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Australian Model Fiona Falkiner Says, “If you put your mind to it–anything is possible!”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Celebrity, Confidence, Designers, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Funny Experiences, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Movies, My Story, Photographers, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by Liz

Here is the beautiful Fiona…

I grew up in a small country town in Victoria near the coast called Birregurra. After school, I went to university where I studied to earn a BA International Studies. But, my passion was always to become a makeup-artist, and I am currently undertaking a makeup course in Sydney, which I am loving. In 2006, I was a contestant on The Biggest Loser. After the show, I started modeling and since signing with Bella Model Management over a year ago, I have been working as a plus-size model and studying.

How did you start your career as a model?

I met an agent whilst in the Biggest Loser house who told me I would make a great model. When I came off the show, I was told I was too big to be a regular model and too small to be a plus model as I was a size AUS 10/12.

In one word, how would you describe your agency, Bella Model Management?

Superb!!!

Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share with us?

I am very allergic to cats and on a shoot recently I started sneezing and my eyes turned red and itchy, I was sure there was a cat in the house so the whole crew were searching the house for a cat, when the makeup artist realized that the blanket she was wrapping me in after each shot was the rug her cat slept on.

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

I grew up always being bigger than other girls my age; I really struggled with my body image all through my teens and early 20s. I guess being a contestant on a weight loss show demonstrates how much my size bothered me. On the series, I went from a size AUS 18/20 to AUS 10/12 but within six months I had put a lot of the weight back on.

It has taken many years, but I can say that the life I lead now is all about balance, and I know within myself that if I am being healthy, I will be happy, and it has nothing to do with what it says on the scales and when you let that go and love the skin you are in–your life will turn around. I am a healthy size AUS 14/16 now am at peace with my body and love my curves.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty comes from within, looks are superficial and will fade, but true beauty lasts forever as it shines from within.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Believe in yourself and pursue your dreams. If you are doing something you’re passionate about, you’re much more likely to be successful than doing something you’re not interested in.

How do you stay fit? Do you have a favorite workout?

I have done pretty much every workout in the world. These days I prefer not to work out in a gym as I like the outdoors and I live close to one of the most amazing walks and beaches in the world, Bondi

Beach. So, in summer I do the Bondi to Bronte walk 4 or 5 times a week. It takes an hour door to door and has lots of stairs and stations where you can do little exercises along the way. I also love swimming, netball, and tennis. In winter, back at the gym my favorite class is spin class thanks to Bob Harper!

What is your go-to outfit?

LBD, Killer Heels, and red lips.

Favorite pair of jeans?

I have a pair of Embody Jeans, which are amazing and I get compliments every time I wear them, they are designed by fellow plus-size model Natalie Wakeling so the sizing is amazing as she gets the curves.

Who is your style icon?

Marilyn Monroe, my Idol!

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

I am a bit old school. I love the old classics Marilyn and also Sophia Loren.

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

A really good moisturizer is essential. I get very dry skin and moisturize at least twice a day.

Can you share one of your beauty tips with us?

Drink lots and lots of water for a clear complexion, and I rub rosehip oil around my eyes before bed every night to help fight the wrinkles.

What is one thing that may surprise us about you?

I have a learning disability and can only retain a small amount of information that is spoken to me at any one time…makes life tricky!

If you could go back and talk to yourself at the age of 13, what would you say?

Stop being so critical of yourself, you have the whole world ahead of you, and you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Don’t let self-doubt cloud the way!

What do you love about yourself and why?

My easygoing nature; I get along with pretty much everyone and anyone.

What do you love about yourself and why?

My easygoing nature; I get along with pretty much everyone and anyone.

Favorite movie?

It would be a toss up between Gone With The Wind and Pretty Woman.

Favorite book?

I love anything by Wilbur Smith and Bryce Courtenay; love the epics!

What is your signature scent?

Miracle by Lancôme. I have been wearing it since I was 16.

If you could hop on an airplane and go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

A tropical Island where Gerard Butler would be waiting with open arms and a cocktail!

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My Uncle, John Falkiner. He has lived his whole life doing what he loves and loving life. He is a Mountain Climber Adventurer who lives in Switzerland and he let nothing come between him and the lifestyle he loves.

What are you excited about right now?

I am looking at heading to New York in the not too distant future, to pursue modeling and makeup. It will be a fun new adventure! Interesting to see if I can crack the US market! My dreams are in five years time to be published in Vogue as either a model or a makeup artist–either way big dreams. If you put your mind to it–anything is possible!

*Thank you, Fiona!

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Tara Laughton Says, “Be around positive like-minded people, and do things that you love and make you happy. Don’t try to change yourself for others or what is presented to you as beautiful by the media. Bask in your own difference—it’s what makes you, you.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Food, Hobbies, Inspiration, Media, Models, Music, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2011 by Liz

I’m Tara Laughton. I love being a model with all the dressing up, makeup, and being in front of the camera.  I’m signed with Bella Model Management, Click Model Management, Okay Models Hamburg, and UK Model Management.   Some of my clients include, Cosmo, David Jones, Myer, Australian Womens Weekly Magazine, TVSN (Television Shopping Network), Bild der Frau, Maggie T, Ezibuy, Sara, and Prima Magazine.  I love summer, warm weather and sand, making bracelets, being with friends, enjoying great food, and I loooove to see a great movie.

Please tell us where you are from, and how you got started in the modeling business. 

I’m from Sydney, Australia.  I first went to a modeling agency when I was twelve as I stopped growing at eleven and was super tall.  However, I didn’t start modelling until I was seventeen. I met someone who knew an agency owner and was happy to take me in to see them.  I started working straight away.  However, I worked for a few years but then had trouble keeping my weight down.  So, I kept involved in the industry organizing parades, dressing models, and styling.  I’d often kept trying to diet, which disheartened me. It’s frustrating in hindsight that I kept trying to change myself.  So, I had someone mention that a plus model agency had started and Chelsea was the person to call.  My first job was David Jones Catalogue.  And I haven’t looked back it’s been a great journey!

Please tell us about the Model Mentor Program.

It’s about educating young girls about the modeling industry, teaching them what is expected of them as a model on jobs, and teaching them to treat themselves as a professional within it.  If you prepare and present yourself as a professional, people love that.  And also, about getting girls to nurture themselves in a positive way, to accept themselves as they are, and believe in themselves because within the industry there can be a lot of rejection and you need to prepare yourself for that.  I also have a course for girls who may not become models, but want to know all about how to learn tricks for taking great photos, how to walk like they’re on a catwalk, and to also get them to learn about themselves in a positive way and to accept who they are as they are to be more confident in their world.  Just wanting to spread the positive body image to all young people, how to be a lady, and present yourself well. 

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

I have struggled with my weight. It was really hard when I couldn’t keep my weight down for so called “straight sized” modelling, and I always got told you need to lose weight you’ll never be able to model unless you’re smaller.  So it’s a real blessing to be able to model for plus size, be accepted to do so, and to show women a different shape and size that they might identify with and just see the energy of the photo.  I hope they see my happiness, find their happiness and love, and accept who they are as themselves!  It’s taken me a while to accept myself at different weights and to just be happy no matter what!  I think the trick is kindness to oneself.  Do what you love–it will make you glow with confidence and positivity.  It’s always an evolving process of accepting and loving yourself the same with life always evolving, changing, and learning more.

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

Talk to other supportive women and friends or seek professional help!  Always remember you are beautiful just as you are!!! Be around positive like-minded people, and do things that you love and make you happy.  Don’t try to change yourself for others or what is presented to you as beautiful by the media. Bask in your own difference—it’s what makes you, you.

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

I love that I’ve been able to travel overseas. I get such an excited giddy feeling when about to get on an overseas flight traveling to New York, Hamburg, & London and to work there has been such a gift.

Who do you consider a role model or hero?  Why

All women. We all have a story, and I love hearing and asking questions about people’s lives.  But as far as women I’ve seen in images, I love Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Marie Cotillard, and Crystall Renn.

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

I like girly feminine skirts and dresses–nothing too short on me!  So I like to shop for vintage dresses from the 50’s, Country Road, and I like some Ralph Lauren dresses. I basically see what I like, and I’m not too fussy on the designers.  But I also love some jeans, little flats with a white singlet, add bright accessories, a great handbag, and sunglasses.

Do you have a favorite workout routine?  

I love the x-trainer at the gym, but I really like to do some exercise every day. It’s good for your mind and helps you sleep well.  So, I do cardio and weights most days of the week.  And if I get sick of the gym, it’s always great to get outside and walk or swim at the beach more especially in Summer.

Who do you consider a role model or hero?  Why

All women. We all have a story, and I love hearing and asking questions about people’s lives.  But as far as women I’ve seen in images, I love Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Marie Cotillard, and Crystall Renn.

What is your go-to outfit?

Either a great dress and heels or white singlet and jeans!

What are your beauty must haves? 

Moisturise, moisture–mist some paw paw ointment on my lips, and I love those makeup wipes so quick and easy when you’re in a hurry!

Lipstick or Lipgloss?

Gloss, but I love red lipstick!  I have a Chanel compact that has red in four textures, gloss, matte, metallic, and moisturizing lipstick!

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

Toe nail polish–the lovely colours so uplifting for my mind on my toes. I love Klorane dry shampoo–extends the life of a great blow dry and texturizes the hair when trying to make lush beach wavy hair!

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

The confidence I have now to speak up for myself and that everything would be ok.  I worried a lot.

What is your signature scent?

Philosykos by Diyptique and Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder.

What would your perfect day be like?

I love to go to the gym early to wake myself up. A nice omelette for breakfast.  Get myself ready. I love that getting ready part–doing your hair and makeup, and you just know what you want to wear and you feel good. Then go out with girlfriends for lunch and hear what they’re up too. Perhaps some time at the beach.  I really love a good movie too.


What is your favorite meal? 

Hmm. That’s hard. It could be a lush steak and salad or another day I feel like ice cream… I love macaroons and pear jelly belly beans! I have a sweet tooth.  But, I like the way more whole food make me feel and how good it is for you.

What is a fun fact about you? 

I think I’m pretty good and being silly in a fun way–just not taking myself to seriously, but maybe that’s not so much a fun fact!  Just check out this… my favourite song  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxzN5hB0Kqk

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

All the horse riding I did. I just love horses. They are so beautiful.

For those of us who haven’t traveled to Australia, please tell us a little about your homeland.

I guess it’s a pretty relaxed way of life. Everyone loves the beaches, coastal life of surf and sand, and then when you head into the centre of Australia—its vast dry red dirt and the magnificent Uluru and Northern Territory has such amazing wildlife. I spent some time camping there.  There’s a lot to experience here. Seeing Sydney Harbour is so amazing when you come home from overseas.  But I so want to travel back overseas to Europe and America. It’s always amazing seeing what you don’t have at home and experiencing new cultures and ways of life… all the diversity.

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I love my smile and eyes. They are what I most notice in other people to see how they’re feeling.  I’ve also been told that my laugh is pretty funny and memorable!
“I don’t diet. I don’t believe in it.”

Are there any special projects that you are involved with that you would like us to tell the readers about? 

I’m about to be the face of a fabulous product and that’s all I can say about that!  I’ve also been making some gorgeous bracelets made of semi-precious materials, silver, and glass with cute charms and medals, which I love making. I’ve included kids’ bracelets and hair clips. I’ve been selling them to local markets and people in New York and London purchased some. I’ve called it Ladybird T you can find it on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Ladybird-T/153538161328739.

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!

International Model Bree Warren Says, “Everyone has those moments of self-doubt and times you wish you could wave a magic wand but at the end of the day, you need to have faith in yourself.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Shopping, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Liz

Bree Warren grew up in Brisbane, Australia. She is a newcomer on the international modeling scene after spending three years studying Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Journalism before taking up modeling full-time in late 2010. Bree is currently signed with Wilhelmina NYC, Brigitte Models Germany, Hughes Models London, Dallys Models Brisbane, and BGM in Sydney. She comes from a really sporty family and has grown up playing loads of different sports. After high school at age 18, she traveled the world on a gap year visiting twenty different countries and has even spent time surfing in Canary Islands, Hawaii, and Bali. Bree wants to encourage young women to have confidence in themselves.

Please tell us how you started your career as a model. Was modeling something that you always wanted to pursue and why?

I was approached when I was shopping in Brisbane and a few days later, I signed with Dallys. At the time, I was at a university and working part-time for a TV station, so it started off as a side project. In July 2010, I decided I wanted to try modeling full-time so I booked a flight to NYC and signed with Wilhelmina. It has all gone on from there.

Obviously I knew about modeling, and I have always loved fashion but I wouldn’t say it’s something that I had always wanted to do. I was given a couple of agency cards when I was a teenager but I was really busy with school and sports so I never did anything about it.

What does the term ‘plus’ model mean to you? Do you think of term “Plus” as offensive?

Modeling (like any industry) has different roles and requirements, ‘plus’ is just one of those. The term doesn’t faze me at all. Models can be plus, straight, editorial, runway, commercial, or catalogue and it’s all part of the job. There’s a really big range in shapes and sizes even for plus models so if anything it keeps the fashion industry interesting. I don’t really think it should be thought of as one vs. the other. Curves or no curves – there is definitely room for both!

What do you enjoy most about modeling?

Every time you work, it’s totally different. I like the travel, variety, and fast pace of it all.

In terms of your career, where would you love to see yourself in 5 years? Who would you LOVE to work with and why?

I would love to say I’m someone who has everything planned out and organized…but I’m so not. I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself so I’m just taking the opportunities and doing the best I can. Hopefully, I will be working with some big names and travelling to beautiful places.

Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share with us?

I once wore a dress made out of chocolate by couture designer Richard De Chazal. It was quite funny because it was a hot day and the bodice kept melting in the sun during the press conference.

Is there one person you have met in this industry that has had a positive impact on your life in a big way?

I don’t think there is any one person but the industry has so many creative and engaging people who have a lot to offer. I almost take something different away from each person I meet.

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

Ha ha. I wouldn’t call it a ‘favourite’ but I try to fit in the gym whenever I can. Unfortunately, most of the fun outdoor workouts don’t go so well with the London winter.

What has been the piece of advice you have ever been given?

Be confident with who you are, work with what you have, and most of all be a nice person.

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?

Everyone has those moments of self-doubt and times you wish you could wave a magic wand but at the end of the day, you need to have faith in yourself. Sometimes life can be a little suffocating so work out what your strengths are and use them. Don’t waste time with the rest.

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?

This is hard because the pressures really vary from girl to girl. I think the key is to stay positive and levelheaded about everything in your life. Negativity only attracts more negativity.

Who taught you about real beauty?

My mum. She is so bubbly and always looks amazing despite having one of the most basic beauty regimes I have ever seen. You don’t need all the extras to be beautiful.

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

Don’t wish your life away. Enjoy the age you’re at! Oh and look after your teeth.

Were you ever made fun of or teased as a child?

Of course, there is always the odd joke at your expense but nothing major no. To be honest, I managed to steer pretty clear of all that. I have always been taught to rise above it and treat people how you would like to be treated.   

What is a fun fact about you?

I’ve been mistaken for Nadine Coyle (from Girls Aloud) in London but it doesn’t last long because my accent totally gives it away.

What do you love about living in London?

It is so much fun! There is always so much to do. Sometimes I actually get a bit worried because I don’t want to miss out on anything.

On a day off, how would your perfect day be spent in London?

Brunch at Borough Markets, shopping at Portobello road, and a night out with all my friends anywhere with a good view.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

‘Melon Mania’ Luminous Lip Veils by Napoleon Perdis

My beauty essentials are…

Benefit Posie Cheek tint, Dior Show Mascara, and Tigi Rockaholic Dry Shampoo.

What is your go-to outfit?

Flowy top, skinny jeans, colourful scarf, and blazer or leather jacket.

What are your favorite pair of jeans?

Bettina Liano

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

New York and London are amazing but sometimes I find the best items in very odd places so my eyes are always peeled. Actually, I’m pretty sure I could find something to buy anywhere. It’s a little bit of a problem!

How would you describe your style?

It goes from one extreme to the other. I don’t think your wardrobe should have rules. I am just as happy at charity shops and flea markets as I am in Marc Jacobs. I am generally pretty casual but I dress it up with chunky jewelry or heels.

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

It’s geeky but I visit the news websites all the time. I like to know what’s going on and it keeps me sane. Style wise I would say Fashiongonerogue.com and Style.com are my favourites. Aside from that, I am on You Tube way too much.

What are you listening to right now?

Passion Pit, Band of Horses, and I have been playing Rolling in the deep by Adele a ridiculous amount of times lately.

What does being healthy mean to you?

Finding the balance between eating well, exercise, and a fun social life.

What makes you uniquely beautiful? What do you love about yourself and why?

I am a pretty happy, easy-going person, and nothing really stresses me out.

In my purse you would find…

A really big mess. I keep bits and pieces of everything. It works well for me but other people might think it’s a bit of a disaster.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Definitely family holidays. My dad has this thing about going to different beaches wherever we are in the world. I have probably been to every single beach on the East Coast of Australia at least once.

What are you excited about right now?

Working in Sydney for a couple of weeks, a holiday in Byron Bay with a big bunch of friends, and finding a new apartment in London!

*Thank you, Bree.

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

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

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

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

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

What advice do you have for aspiring models?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your go-to outfit?

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

Where do you love to shop?

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

Favorite beauty products and must-haves?

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

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

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

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

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

What do you love about yourself? Why?

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

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

What does being healthy mean to you?

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

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

What are you reading right now?

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

What are you excited about right now?

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

*Thank you, Laura!

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

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

Photographed by Jose Amigo

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

Photographed by Roberto Ligresti

How did you start your career as a model?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographed by Jose Amigo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographed by Roberto Ligresti

Who taught you about real beauty?

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

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

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

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

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

What is a fun fact about you?

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

Photographed by Jose Amigo

My beauty essentials are…

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

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

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

What is your go-to outfit?

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

What are your favorite pair of jeans?

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

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

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

Photographed byJennifer Domenick

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

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

What does being healthy mean to you?

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

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

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

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

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

What would we find in your refrigerator?

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

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

Photographed by Roberto Ligresti

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

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

In my purse you would find…

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

How would you describe your style?

Comfortably sexy.

Favorite book?

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

Celebrity Crush…

Mario Lopez. Hugh Jackman…oh Lawd!

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

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

Photographed by Rick Day

What is your philosophy?

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

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

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

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

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

What are you excited about right now?

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

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

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