I never used to think I was fat, noticed the bump in my nose, or realized the way my eyes squint when I smile or laugh. I never used to look in the mirror with anything but a sense of satisfaction. This was before I began my career in the modeling industry. Before I embarked on this crazy, tumultuous, fascinating journey to discover myself and realize my dreams, I was a 15 year old high school student in Georgia. I was in all honors classes, a state qualified swimmer, All-State chorus singer, and all around obsessive compulsive perfectionist!
However, with all of that going, and with all of the stress and pressure that accompanied it, I was surprisingly confident! I felt I could do and conquer any and everything, so it only follows that at 16, I decided to depart my hometown in Georgia for bigger and better things in the big city. I signed with Wilhelmina Models on their fashion board, and moved to New York. It was then that I realized that this life was not going to be exactly what I had expected. I discovered I was several inches bigger than standard model measurements, and I was encouraged to lose weight.
I started dieting and exercising everyday, but it wasn’t my hips that shrunk, it was my self esteem. My whole perspective changed. I would look at girls who were obviously undernourished with envy instead of pity, because they were working, they were suceeding, and I was a “failure”, I was “weak”. Too “weak” to lose weight, despite dieting and spending 6 days a week in the gym, I turned from a well adjusted teenager into a self concious adult overnight. Luckily for me, I had an outlet, a passion. It was at this point in my life that I picked up my guitar, and poured myself, my emotions, and my feelings into music.
It was probably through music and through the support of my family that I mainted a somewhat sense of sanity. It was then that my agency suggested I try Plus Size modeling. Although a relief and a blessing for many, this ultimately led me down an avenue filled with more dissapointment, and body shame, as I was never quite large enough to work consistently in the plus size world either. I ended up signing to Ford Models, and after a year with their plus size board, I decided I needed to take some action, to make a change. I sat down with my bookers, and they suggested I switch to the lifestyle division at Ford. I had never really heard of lifestyle, and I didn’t know what to expect! I’ve been with lifestyle for exactly one year this month, and 2012 was my busiest year ever! I couldn’t be happier!
While I still sometimes feel the pressure to be thin, I have found a better balance, and ultimately a healthy place for myself. While everyday presents new challenges, I now feel that self acceptance is a constant and evolving journey and not merely a destination. Everyday I get a little more comfortable, and a little more confident in all aspects of my life. With that comes great things! I have been lucky to have signed with a great management team this year pursuing my ultimate passion, music, and am so looking forward to continuing to follow that dream in 2013!
I am also thrilled and honored to be apart of HNS! There is so much in our industry, media, and society that needs to change, and HNS is at the forefront of the healthy movement! I am so excited to bring you all along on my journey, and I hope that I can inspire you to be confident, follow your dreams, and never give up! Talk to you soon!