Saying that still doesn’t get old:
That time I was a professional plus sized model.
Being a plus sized woman (really plus, size 24), that’s not a statement many of us get to say. I’ve always been into fashion, makeup, beauty, etc. When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional model. I guess I secretly still do.
When you have been severely obese for close to 10 years, you lose a lot of confidence. You want to hide and disappear.
To some extent, I did do that. For the first few years, I hid. I cried. I locked myself away. I stayed in an unhealthy relationship because I didn’t think I could do any better, that no one else would ever want me.
Then I got a job at Lane Bryant. I was suddenly surrounded by beautiful clothes and so many women my size dressing up but not seeing their self-worth. It broke my heart. There was a moment when I realized that I was just like them! I knew I needed a change, so that’s what I did.
I eventually left that relationship and went on to become a manager at Lane Bryant. I worked for that company for four years before I had my baby in November 2015, and made it a personal mission to help women realize that they were beautiful. They were worth something.
Becoming the Plus Sized Model
Knowing that I had confidence that soared now, my Grandmother messaged me a few months ago. She told me that a boutique in a nearby town was looking for models for their spring line. The boutique, Red Apple Boutique, carries sizes small to 3x.
I hesitated at first. Even with all of my confidence, I still wondered if I’d be good enough. Finally I said, “Why not?” What could I possibly lose by not being chosen. My life would go on.
Ha! I bet that surprised you! Alas, I was not chosen for the photo shoot. My (extremely attractive) Grandma did though, so I had no time to dwell on my failure because I had to celebrate her success.
Change of Plans
Close to the time the photo shoot was scheduled, I learned that one of the models had cancelled. To my surprise, I was asked to be her replacement.
At first I thought they might have felt obligated because I was going to go to the shoot anyway to support my Grandma and it might be a bit awkward. I learned that this wasn’t the case but it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway. I was just so excited to be a model with my Grandma.
Getting ready for that event was one of the most exciting moments in my life. I packed the night before. I needed to provide my own shoes (hello big feet!) and I wanted to wear my Spanx. I wanted to bring some supplemental jewelry, all of my makeup “just in case”, five pairs of shoes (options!), some bandaids in case someone got hurt… etc. The list went on and on and was filled with lots of unnecessary stuff, but I packed with so much care.
That night, I barely slept at all because I was filled with so much hopeful anticipation. What would it be like? Would the other models be nice? Would I look stupid because I was the only “fat” girl there? Thankfully, my Grandma was going to be there, so I knew that regardless of what happened, I would have a built in support system.
That morning, I styled my hair and makeup far superior than I ever had done before. I rode up to the shoot with my Grandma and as soon as we got out of the city, I decided to let go of any worry. I needed to shake off any self-doubt because I had worked so hard to get to the point I am at today….Big girls can be models too! Click To Tweet
… and you know what? It. was. a. blast. It just happened to be freezing cold but we were all having so much fun. The atmosphere was so relaxed. Honestly, it felt like we were all hanging out and someone was just casually taking photos. You know, like a family member would do at a family gathering?
The experience was so overwhelmingly positive for my self-image, too. I had just had a baby four months prior to the photo shoot and we all know how weird postpartum bodies can be.
I also made new friends. I made friends with the other models. I made friends with the boutique owners. I made a connection because now when they need a model, they give me a call.
Chase Your Dreams, Girl
I suppose the point I want to drive home is: don’t give up. I know, it sounds cheesy. You hear it a lot. But seriously, if I had hid in the shadows and not put myself out there, I would have missed out on this amazing opportunity.
I want all of my potential plus sized models out there to take note of this too: You absolutely 1000% can do it. You can be a plus sized model. You can be anything you want to be. You are beautiful and special. Reach for the stars and maybe one day I will be reading about your modeling experience.
Do you have any cool modeling stories yourself? Is being a model something you’ve wanted to do before? Leave a comment for me. I want to hear your story.I feel so inspired! Emily has shown me that I can achieve my dreams no matter what I look like. http://bit.ly/edl-psm Click To Tweet