|(Photo by Lucas Pictures, Hair by Johanna Javier, Makeup Tara Taylor, Styling Reah Norman & Ashlee Henderson)|
If you're interested in hearing a little backstory and reading a little personal moment, read on. Otherwise, it's ok, I still love you. Haha.
Many years ago, when I first started modeling, PMM was one of the top sources for me in terms of learning about the industry -- the models, the designers, the trends, the stylists, hair and makeup teams, photographers, agencies, and bloggers. To this day, it is still the number one source for information on the industry that I recommend to those who aspire to work in the industry. The editor, Madeline Jones, is a former model who I affectionately call our Anna Wintour and our "fashion whisperer". She has the ability to bring out the best in everyone she works with and hence her magazine has quickly become the ultimate fashion destination.
When I began modeling and as I advanced in this industry, it was one of my major goals to be featured in an editorial, let alone a cover, and I prayed and worked toward that goal. This year has been an especially fabulous year in terms of cover models. Models whose career I admire -- Robyn Lawley, Lauren Shaw, Sophie Shepp to name a few -- have been the previous covers in 2013, and so it was a major honor for me. Furthermore, the September issue of any fashion magazine is generally the year's biggest and most important issue. When I got the call that I was being hired to be on the cover, I was excited, honored, nervous, happy, thrilled -- so many emotions I can't even express.
Click here to read the full issue
I have come so far. Further than many thought I would. Further than even the voice in my own head told me I would go. Working with some of my favorite retailers and designers regularly, modeling full time, traveling. It's all something I wanted and it's something I have literally busted my big booty for!
I know so many of you who read my blog or follow me want to be models, so I want to be perfectly honest here. I generally keep many of my thoughts to myself as you sadly cannot trust very many people in such a competitive industry and it's best to keep so much of the struggle under wraps in the name of professionalism. But I do want to share a little bit for the girl who is reading this trying to break into the industry.
There are so many detractors in this business. Outsiders see the glitz and the glam, but there are many days where there is little to look forward to but frustration, criticism, tears, rejection and hurt. For models who don't necessarily fit the typical mold (shout out to my fellow #teamunderdog peeps), there is so much that you have to fight through and overcome. It's hard and it's hurtful and there are so many days when I feel exhausted by it. Anyone who tells you they don't internalize some of that is full of CRAP. You do. Even if you have a tough skin.
But days like today make all of those struggles worth it.
Unlike some models/bloggers out there, I did not get into this business to become famous or have people tell me I'm pretty. I honestly could not give a shit about that (excuse my French). My sense of self comes from within -- from my faith and my purpose (and a little help from my handsome fiance who loves me for me.)
But aside from the fact that I simply LOVE fashion, what I care about is having young girls who look like me have someone that they could look to and say, if SHE did it, I can do it. If she can not only ACCEPT herself but LOVE herself and make no apologies, then maybe I should feel that way about myself too.
I am not perfect and I am 100 percent not yet the woman I want to be, physically, professionally or spiritually. HARDLY. But I think the fact that I am not perfect and that I am not necessarily the typical "model type" is exactly what makes this moment so special and so important.
I am you. A work in progress, but no less deserving or beautiful than those people society deems good enough to be worthy of high fashion and beautiful things.
Thank you to all of you for supporting my career thus far. You believe in me on days it's hard to believe in myself. And I, in turn, believe in you and will fight for you every day in everything I do. Not in a pretentious "I'm saving the world" or "I'm changing lives" kind of way. No, in a way that a friend, an equal and just a regular girl who loves fashion and celebrating women and beauty does -- As your sister in the struggle.
You are worthy. You are beautiful. Where you are in your health journey has NO bearing on your access to fashion TODAY, right now in this exact moment. You are sexy and fabulous and a woman, friend, mom, daughter, wife, girlfriend, professional and a myriad of other things and you DESERVE fashion that covers those needs.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!!