Self Love… All the workshops, classes and advice in the world can’t teach you the #1 thing you need to do when wanting to be a model… to love yourself unconditionally.
I personally realized the importance about self love as I stood under scrutiny at a size run for a brand that carries sizes 0 to 32.
A size run is when fit models of every size that brand offers, stand in a line wearing the same garments so the brand can look at all the pieces and ensure the fit is as close to perfect as it can be.
I heard things such as:
“Oh, her torso is long and legs are very short and that’s why the pants fit her longer than they should.”
“Her arms are larger than we determined.”
While that may sound horrible, in all honesty, it didn’t bother me.
These people… The client… were talking from a technical point of view and it’s business.
Their words mean nothing to me. Because my self love armor was on 10 that day, as it always is when I go to work.
“In modeling, I had to learn to like myself, to love myself, to feel comfortable.”
The technical design director kept apologizing and reassuring us that we are all beautiful and that she was talking from a tech standpoint. I appreciated that because some brands don’t even offer that. Again, it’s business and time is money. I am paid by the hour.
I know the importance of me being a signed fit model for sizes 26+. I don’t even know if there are other women signed to an agency that are doing fit for those sizes. So I made the choice to do this work and with that, comes the not-so-glamorous part of modeling.
If you aspire to be a model and don’t have the traditional size 14/16 hourglass body with no lumps, bumps and cellulite, be prepared to undergo experiences that may make you feel uncomfortable.
If your self-esteem is not on point, it can break you. I have seen it happen all too often.
I have heard stories of models with poor self-esteem… having breakdowns and mental health is something that is discussed often. Social media can be a demon, especially for models who want to strive for those likes and visibility in order to get more jobs.
But imagine how it is when you’re actually at a job and not only see women who are thinner and have less physical flaws than you, but then having your own body scrutinized along with those thinner models? It’s not easy.
Feeling secure in yourself is the best armor you can wear as a model because it will serve you well.
We all have our moments where we’ll have our feelings hurt by something or someone because at the end of the day, we’re human. But what counts is what you do next. You choose.
You can choose to let it break you and affect your work OR you can remind yourself why you’re doing what you do and that you’re there for a reason. You can remind yourself that you are worthy and you’re beautiful, flaws and all. You can also recognize your flaws and embrace them.
I know I have a long torso and short legs. I have large upper arms. I have large calves. I have flat duck feet with no arches. I could go on.
BUT… I know I’m beautiful.
I know I am worthy of being seen. There are women out there who feel empowered when they see me. I look in the mirror and remind myself to believe in my beauty.
Self love is a lifetime commitment and if you want to be a model, whether it’s fit, print or runway (or all three), you have to really work on your self love and worth. You have to make sure you know who you are and know that the opinion that counts the most is the one you have of yourself.
Being a model also means sometimes you don’t have a choice in what the final product will look like.
When a brand books you, they are hiring you to market their products. The final images used are chosen by the brand, NOT YOU. You are being paid to provide a service.
So if you don’t like an image that a brand uses, you have to be prepared to deal with that because you cannot go to a brand after they have paid you and tell them to not use an image.
It just doesn’t work like that.
I’ve had instances where my initial reaction to seeing final images really took me aback because instantly I thought, wow, that’s not a flattering image of me. And I had to ask myself, why did I not like the image? Why do I think it’s not flattering? The issue was one I had with myself and how I viewed myself.
Being a model is about putting yourself (and your body) out there and if you’re not mentally ready for that, you’re not ready to model.
Being a model is more than hiring a photographer to shoot you on your dime. Being a model is more than just styling yourself in an outfit, taking your own pics, using filters and presets to achieve the image you want.
Modeling is about giving the client what they want because they are hiring you to fulfill their vision, not yours.
During my time as a First Fit Reviewer for Gwynnie Bee, I never chose the clothing I reviewed and at first, I was not comfortable wearing dresses above the knee or wearing strapless dresses. I was also so scared to wear jumpsuits. But over time, I learned that the image looked great but it was ME who had the issue with my own body and I needed to work on that.
My modeling experiences helped me on my self love journey because I chose to let it.
I chose to not let it break me. I looked at the big picture and decided that I was being put in this place for a reason. I can make an impact on the fashion industry by not only helping in making the fit better but also inspiring other women who look like me to know they are beautiful and can be stylish, too.
You can either run with it or let it destroy you and your career. Ultimately, it is your choice.
My body may not be perfect but I think about how far I have come in my self love journey and it has all been worth it.
Not every picture will be perfect but none of us are perfect. Perfection is boring. I think our flaws are what make us interesting. And if a client books you for a gig, they see something in you that they feel will resonate with their customer. You just have to make sure you see your own worth and now that you are chosen for a reason.
Self love is not easy but if you commit to it on a daily basis for the rest of your life, that will be the most important tool you’ll have to arm yourself with, as you build your career as a model.
It will not only help you feel more comfortable on set but it will also empower you to be your own advocate in this industry and put in the work necessary to grow.
Professionalism can take you far in this industry. Your reputation is everything. It’s essentially your calling card. Invest in yourself, including putting in that work to nurture your self love and keep your insecurities at bay so it doesn’t interfere with work.
Interested in more articles about self love, modeling tips and experiences? Check out our Modeling section here. Do you have an inspiring modeling story to share? Use the hashtag #MyPlusJourney on social media and make sure to follow us too! @plusmodelmag: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter