serious about working for them. I was so excited at the thought that the people at the casting would notice that I had done a significant amount of research on the company and had worn their brand of jeans, that when they did notice, I had what my Mom calls, the classic case of, “diarrhea of the mouth.” “Oh, I love these jeans! I wear them all the time! They’re so comfortable and fit my curves in all the right places. My Mom loves them, and my Grandma wishes they’d fit her…” and so on. I seriously die laughing every time I think about that casting. Good thing I’m a fast learner!

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

Oh, totally. Listen, sister. We’re just like fruits and vegetables. We all grow differently. Some of us are bigger and some are smaller. Some of us are plump and juicy, and others are small and tasty. It’s just the way God made us. Unfortunately, the way media depicts the “perfect woman” only accounts for a small percentage of the many beautiful, healthy bodies in this world. As cheesy as it sounds, you really want someone to love you for who you are. One of the most important confident building tricks that I learned from Nigel Barker was to find something about you that you really love, and flaunt it, sister! In my case, I really love my blue eyes, and they’ll never change with my size or age. A mani-pedi always helps, too!

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

Unfortunately, I see a lot of my girlfriends in the industry, who are naturally thin, hear that they’re not thin enough: the industry wants their women to be impossibly thin, and almost the only way women can attain that body is through food deprivation and disordered eating. In a perfect world, models, agents, and clients would stand up for a healthy body image. Until that day, the most important thing we have as models and role models is a voice. As my great-grandparents would say, “Sister, if you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say it!” Alternatively, if you have something good to say, let the world hear it!

Photographed by Roberto Ligresti

Who taught you about real beauty?

For the most part, my Grandma and my Mom. I also have some very good friends who have such beautiful souls, that no matter the amount of makeup or labels they wear, they are truly magnetic beauties with unforgettable personalities. Real beauty starts with self-acceptance—loving yourself for who you are.

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

Old Navy Performance Fleeces do go out of style. But, in all seriousness, I’d probably wish I had known I would kiss a lot of good-looking frogs before I found my Prince. And, that I’d grow up to be a model, and more importantly, a role model.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My Grandparents. They were born during the Great Depression and grew up with very few “extra” things, which we’re all so use to having nowadays. They raised my family to be compassionate and caring, and above all, appreciate the many opportunities we’re given to work hard, excel, and live the American dream. The most important lesson I’ve learned from them: Family first.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m superstitious. My left shoe always goes on first. I make my bed the same way every morning. I always drive the same route when I’m going somewhere. The list goes on…

Photographed by Jose Amigo

My beauty essentials are…

Clean, moisturized skin and a beautiful smile. If I’m wearing makeup, it’s usually a little bit of Smashbox HD bronzer or powder (to control the shine of my moisturizer), Smashbox blush in Chiffon or Flush (depending on the season), and I like to curl my eyelashes. I really like the natural look, but if I do wear mascara, it’s Dior Show. A girlfriend of mine is introducing me to a vegan, chemical-free makeup line sold in DC, and I’m really looking forward to making the switch—her skin is so radiant and beautiful.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Murad Moisturing and Age Reforming lip gloss, everyday, all day. Smashbox’s nude lip liner in Fair and lipstick in Flawless for a nicer, more naturally defined look.

What is your go-to outfit?

Ha! I love this question. I love my Nike’s, fitted Under Armor sweatpants, and a cute workout tank top. I am such a tomboy at heart. When I go out with friends, I’ll wear skinny jeans, a cute top, and some fun heels. For some reason, guys can’t resist a simple woman who looks great in jeans in a tank top…it’s definitely an equation that works for me.

What are your favorite pair of jeans?

I’m a big fan of my Marc Jacobs jeggings. I also really like J Brand’s new pencil leg jeans, too; my favorite color is in venom because they look a lot like leather, and they’re animal friendly. Both pairs of jeans fit true to size, are slightly stretchy, and long enough! If I’m just casually running around town, I like my Levi’s Curve ID jeans—they’re affordable, comfortable, and they look good!

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I love to shop at designer discount stores, like Loehmann’s, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, and Off Saks Fifth Avenue. There’s something about going through the racks and finding that one gem that no one else has found. I found my first Halston dress at Loehmann’s buried in the clearance racks. The original price was marked at $4,500 and got it for maybe $300. That purchase gave me lifetime bragging rights–I am the queen of good deals.

Photographed byJennifer Domenick

Being an athlete, you have a passion for fitness. How do you stay fit?

I love to work out. I try to run five times a week and lift weights three to five times a week. It’s important that I look curvy and healthy. It sends the message that this is my healthy size; this is the way my body is meant to look.

What does being healthy mean to you?

To me, healthy is about a balance. Eat right, treat your body like a temple, work hard, and get your rest. Appreciate your family, be compassionate, laugh a lot, and listen to your heart.

Would you please tell us how long you have been a vegan, why you made that healthful choice for you, and how it makes you feel?

I’ve been a vegan for about a year now. My Mom bought the book, The China Study, for literally, my entire family. She must have bought fifteen copies of it and made us all read it. The book talks about people’s predispositions to diseases and cancers, and how we can prevent the development of those diseases by a vegan diet and good exercise. It’s a real matter of fact book, I really am glad my mom made such a big stink about it.

Healthful reasons aside, I am the biggest animal lover on the planet. I have rescued a countless number of animals, including my mixed Black Lab, Dorey. I even convinced my Grandparents at a young age, that the stray cats living in our back yard were good luck and that we needed to keep them. I have such an immense love for animals and I’m very passionate about advocating for their humane treatment.

I shot with a photographer once who asked me if I knew why the leather in luxury cars was so supple and soft. He proceeded to answer his question and said that it was because the leather was from unborn fetuses—the skin of baby calves that had never seen the sun. Doesn’t it just make your little heart break to know that, not by choice, some animal has to give up their little baby at our own consumer’s expense?

What would we find in your refrigerator?

Mind you, everything that I eat is vegan and gluten free. I wash, chop, and store my fresh fruit and veggies as soon as I bring them home from the store; it really aids in making make healthy choices when you reach for something to satisfy your hunger. I try to eat a very raw diet, when I can, so you’ll find almost every in-season fruit and veggie (a lot of which comes from my older brother’s organic farm) in my fridge. You’d also find soy milk, coconut milk, carrot juice, orange juice, hummus, carrots, broccoli, artichokes, celery, eggplant, peppers, asparagus, veggie-burgers, brown rice bread, Daiya cheese, and leftovers from the local vegan restaurant. I keep frozen fruit in my freezer for fresh fruit smoothies.

In my pantry, I’ve got raw almond butter, as well as raw coconut butter, peanut butter, every type of seed, Go Raw energy bars, every type of raw nut, dried fruit, cereal, blue tortilla chips, my favorite chocolate chip cookie, and brownie box mixes. I’ve always got an extra bag of Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips lying around too. Several winter’s ago, my Mom and Step-dad surprised me with a Lello Italian gelato maker because I love to make my own ice cream. My favorite flavor so far is chocolate, and my secret is to add a pinch of salt to the recipe. I just made a pumpkin pie ice cream that’s a close second to my chocolate.

Photographed by Roberto Ligresti

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I own every inch of my body and my personality. I know that confidence is the key to attractiveness.

In my purse you would find…

Ipod. Murad Age Reforming lip gloss. Louis Vuitton wallet. Essie apricot cuticle oil. Burt’s Bees almond milk hand salve. Face towels for the gym. Hand sanitizer. A Fuji apple and a water bottle.

How would you describe your style?

Comfortably sexy.

Favorite book?

Oh gosh, I love to read. The China Study has most definitely influenced my life more than any other book. Most of my reading though, are books about business; certainly an enjoyment of mine that was passed down from my Grandfather.

Celebrity Crush…

Mario Lopez. Hugh Jackman…oh Lawd!

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

I’m not much of an online shopper so when I’m online, I’m usually on Facebook, vegan/ eco-luxury lifestyle sites, as well as any sites or blogs dealing with news in the modeling industry (especially if it’s plus related).

Photographed by Rick Day

What is your philosophy?

Do what you do: If you’re good at something and you enjoy it, pour your heart and soul into it, give it everything you’ve got. Stand up for what you believe in and always, always, always listen to your gut…and your mother! =)

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

Wake up without an alarm, go for a nice run, throw a swimsuit on, and go out on the boat with my family and friends. I’ve also lived the whole fantasy of being alone on an exotic beach under an umbrella with a good book where hot cabana boys are at my service…that doesn’t seem like such a bad “perfect day” either.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Being the first one picked for any sports during recess. I was the kickball queen. I was also the only girl on my block, growing up with a bunch of boys: While most girls were learning how to kiss boys and apply makeup, I was learning how to check boys with my hockey stick on roller blades. Needless to say, my parents never had to worry about, “beating the boys off with a baseball bat.”

What are you excited about right now?

Oh goodness. I’m fairly young in the plus industry, so it’s really exciting for me when I get to meet all of the stunningly beautiful women who have pioneered the plus movement. Cindy Lauper once said that you should never meet someone that you idolize because you’ll only be disappointed; I doubt that I’d ever regret meeting Emme, or Brooke Shields for that matter.

*Thank you, Emily, for everything you do and for being one of our strongest supporters!

* You can find out more about Emily at http://mlestyle.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706953358#!/pages/Emily-Nolan/149048695137826

Abby Valdes Talks About Fashion, Motherhood, Beauty, New York Fashion Week, Modeling Tips, Not Feeling Perfect Enough, and The Best Advice She’s Ever Been Given!

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Ford +, Inspiration, Models, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, TV, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by Liz

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

Abby Valdes is a plus model from Australia, who currently lives in New York City. She is signed with FORD NY and Bella Model Management. Abby has six sisters and one brother. She has lived many places throughout Australia. As a child, she spent her time with her “mum,” siblings, and cousins in mud baths, water holes, water fountains, and under a Chai Tent.

Ford + NY lured Abby to sign with them two years ago, which she says, “was an easy decision to make as I’m still a bit of a gypsy. I’d rather sit on the floor than sit on my couch!” She travels to Europe and Australia often for work. She most frequently travels to South Africa, Spain, Germany, and Australia.

She loves reading books on subjects such as esoteric philosophy, world religions, art, metaphysics, and critical mass; and she reads a million fashion magazines, which are piled up all over her apartment.

Abby is a single woman, which she says, “is not good because I want to have eight kids! So, I need to get a move on! Well, maybe six kids… or I could settle for four, but that’s the lowest!”

How did you get started in the plus modeling industry?

I guess how I got started is an age-old models tale. My best friend always said that I should model, but I was busy working in finance in Australia. One day, on a TV show called “Today Tonight”, she saw a competition for Bella Model Management. They were searching for ‘plus size’ models. She sent in a picture of me for the competition and was contacted by Bella Model Management soon after. She was told that I had made it to the televised finals in Sydney. This is when she told me the news! But I was convinced that my finance career was the way to go so I contacted Chelsea Bonner of Bella Model Management and told her that although I was very flattered that I had made it to the finals, I actually had a different career and couldn’t come to Sydney! Chelsea was so lovely that she offered me a contract on the spot! So, I decided to do some modeling on the side and see if I could make some extra cash. And that I did! So much so that after about six months or so, I had to make some decisions about which career I wanted to pursue because I couldn’t continue to do both as they were both very time consuming. I decided to move to Sydney to see where modeling could take me. It wasn’t long before I was traveling around the world for work and then finally moved to New York City! I’ll always be grateful to Chelsea for having the foresight and faith in me! 🙂

Who are some of the clients you have worked with?

In Oz (Australia) I did all the brands that we know and love like Berlie/Platex, Bonds, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Cleo, Womans Weekly, Maggie T, Sara, Freewoman, Mysize, David Jones, Myers, and I could I could go on…

In New York, I have amazing clients such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Marina Rinaldi, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. I have worked extensively throughout Europe, in particular London and Germany. I have just recently finished shooting in Berlin for Otto and in Istanbul, Turkey for a client called Faik Sonmez.

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

What advice do you have for aspiring plus models?

I would tell any aspiring plus-size model that they have made a good choice! The plus-size industry is the best of both worlds! You are encouraged to be healthy, which means that you are allowed to eat, ladies! You must eat a balanced diet and not be too skinny! Thank the lord!

You should approach several agencies in your state. See what advice they have for you and try to follow their constructive ‘advice’. Do remember that ‘plus size’ models, in general, are required to fit the same modeling criteria as straight-size models but without the ‘skinny part’. You should be tall and attractive (not necessarily Claudia Schiffer beauty) and attractive girl next door works too!

Everyone starts out somewhere, so learn your craft. Study magazines and how models move. What expressions they show on their face and practice, practice, practice! Before you know it, you will be a pro!

How do you prepare for a shoot?

I make sure I get plenty of rest so that I look fresh and relaxed. I make sure my hair and nails are perfectly maintained, and that my skin is moisturized and hydrated with loads of water and vitamin C powder. Then I show up to the shoot with heaps of my usual morning energy that usually make everyone wonder what special little pills I’m on! Which are vitamins, honey!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

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

Gosh, all the time and every day! For me, I have always struggled with the idea that I was not perfect enough. And, although I love my curves, they meant I was always going to be considered a ‘big’ girl. When in reality, I grew up surrounded by women who had hips and shape that had taught me otherwise!

So every day, or on the days I am not feeling my true worth, I counsel myself. I tell myself what every mother should tell their child. That I am valuable and, that like all people in this world, I am acceptable and valid. I am beautiful because I am woman. No matter what society tries to trick you into believing, my body is healthy, sexy, and womanly! And I will not change it for anyone else’s preferences.

What has been the best advice you have been given?

Well, I advise myself to always follow my own heart no matter what. You are bound to make mistakes, but when you follow your own heart, you learn what you need to know!

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

How would you describe New York City.

Is nothing like Oz! New York City is a melting pot of some of the most creative and inspiring people I have met. NYC is a buzz with chaotic energy, which is what I love. There are a million amazing people and things to do, and the people are all from somewhere else, but living in New York!

How do you define beauty?

I define beauty as a feeling! Do you feel beautiful? You should! We ALL have beautiful qualities both spiritually and physically. If someone else fails to recognize this, then they are shortsighted and victims of a fast becoming archaic society of one standard of beauty!

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

Hmmm…Well typically, I try not to be a big product kind of girl. However, I do have a cupboard filled with all sorts of products that I never use! But my must haves are: Strawberry Chap stick that I massage onto my lips for a plumping effect, Dove Essential Nutrients Protective Tinted Moisturizer for the face in a honey tint for both protection from the sun and a refreshing natural moisturizer, Maybelline New York Define-a-Brow eyebrow pencil to fill in my gaps, and also Maybelline Volume Express to pump up my eye lashes. I love my mascara! Other than that, I use Frederic Fekkai Ageless Creme Luxe Hair Treatment to help my hair recover from all of the hot tools used to torture it daily.

Marina Rinaldi Campaign

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I love ‘Opp Shopping’ and I can’t seem to pass one by without popping in quickly! ‘Opp shopping’ is what Australians call a ‘Thrift Shop’. It stands for ‘Opportunity;’ someone else’s trash is another person’s opportunity… Something like that. I just went to the Garage with a friend and found two of the most amazing 1930’s dresses! I can’t wait to find somewhere to wear them!  At the moment, I am obsessed with lace. I buy vintage and new lace tops and wear my strapless black bra underneath! Love it! That’s what you’ll see me wearing every other day right now, with my dark grey fedora from Sydney. 🙂

But, I also love me some online shopping at the moment as it is easy to do from anywhere in the world.  I shop online at www.style.com, www.planetblue.com, www.freepeople.com, and www.singer.com. I also love a new and awesome Australian store that opened recently in Darlinghurst called ‘Desordre’ –they have the hottest new trends! I also love House of Harlow for vintage inspired accessories and clothes.

Who are your favorite clothing designers?

Ooohhh, if I had an unlimited budget I would cover myself in Balmain and Balenciaga boots! I also Herve Leger dresses when you want to show off your ample curves! In Oz, I love Sass & Bide. Romance Was Born is making some cool stuff. I like Paul & Joe. I also like Karen Walker for her mix of streamline and eclectic fashion.

What is your go-to outfit?

My go-to outfit is a pair of skinny grey jeans, t-shirt, and a Bolero.

Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine.  Photographer David Gubert. Stylist Julie Russell.

What do you like to do in your down time?

In my down time, I am either reading about Quantum Physics (yes, really!), The Power of the Subconscious Mind, or something obscure. I also LOVE markets, especially flea markets, and I like hanging with my mates.

What do you love most about motherhood?

I love everything about motherhood! Even when it’s tough and heart breaking. I couldn’t imagine anything known to man who is more rewarding and magical that growing a human being inside of you! We are amazing beings! Plus, the kisses and cuddles are the best – when you can get them!

Abby on a shoot in Istanbul,Turkey for Faik Sönmez.

The OneStopPlus.Com Fashion Show  was the first plus-size show held during New York Fashion Week. Please tell us about it.

OneStopPlus.com Fashion Show was awesome! There were eighteen of us plus-size girls and it was held in the Lincoln Centre, smack bang in the middle of Fashion Week. We didn’t realize what a big deal it would be but, it turns out that it was news worldwide! About bloody time!

I’m happy to say, I made it into the New York Post (see below)! The energy was so amazing, and you could just feel how excited everyone was to see the show! It was a fun show and well received. Let’s hope this is just one of many more to come! In truth, I would love to see all the fashion shows have a couple of plus-size models in each and every show and not even making a big deal out of it because its ‘normal’ and not a big production based on a ‘new trend’ or about being ‘diverse,’ but rather because they are showing that they represent all women! That would be awesome!

Picture from New York Post. Abby (in middle) during New York Fashion Week at the OneStopPlus.com’s Fashion Show.

Of all of the places your modeling has taken you, which is your favorite destination thus far?

It has to be all the islands of the coast of Italy and France! That’s the life! I dream of island living! Sun, good food, water, friends, and family are my idea of heaven.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about life! You never know what is waiting for you around the corner. I love to be surprised! But, specifically I am looking forward to starting my own business and hopefully finding love! 🙂

*Thank you, Abby!

Sierra Lisa Speaks Her Truth! She’s an Amazing Woman! We Are giving Away Ten Free DVD’s to the First Ten People Who Email Us. See Details at the Bottom of this Post!

Posted in Art, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Entertainment, Events, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Movies, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, TV, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2010 by Liz

Sierra is a dedicated and passionate filmmaker. Her goal is to make films that influence people to reflect on different aspects of life, question the status quo, and become independent thinkers. She has directed several films in high school that showcased at the Moondance Festival. One of them, The Ice Cream, won Best Short Film award, and a third place ROP award in Film Production. At California State University, Northridge; she produced, directed, wrote, edited, and worked on several short films including STARving, which was one of the five projects to be funded by the school’s film program her senior year.

Sierra has worked in the entertainment business since she was sixteen. Included among her many clients are San Diego Chargers owner, Alex Spanos and renowned singer, Gloria Loring. Currently, she works with Leeza Gibbons as the producer for the radio show Hollywood Confidential as well as Leeza’s in-house video and audio editor.

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 and your body as it is.

It is estimated that 8 million people in the United States are suffering from an eating disorder and, much too recently, I was one of them. In high school, I would rather have died than admit I had the problem, but now having surmounted bulimia, this experience most significantly impacted my life. Training to be an actress at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), the pressure to be thin engulfed me and I began believing that any harm I endured was a worthy sacrifice for my art. My bulimia began with frightening ease and quickly spiraled into a compulsive nightmare. It is due to the help of a teacher named Kim Wield that I was able to triumph. My evolution from nonchalantly beginning bulimia, uncontrollably continuing in it, and ultimately overcoming the fight has dramatically shaped my views on life.

Sitting down for rehearsal of a female dance number, I listened to my perfectly toned choreography teacher suggest that we start eating healthier foods while avoiding crash diets. In practically the same breath, she ended her pep talk by saying she did not want to see any flab on the stage and she followed with a laugh so sharp it pervaded my very being. I looked down at my 16-year-old body, quickly compared myself to the other girls (each of whom was making her own comparison), and came to the conclusion that I was the fattest girl in the room. I frantically started on a 500 calorie diet in hopes of dropping the flab by opening night, which was a mere eight weeks away. When I failed to lose the expected weight by the second week, I broke the diet in a bingeing frenzy and decided to voluntarily vomit for the first time.

Throwing up my food was scarily simple and, since I had binged on candy, it did not taste as bad as I thought it would. It started as a way to “cancel out” the fact that I broke my diet, but soon I realized I could eat anything I wanted as long as I purged after every meal. I continued this pattern for nearly two years, alienating myself from everything and, being that I was lying to everyone that I loved, my relationships began to disintegrate. I strove to be perfect only to find that I was falling short in every aspect of life, including my own happiness. It was when I started thinking about cutting open my thighs to perform amateur liposuction that I realized I needed serious help. As I searched for peer advice to no avail, I stumbled across a woman who would change my life forever.

One day in her acting class, Kim Wield openly shared her fight with bulimia and I developed a trust in her that was only possible because we shared a similar experience. During a one-on-one evaluation with Kim, I divulged that I was bulimic and could not stop. In the cold, sterile classroom, she looked at me with warm honesty and said, “Sierra, listen to me. You are beautiful.” I shrugged her off, but she continued, “Sierra, you are beautiful.” I felt uncomfortable as she saw through my disguise and she persisted until I started to cry. In that moment, I had the epiphany that I really was beautiful and decided that I was going to change the way society evaluates beauty.

My attempt to obey a demand to be thin, my struggle with an overwhelming disorder, and my recognition of beauty has significantly changed how I see the world. I am committed to creating a more positive perception of beauty in our culture because every person should know his or her own beauty. I feel it my duty to share my story in hopes that people, young girls in particular, will learn from it. Film is a way to recognize the beauty in our everyday surroundings and, more importantly, in ourselves. Through my films, I want to change the idea of beauty, so that I can contribute to a societal epiphany like the one Kim helped me achieve. Beauty, as it is presently defined, is too narrow-minded and I want to assist in shaping a more diverse meaning.

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

I would say to any girl who struggles with her body image that she is beautiful. No matter what anyone says, you are beautiful. On the days I can’t see my own beauty or I’m freaking out about my jeans not fitting, I try to find at least one thing I believe to be beautiful about myself. Some days I only find one thing, but usually I can build on that one identification to find maybe two or three or more. If I can’t find a single quality I like that day, I’ll try to think of any positive comments I have received and focus on that positivity.

Sierra instructs.

What inspired you to write and direct STARving?

This film is based on my experience as an actress in an arts high school where the pressure to be thin caused some girls to exercise instead of eat at lunch and commonly develop eating disorders. Having surmounted bulimia myself, I now strive to illustrate the unhealthy consequences of accepting our society’s absurdly oppressive standard of beauty and hope to help shape a healthier, more balanced, cultural viewpoint. While it is well-known that eating disorders can be directly linked to the pressure exerted by our media culture’s increasingly unrealistic standards of beauty, STARving highlights the profound impact, both negative and positive, that teachers, parents, and peers have on young women. Awareness is pivotal in shifting the tide of this unhealthy societal epidemic and my goal with STARving was to raise a consciousness regarding how our actions, even when seemingly small, can greatly affect those around us. STARving strives to raise awareness about the power that we, as everyday individuals, parents, teachers and peers, have to promote healthy attitudes, thus protecting young people from these dangerous beliefs and destructive behaviors.

How has the film been received? How do you feel about your movie being shown at the Cannes Film Festival?

It has been wonderfully received so far and I would love more people to see it. Having it screen in Cannes was very exciting! I’m also so proud that it was selected for one of the most recognized female film festivals La Femme Film Festival among other festivals. What’s most exciting about these opportunities is they help get STARving seen. My hope is that the people who see the film will use it as a starting point to help open the doors of communication regarding body image and ultimately begin a new era of acceptance within our culture.

When did you become interested in film/cinematography?

I’ve loved film ever since I was a child! As far back as I can recall, I have always wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry in some way. Whether I’m an actor, editor, director, set designer or PA; it doesn’t matter the title; just that I’m fulfilled by working with people who are forwarding a positive message through film.

You have worked with Leeza Gibbons since 2005. What do you love most about her?

What I love most about Leeza is that she is so positive and funny. She does everything in her power to uplift the people around her. Whether it is through her charity work or just by saying something supportive, Leeza takes the time to care.

Sierra with actors.

What fascinates you most about people?

The ability we have as individuals to make a difference, positive or negative, throughout life. Causality is probably the most amazing factor I can identify in what makes me who I am today. I’m endlessly fascinated with how people make decisions and how those choices can affect the future. My dad always used to say, “No shame, blame, or regret” and I still use that phrase as a reminder to find the positive in every experience I face. I wouldn’t be the person I am without all the events that have shaped me.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I love the curve of my body and how soft my skin feels because it makes me feel feminine. I love that I can easily see the beauty in others, and I’m not shy to give honest compliments because I know that by saying one positive phrase I can improve a person’s day. I love that I’m so positive and laugh at the simplest things because it makes me feel good. I love that I have solid viewpoints and the intelligence to make a sound argument because I refuse to question my integrity. I love my face because it’s so expressive and how my eyes light up when I smile. I love that I snort sometimes when I laugh really hard and that my friends make a game of seeing who can get me to snort the most. I love that I am constantly trying to improve my life and the lives of those around me. Most of all, I love that I can learn from my mistakes and become stronger despite difficult experiences.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Love yourself as you are right now, because this moment is all that matters.

You are a busy lady! What advice would you give to a college student trying to balance work, school, and personal time?

Time management! I keep a calendar, and I’m an avid supporter of to-do lists.

What are some of your hobbies?

Karaoke! Directing, acting, modeling, photography, dancing like no one is watching, game nights hiking, taking spa days, travelling, camping, and passionate conversation about anything and everything. I also enjoy critically analyzing films with my friends because it helps me grow as an artist.

Who inspires you?

The people who inspire me are those who can find beauty in others, those who are proud of their body despite any outside influence, those who are gracefully opinionated, and anyone who is passionate about creating a better world.

Who do you consider a role model or hero? Why?

Kathryn Bigelow is a major role model for me because she defies the status quo and gender expectations normally expected of women. She has a specific point of view and strong artistic integrity. In terms of broadening the status quo of beauty, Margaret Cho was the first celebrity that ever made me feel like I had a voice in the media as I deeply related to how she felt about her body and the overwhelming pressure to be thin in Hollywood. I also dearly admire Savannah Dooley and Shonda Rhimes for choosing plus-size actors to play normal roles, because it is disturbingly common to see plus-size people ridiculed on television. I applaud them and similar individuals who have become a driving force in stopping that type of hatred.

What are your favorite beauty must-haves?

Sheer Cover, liquid eyeliner, and mascara are my beauty must haves.

Where do you like to shop?

I really love thrift shops, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Express for my clothes shopping, but everything else I find on eBay.

Sierra explains shot.

Please tell us what you think of ABC Family show HUGE?

I LOVE HUGE! Savannah is a great friend of mine and I remember when she was telling me about pitching the show after passionately discussing our own struggles with body image. I’m so proud of her and the HUGE team for creating such a unique show. They are absolutely helping push the societal pendulum in a healthier, more accepting direction. Finally, I’m seeing plus-size people on television who are portrayed as human instead of the limited typecasting that is common in the business. Hopefully, this will be the beginning to seeing much more diversity in common television shows.

Do you feel plus-size modeling is helping redefine beauty?

Absolutely! When mass media features only a limited type of beauty, those who don’t fit into those confines often feel like they have no voice or are unworthy in some way. With plus-size modeling, people who previously had no voice begin to feel accepted and that acceptance yields more understanding, which then creates less hatred.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about everything happening in my life right now and the positive people who surround me!

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to have a hand in creating a more diverse and accepting culture. I want to become a director and create art that helps forward a culture wherein the “plus-size” label is no longer needed. I want to travel and experience other cultures. Ultimately, my greatest goal in life is to leave this world in a much better condition than it was when I came into it and in whatever capacity I am able to do so, I’ll make that effort.

*Thank you for everything, Sierra!

** The first ten people to email Angela at angela@plussizemodelsunite.com, will receive a free copy of the film STARving.

A Review of ABC Family Show Huge by Angela & Elizabeth

Posted in Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fitness & Health, Food, Inspiration, Media, My Story, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by Liz

 

We watched Episode 3 of HUGE Monday night and we loved it! There is so much going on with the various characters and we love the way the story line is unfolding. HUGE is great because it has depth, covers real issues, has no limits, the characters are completely relatable, and the writers handle the issues in a positive and healthy way.

The characters are lovable with distinct and unique personalities that show real individual and societal complexities. We like that. That is what makes the show so relatable. Most people have been made fun of or have felt insecure at some point in their life. Every person is complex and has a story to tell; no matter what age, size, color, or shape they may be.

Episode 3 brought Angela and I to tears a few times. We have both felt insecure at times, have been made fun of, laughed at, ignored, or ridiculed; it hurts. As mothers, we have both had to deal with our children being teased, left out, and have heard other parents disturbing stories. It’s hard to see your child being teased, left out, or hurting. We know it’s inevitable and part of life. It’s so important for parents to be there for their children, be their number one supporter, and to help them deal with real life issues.

We love at the end of Episode 3, when the kids discuss their issues amongst themselves, make amends, and raise their flags in surrender. It takes a strong person to admit they are wrong. What a wonderful example to set for the viewers.

At the end of the episode the head counselor, Dorothy, asks everyone to hold up their white flag and says,

“So much of the time it feels like we are at war. Every day is a battle we have to win. But, what if we stop fighting? Is it even possible to stop attacking other people and ourselves, and just surrender… I surrender.”

Then Dorothy and everyone else threw their flags in the fire while saying they surrender.

No matter where you go, there will always be a fight to fight. But, to surrender, to live life, to accept what you have, to be who you are, and to be proud of that – no one can take that away. When they all waved their flags and surrendered that was a powerful moment. If we could all do that – surrender, it would make a big difference.