What do you do when your job requires you to stay a certain size, but your health is at risk? This was the situation plus size model Tarrah Grant saw herself in. With clients under her belt, and a thriving career, Tarrah had to choose health over career, but this was not the end of her journey. Read about this “Icons” life changing decisions, and how she will be working within the plus size industry real soon.

Maddy: Hi Tarrah, tell me a little about yourself and your decision to step away from the plus size modeling industry.

Tarrah: First I’d like to thank PLUS Model Magazinefor inviting me to join the PMM Icon Issue and allowing me to be featured. It’s an honor and I am humbled after working in the modeling industry for over 20 years.

Unfortunately I had to retire from modeling in 2005 but not by choice. I was diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol, over 500, at age 22y.o. while I was only 125lbs. It’s a heredity condition. No matter what I ate, weighed, or how much I worked out, nothing seemed to work. I’ve been on every medication you can imagine and my lowest level was 270, which is still very high. I still take 2 cholesterol pills daily. The next suggestion was to lose the weight or have a heart attack/stoke and die. I’m a direct person so I listened, researched and took immediate action. This was a life-changing event for me.

Though I was gradually losing clients, and income, because of my weight loss my heath came first. Do or die as the say. Now five years later I have gone from a size 16 back to an 8, which feels like a normal weight for my bone structure. Trust me I do miss the work, the great people I’ve met along the way, the fashion and events.

Next I moved into freelance photography testing with models. I later gave that up because I prefer shooting documentary photography when I travel to different countries. Photography is a wonderful escape for me now. I have experience in marketing, as a creative art director, fashion stylist, media sales and a personal assistant. I’ve also been fortunate to have traveled the world from Cape Town to New Zealand to Russia to Hong Kong.

In the past few years I have found a way to inch my way back into the business. Currently I’m planning a move to Los Angeles in the next 6 months. I’m up starting my own Pubic Relations Multi Media Company in Los Angeles. Also I’m a freelance publicist, writer and I’m currently pitching show ideas to networks. I’m also the Director at TopModelPortfolio.com where I’m happy to announce that we will be adding a Plus Division in the spring. As a freelance publicist I work with actors, models, artists, and photographers. I’ve signed the famous international photographer Wahb Wabkhout. You’ll find his link on my website. Recently I contacted all of my old contacts when I thought of starting my own company and everyone has been extremely receptive. Never burn bridges; you never know when you might need help to the other side.

Read the rest of the interview at PLUS Model Magazine