Archive for Bulimia

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!

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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.

Italian Plus Model: Valentina Fogliani is Passionate About Being Healthy & Promoting Positive Body Image.

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Eating Disorders, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Italy, Models, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Unique Beauty, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by Liz

Photographed by Ferdinando Serra

Valentina Fogliani is from Modena, Italy. She has lived in Milan for the past six years as a successful plus-size model.

Before Valentina started her modeling career she participated in the “Miss Italia” beauty contest as a size twelve. The organizers told her that she was “a little fat.” She was young and wanted to become a model so she lost weight. She was a successful “straight” model, but she seriously sacrificed her health to stay a slim size.

Valentina said, “For me it was a very strong sacrifice to resist food and stay a slim size that didn’t represent my real personality or body type and in 2004/2005 I became a plus-size model. I started to feel better and my job was so much more wonderful and exciting than before.”

She has posed for many fantastic clients and recently posed for photographer Luca Patrone for the Curvy Can “I’m Not A Fashion Victim” campaign. The campaign helps support positive body image and draws awareness to eating disorders.

The  Italian plus models (left to right) Marina Ferrari, Valentina Fogliani, Elisa D”Ospina, Mjriam Bon, Eleonora Finazzer, and Latvian plus model Aija Barzdina, all came together to pose for photographer Luca Patrone for the Curvy Can “I’m Not A Fashion Victim” Campaign.

Please tell us about your shoot for the “I’m Not a Fashion Victim” campaign.

In September, after a shooting with my friends Aija, Mjriam, Elisa, and Marina, I felt the need to do something about alimentary disorders like obesity, bulimia, and anorexia. We are plus-size Italian models and we are so happy to be like that. We are happy to work in fashion with our bodies the way they are. I thought it was important to do a campaign, which represents our beauty without the filter of skinny fashion. Our beauty is the beauty of all girls and women who aren’t submitting to the fashion style size. Our campaign tells our story — we feel better now with our curves!!! I suffered of bulimia for four years so for me personally, this message is very important!

How do you define beauty?

For me beauty is a mix of elegance and “savoir faire,” which is not tied to appearance, but is inside of us all. Sometimes I feel full of beauty only because I am happy. For me, beauty is when my body and my soul feel in harmony.

Photographed by Ferrantini

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

I would like to tell girls that it is very important that we accept our body. To be beautiful we do not need to be skinny like models or look like societies stereotype of beauty. Each person has a different personality and a different body. We should all be unique!!!

Are you currently modeling outside of Europe also, if no, do you hope to model internationally?

Usually, I work in Italy, but sometime I model in London (where I have an agency who represents me) or in Germany. I would like to expand my modeling outside of Italy to places such as Europe and the USA!

What do you like most about modeling?

I think the most interesting thing about modeling is traveling and to meeting strange and interesting people!
I prefer the plus-size modeling world because as a plus-size model I am happier. We can eat what we want, we don’t become sad or anxious about our weight, and we can also work if we have children. I have met a lot of plus models who do shoots during their pregnancy. I think this world is more “human” than fashion skinny!

Sinyus Photopgrapher

Tell us about your involvement with Teatro-Cucina.

This is the show of my company Theatre “Teatro in Povere” and I am an actress in Teatro-Cucina. This is a show with three actors and a musician. We offer food to guests during the show. The show is a beautiful mix of food and theatre emotions. Teatro-Cucina is a show I love because it tells a life story of human beings, love, and food. These are all things necessary to live a very good life.

I was “regular” model until 2004. I suffered a lot as a skinny size, because my body conformation was not so skinny. I had bulimia for four years from 2002 through 2006. I found a way to accept my body through acting and performing. I started to see my soul and not only my appearance as a skinny or not skinny body.

What are you excited about right now?

I hope to travel with our project and our “I’m Not A Fashion Victim” campaign. I think it is very important to visit schools and to speak about bulimia and anorexia because teenagers are victims of those disorders! I hope we can speak about our campaign on television, radio, and in magazines because it is so important that people know about us and about those very dangerous disorders such as bulimia and anorexia!

Photographed by Ferdinando Serra

*Valentina, thank you for sharing your personal story with us and the world. We applaud your passion to reach out to girls and women!

We would love to hear from our readers! Is there a special topic you would like us to cover? Do you have a story you would like to share? We are here for you!

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

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

Photographed by Lindsey Bowen

Hello World,

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

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

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

My Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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