Archive for Models

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!

Alison Hamata Says, “Be comfortable in your own skin, love what you have, and work it!”

Posted in Articles, Books, & Magazines, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Ford +, Inspiration, Models, New York, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by Liz

Alison Hamata is a plus model from Canada who is signed with Liz Bell in Vancouver, Canada and Ford + in New York.

Tell us how you felt when you signed with Ford NY!

Signing with Ford was an awesome experience. I was definitely a little nervous, but so excited to start this new chapter in my life. When I first walked into their office, I was a little intimidated, but everyone there was so welcoming and enthusiastic so it was definitely a cool experience.

What has your experience been like so far… being a Ford + Model and living in NYC!!!

Being a Ford + Model has been a really great experience. Living in NYC and being a Ford Model has been really cool. I think it has matured me and made me a stronger and more confident person.

How do you define the term ‘plus’ model?  What is the reaction you get when you tell others you are a ‘plus’ model?

Well technically, it’s someone above size 6. But I define it as a healthy, beautiful, and confident girl. The reaction I get is always a positive one. Mainly the reaction I get is that they say we are such great role models, and that makes me proud.

What do your friends think of your modeling career?

I have the best friends; they are all incredibly supportive.

What did your parents say when you told them that you wanted to be a model?

I first got approached when I was 11; actually by Ford NY. Of course, my parents said no way because I was far too young. But later on when I was about 16, I was approached again by Liz Bell Agency, an Agency in Vancouver, and they were much more comfortable with the idea.

What are your goals for your future?

I would love to go to University get a degree as well as play volleyball on the University team, go to cooking school, travel the world, get really good at hockey, learn to play the drums, oh, and world domination.

In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing for fun?

I really love cooking. I watch the Food Network way too much for my own good. I also love playing any type of sports, especially volleyball, soccer, and field hockey. I read a lot and of course hanging out with my friends and boyfriend.

What would be your ideal date?

My ideal date would be doing something spontaneous like going on an adventure or doing something out of the ordinary. However, it should always end with lounging on the couch with popcorn and a movie. I think you can get to know someone best when you take them out of the everyday routine.

What 5 items are in your handbag that you couldn’t live without?

Gum, hand lotion, iPod, a novel, and lip balm.

What’s playing on your iPod?

The new Chromeo album, Miike Snow, The Strokes, The Black Keys, Counting Crows, Cut Copy… too much to name!

How do you stay fit and healthy?

I usually go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. My routine is 40 minutes cardio, 20 minutes strength, and 20 minutes core. As far as eating, I think you can have everything as long as it’s in moderation. I’m a vegetarian too, so I think that helps with being healthy.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as edgy but with feminine accents.

What is your go-to outfit?

Right now my go-to outfit would be my black skinny jeans, my dark grey suede combat boots, white and navy striped t-shirt, my military green style belted anorak, and because it’s freezing out, a scarf and slouchy pompom toque.

Favorite jeans…

I just bought a pair of black Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans from Anthropology and they are crazy soft!! I love them.

Style Icon…
I love Zooey Deschanel’s style. Her outfits always have classic cuts with a 1940’s girly style, but with a cool twist.

Signature Scent…

Mark Jacobs Daisy

How do you define beauty?

Well, my Mom always says “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. And that’s so true. Beauty to me is not only what’s outside, but mainly what is on the inside. Outer beauty will fade with age, but what you are like as a person will always remain.

What is the best beauty advice you have ever been given?

Be comfortable in your own skin, love what you have, and work it!

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Lip Gloss. My very favourite is Smith’s Rosebud Salve. It’s not sticky and it makes my lips so soft.

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I think I am a genuine person, I try to always be kind and caring.

What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

Spaghetti Fridays with my family. Also learning to cook and bake with my Grandma Karen.

What do you miss most about your homeland, Canada?

I miss everything! The mountains, beaches, and all its beauty. My family, friends, and boyfriend of course. Oh, and poutine. Which I’m 98% sure you don’t know what that is. Let me tell you. Fries covered in gravy covered in cheese curds. Yes, genius.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m obsessed with the TV show The Office. Jim is amazing. I will marry him one day.

What is your philosophy?

Do what makes you happy, treat others as you’d like to be treated, stay true to yourself no matter what, and no regrets.

Thank you, Alison!

Kavita Verryth Says, “I really believe that understanding your body shape is an amazing step to accepting yourself in a positive light. Once you understand your body and what it takes to make it feel amazing it’s possible to take steps to gain control of your self-esteem.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Models, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Sports, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2011 by Liz

Kavita Verryth was born in Perth, Western Australia and moved to Melbourne when she was 16 years old. Her father is Dutch and her mother is Malaysian. She has a younger brother, Mark, who is a professional tennis player–they travel together whenever possible and are very thankful for Skype. Kavita is a massive fan of playing and watching sport. Any and every sport.

She lived and studied in Utrecht, The Netherlands for a year, which she says was a great opportunity to meet her Dutch family, explore Europe, and learn how to cook! Kavita 100% has the travel-bug and can’t sit still for too long. She would love to work overseas once she’s finished her degrees. She hopes to become a Player Agent (think Jerry Maguire) in the future.

Please tell us how you began your career as a model.  

When in Sydney for a university internship, I came across auditions for Australia’s Next Top Model. My mum encouraged me to go along, so off I went – with no experience or ability to walk in a pair of heels! The judges were really excited and positive and I made it through a couple of audition rounds. I was inspired to do a little more research into plus-sized modeling agencies. I came across BGM Models, sent in some natural photos and heard back from Darrianne Donnelley almost immediately. They were really excited (as was I) and the rest is now history….

What does being a ‘plus’ model mean to you?  

I don’t consider myself to be a ‘plus’ model even though it is the current popular term for being a natural woman. I believe I have been given the opportunity to educate not only those around me, but the wider community in Australia that ‘plus’ models are regular models who live a healthy and well-balanced life.

Your first shoot was for the launch for Moda at Target.  Please tell us about preparing for the shoot, how you were feeling, and the overall experience!  

The shoot for Moda at Target came about very soon after I signed with BGM. I really wasn’t expecting to book such a large job so quickly, but I was obviously very excited. Preparing for the shoot certainly included plenty of primping and priming and my nerves certainly kicked in but the crews working at the studios were fantastic, gave me plenty of direction and positive feedback. BGM Models also sent Kate Hislop, a fellow model to give me guidance and tips, which definitely came in handy!

Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem or body image issues?  

I never had particular problems with low self-esteem – well no more than any other teenage girl does when growing up. I was very athletic so my body shape was definitely a benefit for the sports I competed in. I had managed to turn any body image issues into a benefit for other aspects of my life. I think there will always be things, which can be improved upon, but I find that regular exercise, a balanced diet, and plenty of water keeps me feeling fresh and confident.

What advice do you have to girls and women who are currently struggling?  

I really believe that understanding your body shape is an amazing step to accepting yourself in a positive light. Once you understand your body and what it takes to make it feel amazing it’s possible to take steps to gain control of your self-esteem.

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

I’ve just become addicted to Organic hair products. I’ve been using Matrix Biolage and my hair has absolutely loves it! I am also completely obsessed with Lucas PawPaw Ointment, which is an Australian tradition – all my girlfriends carry a tube or two in their handbags. Its fantastic for dry lips, cuts, burns, and as a last minute moisturizer. I also can’t go past MAC Fluidline, which is a gel eyeliner that defines my eyes for day and night and can be used as a shade for a smoky-eyes look.

Where do you like to shop for clothes?  

I love shopping at David Jones department stores. They carry all my favorite local and international labels including Carla Zampatti, Witchery, Diane von Furstenberg, Lisa Ho, and Thurley. I’m also a massive UnderArmour fan for workout gear and clothes to lounge around the house in and am in love with Dinosaur Designs jewelry. Their pieces are handmade and they have the most beautiful range of colors – it always takes too long to decide on a piece when I’m there!

What is your go-to outfit?  

I am happiest in pair of jeans with a crisp t-shirt and finished with a blazer. Ballet flats for the day work best and a cute pair of heels and statement piece of jewelry at night.

What are you currently reading?  

Textbooks, unfortunately. I’m in fifth year at Deakin University studying a Bachelor or Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce (Sports Management) so most of my free time is spent catching up on missed readings and classes. Oops!

Do you have a favorite workout routine?  

I have a weekly exercise routine where I participate in-group workout sessions at my local park. I love exercising outdoors and the workouts alternate between being Cardio based or a Toning session. I think a mix of both forms of exercise is really important in keeping my body balanced and healthy. We’re really luck in Australia that the weather is conducive to exercising outside – the fresh air does wonders for lifting my mood.

In 10 years, where would you love to see yourself?  

As I have only just started modeling, I’d really love to keep it up for the next few years. I would like to do editorial shoots for Australian fashion magazines and eventually would like travel and model out of New York, Germany or Italy. It’s also important for me to finish my University degree, as I believe education keeps my options open and allows me more freedom in the future to pursue a modeling career.

For those of us who haven’t been to Australia, what do you love about your country?  

There is absolutely no country like Australia. We are so isolated from the rest of the world and our land is so vast that there is the opportunity to live any kind of life you dream of. We have open spaces, gorgeous beaches, and an amazing countryside for those that are after serenity, but for those who prefer a fast paced lifestyle, our cities certainly provide this. Melbourne is without a doubt my favorite – the culture, atmosphere, and hype, which surrounds it, really keeps me busy and interested.

What is a fun fact about you?

There are a few quirks to me…..

I have to fold every piece of plastic or paper into neat squares or triangles before I throw them in the trash. I need to have the clothes in my wardrobe and my collection of nail polish arranged by colours from lightest to darkest. I roll my clothes before placing them in my suitcase when traveling. When I eat skittles I have to separate the colours and count how many there are of each, making sure when I eat them that the number of each colour remains equal.

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

At the moment, I am really into eyebrows. When I’m in a hurry I will always make sure I lightly pencil them. I find it brightens my face and keeps me looking fresh all day long.

What are you most proud of?

I’m really proud of having the guts and want to participate in the plus size modelling industry. It takes a lot of self-confidence and I’m so happy that I have the personality and will to want to do this and to show other young girls that being a ‘plus’ model doesn’t mean you are unhealthy or not appreciated. There is a strong group of ladies doing this and as time goes by, the support provided to this industry can only flourish.

Who is your role model or hero? Why?

My mum has been the single strongest influence in my life. She is strong-willed, determined to succeed, and has always put her family first. She’s pushed me when I needed it and supported me in everything that I’ve wanted to do with minimal questions. Having support from her and my family is the most important thing to me when making a decision.

Who do you have on speed dial?

My parents just moved from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in QLD so I’ve had my mum on speed dial ever since. She knows what I’m doing most of the time and with my family being so spread apart (my one brother lives in Florida), speaking to family on the phone or via skype is a regular occurrence.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’m ashamed to say it’s my blackberry at the moment. Being so busy all the time means that my life sits in that piece of technology. It’s my event reminder, assignment tracker and link to my family, friends, and boyfriend. I would require a serious life overhaul if I didn’t have it.

What music is on at home?

I’m easy when it comes to music. When I’m with the girls getting ready for a night out, it’s just some light house music, in the gym it’s a lot more upbeat, and in the evening I like jazz with a French or Spanish influence.

Guilty pleasure?

Igloo Zoo. It’s an Australian frozen yoghurt store. I love Pomegranate yoghurt with crumble, mixed berry puree, and lychees. YUMM!

What is your go-to statement accessory?

A gorgeous necklace my girlfriend picked up whilst we were travelling through the US. I borrowed it from her one evening and it hasn’t found its way back yet. Oops! It’s a large, two-tiered cream necklace. I love wearing it with all the black I have to make the outfit pop!

What are you excited about?

I’ve just begun my 6th and final year of university which is a huge relief! I’m really excited about the adventure that will unfold at the end of my degree as I currently have no idea of the path I’d like to take. Keeping my options open is important and that means balancing plus modeling with a potential career in the Sports Marketing industry. Whether I do this here in Melbourne, up in Sydney or look overseas to Europe and the US is an intensely exciting prospect for me.

Who is your style icon and why?

I can’t say I follow a particular person. I love browsing through fashion magazines and trying to implement particular aspects of trends. I’m definitely not someone who sticks to a particular style although generally I have relatively simple, classic taste and enjoying sticking to at least one black item.

Celebrity crush?

I love sportsmen. Nadal, Lopez, Torres, Jensen Button…the list could go on and on.

What is one of your most favorite childhood memories?

My brother and I played tennis tournaments as kids (my brother, Mark, is now a professional tennis player) and we entered an Under 12s mixed doubles competition for the first time. I remember fighting with him all the way through the tournament but eventually we took the trophies and all our arguments were forgotten. We definitely weren’t too kind to each other on the tennis court back then but now I’ve learnt my lesson and avoid even stepping onto court with him as losing to him would be the only option these days 🙂

*Thank you, Kavita!

Our Interview with Russian Model Katya Zharkova

Posted in Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Designers, Family & Friends, Fashion, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Media, Models, New York, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Trade Tips, Travel, Unique Beauty, Wilhelmina, Work, Your Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2011 by Liz

Katya Zharkova is a plus model from Russia. She was born in a small city called Smolensk, and she grew up in Moscow. Katya started modeling at age fourteen, and still models today at almost thirty years old. She graduated from Moscow University of Art and Culture as a TV producer. She created shows on Russian TV. Her friends advised her to go to a casting call for a TV show in Moscow and she got a second job as a TV presenter. She hosted a show where she helped women love themselves. Before coming to the United States, Katya worked with Russian and European designers. She decided to come to Los Angeles, and signed a contract with Wilhelmina agency and moved to New York. She has worked with Forever 21, Silver Jeans, Pure Energy, Cabi, Avenue, Macys, MC Patterns, Ulla Poken, and Fashion To Figure. Now, she is working on an autobiography – it’s a story about a plus-size model traveling all over the world.

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

My mom is a photographer. I wasn’t the prettiest newborn, and my grandmother always use to say that I would turn from an ugly duckling into a swan. My mom use to take pictures of me every day thinking that it would help me become prettier. When I was nine, somebody told my mom you have a very cute boy, she decided I should be acting. So, I got the role of a girl who wasn’t very attractive, and every day she sat down in front of the mirror trying to persuade herself she was the most beautiful and charming person in the world. At the end of the movie, she really blossoms into this beautiful thing. That taught me to do the same thing in real life. Later in life, my friend took me to a modeling agency, and the first thing they told me was that they would accept me only if I lost weight and they gave me six months. I tried but didn’t succeed, and in 1997, they opened a plus-size department in her agency. Since then, some of the designers in my town started sewing a plus-size line especially for me. That made me realize I could be on the covers of major magazines and every boy at school who was teasing me about being fat was wrong! At one of the runway shows, I was seen by the editors of Moscow Fashion Magazine and moved to Moscow to work for them and study at the University.

Did you always dream of modeling and why?

My dream started in childhood when I believed in myself and thought I was beautiful, but boys were saying I was fat. I was never skinny, and I liked the fact that I was healthy. I wish there were more people like me on the covers of major magazines–healthy and confident! I want young girls to eat properly without starving themselves just because being skinny is in fashion. I want all the runway models to be size 8-16 and not 0-6. I want plus-size modeling to be popular in fashion all over the world along with the skinny models.

What do you think people would find most surprising about modeling?

There are no real rules in modeling; you never know what will happen tomorrow. You can be very talented with a great portfolio and a great body, but there are millions of beautiful and talented people. You have to be very lucky to get the job. It’s the way things happen. Modeling is a very tough job and you have to be at the right time at the right place.

Did modeling come naturally to you?

I think I blossomed thanks to my beautiful photos that say a lot! I want people to realize that you can be beautiful no matter what size you are. It’s very important to love yourself the way you are!

What did you study while attending Moscow State University?

At the University of Art and Culture, I studied acting, filmmaking, and producing. I use to work and study at the same time, but my mom was always strict with me regarding my education. If I wouldn’t get a degree, she wouldn’t let me go to the United States, so it’s thanks to my mom that I successfully graduated with a degree in Organization of Student Festivals, and wrote a thesis called “Education of young people through TV media”. As I was an experienced model by that time, I was able to work as a host of one of the shows and viewers were happy to see a healthy and beautiful woman. I think the fact that I was plus size made me unique and it also helped me believe that one day I will be on the cover of major fashion magazine.

When you made the decision to move to NYC, what would you say was the biggest culture shock? Did you know how to speak English?

I moved to NY in a rush. I was already living in Los Angeles and working at Wilhelmina. I was enjoying a slow and relaxing way of life–swimming in the ocean and studying English. On the 29th of September, I got an email form Ameerah (she works at Wilhelmina in NYC), and she told me she really liked me and would love to represent me, but that I would have to move to NYC in order to work with her. We discussed it with my LA agent Tricia, and she told me I should definitely go. I already worked with the big labels like Forever 21, Pure Energy, Silver Jeans, and Cabi, so moving to NYC seemed quite logical and it was kind of the next step in my career. So, I rented a car and drove all the way to New York, thinking I must be crazy but that I was reaching my dream. I had a funny incident on the way to New York. I ran out of gas in Philadelphia, so I left the car and had to walk two miles to the nearest gas station. Right after I walked out of the car, I saw a police officer looking at me with a smile and asking me what has happened and if he could help; that was like a scene from a movie. That was a real shocker! He drove me all the way to the gas station and then back leaving with the words, “Welcome to Philadelphia!” All I said was, “I Love you America!”

What do you miss most about your homeland, Russia?

My entire family lives in Russia, and I really miss them. I miss my mom, my niece, my brothers, and my husband. I have a huge family but thanks to Skype, I can see everybody I miss every single day.

What do you love most about living in NYC?

I love the weather in New York; it changes quite fast. Everybody is extremely friendly, and you can say hi to hundreds of people and everybody will react positive.

What would you say is the best advice you have been given, in terms of your career as a model?

Never postpone anything for tomorrow! Love yourself the way you are and people will start loving you. Never give up and all you dreams will come true.

What has been your most memorable modeling experience and why?

So far, the most memorable experience for me was the first shoot abroad–the shoot for the Elena Miro’s magazine. It was shot in Egypt. We were shooting the Spring/Summer collection, and I couldn’t speak English at all. It was a week in a sunny Egypt and my first modeling experience outside of Russia–I was crying from happiness. I realized that my dream came true, and I’m on the cover!

Do you feel plus modeling is helping redefine beauty?

I do believe that plus-size modeling has redefined all the usual beauty standards. It’s very important to live in harmony, be yourself, and do what you love the most. You have to be confident and that’s the only reason I’m here in America right now. I don’t want my kids to ever experience what I went through. Every time I go shopping in Moscow, it’s impossible for me to find anything in my size, especially if it’s something trendy and fashionable. Size 8 is usually the biggest size they carry. My husband and I, once tried to purchase jeans in my size and the shop assistant offered me a men’s model. Of course, we laughed and didn’t take it seriously, but can you imagine how many young girls went through the same issue, thinking, “I’m so big that there are no jeans for me”. And that kills your confidence, society and media creates insecurity for people who are bigger than size 8. That’s how young girls become depressed. I’m strong, but even I had issues trying to find myself and it wasn’t easy.

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

We worry about the way we look because we are trying to find love. We want to be liked. Unfortunately, the reflection in the mirror won’t help you find happiness. If you have a strong personality, and if you can laugh and enjoy yourself, people will accept you the way you are. Also, you might think that skinny and beautiful women are happy, that’s not always true. I know so many examples that contradict that. I know so many beautiful Russian celebrities who are miserable in their life! When I ask my husband how he fell in love with me, being so big and not perfect, he doesn’t even understand what I’m talking about. I’m the most perfect person in the whole world for him and the only thing that he remembers when he first met me was my laugh. I truly love to smile. So my advice is the more you laugh the better.

What do you wish you would have known in high school?

My dream from my childhood finally came true, and I see all the boys from school grow up. I see what kind of girls they like now and they realize I’m not fat at all anymore. I would love to have known that in school. Though, I did believe that being slightly bigger than others would help me in life.

Where you ever teased or bullied?

I was teased at school; they used to call me a train and I never understood that. Can I be that huge?

Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

Would love to be at the Oscars with one in my hands

What is your dream job as a model?

The cover of US Vogue–impossible sometimes can be possible.

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

If I was able to meet up with my friends and enjoy the weekend in a great mood – that means it was a perfect day! Also, I love dancing – it’s always fun!

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m far from perfect when it comes to speaking English and because of that, many of the things that I say generate much laughter among my friends, many times unintentional. But I’m very sincere and emotional, so everybody understands me.

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

I want to learn skydiving; one day I’ll do it!

We love your Silver Jeans shots! Please tell us about your experience modeling for Silver Jeans?

I really loved their concept. It’s basically friends on vacation. It was just like my weekends in real life. Talented people around you–jokes, guitar, dancing, and lots of fun. I grew up with my older brother and he always used to invite friends to our parent’s country house; that was a lot of fun. That’s what I experienced again at the Silver jeans shoot. That was a reminder that my dreams were meant to come true, and I was there despite the fact that I’m size 10-12. I was with three beautiful American boys, three skinny models, and me Katya Zharkova, a plus-size model. What else do you need to become happy? Pair of comfortable jeans and real friends close to you.

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?

My favorite pair of jeans are waiting for me in LA. I was in such a rush when I was moving to New York that I forgot them at my friend’s place. They are light blue in color and they are vintage in look now. They are completely ripped at the knees; that means they went through a lot and you have to respect that. Hopefully, I will be able to get them back soon.

Where so you love to shop for clothes?

I like really unique things and my taste is very eclectic. Clothes reflect your mood and also remind you of the favorite moments of your past. That’s why I kept a lot of pieces that remind me of certain things in my life. When I shop, I usually look for something special. Something that my girlfriend would never pick–something that will show my unique style and reflect my personality. Shopping in the US is amazing because there is a great variety of things in my size and that lets you experiment and find the new you. And, that makes it so interesting.

Who is your style icon?

I would say Marilyn Monroe is a style icon because of her Hollywood glamour and a breezy sensuality.

What is your go-to outfit?

Black leather jacket, a pair of dark blue jeans, and of course, a pair of high heels. Russian girls love high heels.

What are your must-haves in your make-up bag?

I always have waterproof mascara. You never know what can happen, so you always want your eyelashes to be at their best! Powder, blush, and, the most important thing–pink lipstick.

Where is your favorite place to snowboard?

I think the mountains of Vancouver are the best place to go snowboarding!

What do you love about yourself and why?

I like the fact that I can enjoy life. I can wake up in the morning and say, “Life I love you”. I can walk around the city, enjoying every moment of it

How do you stay healthy and fit?

Every morning, I eat oatmeal; I also do yoga twice a week–that’s my secret to beauty.

What are you excited about right now?

I’m really excited about going to Seattle, and working for Nordstrom’s. I’ve seen Seattle in so many movies; I would love to see it in real life. And, I’m always looking forward to work!

*Thank you, Katya!

Australian Model Bonnie McBeath Says, “To have a positive attitude and not be bogged down in negative self-talk and negative people, really helps you feel great.”

Posted in Australia, Beauty, Hair, & Make-up, Body Image, Confidence, Fitness & Health, Inspiration, Plus-Size Modeling, Self-Esteem, Shopping, Unique Beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Liz

Bonnie started modeling with Bella Models in Sydney, Australia over five years ago. Because she is based in Melbourne, she has been fortunate enough to continue the most rewarding part-time job (modeling) while continuing to work full-time at a non-modeling job.

This is what Bonnie had to say:

“To be a part of the incredible revolution of a whole industry has been so empowering. Seeing Chelsea Bonner bring new girls in to the agency and watch the pages of magazines get fuller and fuller of Bella girls has been such a thrill.”

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

I began with a load of encouragement from a friend who assisted for a very active photographer in Melbourne. She suggested I get some test shots. I had no idea what test shots were and felt a little nervous at the thought of spending that amount of money (really, such a small amount in hindsight…) on photos. Unbeknown to me, this particular photographer had worked with Chelsea and her models before and asked to submit my shots to Bella. I was very green and to think that Chelsea has the foresight and eye to see talent that will be well received by the market is quite amazing.

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

I really don’t think that it has redefined beauty, but I think it had redefined editors and casting directors’ ideas of who will sell magazines and clothes. I think the biggest revolution has been the change in the perception that ‘plus-sized’ models are frumpy and mumsy ladies wearing ill-fitting garments made from polyester! I also don’t feel like we are vigilantes out there banging on about ‘representing all the plus-sized women’, but I think we are simply showing different sizes and shapes and diversity in the market.

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

It is always a little awkward. I know a lot of girls resent the term ‘plus’… I think of it as being just an average size.

Out of all of the places your career has taken you, what has been the most memorable and why?

Very early in my contract with Bella, I was invited to be part of a calendar, which featured twelve girls in the most gorgeous, and glamorous underwear I had ever seen. All funds raised from the sale of the calendar were used to help raise awareness for a foundation, which promoted healthy body image and alike. I remember at the time, just being so thrilled to be asked to be part and flown somewhere by the agency. It was so memorable in the early days.

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?

I think every young girl has battled with body images concerns and low self-esteem at some stage. Women are so hard on one another and from a very early age, we are products of our upbringing. Schools are obsessed with getting kids out in the playground and exercising and scrutinizing lunch boxes to make sure there are enough healthy, unprocessed components. Exercise really does do great things for your well being and self-esteem. Whether it is a competitive team sport or simply going for a bike ride, the endorphins that are released are far more potent and valuable to your own sense of well being that any lecture about body image. Tall or short, lean or bumpy, anybody that gets plenty of fresh air and exercise feels and therefore looks amazing.

Who taught you about real beauty?

Definitely my Mum. She is really healthy and happy and loves life. To have a positive attitude and not be bogged down in negative self-talk and negative people, really helps you feel great.

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

It will all be fine!

Growing up in a small country town and with that comes plenty of small country minds. I remember being offered some chocolate by a friend’s dad. He held the block in front of me and then whipped it away saying ‘you don’t really need any, do you?’ while proceeding to offer it to all the other kids.

Going to my High School reunion and hearing whispers saying ‘Did you hear Bonnie is a model now? Wow, things have really worked out well for her, haven’t they!”

What is a fun fact about you?

I was a State Representative Kayaker… It got to the point where I needed either to study my final year at school with proper dedication or have a good go at the sport… I ended up taking the academic road.

Lipstick or Lip gloss?

Definitely Lip gloss. I am a little lazy sometimes and I don’t have to be so fastidious about maintaining it. Clinique’s Air Kiss has kept me going through the years. I have about four on the go at any one time.

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

Oooh, so many. I love nail polish; I wear it CONSTANTLY on my toes. I also love self-tan. It is an instant pick me up… It makes me feel like a million dollars. I will often get a spray tan for no reason at all. I have found a lady who can do all sorts of tricky shading to give tone and definition like you wouldn’t believe. GREAT for swimwear confidence.

My beauty essentials are…

Sunscreen. Every day, summer or winter, hot or cold, cloudy or sunny. I have very fair skin and just hate the feel of the harsh Australian sun cooking my face!

What is your go-to outfit?

Jeans, jeans, jeans! I have dark jeans, light jeans and shorts, and skinny leg jeans. I especially love Charlie Browns Princess Charlotte jeans, though I hear they are not being made any more… They will eventually be so threadbare that they will rip from my legs one day.

Where do you love to shop for clothes?

I tend to shop around a little. Though I am guaranteed to always manage to find something at Witchery. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

How would you describe your style?

Casual and feminine. Lots of flat shoes, sandals, and soft fabrics.

What does being healthy mean to you?

Getting adequate rest. A great night’s sleep will prepare your resolve. You can deal with anything better with enough rest. Feeling weary and cranky, lessens your ability to think and act rationally. Plenty of fresh air and eating properly too. A glass of wine and good belly laugh is great for health and well-being as well!

Do you have a favorite workout routine?

At the moment, I am running a lot. I tend not to get too bogged down in anything too scheduled. I like to run so I can look at people’s gardens and admire the hard work. I keep myself going by saying ‘not long now, soon you will be at the beautiful hedge/rose garden/lavender border’. I like seeing who is out and about in the early morning when I run too.

In my purse, you would find…

Credits cards, receipts for work, make up, phone, and note pad (I used to write on my hand all the time and someone bought me a beautiful note pad with a ‘B’ on the font, use it all the time).

Favorite book?

Maggie Alderson’s, About a Boy. It is one of the very few books that I have re read (a LOT of times)

What are your favorite sites to visit online?

eBay. I love it. I have sold lots of things and bought lots of things. I just love getting rid of the surplus and seeing it go to a good home and purchasing new things with the profit.

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

Read, exercise, cook, coffee, and an afternoon nap. I just love the indulgence of a sneaky afternoon nap.

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

I would love to be able to sing. I think it is such a fabulous skill/talent. I sing in car a lot but I am brave enough to admit that it is much nicer to keep for my own tuned ears rather than anyone else.

What makes you uniquely beautiful?

I think a big and genuine smile. I laugh a lot. I laugh when I am happy (obviously) but also laugh in awkward situations. It is a nervous response, but people are so much more responsive to happy, smiling people. I always try to remember people’s name. I love it when people remember mine and it makes people feel great when you greet them by name. Being considerate, caring, and thoughtful makes me uniquely beautiful. It is so much more than superficial looks that make any one beautiful.

*Thank you, Bonnie!