Our cover model Lori speaks about her 8-year-long battle with infertility, working as an influencer, and learning to love herself throughout it all.
For those that don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Lori “Loralyee” pronounced like the main character in Gilmore Girls.
I was born in New Orleans Louisana and raised in New York City. My page is all about color aesthetic, living in NYC, and of course my rainbow baby Grayson
My relationship with fashion has changed so much over the years. Growing up I collected Jordan’s and Nikes. I was considered a sneakerhead. I didn’t officially start dressing up or wearing makeup until college. I graduated with a degree in Women, Gender, and sexuality studies.
I knew that I loved fashion and dressing up and I wanted to be a part of this amazing community as an influencer. I always felt like I didn’t really have a place in the industry. I don’t have the typical plus-size body with big boobs and I def don’t have an hourglass shape. I found myself lost in the industry creating content that was “overly sexy” to try and get followers instead of sharing my authentic self. It took years for me to finally find a place in the industry and build my brand. I did that by finding a supporting friends group, building relationships with brands that aligned with my purpose, and honestly, becoming a mom.
I wear many hats. I am a mom, a wife, and the owner of a children’s thrift store and boutique called Rainbow Mini Thrift. I am a plus-size content creator. I am the creative director for The Blogger House Curvy Closet.
This month we are featuring model and influencer moms… we know that your road to becoming a mom was complicated. Can you share your story with us and what you learned from it?
My journey with fertility has been a long one. I tried to get pregnant for 8 years and during that time I experienced heartbreaking miscarriages and was on way too much hormone medication. While I was trying to create a name for myself in the industry I was silently suffering trying to conceive. I have dealt with PCOS for many years and all of the fertility clinics I dealt with all told me that I just had to lose weight so that I can naturally ovulate. Being plus size my whole life, I was so tired of being told to “just lose weight” I was determined to prove them wrong and get pregnant.
After 8 years of trying in 2020, I decided to start a “healthy lifestyle” journey. This didn’t mean I was going to do a crazy diet or fast. I just wanted to focus on being healthy inside and out. I started moving my body by going to the gym, doing dance classes with my friend Jessie (Curves with Moves), and hiring a trainer (Curvy Chic Fitness) and I just dedicated time to heal my body from all it had been through in the past years. I started acupuncture, meditation, and just finding ways to make myself my healthiest and happiest self.
It is such a hard subject to talk about in our community. As soon as we see anyone talking about health, we pull away and don’t want to talk about it. I felt like that for so many years until I learned that it is so important for plus-size women to talk about what healthy looks like for us. It isn’t always about focusing on the number on the scale, but moving our bodies and feeling free to workout without the stigma that we are “sellouts”.
In 2020, I got pregnant. Now, I don’t want to say that the only factor was that I lost 50 pounds. I truly believe that the time I took to get in tune with my body, give it what it needs, and truly focus on being my healthiest self is what helped my body get pregnant.
At the first appointment to hear the baby’s heartbeat the doctor told me that I was having a miscarriage and that I should take medication to complete it. I was heartbroken but this time just felt different. I begged her to wait another week to just make sure. A week later I went into the office for my sonogram and the nurse said do you want to hear the heartbeat. I was in shock! The doctor was wrong, can you imagine if I would have listened and taken the medication? I think about that day all the time and wonder if it had to do with my history and my weight. Was she used to women with PCOS having miscarriages and just assumed?
During the whole pregnancy, I was full of anxiety. Not only was I pregnant in the midst of a global pandemic, but I had so many losses before that I just wanted to have a healthy baby. I went to the doctor every other week just to hear his heartbeat. I had the perfect textbook pregnancy but because of my history, they made me still see a high-risk doctor, again because of my weight. They made me check my blood pressure, and they even induced me early although the baby and I were perfectly fine.
My rainbow baby came on Feb 19th, 2021. After 2 pushes he was out in the world and ready. I wish I could tell you that I was all rainbows and butterflies and that I was the happiest I could be. The 4th trimester is no joke!! I had this irrational fear that he wasn’t mine. I felt like everything I did wasn’t good enough. I knew I had postpartum depression but because I dealt with infertility for so many years I couldn’t admit it. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t allowed to be depressed because I finally had my son.
After a long time, I finally got help and I am feeling much better and I am the happiest I could ever be, but it was a journey and a lot of therapy.
One thing I learned throughout the journey is to be kind to myself. The journey of self-love that we always hear about is usually about learning to love yourself at any size. I had to learn to love myself inside too. I had to learn to love myself enough to take care of myself and be one with my body. I had to learn to be patient with my body, to listen to what it needed. I had to be kind to myself and not put so much pressure. I learned that my body can do extraordinary things if I have faith. Although, my body has changed so much since having Grayson I love it more than ever. It did exactly what I needed it to do so I will continue to take care of it and love it through those changes.
Recently you took to your Instagram Stories and talked about learning to take time for yourself because the world expects us to do it all to exhaustion. Can you share with us how you are learning to practice self-care without the mommy guilt many of us feel?
Practicing self-care looks a lot different these days. I remember I thought self-care meant taking baths or getting luxury massages but honestly self-care as a mom is so simple for me. Sitting in the car in silence after a long day, taking a walk to get a $7 coffee. It is so important for us to recharge and to get a little bit of energy. My self-care lately has been spending 30 minutes watching a random Reality TV show while eating Tres Leche ice cream.
Grayson has his own Instagram account and has been in campaigns and working on sponsored content since he was a tiny little baby. Can you share with us how you manage to be a “momager” and manage your own content creation schedule? Any tips? apps?
When Grayson was first born I was so excited to jump into the mommy and me modeling world with him. I started an Instagram for him @ colorsofgrayson and I wanted to focus on his career but after a few months my depression got so bad I had to take a break. Since then I have been focused on creating a name for us. I really want to focus on matching and showcasing that kids can wear any color. I hate kids being forced to wear certain prints and colors based on their gender. I am dedicating time to building. Grayson has had some photoshoots on his own that have been so fun. I decided to focus on building our brand together as mother and son instead since I already have the following. I think the biggest advice I would give other Momagers is it’s about consistency. Don’t ever compare your kid to another kid’s career.
I did use an app for children’s casting but it ended up being a waste of money. I honestly would say to create an insta/tik tok for them and focus on using hashtags and growing their following.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that once we have children our productivity level lessens. And while there is a lot more that goes into our daily schedule, talk to us about your vision for the future and about Rainbow Thrift?
Lately, I realized I have to take my own advice lately whenever I get free time when Grayson is asleep I have been working on other projects. I never thought that I would become a “workaholic” after becoming a mom. We are told to do the opposite. “focus on our families” and “be a stay-at-home mom” but honestly after having Grayson I felt this pressure to do better and be better for him. I want to build an empire for him.
I went from being a stay-at-home mom and not working to launching my own business Rainbow Mini Thrift. Right before having Grayson, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life or which direction I wanted to take my page or brand and I know it is going to sound cheesy but Grayson gave me purpose in all aspects of my life. He gave me direction in life. A purpose to wake up every day, a direction in my career as a content creator and he gave me the idea for my business. I realized kids grow out of their clothing so fast, and most of the things we get for them they either wear once or twice or never wear. There’s so much waste and we spend so much money. Also, children’s clothes are so expensive. I came up with the idea for RMT to help reduce waste, help parents save money shopping consignment, and help parents make money reselling their items. I am so proud of the community we started and I can’t wait to see what else we can accomplish.
Right now we have consignors who sell through us, we also shop thrift stores and resell. We donate monthly to local shelters.
The future for Rainbow– I would love to eventually have a storefront that also has weekly support groups for moms, weekly storytime, and a fun community for parents and littles. I also just did a soft launch for our boutique collection that I’m hoping to launch soon. I have so many plans for the brand that I wish there were 2 of me. It has been really hard dividing my time between being a mom and running 2 businesses and working full-time jobs.
I currently just started working full-time for a fertility clinic. I haven’t announced this yet but I am so excited to help women just like me. I always told myself I was to go back to work and I would only do something that I loved. After going to so many fertility clinics, I know exactly how to help women who are going through what I went through. it is nice to be the kind voice they get to speak to during their journey.
Tell us about the look you are wearing and what you love about shopping Lane Bryant.
I am wearing this beautiful dress with my favorite piece of clothing… a jean jacket! Jean jackets have always been a staple in my wardrobe. I feel like they can make your outfit pop. I love shopping with Lane Bryant because they aren’t just a store, they are a brand that celebrates women from different walks of life. Every year for Mother’s Day they celebrate mother’s and I am so honored to be a part of such a beautiful campaign. Growing up I remember walking into my first Lane Bryant and being so excited that I could finally shop for dresses in my size. I felt like I was at Disneyland walking around wanting to try on everything because it would finally fit.
I have had way too many sad Mother’s Days, wishing I could celebrate with a child of my own. Mother’s Day is so special to me because it’s a day to celebrate all that we do. One of the hardest yet most satisfying jobs in the world is being a mom. There is nothing that compares to it. When a mom is sick she is up to taking care of those she loves. Moms are the glue that holds the family together. I thank Lane Bryant and PLUS Model Magazine for honoring mothers in this campaign.