Archive for Ford Models

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~ .  Also, and

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!


Kate Dillon has Brains, Beauty, and is an Advocate For Environmental & Humanitarian Causes Such As The Komera Project

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, New York, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Travel, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by Liz

Kate Dillon is known in the fashion industry as a groundbreaker and a passionate advocate for environmental and humanitarian causes. For 19 years, she has leveraged her career in fashion to campaign for positive body image in the media, eating disorders awareness, and global poverty reduction. Her work has been widely featured in the media, including on Anderson Cooper 360, Good Morning America, and the PBS NOVA series as well as in Vogue, Glamour, and People. In order to be a more effective advocate, Kate completed a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 where she won two academic awards. Now back in the fashion industry full-time, Kate continues to model while serving as vice-president of the Komera Project, a fund that provides scholarships for secondary education to girls in Rwanda.

Who are you signed on with and who are some of your clients?

I signed with Ford about two months ago after fourteen years with Wilhelmina, and my major clients are: Marina Rinaldi, The Avenue, JC Penneys, Kohl’s, Talbots,, and

Please tell us how you got started in the modeling business and about your transition from “straight” modeling to “plus-size” modeling. Was that a difficult transition for you to make?

I started modeling when I was seventeen years old. I was at my usual hangout, a coffee shop in San Diego where I grew up, when I met a photographer who got me into modeling. I was not especially into fashion, and I certainly did NOT think of myself as model material, but it seemed like a great opportunity. I started working out of LA until I finished high school, and I loved having this double life – nerdy high school chick most of the time, burgeoning fashion model in LA once a week or so… The trouble was I could not stay super skinny. I moved to NYC and Paris when I graduated high school and I loved the travel and the people I met in the fashion business, but the pressure to be thin was killing me – MOREOVER I hated that I was perpetuating this illusion, this super-thin ideal. Here I was starving myself to be thin and then foisting this image on women – this was NOT the impact I wanted to have on the world. So, I quit modeling and was pretty much clueless about what to do for about two years. I gained about 40 pounds (about a size 10) as soon as I quit and started doing some soul-searching. Then a friend mentioned plus-size modeling. I  had worked alongside Christine Alt and Emme as a skinny model, and I remembered thinking they were so cool and brave –  I actually thought, “I would never have the guts to be that big”… Well, I found the guts and the transition to plus was super easy because I was so sure of myself. I knew that being beautiful, fashionable, and successful had NOTHING to do with size, and I loved kind of challenging the fashion world to recognize that. I have always been a bit of a rebel. =) The only real challenge was in the beginning – and this happens to a lot of plus models, I think – at first I started to feel guilty if I worked out or ate a salad so I gained A LOT of weight in my first year as a plus-size model. Some people really remember me at that size – like a 14 – but it wasn’t sustainable for me… Eventually I realized exercise and healthy eating is just fine and returned to my “natural” size…

Was there a specific event or sequence of events that led to your decision to stop modeling for the “straight” modeling industry?

I did a lot of shows and editorial, but I was always told to lose like 5-20 pounds (at 120 I have no clue how to do that!).  Before one show season, I got a bad intestinal virus that lasted about ten days – use your imagination. =) Well, needless to say, I lost a lot of weight, and when I turned up at the shows Paris all these editors were like “you look amaaaaaaaaazing” and I remember thinking, “Wow, THAT’S what it takes to be beautiful around here? Yuck.” That was pretty much the beginning of the end…

Would you define what the term “plus” means in the modeling industry? (We get this question all the time from our readers who are not in the industry. It would be wonderful for someone like you [so well-known, established, intelligent, and admired] to answer that question.)

Well, thank you for the compliments!!!!  I get this a lot, too. In the industry “plus size” means size 14W and up. A “plus size” model models those clothes for the catalogs and advertisements of those who produce those sizes. Occasionally – like my work for Talbots and Gucci – a brand that does not cater to “plus sizes” will hire a plus size model. Plus-size models come in many shapes and sizes – it’s pretty cool, actually. Some clients like bigger girls and some like smaller girls. Some mix it up. There is a lot of diversity…

You have been open regarding your struggles with body image issues. How did your struggles affect your self-esteem? How did you reach the point of accepting and loving your body as it is?

I accepted my body, as is, when I was twenty-one years old. I was walking down the beach feeling so self-conscious about my “big” arms and my thigh cellulite. Suddenly, I realized that it was very likely that every woman on the beach was ruining this gorgeous day at the beach – just as I was – obsessing over her imperfections. I decided to get over it – that it was more important to be happy, grateful for life’s mystery, and as smart as possible. It really was like a switch flipped in my brain. And I never looked back. Since then, I have had a pretty healthy self-esteem body-wise. However, that’s largely because my sense of self-worth is actually NOT tied to my appearance. I love to be pretty and sexy, but I am more concerned about making a contribution to the world and being a kind person – these are the things I struggle to achieve these days – I am working on it! But, my self-esteem lags when I’ve been judgmental or bitchy or when I am not doing enough… When I was in graduate school I was so overwhelmed by all the talented people around me – my self-esteem really took a beating! But I think it’s normal – and healthy – to have periods of high and low self-esteem.

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

Well, in our society it is certainly understandable for a woman to have body-image/confidence issues. My advice is to cut yourself some slack, acknowledge you have issues, and then decide to focus on something more meaningful. Decide to get an A on your next test, volunteer at an animal shelter or a retirement home, something… Think about what you love and care about and devote yourself to that – the act of following your dreams and/or being altruistic will boost your confidence. And always always always treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.

Have you read any good books that help promote positive self-esteem and healthy body image that you would recommend for girls, pre-teens, teens, or women?

The poem “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou has been in the back of my mind since I was twenty-one years old (fifteen years).

How would you describe your current approach to potential clients and your modeling career?

Grateful, professional, and I try to give them something exciting – I try never to go on autopilot. I learned that from Crystal Renn, actually. She gives it up like its Italian Vogue every time.

Do you feel that furthering your education and earning a degree in International Development at Harvard helped build your confidence or changed your perception of yourself or life?

Emotionally, Harvard was really difficult for me. As I mentioned above I was very intimidated by my classmates (even though they are the sweetest, most compassionate, most supportive group of people on the planet, and truly amazing human beings), and the coursework was extremely challenging. I lost about ten pounds during graduate school because I was so stressed! But it was probably the first time in my life I had to struggle and it was sooooooo good for me ultimately. I was deeply humbled. Studying International Development, I expected my perception of the world to change, but it really didn’t. However, my perception of myself changed dramatically. I am still trying to figure out what to do with my degree. I have been thinking a lot about the impact of the fashion industry on the development issues I care about most: the environment and empowerment strategies for women and girls. This April, I designed and moderated a panel on fashion and sustainable economic development at the Harvard International Development Conference. It’s a work in progress. =)

We know that you are an environmental activist. With that in mind, we would like to know where you like to shop for clothes and who your favorite designers are?

Excellent question! I am pretty militant about the clothes I buy these days – I go for environmentally sustainable fabrics like bamboo and hemp and stick to organic cotton. In New York, I shop at Kaight and Barneys where I can find Loomstate, John Patrick Organic (my absolute fave), Josh Podoll, Samantha Pleet, and Camilla Norrback. The mainstream exception I make is the Gap, Inc. They are great company that is truly committed to improving the lives of the workers who produce their clothes, and I expect they will announce an organic line any day now… Redcats, who own the Avenue, are also a great company – they sponsor eco-fashion week in Paris and have a strong environmental policy…

What are your favorite beauty must haves?

I use Suki everything for skin care. Suki pure facial moisturizer and the foaming exfoliating cleanser rock my world. For make-up, I love Korres concealer and lipsticks. Both brands are environmentally conscious. Suki is all organic and fair trade.

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

Hahaha. Well since I got pregnant, I don’t do much anymore! I used to run 3-6 miles three times a week and did vinyasa yoga about twice a week. These days I do a 30-minute elliptical workout or a swim a few days a week and go to prenatal yoga once a week. In my non-pregnant state, I love to do races – triathlons and runs so I am usually training for something. But I avoid gyms. I like to exercise outside – even in the cold! I ran a 15K last December in 25-degree weather – my crowning athletic achievement. 🙂

What does being healthy mean to you?

Being able to be physically active, being reasonably flexible, and laughing every day.

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


Who do you consider a hero or role model?

Role models: My mom and dad. Hero: Girls all over the world who struggle – against unimaginable odds – to be educated and empowered.

Please tell us about the Komera project.

The Komera Project provides scholarships to girls in Rwanda who have the ability and desire to attend secondary school, but who lack the financial resources to do so. I co-founded this initiative with my friend, Margaret Butler – a former professional runner, who lived in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda for a year. I became interested in educating girls in Africa in 2007 when I visited a school in Zimbabwe – it was freezing and I was wearing about a thousand bucks worth of Patagonia’s finest fleece, and most of the students didn’t even have shoes. They wore torn cotton sweaters and shorts and skirts with no tights. The teacher had to lead them in a song and dance in between lessons to keep themselves warm. Then I found out that many of them walked one to three miles just to get to school every day, and that because there was no secondary school in the village most would not attend high school. It was so awe-inspiring to see how hard these kids worked in formidable circumstances. They knew education was the only chance in the world they had. Komera has a website with more in-depth descriptions of our mission and programs as well as some data about educating girls.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Running for public office. Teaching high school. Modeling. Who knows!

What are you excited about right now?

My baby boy due December 14. =)

*Thank you and congratulations, Kate!

**To learn more about the Komera Project or help Kate’s cause please visit

***’W Curve,’ the division for full-figured models at Wilhelmina, have formed Curves for Change (C4C)- a platform to collectively pursue charitable activities. They will be a hosting a fundraising event which will be a 5k run/walk this fall in NYC (date to be announced). Proceeds will go to the Komera Project and Healthy Girls Hardy Women. Here is the Curves for Change link if you want to find out more about the upcoming fundraiser.!/curvesforchange?ref=ts

Leah Kelley Talks About Self-Esteem, Health, Shopping, & Her Definition of Beauty!

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Trade Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by Liz

Photographed by Michael William Paul

Leah Kelley is from Sacramento, California. She was scouted online and is with Ford +. On her first day in New York, she met with and worked for Sarah Jessica Parker as a model for Sarah’s clothing line, Bitten. Leah has been one of biggest supporters from the beginning of Plus-Size Models Unite’s conception. She is such a wonderful person. We appreciate you, Leah!

How did you get starting in modeling?

I was 19 and in my second year of college, working for a tow truck company in Sacramento (yes, I can unlock your car or change your tire) when I was discovered. It began while I was browsing the internet, and I saw a link through MySpace for the Ford Models online submission. I did not really think very much of it, and it took about a month for a reply. I actually almost deleted the response, because I use to get a lot of emails from auction lots relating to the automotive industry, and I misread the sender as Model Fords. I ignored the email for about four days, and just as I checked to delete it, suddenly I read it was a reply from Ford Models. I was very surprised to find I was being offered a contract with Ford!

What are some of the clients you have worked with?

Marina Rinaldi, Elena Miro, Macys, Nordstrom, Target, and Saks.

How do you define beauty?
I see beauty as anything that provokes thought, whether it is an emotion, memory, or a new idea. Any moment that inspires me to think differently or evolve intellectually is beautiful. Beauty is uniquely individual; it’s like looking through a kaleidoscope.
Photographed Vikas Sharma
Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem?

I grew up in Sacramento, California, and Abercrombie and Fitch thin was the ideal body image. Since my body type did not fit into this category, it affected my self-esteem. To my surprise, Ford offered me a contract and did not try to change into one-size fits all. The fact that I could have a career with image acceptance really was a confidence booster. This opportunity has taught me to appreciate who I am both body and soul.

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

Stop Comparing. You will never find true self-esteem from trying to be like someone else, you need to focus on what is unique about you.

Photographed by Eric Fischer
How do you prepare for a shoot?
Sleep! Rest is the most important beauty ritual of all, and then there is the usual stuff like making sure the nails are manicured and my eyebrows are plucked. I also like to research the company that has hired me. I peruse their website or catalog to basically get a feel for what they like, and their personal style. I usually listen to music to get pumped up right before going on set.

What is your go-to outfit?

My go-to outfit depends on my mood. An A line dress ALWAYS works.

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

I absolutely love to shop vintage. I love buying an old dress or jewelry, imagining all the places it was worn, and the way the wearer felt while in it. New York City has the best vintage shops anywhere, yet you need to know the art of negotiation to get a good deal. My FAVORITE shopping though happens in thrift stores in towns like Palm Springs where a lot of elderly people retire. They take all their favorite and usually expensive outfits from when they were young and donate them to area stores. Normally, you will have to sift through a lot of junk, yet most people who work at thrift shops compared to vintage stores, are unaware that a label lacking vintage Chanel suit is hanging-up for five dollars. If you are savvy and can tell the cut and look of couture you, will find a whole designer vintage wardrobe for under 100 dollars!

Photographed by Enrique Vega

What do you LOVE about yourself?

I love my ability to make people laugh.

Who do you admire and why?

Albert Einstein for his ability to think outside the box, Ishmael Beah for his power to overcome, and my mom, sister and Grandparents for well, everything.

What are some of your favorite beauty products or a must haves?
Moisturizer with SPF protection!!! I also require a little concealer to cover my dark circles. Thanks Bohemian genes!
Photographed by Enrique Vega
What does being healthy mean to you?
Your body knows more about you than anything else. Healthy requires listening to your body. If you’re hungry — eat, and if you’re not — don’t. If you’re tired –sleep. Evolution worked at this system for a long time, and we should respect it.
What are you excited about right now?

The new-found acceptance for different shapes and sizes in the fashion world excites me; opportunities seem to arise where I never expected them before!

Photographed by Vikas Sharma

*Thank you, Leah!