Okay, I’m a plus size model. Not exactly breaking news right? But I’m amazed at how many people are confused by what that means. Some people think that I’m all about “making friends with fat”, or promoting obesity, or in some other way supporting the idea that being overweight is a good thing. That’s not my message nor is it my life at all. What I care about more than anything is being healthy. We all have different bodies, different builds and different weights at which our bodies naturally do best. I’m 5’11” and a size 12. For me, that’s a healthy body shape. I know its healthy because I get annual checkups, get blood tests, have my vital signs examined… the whole nine yards. And my body is running well, thanks to a healthy diet and lots of exercise. If I wanted to be a “straight size” model, I’d have to do very unhealthy things to my body to get there. So guess what? I’m not a “straight size” model and that’s OKAY. No use trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. That’s a total recipe for frustration and ruining my self-esteem. No Thanks! There are plenty of other things to work on in this lifetime! I’m sure you’ve heard this before: accept your body as it is, don’t fight it, and make it the healthiest you can! I always knew I’d never look like Kate Moss, but at my healthiest I can strive for Beyoncé! And I’m perfectly happy with that. Find a REALISTIC goal for yourself. That’s the healthy mind part of the equation; you have to think in a realistic way in order to steer yourself in the right direction with your physical health. That’s the lesson I live by. It starts with your mind and a healthy mind IS a healthy body, they go hand in hand. But accepting my body and that I’m not a size 0 doesn’t mean that I’m in favor of sitting around eating food filled with junk. But don’t deprive yourself either! If you want a cookie have one, just not the whole sleeve! In other words, my message is, eat healthy in moderation, exercise sufficiently and let the chips (not potato chips) fall where they may. It’s so simple, why do we complicate it?!
I’ve noticed that as I’m getting older, I’m a lot more aware of the lessons I’m learning as I learn them. It’s good because I think it helps to speed up my general growth, development, whatever you want to call it. I say that in life you either learn from each situation, or it’ll keep coming back to you over and over again in different shapes and forms. My mom always said “If you pray for patience you’re not just going to wake up one day and have patience. You’ll be put into situations where patience will be taught.” The universe is a great teacher if we just listen and if we don’t listen, we’re going to have the same lessons hitting us on the head over and over. The bad part is that sometimes all of this is so intense that it’s hard for me to have distance (and the calm that comes with it) while I’m taking it all in. And a lot of the time, the answers I get just lead to more questions. I figure I’m not alone in experiencing this sort of thing and that reading what I’m talking about could be useful as inspiration, proof you’re not alone or just something to read on your lunch break. Who knows?! Anyway, here are my current GROWING PAINS…
In the modeling business, you have to work to get people’s attention in a lot of different ways so you’ll get noticed and get work. BUT, that’s true for everyone, right? We all want to be noticed by the cool people at school, bosses at work, guys, girls, and parents, whatever. It’s totally universal. But I’ve noticed that I am challenged almost daily to not compromise my values in order to get noticed. How much skin should I show? How will I allow people to treat me just nail down a job? What will I agree to so someone who says she’s my friend won’t be mad at me? So, in other words, I’m trying to figure out how to bend, but never break. Which assumes I know exactly what my value system is. I think I do. Do you? How hard is it for you guys to bend, but not break?
We find out at a young age that first impressions are defined by how we look. I have to agree that first impressions are important, but that shouldn’t be the end all. Being in my industry has forced me to take an in depth look at these superficial ideals and at myself. I have come to the conclusion that in order to have any sense fulfillment in life we have to learn to redefine what beauty is. We should always look deeper at a person’s character, actions and behaviors. Wouldn’t that provide us with a deeper sense of connection? We won’t stand a chance if we are always judging each other and ourselves! The judgment can stop with one person at a time changing a negative thought or idea.
Being a model I have personally struggled with the issue of people making assumptions about me solely based on my looks. I am very fortunate to be able to do what I love, but the career path I have chosen does comes with a price. I have seen too many girls and guys, including myself lose their sense of identity.
It’s time for me to take all of my experiences and the tough but important lessons I have learned to share and grow with other people who can relate and be inspired by my journey. I feel honored to have the opportunity to encourage change and instigate a rebellious conversation about beauty. Accept my invitation to join me on this quest.