Archive for Glamour Magazine

Rebekah Brambila Says, “The people you love, who love you in return, are not lying when they tell you how wonderful you are!”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Liz

Meet model Rebekah…

Please tell us how you started your career as a model?

My cousin told me that you could apply to work as a model for Torrid.com through their internet site. So, I took the chance, sent in some pictures my mom took of me on our front porch, and I was called in for a go-see!

A bit later Torrid sent me and some models to Katie Halchishick and Bradford Wilcox (founders of Natural Model Management) for a modeling class. The class went great and at the end of the day, we set up some future test shots, and I was signed from there!

What does being a part of Natural Model Management mean to you?

To me, being a part of Natural Model Management means being a part of a team, and a movement that shows girls how to dream big! Natural doesn’t just say, “Love your body”; it gives girls role models who actually live out their commitment of self-love…no matter their shape, or size!

Natural Models and Healthy is the New Skinny recently went to Placer High in Auburn, California to talk to their students about its new program Perfectly UnPerfected. You were a part of this amazing experience. Please tell us about it and why this movement is so important.

Let’s face it, high school can be a really hard four years for teenagers. Their feelings can be so tender during this time as kids are trying to discover who they are, and how they fit in.

Previous to this event, we were told that 80 percent of girls at this campus wished they could be skinnier, and that they hated their bodies. 80 percent! That shows just how important it is to find a solution to this way of thinking and feeling.

What the PUP Program and Healthy is The New Skinny are trying to do is help students foster feelings of individual worth. It was amazing to me how well the students took to heart our message of self-acceptance, and they did so in such a short amount of time. After only one set of assemblies, the students showed such positive signs of how they felt about themselves and each other.

Students also realized the absolute power they have in changing what the fashion world views as beautiful. Many girls were told for the first time that there really is no standard or size when it comes to beauty. Beautiful is just perfectly unperfected people striving for a healthier lifestyle.

What do you enjoy about modeling? What is it about your career that brings you joy?

Everything! Haha! But in all honesty, as much as I love taking pictures in fun clothes and pretty make up, I really love meeting new people. I love talking to people about their lives. Everyone has a story, and it’s always really inspiring to hear them.

I also love how unique and hard working my agency is. The people I work with are so passionate about making a change for the better. I couldn’t be surrounded by better people. 

Currently, you are attending college in Hawaii at BYU. What has your experience been like in college so far? What is your major?

College has been a huge learning experience for me. I went to BYU-H not knowing a single person, hoping things would just work out. At school, I learned how to be a part of a family wherever I am. Friends, roommates, and even the people I work with became my family away from home. It’s amazing the strength that can bring to a person.

I am majoring in Exercise Sport Science. I LOVE it! The professors I have are so helpful and really care about my success as a student. Plus I get to take some fun classes like flag football and rugby!

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

Sun, sand, and surf! I love the North Shore and could spend all day there! At night, I love going to my favorite snack shack “Kava Roots”, ordering an acai bowl, and listening to locals sing at open mike night. I would definitely end my day with a late night long board ride around campus with my roommie.

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?

Body image and self-esteem issues were a big part of my life from my late high school years, into my college years. I could not get past that feeling of not feeling good enough. The people I loved most could tell me a million times how perfect I was just being me, but I never could take it to heart. It took being sick and tired, of being sick and tired, for me to make a change.

If I could give any advice to girls and women struggling with body, or self-esteem issues, it would be to trust the people you love, and lose yourself in doing good for others.

The people you love, who love you in return, are not lying when they tell you how wonderful you are! Listen to them and lean on them for support.

Even in times when I felt the worst about myself, when I fully divided into helping others, I felt worlds better. It’s amazing how you can find your most beautiful self when focusing on the needs of others.

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?

I really think the list is never-ending. But, a huge pressure I see right now is the struggle between the modern and tradition values of what a women should be. Today there are so many standards society pressures on women: being thin, beautiful, mothers, successful businesswomen, educated, homemakers, etc.

I think the example mentors need to set is that a women can be many things in one lifetime, even if not at the same time. We need to experience joy in what we do accomplish, and not beat our self’s up over what we have yet to fulfill. 

Who taught you about real beauty?

My momma. She is the kind of lady who takes dinner to our neighbors when they have a baby, and who gets up numerous times in the middle of the night to check on her kids when they are sick. To me, that’s true selfless beauty.

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

Thirteen was a happy age for me. But, I do wish I would have known what a bad idea it was to wear my hair in a pony-bun everyday that school year!

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

I feel fortunate to have so many, but one of them is my older sister Lizzy. She is one of the most kind-hearted people I know. She is my best friend, and has always stuck by me and taken care of me. There is nothing in this world like a sister.

What is a fun fact about you?

I can po-go stick with no hands.

If you could travel anywhere in the world on a vacation, where would you go?

Oh gosh, too many places! Some on my list are Ireland, Greece, Bali, Jerusalem, India, Brazil, Morocco, and New Zealand. But for starters, I would love to visit New York!

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Chapstick! haha! I’m a chap stick junkie! I love Burts Bees Pomegranate chapstick. It has such a good tint of color but looks really natural. When I want to look a little more bold, I always turn to MAC Russian Red lipstick.

What beauty invention has made the greatest impact on your life?

Tweezers! Oh gosh, I have always had huge eyebrows. I remember my mom plucking them for me when I was in sixth grade! Talk about a great beauty invention!

What are your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

I love Olay’s daily defense face lotion. It has SPF 30, which is really important, since I spend so much time in the sun.

Do you have a quick beauty tip to share with us?

Drink lots of water! I know people say it all the time, but it really does work wonders.

What is your go-to outfit?

Jeans, a peasant top, cute sandals, and turquoise jewelry. This is coming from a hippie at heart.

What are your favorite pair of jeans?

I love my dark wash super skinny jeans from the Forever 21 Plus section. They are cute, AND they were only 11.50!

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I like to thrift shop for cool vintage pieces, but I also love it when my grandma goes to Mexico and brings me back cool peasant blouses. I love fabrics that I can breathe in.  

What does being healthy mean to you?

To me, healthy is actively doing what’s good for your body. Its more than eating right and exercising. Healthy is laughing, loving, learning, exploring, serving, creating, hugging, singing, playing, and just being plain silly! 

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I love playing flag football! I can definitely hold my own while playing with the boys. I love playing different sports too. I grew up playing soccer, and last semester my roommates taught me how to play tennis and basketball, which I loved!

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I love that I come from two very different ethnic backgrounds. I am half-Mexican, and half Irish. I think that diversity makes me beautiful.

In my purse you would find…

Sharpie markers, lots of Chapstick, and receipts with gum stuck in them! haha!

What are you listening to right now?

Right now, my favorite songs are Let’s Get Together by The Youngbloods, San Francisco by Scott McKenzie, and Peace Train by Cat Stevens. But my all time favorites include U2, Stevie Nicks, and Coldplay.

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

I LOVE the blog put on by my agency, Healthyisthenewskinny.com. It is such a fun place to share ideas, get fashion/beauty tips, and build confidence. The best part is that everyone can be a part of the blog!

I also love the blog colormekatie.blogspot.com. It’s so creative and it can’t help but to make you feel good. 

Favorite beach on Oahu?

Sunset Beach is one of my favorites. The water there is just so clear and blue. I also like Castles beach because it is a great beginners surfing spot. But you can’t visit Oahu without going to Waimea Bay, it’s a must!

Is there something you have always wanted to try or learn, but haven’t yet?

Don’t laugh too hard, but I have always wanted to learn how to Krump! haha! I’m not much of a dancer so I am sure I would look ridiculous, but it just looks like SO much fun!

Where would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?

Ten years from now, I would love to be married and have a family. I want to be done with my Masters, and have a job working with and counseling teenage girls.

What has been the best advice you have ever been given?

I hated hearing this when I was younger, but my parents would always tell me to “thicken up my skin”. Basically, not to take the bad things people say to heart, and not to listen to all the negative things people can say. It’s a lot easier said than done, but it sure does come in handy!

What is Rebekah’s philosophy?

I just believe that life is a journey meant for happiness. Trials along the way make us stronger, but I’ll never come up against anything I can’t tackle.

What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

I remember being about seven years old, sitting on top of my playhouse in my back yard. I loved feeling the wind from up high. I can still see myself with my arms spread out like a bird, pretending I could fly. Whenever I feel down on myself, I think of that little girl. She reminds me to be more carefree, to be a little kinder to myself, and to remember how great life is.

What are you excited about right now?

After taking a semester off, I’m really excited to go back to school! I’m also excited about being a part of Natural Model Management, and the Healthy is the New Skinny movement. I’ve got a great feeling about it all. :]

One more thing… A Recipe

I LOVE making Green Drink in the morning! Drinking a glass in the morning helps me to feel really energized. Plus, its super simple to make and super good for you!

1/2 peeled cucumber

1 peeled apple

1 stalk celery

1 handful of spinach

Juice of 1 lemon

Fresh mint leaf to taste

Blend ingredients together. Add water until you obtain desired texture. Keep chilled in the refrigerator, and shake it before you drink!

*Thank you, Rebekah!

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Olivia Coyne Says, “Be kind to yourself – you only have one body, one life, and only the moment to live it.”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Eating Disorders, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, News, Parenting, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by Liz

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

Olivia Coyne is a plus model from Australia who is signed with Bella Model Management.

How did your career start as a model?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been told I should be a model. I took it as a compliment and never thought anything much of it, “thank you…how kind…maybe one day.” It wasn’t until my boss, a woman whose opinion I value very highly, said to me that I should try out to be a plus-size model. I knew that there were plus-size models in the market, but I never knew how to tap into it. I called BELLA late one night after work and Chelsea answered. We spoke for ten minutes, I sent off a few pictures, went in for an interview, and it’s just been a rollercoaster ride since then. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have a ‘scouted’ story, walking down the street, someone saw me etc. – but I think my story is one of ambition and having a goal and doing something about it. I would still be walking up and down the street waiting for someone to see me – hello, see me!! Ha!

Have you always known you wanted to be a model?

The fashion and media industry is always something I’ve had an interest in–catwalks, magazines, clothes, shopping, trends, designers, and of course the models, did I mention magazines? I used to read Vogue every month religiously and the models were untouchable. They were the girls that didn’t exist in this world; they were from somewhere else. I idolized them and wanted to know all I could about their lives. I think it when I hit 14-15 years old and I realized I could never look like those girls. I didn’t have the frame for it, and once I researched it a bit, I didn’t really care too much for the unhealthy lifestyle. I had to keep reminding myself that the size 4-8 models are built that way – you cannot change your body type, but you can change your attitude. Knowing that there are other young girls out there, like I was, idolizing these models, scares me sometimes. I only hope young women understand that international catwalk models are from, another world, they are born with a frame and structure that can hold minimum body fat – it’s not normal. Yes, they make it work for them, but for the rest of the population, a healthy lifestyle should be the main aim of the game – physically and mentally.

What are your thoughts on the term ‘plus’ size model?

I think the market is calling us ‘plus-size’ because they’re still coming to terms with the fact that ‘plus-size’ models have made it onto the scene and we’re making a breakthrough. The industry has really embraced plus-size models and it has all happened so fast – the demand was there and the models were waiting! I think in time, the term will fade, just as the idea of being plus size will become the norm and accepted as regular. Plus size is only used in the industry because next to the Vodinova’s, Kerr’s, and Buchanan’s we are plus size – the industry will adapt in time. It’s a positive step and every client that uses and embraces plus-size models should be recognized as making a conscious effort to improve the standards of Australia’s media credibility.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

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

When I was younger, I always knew I was different, taller, broader, and conscious of my demeanor; that I wasn’t like all the other girls. People, friends, and even strangers would comment on my physical appearance and the way I carried myself even before I opened my mouth or they knew my name. I just thought that this happened to everyone – apparently not. I knew that I could never be as thin as my friends or as skinny as the models on the catwalk, and that in itself took some time to develop – but still I beat myself up about it inside. I went through a period where I had a distorted view of what was right and wrong for my body. I would count calories and monitor my eating patterns and those of others. I was consumed by consumption. The light bulb moment for me, and I still have them, is seeing young women, thin young women who cannot exercise, have a fun night out, hold a conversation, or have no energy for life all because they are still obsessed by their eating habits and have no time to enjoy eating. The relationship I have with food is healthy and realistic. I view food as energy for living, one needs healthy nutritious food and often. Food is entertaining with friends, its long lunches, relaxing dinners, healthy lunches, and respecting food and nutrition.

What does being healthy mean to you?

Healthy means balance. Healthy means having a sustainable lifestyle and not living to excess – moderation is key. There’s not much to it really. Yes, it’s easy to stray off track every now and then, but that’s the whole idea of moderation and balance – off track, on track.

What are you currently dreaming of?

I dream of Sydney, I’ve dreamt of Sydney, I longed for Sydney – I love this city. I embrace this city with everything I have. I’m dreaming of New York though – I want to love that city. I want to live in New York – soak myself in New York and embrace and encourage New York – I want to love New York.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I love Oxford St in Sydney – untapped treasures and local designers. Some of my favourite everyday day brands include Country Road, Sussans (this goes with that), Witchery, General Pants Co for something different and edgy, David Jones for the latest collections, Myer for the sales, and Cosmopolitan Shoes when I like to dream.

What is your go-to outfit?

Every day, anytime is jeans, flat shoes, singlet top and cardi, necklace, and scarf. Nighttime – invited out – nothing to wear is long black strapless dress, high heels, messy tousled hair, smoky eyes, sparkly earrings, and clutch. It’s all about working with what you have, confidence but not too much. You’re out to have a good time, day or night; you have to be comfortable in your own skin. You have to love yourself first before someone else can. Be confident and others will see that in you and respect you for it.

What is your fashion obsession?

Okay, here it is – my fashion obsessions – through and through, for a number of years now, I’m prepared to admit it, just between you and me – scarves and necklaces. I wear scarves around my neck, on my head, tied to a handbag, around my waist as a belt, around my wrist as a top over jeans or a kaftan on the beach– anywhere. Thick, woolly, loose, thin, patterned, plain, beaded, decorative, warm, short, homemade, knitted, long with tassels or fringes, or silk. If you have it–I want it, if I own it, I’ll wear it. Necklaces are a guilty and my not so private obsession. As with the scarves, wear them any which way or whatever, big, small, heavy or light, charmed or simple, multi stranded–accessories are made to be worn and adored.

What are your favorite beauty products or must-haves?

30+ SPF tinted sunscreen, Estee Lauder Double Wear eyeliner, Avon mascara, and pale lip balm. I’m into dark eyes and light lips at the moment, I’m tapping into a 60’s mod theme, trying to make it work for me! I hope it’s working for me. Ha.

Do you have a favorite skin care line?

I believe in switching skin care regimes and brands every few months. One must keep the skin guessing, it should not get too comfortable. Just as your life and routines change, so too should your skin care regime, but keeping a few reliable staple items. I’ve always used a Garnier deep pore face wash and Nivea Crème. I add in Garnier Caffeine Eye Roll On, L’Oreal Night Cream, and L’occitane hand cream. Always drink at least two liters of water a day – good skin comes from the inside out – but great products always help!

What is a quick beauty tip you would like to share with us?

Always wear sunscreen; it’s plain, simple and makes sense. Australia has such a harsh climate that we cannot afford not to wear sunscreen, at least 30+, and if it’s tinted, that’s another plus! Also, don’t ever forget to wash your make up off – panda eyes are never a good look, not matter how much fun the night before was!

Favorite nail color?

Dark red. It’s seductive at nighttime, and fresh and fun during the day. It goes with most items of clothing and jewelry sparkles 10 times as much against the dark hue.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

Do you have a favorite workout?

My favourite workout routine is a run or walk – I have the route down pat!  I’m such a local, I love this city!

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

Vogue.com.au, has great info, latest trends, great catwalk clips from around the globe, good tips, and up to date product releases – what better way to love a magazine than to love its online sister! I also love Taste.com.au – 3 o’clock in the afternoon – quick, what’s for dinner!?

If I turned on your iPod, what would be playing? 

Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Miami Horror, the Bagraiders, Temper Trap, and Madeline Peyroux – nothing wrong with a bit of a mix!

If you had one piece of advice to give other girls your age, what would it be? 

Be kind to yourself – you only have one body, one life, and only the moment to live it. Respect your body for what it is. Don’t ever get hung up on what you’re not, what you don’t have, or where you’re not. Love your body and understand it. Respect your shape and make it work in your favour. Play around with shapes and styles, experiment with colours and looks – have fun with your look. Don’t be hung up on your appearance, there is more to a young woman than the way she looks. Personality and confidence is key and it’s something that people can sense. Others sense when you are not comfortable in your own skin and when you hide who you really are – be yourself and others can love you for it.

What do your friends think of your modeling career? 

My friends support my decision and are very excited in its developments – like most people they are astounded that as a size 12, is considered plus size. The term is not an accurate view of models in the industry today. 12 + is the average – it is about transforming the view of society to understanding that plus size is not plus size.

What is the best gift you’ve given to someone?

I think the best gifts are experiences. I’ve given concert tickets, centrepoint tower climbs, restaurant vouchers, and tours. The best presents are those you cannot buy yourself and when you share an experience with someone, the memories are endless.

Photographed by Claudio Raschella

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

My attitude. I am a very optimistic person and I like to see the best in everyone. I believe in living in the moment and making the most of every experience. Learn from people and learn from mistakes. I think my attitude for myself has developed immensely in the last few years. I’ve learnt to love who I am and recognize what I have to offer others. One’s attitude should be reflective of values and morals, a way of life.

What is your biggest accomplishment? 

Buying my apartment. It was such an adventure to get to where I am now. The saving, the paperwork, the solicitors, the real estate agents, the open houses, the schedules, and finally the settlement, it was almost like a part-time job – glad to be on the other side of it. I learnt a lot about the industry and a lot about myself. About what I value, the lifestyle I was after, and what I wanted from owning an apartment. My family was very supportive throughout the entire process; I couldn’t have done it without them.

What is the best thing your family does to support you?

The best thing my family has done for me is support me in my decisions and respect my opinions. I was never forced to do anything I didn’t believe in. Never underestimate the value of a steady support network – friends and family that are there for you, through it all. Those who support your values and share common morals. Being able to make your own decisions, your own mistakes, and learn from them is a big part of growing up. The key is growing old without growing old. Always maintain a sense of youth and ensure those around you respect you for it.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My mother is my role model. Karen is supportive and strong. She is loving, caring, patient, and funny. My Mum has always been there for me–an ear to listen and advice for any occasion. Her sense of style, self-worth, and respect – I have learnt a lot and will continue to learn from her every day. We chat every other day and catch up on the happening of the week. Stories galore. She fills me in on the family life, and I update her on the adventures I have in Sydney.

Tell us a fun fact about you…

I’ve been skydiving in Prague. I have a tattoo of a star on my wrist that I got with my Mum. I lived overseas for four years when I was young; I went to American International Schools. Sometimes my American accent comes out when I’m telling a story or singing a song. If I ever meet an American, the accent comes out straight away – it’s tragic! I own my apartment, bought it 18 months ago; hello mortgage and principal & interest repayments! Is that fun ?

What are you excited about right now?

I am excited for Summer 2011! The word of the Summer is ‘balance’. Work hard, play hard, eat well, and sleep deeply (on Sunday nights!).

Thank you, Olivia!

Kamari Brown Says, “My advice to women is instead of letting society and the media define your beauty, let it help you see how beautiful you are, just the way you are, by surrounding yourself with positive role models and people.”

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by Liz

Kamari Brown is a twenty-five year old plus-size model who grew up in Seattle, Washington; England; and Germany. Kamari’s father was in the military and her family is European. She is 1/4 British, 1/4 German and 1/2 African-American. Kamari currently lives in New York City. She is signed with agencies in smaller markets and overseas in Europe and South Africa, and she is currently developing her book with her mother agent to approach the larger agencies.

How did you get started as a plus model and what does being a plus model mean to you?

I started plus-size modeling for two reasons. First, I’ve always been a creative soul, having started in acting, moved to dancing, and now modeling. For me, modeling allows me to be a different character and tell a story using the clothes, my eyes, body movement, and facial expressions. I actually find it more challenging than acting because we have less mechanisms to tell a story. But that is also why I love it more.

Second, I wanted to be part of the movement that is helping women love their body, no matter if they are a size 2 or size 20. I know personally I’ve struggled throughout the years with accepting my body the way it is, having seen only skinny models/women being deemed as beautiful. The more we infiltrate the media, the louder we are and the more lives we change.

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

In Seattle, where I spent a lot of my time growing up, most, if not all the women, around me were thin.  Additionally, the media was pushing images of Barbie like women in our faces, deeming them as the most beautiful. It was very difficult being a larger or big-boned (that term always made me feel better) mixed girl there. I was really uncomfortable in my own skin and body for so many years and it wasn’t until Destiny’s Child came into the scene that my views started to change. For the first time, seeing Beyonce, a woman of my complexion with hips, thick legs/thighs just like mine, being hailed as beautiful by the media and my peers around me, made me start to accept my curves and see how beautiful they were. My advice to women is instead of letting society and the media define your beauty, let it help you see how beautiful you are, just the way you are, by surrounding yourself with positive role models and people.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My biggest role most is Bono from U2. I love everything he stands for and I aspire to be like him. He found a way to use his love for music to help bring world issues–another one of his passions–to the forefront of the media. My biggest passion is fighting for human and animal rights. In college, I studied Human Geography, where I focused on human rights/trafficking and slum/squatter settlements. After moving to New York, I became very active with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and ran their Tap Project campaign last year. I more recently started working with the ASPCA, an animal rights organization. I always wanted to find the vehicle to really make a difference, much like Bono, and I hope that in time, modeling can be that vehicle for me.

What do you love about yourself and why?

I’m blessed to have lived in so many places growing up from Seattle, Europe, Miami, and now New York. It changes your perspective on life and give you an insatiable appetite for life and success. I know some people I went to high school with in Seattle only ever wanted to stay there and get married. I was and still am the complete opposite of that. I want to explore the world and help people along the way and in many respects, feel like my potential and desire to conquer the world is never ending. I know no boundaries and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

My mum bought me a Clarisonic Mia for my birthday and that is the best thing I’ve ever used on my face! While it’s a bit expensive, it’s well worth every penny because it leaves your face clear and refreshed.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

I have to admit, I’m an online shopping gal! I buy mostly from English stores that deliver here, ASOS is one of my favorites and they just opened an American version of their site. I also love Dorothy Perkins, Monsoon, Top Shop, and H&M. I’m a walking advertisement for them (H&M). They really should hire me to model for them, I rock out their clothes like nobody’s business. 😉 Plus, they just started a plus line… there is no reason to not hire me now!

Celebrity Crush?

David Beckham!

What does being healthy mean to you?

I believe being healthy means feeling good in your own skin and being confident. For me, feeling good is a balance between getting all the nutrients I need as a vegetarian, working out about 3-4x a week, and treating myself to my favorite foods once or twice a week.  I don’t believe in diets because they are gimmicks to lose weight fast in an unhealthy manner. If you eat well, work out, and treat yourself occasionally, you’ll feel good on the inside, which shows on the outside.

I could never have enough…

Protein shakes and Indian cuisine! Being a vegetarian, I’ve always struggled getting enough protein, so protein shakes are a great way to get the daily protein I need and recover from my intense workouts.  Plus, they taste like dessert, and who doesn’t love that? And Indian cuisine has the most vegetarian options on a menu, all of which I love. I’m not a big fan of soy meats, I actually just prefer true vegetable dishes, which Indian and Thai restaurants have.

What do you love about NYC?

I love being around all the different cultures and having access to some of the best food in the world, except I haven’t found a place yet that has proper English Chips! I will say that New York City is the only place in the States that I felt like I fit in. Because the norm here is being YOU and not conforming to anything, I feel really comfortable here.

You also work at MTV. Tell us about working at MTV and who are you currently listening to?

I work in Integrated Marketing at MTV, where especially we integrate clients into our programming and/or build custom programs for them on-air, online, on-the-ground, and mobile. The best example of what we do is the MTV TJ Search, which was a custom program we built for ZYNC from American Express, and the winner was actually a beautiful plus gal, Gabi Gregg. I have to say, I’m really lucky to have a job that I love and am excited to go to each day. There are always celebrity sitings in our building and concerts on my floor – Graffiti6 was the most recent. I have the biggest crush on the lead singer, Jaime Scott, he’s delicious!

As far as what I’m currently listening to, I would say I’m listening to a lot of Graffiti6 and Ke$ha. I’ve also been listening to a lot of 90’s grunge/alternative music, like R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Oasis, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc. I was lucky enough to live in Seattle during the 90’s when these bands were up-and-coming and it was an incredible time to be there and be part of the movement.

Where would you love to see yourself in 10 years?

Married to David Beckham, living in London with our beautiful mixed children. That’s pretty realistic, right? 🙂  I would love to a successful plus model who is traveling the world, working with NGO’s to help people in developing countries, and be a visual and influential advocate for human/animal rights.

Thank you, Kamari!

Hot Topic: Body Image, Self-Esteem, and the Media by Liz Nord

Posted in Body Image, Confidence, Eating Disorders, Media, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by Liz

Source

Filippi Hamilton on the catwalk on the left and photoshopped on the right.

I read the recent Glamour magazine article, “Shocking Body-Image News: 97% of Women Will Be Cruel to Their Bodies Today” and it made me think of my daughters and all the young boys and girls, teens, and women who have or will struggle with self-esteem and body image issues at some point in their lives.

The Glamour magazine article said, “On average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily—nearly one for every waking hour. And a disturbing number of women confess to having 35, 50, or even 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day.” The article went on to say, “In a University of Central Florida study of three- to six-year-old girls, nearly half were already worried about being fat—and roughly a third said they wanted to change something about their body.”

These are very disturbing statistics. More than ever before, the body hatred epidemic is beginning at a younger age. How can we stop this? A few ways we can help break the cycle are by loving and accepting our bodies the way they are, setting a good example for our children by not talking negatively about our bodies, not buying into the false imagery the media is selling, giving kids the tools they need to build their self-esteem and confidence, and having conversations with our kids about the reality of the artificial images and messages they are exposed to. I also think we should have more diversity in the media. The recent rise of plus models have helped expand the idea of beauty and acceptance, but I wish those women were used alongside straight models with more regularity. I also hope to see more un-manipulated pictures of men and women of varying shapes, sizes, ethnicities, physical abilities, and ages, which includes people who are short, tall, plus, thin, and every woman in between. Is that too much to ask?

We live in a society where the media, magazines, and some celebrities are sending unhealthy unrealistic messages about the definition of beauty. We see pictures in magazines of unattainable beauty—it’s not attainable because it’s fake. Sometimes the models in the pictures are airbrushed and computer enhanced to the point of absurdity (as seen above). Women, girls, boys, and men are being sucked into illusionary expectations of beauty and the effects of that can be very damaging psychologically and physically. The effects of the unrelenting images and messages can lead to low self-esteem, body image issues, eating disorders, unhealthy living, and in some cases death. No, I’m not being overly dramatic.

According to the Department of Health, “It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men. Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight.” A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that, “5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years, and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover”. This is reality. Women and men are dying to be “beautiful”.

I recently heard Oprah interview Janet Jackson about her new book called, “True You”. Janet talks about going through a phase in her life when she hated her body so much that she would literally bang her head against the wall out of frustration. When Oprah asked when Janet thought her body hatred started, Janet said it started as a child. She said that her brothers would tease her, not realizing what a profound negative affect it was having on her psyche. She has struggled for years to recover. Everyone has their own potential trigger, whether it’s teasing from peers or family, images in magazines or shows, peer pressure, or a parent who spoke negatively about their own body in front of their kids or who didn’t treat their bodies with respect. Unfortunately, this is the story of many men and women both famous and not.

We should encourage and empower boys, girls, women, and men to break the cycle of negativity and self-hate and to love and embrace their bodies as they naturally are. It took me a long time, but once I decided to embrace my body as it is, my confidence has soared! I feel more empowered now and have such great respect for what my body is capable of doing.

With so many people struggling to love themselves, it makes me think something needs to radically change. How can we put a stop to this? Who defines beauty? What drives the media? How do you define beauty?

I define beauty as the inner light that shines through your eyes, smile, laugh, words, actions, and touch. The light that is lit by love, kindness, patience, joy, intelligence, hope, strength, a warm heart, and confidence in your unbound uniqueness.

Here is the Today Show interview with model Filippa Hamilton:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/33306968#33306968

Here is the full Glamour magazine article.

*I originally published this article on Secrets of Mom’s Who Dare To Tell All. If you would like to visit that site or subscribe to Secrets of Moms, go here. Thank you! Have a great day.

Amber Cather Gets Real About Acting, Body Image, Self-Esteem, Life, and the Guidelines for Plus & Straight Models.

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Movies, My Story, New York, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by Liz

Photographed by Amber’s mom, Bonnie Cather

Amber Cather has been a professional model and actress since she was nine years old. Amber has been featured on many TV shows such as, “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Guiding Light”, “Ed”, “Conan O’Brien”, and she guest starred on “Law & Order: SVU”.  Amber played the lead role in the movie, “Missy’s Revenge”, and supporting roles in “Fishers of Men” and “Duane Incarnate”. She has also been in Victoria’s Secret and Mederma Commercials. She currently lives in Blue Ridge, GA with her husband; three-year-old daughter, Natalie; and their cat, Shelby.

Photographed by Bradford Willcox

How did you get started in the modeling industry?

I started modeling when I was nine. I was always a huge ham, and I loved being in front of the camera and on stage. So, I told my mom I wanted to model. She took me to an agency in Atlanta called Kiddin’ Around. I got signed and started working.

Was going from a straight model to a plus model a hard transition for you?

I’m not going to lie; it was incredibly hard. In the beginning, a lot of photographers and other models made me feel lesser, like I wasn’t a real model any more. Then, I started traveling a lot and working more and it didn’t bother me as much. I was still doing what I loved and getting to see the world, so I was happy.

Please tell us more about your transition from a straight model to a plus model.

I switched to plus after I had gone home to Georgia to visit my mom for a while. When I went back to New York, I was heavier than when I had left. I was exhausted from trying to get the weight off and then some. It seemed like they were always asking me if I could lose more and more weight. I noticed that the plus-size girls had also gotten smaller. When I first started modeling, “straight” size models were around a size 6 and some of the “plus” size girls were around a size 18/20. I saw the plus girls and they looked like curvy, beautiful women. So, I thought to myself, it would be much easier just to eat a whole lot more and gain weight and probably more fun, so that’s what I did. I was able to get up to a small size 12, but that was actually with a lot of effort.

Photographed by Cressida Wilson

What does the term “plus” mean to you?

To me, it just means fuller figured models.

What are your feelings on the term “plus” model?

The term “plus” doesn’t bother me. I think it’s better than a lot of other words the industry could probably come up with!

Do you think models should be divided into straight and plus size categories?

I do think that straight size and plus size should be divided. There are two different audiences that are being marketed to, so I think it makes sense for them to be divided. I think beauty campaigns, however, should be open to straight-size and plus-size girls.

Is there a fine line between plus model and straight model body measurement requirements? When is a model “too small” to be a plus model or “too big” to be a straight model?

I think the guidelines for what is considered straight size and what is considered plus size are specific and non-specific at the same time. If you are larger than a size 4, you are a little too big to be straight size, and if you are smaller than a 10, you are a little too small to be plus size. However, if you are caught in this no man’s land, there are clients that don’t mind if you pad up to make yourself larger. So, potentially, you could be a size 6 or 8 and be a plus-size model. It’s not that common, but it happens. I’ve actually just now lost just a bit too much weight, and I am being put back into the straight category since I am now a size 4 again. It was a healthy and easy transition for me this time. I think because I didn’t lose weight for anybody else and I didn’t feel any pressure to do it. I just wanted to get healthy and in shape to be a role model for my daughter. My weight naturally dropped down to a 4.

Photographed by Blake Davenport

Not only are you an amazing model, you are also an actress. We would love to hear about your acting career. What do you enjoy about acting?

I started acting just a little bit after I started modeling. There was a nationwide search for a girl to play the part of Cybill Shepherd’s daughter on the sitcom, Cybill. I sent in a video audition through my agent. It finally came down to Katherine Heigl, Alicia Witt, and me. I flew out to LA to read for the executive producer, and while I was there, I got a manager for acting. While I lived in NY and was straight size, I did quite a bit of acting as well. I had a small day part on “Law & Order: SVU” and did a film called “Duane Incarnate”. I took a break from acting while I was fuller figured. I am now and have just recently started auditioning again. My next project is a role in a film called “Fishers of Men”. We film October 5. I’ve always really enjoyed acting…maybe even more than modeling. I like to talk a lot and love performing.

Have you ever struggled with body image or self-esteem issues? If so, what advice would you give to girls/women currently struggling?

Yes, I have. I had a thyroid tumor when I was seventeen, and had to have a total thyroidectomy. Before my surgery, I was naturally a very thin girl. A month after my surgery, I had gained 40 pounds. It was incredibly hard to deal with, especially at such a young age. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin at my new size, so I barely ate for a long time to get back down to a size 2-4 and continue working as a straight size model. The advice I would give girls that are struggling with body image and self-esteem issues is to try to embrace who you are. Everyone looks and feels their best when they are at their natural size and are healthy. I didn’t feel good when I was forcing myself to be too thin for me and I didn’t feel good on the opposite side of the spectrum when I was forcing myself to eat and be heavier to be able to get close to a full size plus model. I still struggle sometimes and the thing that grounds me the most is my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up hearing her mommy putting herself down because I don’t want Natalie to think that is ever acceptable.

Photographed by Amber’s friend and fellow plus model, Cressida Wilson

What is your definition of beauty?

My definition of beauty? That’s a hard question. Obviously, inner beauty shines the brightest. There are girls that are absolutely stunning on the outside, but if they have a bad attitude or mean disposition, it diminishes their beauty.

Do you think plus models are helping redefine beauty?

I think some plus models are helping redefine beauty. Again, I really think being healthy is the most important thing and that’s what I think is going to help redefine beauty the most. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing plus models that truly embodies what I think a woman should be, and I have had the misfortune of working with girls that are the complete opposite. As a whole, I think it’s good for women to have a wider variety of sizes of women to look at, as examples of what we consider beautiful.

Photographed by Blake Davenport

What does being healthy mean to you?

Being healthy to me means taking care of yourself in every way. Body, mind, and soul. I think it’s important to eat healthy, but not go crazy. I still eat what I want, and I think that’s important. Allowing ourselves some indulgences sometimes is healthy, too! Staying active is healthy. I recently started dancing again because it’s one of my first true loves, makes me happy, and is helping to keep me fit. Keeping your attitude and mind healthy is just as vital. Being kind, open, patient, and learning new things…that’s all-important to me, and I try my best to live that way. I fail sometimes, but I try! I’ve come to the realization, that for me, my healthiest size is a little on the small side for plus and a little on the large size for straight. So far, I’ve found that I’ve actually been working more, and I think it has to do with the fact that I feel better than I have in years and it shows in my work.

Where would you like to see the fashion and beauty industry in five years?

I would like to see the industry accept body types that are in between what is now straight size and plus size. I would also like to see some of the “straight-size” girls gain just a little weight, and some of the “plus-size” girls lose a little weight. Just my opinion…please don’t hate on me for it! I feel like in some editorials they exaggerate the thinness of girls for shock value and do the opposite with plus girls. It’s not beautiful to me.

Photographed by Tanja Tremel and Jasmin Arbes

What has been one of your most memorable modeling experiences?

One of my most memorable modeling experiences was probably my first runway show in NY when I was seventeen. It was so exciting!

What would be the perfect day with your family?

A perfect day with my family is when we take Natalie somewhere that she really enjoys and then have dinner in the evening, watch a movie together, and all go to bed. Pretty simple, but it’s my favorite.

What is one thing your daughter has taught you?

She has changed my life in a way that I think only mothers truly understand. She’s changed everything. The way I look at the world, in general, is entirely different now. Having her made me take a long, hard look at myself and realize there was a lot I wanted to change. She’s also taught me a lot of patience!

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment is anytime anyone meets Natalie.

How would you describe your style?

I am not a typical model at all! You won’t see me in some really cool outfit and amazing shoes with accessories that only a stylist would be able to come up with! My style is very simple. I like clothes that fit well, and that I think are pretty.

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

I must have an eyelash curler, mascara, tweezers for my eyebrows, blush, a barely tinted lip gloss, and Dove Sensitive Skin soap.

Photographed by Blake Davenport

What do you love about yourself and why?

I love the fact that I’m very real and open. Some people don’t like it I suppose, but I prefer that over a lot of the people who need to grow up. I try not to put on airs or a facade of what my life is or has been. What you see with me is pretty much what you get…mostly.

Who do you consider a role model or hero?

My mom and my sister. My mom because she has been through a lot and is an incredibly strong woman, even if she doesn’t realize it. My sister because she is simply amazing. She is always in a good mood, she is smart, she’s an incredible mother and friend, and she’s funny. She’s just inspiring.

Do you have a hidden talent or something we would be surprised to learn about you?

I love math and word games. I love all games, actually. My husband and I have even gone to some cornhole tournaments. Haha! It’s a crazy fun game! My best games are probably spades, ping-pong, and Nintendo 64’s 007. I almost forgot–I’m freakishly good at grab machine games. I have cleaned several out before and had them turned off on me. So, every time I see one, I have to play. I’m obsessed. Ha ha!

Bridal Guide Magazine

If you had one wish, what would it be?

I would wish to be content. It always feels like I’m working towards something else and/or for better all the time. I would love to know how it feels to just be and be okay with that.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about my life! I’m excited about how my career is going. I’m excited to see my daughter grow up. I’m always excited!

*Thank you, Amber!

** You can learn more about Amber at http://ambercatherinc.com/.

Danielle van Grondelle Shares Positive Body Image & Self-Esteem Advice. She Also Talks About Redefining Beauty, Her Favorite Designers, Her Beauty Must Haves & More!

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Recipes & Food, Self-Esteem, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by Liz

Danielle van Grondelle is a plus-size model who grew up in Rotterdam, Netherland. Danielle’s mother agency is Ego’s Models in Amsterdam. Brigitte Models, Munich, Model Management UK in London, and 12 plus UK in London also represent her. She still lives in Rotterdam close to all of her friends and family. Danielle loves her job, and whenever she has time off, she spends it with the people she loves.

How did you start your career as a plus model?

I was scouted on the street in Amsterdam when I was fourteen years old. Ever since I was fifteen years old, I tried to be a straight-size model, but I was never skinny enough. Even when I was really small, my hips where always too wide. So, I tried every diet there was, but I couldn’t get down to the size they needed me to be. Whenever I booked a job, I was always afraid that I wasn’t going to fit into the sample clothes. After a couple of years, they decided to put me on the “special” board, and I had an odd job here and there. Then I did a job for a magazine with stylist Edith Dohmen. She told me that I would be perfect as a plus-size model. I had no idea what a plus-size model was, so at first I didn’t do anything about it. After finishing school, I had a dream to contact a plus-size agency. After I did, I had a meeting with Ego’s Models and was signed right away. After six months, I quit my designing job to model full-time. That was five years ago, and I absolutely love my job!

Who are some of the clients you have worked with?

I’ve worked with so many wonderful clients. Here are some examples: Avantgarde magazine, BY s’oliver, Evans, Ulla Popken, Marina Rinaldi, Chic magazine, Grazia magazine, Veto jeans, Freundin magazine, Burda magazine, Neckermann, Otto, Happysize, and many more.

What do you love most about modeling?

I love being creative and making a beautiful product in the end. I love traveling and meeting new creative people every day. What I love the most is that I can show the world that plus-size modeling is beautiful, and that I can be a role model for young girls.

Do you think that plus modeling is helping redefine beauty?

I think it is! A woman’s body is lovely in its natural form. If you are naturally curvy, then that’s gorgeous. If you are naturally skinny, then that is also beautiful. The thing I don’t like is when woman are trying to be something they are not. Starving yourself is never beautiful; you can see the lack of nutrition in a woman’s hair and skin. I think that with plus-size modeling, we show the world that curvy is gorgeous and that you don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful.


Have you ever struggled with self-esteem?

No, I have never had a low self-esteem. I think that’s because of my upbringing. My parents always let me know I was beautiful inside and out. I was always very confident in my own skin, whatever size I was.

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

Every body is beautiful; don’t be your own worst critic. Try to focus on the positives, and surround yourself with positive people. And, the most important thing is to love yourself.

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

I am a true clothing junkie. I think a woman can never have too many clothes, shoes, and bags. I love to have expensive key items, like a nice bag, belt or shoes. I love Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Chanel, Betsey Johnson, and D&G; but I love to mix those pieces with vintage. I love belted vintage dresses! I shop a lot at H&M, Topshop, ASOS, and River Island. I love how they translate the looks from the catwalks to the streets. I also love wearing statement jewelry; I make a lot of my earrings myself.

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

I love Clinique 3-Step Skin Care program, and I love Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair and DayWear. Whenever I work a lot, my eyes get sensitive. I found a very good eye makeup remover that’s so soft: Chanel Precision Demaquillant Yeux Intense. I am addicted to lip gloss and lip balm, I love Labello Fruity Shine, and I love Guerlain Terracotta lip gloss.

What does being healthy mean to you?

I am not a big health freak, but I like to be comfortable in my own skin. I drink a lot of water, and I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. I have periods where I am very healthy…so during those times I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and steamed fish or lean meat. But, I also have periods were I like to eat whatever I want, and I can now because I need to stay curvy. I think it’s about the balance between the two. Be healthy, but being happy is even more important.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I love that beauty is so many different things to different people. I think if you are beautiful on the inside, it shows on the outside.

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

I used to be a synchronized swimmer, so I love to swim. I love to shop, so walking around from shop to shop is one of my favorite workouts. Also, I have an exercise machine I use in front of the TV.

What do you love about yourself?

I love that I am very loyal to my friends and family. I am always there whenever the people I love need me.

What are you excited about right now?

My long time goal is to live my life with all the people I love around me! I want to stay healthy and be a positive role model. I am looking to buy my very first home now, so it’s a very exciting time.

One thing I’ve learned is…

The sky is the limit…That is my mom’s motto in life and now my own as well.

*Thank you, Danielle!

**What is your favorite skin care line? How do you define beauty? What is one of the most important life lessons you have learned so far?

Model and Actress Celina Lorenz Talks About Her Definition of Confidence; Feeling Beautiful, Smart, and Sexy on Your Own Terms; and Much More!

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Inspiration, Lane Bryant, Movies, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Unique Beauty, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by Liz

      

Photographed by Patrice Casanova      

Celina Lorenz has graced the pages of Elle, InStyle, Glamour, Figure, Prevention, and Plus Model Magazine. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, The View, Fox News, The Queen Latifah show, and broadcasted nationally, via satellite, to local TV stations showing plus-size clothing. Celina has traveled the country and the world for her long and steady career. She looks forward to continuing to be a representative of fuller figure women and reshaping the standard of beauty. Here she is…      

      

Photographed by Stanley Debas      

Please tell us about your first modeling job with Emme on the Oprah Winfrey show.      

That was my very first job! I was very “green,” and I literally was star struck when I met Oprah! I spent two days at Harpo Studios preparing for her show about beauty “in all sizes.” Emme and Christine Alt were the guests. My first thought about Ms.Winfrey was, “Wow, she’s a lot shorter in real life!” lol. It really was surreal to be there, in the Green Room and in the dressing room. I think Oprah does a lot of good things with her show, and she certainly does that for the fuller figured woman. She was super nice and very down to earth. Meeting her was amazing!      

What was that experience like for you?      

As I said, it was surreal. From a modeling perspective, it was a great “first job,” because I did have some hesitation when I first started modeling. For instance, would I be able to make a living, etc. Being that this was my first booking and on such a global scale, I think the appearance helped give me the confidence I needed to continue pursuing this as a career. But, don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of drive and determination.      

Eventually, when I moved to NYC, I remember saying to myself, “Quitting is NOT an option.” Like any model, rejection is all part of the job. Whether you are a plus-size model or straight size, you become so in tune to “your look” as we are constantly picked apart by photographers, make-up and hair stylists, art directors, and the clients themselves. If you don’t have a thick skin, or some sort of healthy coping method for this kind of continuous scrutiny (whether you are on set, at a show, or at a casting), you risk letting it get into your head and get you down. Women who are not models may do this as well, with all this nonsense in the media these days, so it’s my belief that we professional, working models really have to remember to have perspective on the scrutiny we face on a daily basis.       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

Please tell us about your experience as a television hostess and other TV appearances such as Comedy Central and the Chappelle Show.      

Working on the Chappelle Show was great fun! I’ll point out that they weren’t looking for a “plus-sized model”; they were looking for the blonde “bombshell” type to play off of Paul Mooney’s character. It was really cool that Mr. Chappelle, Paul Mooney, and the producers totally saw me as THAT: as a sexy, beautiful model, not a sexy beautiful “plus-sized model.” That rarely happens. The “sexy” part is usually cast with a straight size model, but not this time. They didn’t see me as a size 12 model who was sexy; they just saw a beautiful woman. In casting me alongside the other model, who happened to be straight size, they sent the message that it didn’t matter our size. A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman. I love that.      

How did you transition from modeling to TV?      

As far as the “transition” from film to television, I haven’t crossed over entirely. I’ve worked on other Comedy Central shows, filmed pilots, etc., but my main work is fashion. If anyone needs a spokesperson for a clothing line or anything of that sort…let me know!;-)       

How has the plus-size modeling industry changed over the last decade?      

Great question! When I started, there was nowhere near the emphasis on “beauty in all sizes.” It seems like it has really taken off in the last several years, and I’m amazed at the positive feedback we get. The irony is that the “plus models” typically (and on the average), don’t wear plus sizes in our everyday lives, but that doesn’t matter to me as much. What matters is that we are seen–with our curves! If you look back at Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe, all those voluptuous starlets from decades ago, they were incredibly vivacious, curvaceous, sensual, and so feminine! Honestly, it’s my experience that men love curves. Now, I’m not saying that curves are better than “no curves,” but that the media should stop sending the message that you have to be “thin” to be pretty. It’s just so old already! I don’t even think like that anymore. When I look in the mirror, (and this is the God’s honest truth) I don’t look in the mirror and think, “I’d be prettier if I got down to a size 6.” My mind doesn’t even enter that realm, as it may have years ago. I am, who I am. I try to stay fit, and I take care of myself. I love dining out, drinking good wine, and enjoying life’s pleasures too much to deprive myself. I have no problem being a “renaissance woman” and not missing out on life.       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

Has plus-size modeling become more or less competitive, more or less accepted in the industry, more or less ageist, racist, etc?      

Let me say, that I don’t think that being a plus-sized model condones an unhealthy lifestyle. To me, it’s more about being beautiful in your own skin, rather than blindly following what the media wants you to. The plus-sized movement definitely has become more accepted in the industry! Being that I’ve been working for quite awhile, I see the “togetherness” that “plus girls” have with the “straight girls.” It’s my experience, and others may disagree, that when we are all working together, or at a casting together, there is no “separation” between the plus girls and the straight girls. I’ve never had an experience where I felt that there is an ‘”us” and a “them.” We are all women, from all over the country, enduring the same crazy career that we all chose, and we are all in this together. Sometimes we even have the same clients, so I see that we are all lumped in together. As far as plus models are concerned, we are working hard just as the straight girls are. I have quite a few straight size model friends, and there is no differentiation in their mind. We are all out there traveling, working, and making’ it happen. In fact, they are all supportive of us! One of my girlfriends’ friends was asking her about her “plus-size model friend” (me) and asked if that gives me the freedom to just “let it go” and eat whatever I want. My friend said, “Heck no! She brings her rear to the gym, just like the rest of us!” That is so true!      

How do you think plus modeling is helping to redefine beauty?      

Just being “out there” in the media. I remember what it was like to be taller and bigger than everyone else was in Junior High. Thankfully, I came from a really supportive family and they never made me feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t suffer from “low self-esteem.” I just had the usual feelings girls get in those pre-teen years. But, had I seen and been exposed to seeing the plus-sized models (as in a size 8-16 model) out there today, I think that really would have helped in terms of seeing an additional standard of beauty. There is a lot farther to go though.      

I think that the “sizeism” that we see in the media and the attention that female celebrities receive when they gain or lose weight is not perpetuated just by the media now. Women themselves perpetuate this by not supporting other women when they don’t look like the “standard” that is seen on TV and in magazines. Often, when a beautiful woman walks into a room, and everyone stops and looks at her, I’ve seen women be the first people to criticize her or measure her up to the “standard of beauty” we see in the media. It’s tiring really. I literally get knots in my back just thinking of how other women can be worse than the media itself when it comes to assessing a woman’s beauty. And, of course, everyone knows that the people who criticize others are just insecure and have their own issues they need to deal with on their own. Just saying. 😉       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues in the past?      

 As I said earlier, when I was a kid, I was literally taller than my teachers were. The thing I hated most was not being able to wear all the cute clothes my friends were wearing back in junior high! At that age, that is considered social suicide! Ha ha! But, my “body image issues” weren’t any more than any other girl at that age. What I’ve learned since then; having carved out a career in this field, and having been privy to hearing women’s personal body-image stories; is that ALL women have them. It’s not just the “big” girls or the “flat-chested” girls. It’s all girls. And, the girls who outwardly fit the mold of the “standard” of beauty are just as critical of themselves too! Body image issues are not just for the “plus-sized” woman. Women of ALL sizes and shapes experience these issues, but perhaps it’s the “plus-size” industry that gets all the heat, because it is the most vocal, and at the forefront of changing the way women look at themselves. I’ve had very slim women give me serious props for doing what we do, and have been told how awesome they think our work is. The “plight of the plus model” resonates with regular, everyday women. I just love that, and I have no problem being a representative of a movement that is all about being who you are, being healthy, and making a statement that says beauty is not one type and certainly not what an ad agency has concocted for you. The strong, often demeaning images that we see in ads, online, or on TV, don’t discriminate in terms of who they are sending their messages to. If you can read or look at a picture, you can get the message loud and clear; that beauty is considered “thin.” That’s not the case. I’m not “thin,” and I think I’m pretty. So there!      

Also, be smart enough and media-savvy enough to take it for what it’s worth, and not let a bunch of people in suits, who are in a boardroom, tell you how you should feel about yourself. Just say, “To hell with them.” And, if someone has a problem with you and calls you fat, skinny, short, ugly, etc…they aren’t worth your time anyway, and well, they are just a negative person who needs to get a life, if you ask me!      

How did you reach the point of accepting and loving your body as it is?      

Through realizing that I can be just as beautiful and sexy on my terms because that is what is most important to me. I know how I want to look, so I try my hardest to be that because that is most comfortable for me. How did I get there? I have self-esteem and a sense of humor. I think that is where it all starts. When you don’t think much of yourself that affects your life in every aspect, not just your body image.      

       

      

Photographed by Jessica Lavoie      

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

Wow. That’s a tough question because the answer varies from woman to woman. I don’t think there is a set equation to having self-esteem. But, to start, and something that is universal, (and I tread lightly here because I’ve been in beauty magazines, but here goes)…don’t buy beauty magazines that don’t represent you in them. Until certain magazines start putting models in the editorials and until the companies start making sample sizes bigger than 4-6; so that larger models can be featured alongside the tiny ones; they really aren’t that beneficial to a young woman’s psyche when she is flipping through the pages. Especially a young woman who doesn’t understand that this is marketing — all so she will buy a product. Until beauty magazines start consistently using plus models, or models with a variety of body types (who will fit the samples for the shoot), spend your money on magazines and products that do.       

Also, let’s start taking the emphasis off how we women look all the time. What about our talents, our brains, and our achievements? If we could encourage the young women in our families to develop their talents, their skills, and their brains, instead of commenting and/or focusing on their looks, I think that would make a difference. If this “beauty obsession” is perpetuating itself, then we should try to perpetuate within our own circles, the notion that we, women and girls, are so much more than how we look. Let’s give positive reinforcement for talents, skills, good grades, etc. Perhaps if young women saw, in their own lives, that as much praise was given to girls that achieve things rather than “hotness” then they can relax and not feel so much pressure. Also, get the word out that the girls in all those magazines are airbrushed. Even they don’t look like that. Models are paid to look beautiful. But, the make-up artists, stylists, hair stylists, and photographers are paid to make us look beautiful. It takes a village, people! lol. Also, for the teen girls out there, don’t allow your self-image to be defined by guys in your school or other girls. Don’t listen to them. I know it’s hard, but the sooner you stop allowing others to give you your self-worth, the sooner you are empowered. Okay?        

      

Photographed by Patrice Casanova      

Where do you like to shop for clothes?      

I love J.Crew for everyday type stuff. They have timeless pieces that you can make your own with accessories. Also, the sale rack at Saks and Barney’s is great. Bluefly.com is a great website for designer pieces that have been marked-down, and I shop for hard to find vintagey stuff online. If I get inspired, I’ll just Google whatever it is that I’m looking for and find it online. I’m a big fan of DKNY and I admit, I’m obsessed with Herve Leger dresses.       

What are your beauty must haves?      

Sunscreen! Seriously, I don’t leave home without it. I also wear sunglasses even on rainy days, as the added SPF in the lenses will protect me from getting wrinkles. Also, sleep!      

What are you excited about right now?       

I am very excited about photographer Jessica Lavoie. She is based in NY, and she is a model herself, so she already understands it. She gets what it’s like to be in front of the camera, and she knows how to photograph a fuller figure. It was evident to me, when I tested with her, that her career as a model has taught her how to capture someone’s best features. It’s comforting to know, when you are shooting, that the person behind the camera has an understanding of what it takes to make you look your best. Also, I like that Glamour magazine shot a cover with a plus girl, (Crystal Renn), Alessandra Ambrosio, and Brooklyn Decker. That is a statement. Thank you, Glamour magazine! Oh, and also, thank you Heidi Pratt for being such a wonderful role model to young women, and displaying such a great amount of self-love, by not giving in to silly industry standards of beauty–NOT!!! Lol.      

      

Luas Jones Photography      

      

What does being confident mean to you?      

For everyone, feeling confident means different things. For me, confidence comes from the inside. I’ve felt more confident after a strong run than I have all dressed up just looking good. For me, it’s not about how I look, it’s how I feel. I’ve been a long distance runner for years now. I took a couple of years off a while back, but I’ve always come back to it. When I first moved to NYC and had no money, no gym membership, and was an “aspiring” model, I would run in Central Park. After a while, I’d go farther and farther; soon, I’d run the whole six miles. Then I started to run around it twice. When I am finished with a fast six miler or a strong fourteen miler, nothing defines that moment more for me than feeling confident. It’s my own way of saying to myself, “I’m healthy, and I’m strong.” Also, and I’ve said this before; let’s not underestimate the power of great posture, natural warmth, graciousness, and a beautiful smile. Seriously, if you could bottle that, let me know, because you could make millions for what that does for a woman, in terms of looking and feeling confident.       

Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?      

As my late grandfather used to say, “Don’t let the bastards get ya down.” I think that pretty much sums it up. Be true to yourself, be healthy, and tell anyone who tries to steal your sunshine or says that you are only pretty if you are “this” or “that” to take a hike. 😉      

* Thank you, Celina!   

**You can learn more about Celina at http://www.celinalorenz.com

***How do you help yourself develop a positive self-esteem and body image? What does being confident mean to you? We would love to hear your comments and questions.