HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I for one am SO excited about 2017 and all the possibilites it holds. 2016 was a year full of love, but also full of hard times.
To start on the positives, I GOT MARRIED THIS YEAR!!!! I got to marry the love of my life in Las Vegas, surrornded by family and friends. It was not only the happiest day of the year, but of my life. Looking back on 2016, THAT is what I will think of, and that is pretty amazing! Thank you so much to everyone for all the well wishes and love sent our way in regards to our wedding. We are so so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing loving people.
Two of my bestfriends also got married this year (we're all looking forward to being able to tell people 10 years from now that "we got married 10 years ago" hehe. I was maid of honor for Sabrina and best (wo)man for Robin. My other bestie Kristy also got engaged and is getting married in a couple weeks in Hawaii!
2016 was filled with travel to LA, Las Vegas, across Canada, and the pacific north west, and im looking forward to much more travel in 2017 including Phoenix, Miami, LA and Vegas again, and the Carribian! Im hoping to travel at least once a month in 2017. I worked really hard this year and hit 1 million followers on my facebook page and 100K on instagram! My social media continues to grow daily and I am so so thankful for that.
I got opportunities to speak publiclly about body positivity and mental health stigma, and became a columnest for FabUPlus magazine (look for my column Plus Size Modeling 101, on newstands now). I did a lot of writing this year for publications both in print and online.
I hosted Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week (as well as walked for 3 designers) and walked for the first time in Vancovuer Fashion Week for Leslie Hampton and Gatsbylady (whose images ended up in VOGUE! Another acceavement unlocked!)
I also be came a home owner in 2016! We bought a condo in downtown Vancouver and are just LOVING our new home!
2016 also had its hardships. I lost the remaining 3 grandparents which as really difficult. My grandparents were always a huge part of my life and as much as I am happy they are no longer suffering, I miss them every day. I made new friends, and lost a few. I found out some peoples true colours (which is never easy) and had to let some people go from my life for the sake of my own well being.
My anxiety and depression snuck up on me this past year, and I realized that although im very open about it, I wasn't taking as good care of myslef as I thought I was, so in 2017 I will be starting with a counceller again, as well as starting meditation, getting back into yoga, and doing things to take care of my body, my mind, and my spirit.
I shot for some new brands and some of my old favourites! I shot for Nettles Tale Swimwear, Diane Kennedy, Cherry Velvet, Ivido Brand Jeans, Heart of Haute, Lace Canada Lingerie, Playful Promises, Got Curves, BGN Workshop, Hell Bunny, and many many more! I updated my website and created a new Members Only page to showcase my work to my loyal fans!
I continued to grow as both an model, an artist, and a woman. I strive to always be evoving and changing and growing, and I think I did ALOT of that this year! I strated "trying" not to care what people think as much (always been a very hard thing for me), and continued to strive to be a bad ass, body positive, babe!
Moving forward, I feel GREAT about 2017 and what it will bring for this girl! I feel like I have a wide open door infront of me and nothing to hold me back! This year I will be focusing more on my blogging, as well as modeling. I have some projects I want to start in 2017 (nothing I can share QUITE yet...but trust me, you will LOVE it). I will also be striving to take better care of myself, not only physically, but more so, mentally. I look forward to spreading my wings and branching out. I look forward to travel, love, and laughter. I want to volunteer more. I want to spend more time with those I love. I want to live a happy and authentic life.
I hope each and every one of you reading this has an amazing a safe time ringing in the New Year, and I wish you nothing by happiness, health and love in 2017. Lets make this year the best one YET!!!
I recently teamed up with The Skin Girls based out of Vancouver, for some skin treatments! Anyone who knows me knows I am OBSESSED with skin care. I am a Rodan + Fields Rep (I adore their skin care line). My girl Stephanie at Techniks Salon in North Vancouver, takes care of my face with her amazing Micro-infusion Peel Facials, and I ALWAYS wash my face before going to bed at night. When the Skin Girls reached out to me to collaborate with them I jumped at the opportunity. Not only had i heard great things about them, but Im always willing to try new things to look and feel my best!
First a little background on The Skin Girls. The Skin Girls offer result based skin treatments from microdermabrasions to botox, fraxel to skin tightening & will have you looking more youthful in no time. Their skin therapists are often mobile on movie & TV sets around Vancouver ensuring celebrities their glow, but can come to you too!
When I say they offer a wide variety of treatments, im not kidding! I was actually blown away when I walked into their office in Gastown (soon to be relocating to Yaletown) that they could offer so many treatments! Everything from 3D Skin Rejuvenation to Laser Hair Removal to Botox and Fillers. We decided to try out Body FX/Contouring as one of the areas ive always struggled with is my thighs and cellulite. Although I know everyone has it (and to my surprise, I was told by the girls that my cellulite is fairly minor...who knew??) I also believe that if there is something I can do to look and feel my best, I will absolutely give it a try!
BodyFX targets problematic fatty tissues for ideal body contouring. Radio-frequency provides precise and optimal heating of the skin for reduction, contraction, and body shaping. BodyFX is a perfect solution to get rid of your mummy tummy or muffin top. BodyFX uses a combination of different clinically proven modalities including radiofrequency energy, deep tissue heating and suction coupled negative pressure. The radio-frequency energy distributes heat to the skin and underlying fat, causing the tissues to heat and contract. The vacuum and controlled energy pulses then work synergistically to provide beautiful body contouring results.
It is recommended that weekly sessions are performed over an eight week period. Gradual improvements in the treatment area can be seen following the first few treatments – with the skin’s surface feeling smoother and softer immediately. After 8 treatments, a 40% reduction in cellulite and extra fat can be noticed.
I am all for body positivity and loving the skin I am in....I know that everyone has fat...everyone has cellulite. I work out 3 times a week and am very healthy but sometimes that just doesn't do it for things like cellulite. I also believe that if there is something we can do about things that make us uncomfortable about ourselves. Things that will make us feel better...then why not? To me this is no different than putting on false lashes or nails...or using anti-ageing creams. I want to be the best version of myself possible, and there is nothing wrong with that!
The treatment took about 40 min and for the most part was pretty painless. I basically felt some suction, some heat, and a small zap. The heat was the most uncomfortable part, and really wasn't that bad at all. I noticed my right thigh was more sensitive than my left so it felt a little more uncomfortable, but I was never worried about being burnt at all.
I have only had 1 treatment so far, and I am planning on going back for more! I noticed the difference already after only one treatment...my skin felt smoother and softer, so I cannot wait to see what the results will be after multiple treatments! Below is my after shot from just 1 treatment.
The Skin Girls are also the ONLY place in Vancouver that offers BODYFX!!!
Stay tuned for more results!
I wanted to make a wee post as recently my mental health has been ALL over the place. Sometimes I cant seem to leave the house...sometimes all I want to do is get out of the house. Anxiety and Depression effect everyone differently. This is how mine effects me.
I love my friends dearly. When I'm feeling low or anxious..there are very few people that I can be around. Its not that I don't want to be around people. I just physically feel that I cant. I cant talk, I cant joke, I cant laugh. All I can do is sit...and I think "who would want to even be around me right now".
I wanted to express this as, I feel absolutely SHATTERED if I think someone that I like and respect doesn't like me. Quite often, for big social events, or even small ones for that matter, I need to prep myself to be social for days before hand, and then for days after, I spend so much time wondering if I did or say anything wrong, to upset anyone, or embarrass myself or others. Its exhausting.
As much as I preach about not caring what people say about me online (which is somewhat true now...but very hard to learn, and only really applies to strangers ), I care TOO much about what people think about me when it comes to those that I know, love, admire, and respect. I feel devastated if I think that I did something to make anyone have any ill will or negative feelings towards me, so I over compensate with a big smile, bubbly personality, and I tend to ramble on and on. Im very good at hiding my mental health. Nearly everyone ive ever told about my mental health struggles, has said "wow I never would have guessed", or sometimes even, dont believe me.
I am never one thing, all the time. Sometimes I love being social. For example, I went to a wedding this weekend. I had so much fun dancing and joking with friendly strangers, sharing memories with friends old and new, and even getting up and saying my best man speech in front of 150 people...but, after the last Christmas party I hosted, even though I had an amazing time, I didn't sleep for 2 days after wondering if everyone had fun. Sometimes, I love being the centre of attention!!! And sometimes, I excuse myself to the bathroom...just to get some alone time for 5 min and re-group. Id say im an Introverted Extrovert, also known as an Ambivert.
I am an empath and when someone I love is feeling badly, I do too, or wonder if im the one that caused them to feel that way. I also over analyse EVERYTHING...and constantly worry that if someone says "im fine" for example, that must mean "Im not fine and I hate you and you've ruined my life"
I wanted to make this post as I dont want anyone to think, if ive ever cancelled plans last min, or didn't come to an event, its that I didn't want to or didn't like you. It really isn't. Mostly its that I just simply cant bring myself to go out. It kills me as I used to be SUCH a social butterfly, going out every night, always making new friends, etc. I miss those carefree days. I miss my friends and not seeing them as often as I used to...and others are not even in my life anymore. I know people drift apart, move away, get married, etc. Lives change and people grow apart...but in my mind...for the most part, it feels like its my fault.
Another reason I posted this is because it helps to open up and talk about it. I cant possibly be the only one who feels this way, and I know, for me, knowing im not alone really helps. Life isn't always as perfect as it appears to be on Facebook, and sometimes its nice to "keep it real". I have a very blessed life...but no ones life is all sunshine and rainbows all the time.
Thank you to those who know, and who help, even if they dont know they are helping. Sending love, understanding last min cancellations or declines, sending cute puppy photos, or just checking in. It's always lovely to get messages from friends just saying hi. I'm not the best at doing that myself as I always feel like a bother...even tho I never feel that way when I get a message. Funny how the brain works huh?
This photo was created by Sarah Bowman Photography, and I feel it very accurately depicts me (weather she meant to or not). Both a powerful, outgoing, strong woman, who loves going out and being the centre of attention, and a shy, quiet, thoughtful girl who loves to be at home with her dog under a blanket and hoping no one notices her. An ambervert in every way.
If you are dealing with mental health issues, you are not alone. For me, talking about it helps. Everyone's experiences are different and everyone deals with it in different ways. But one thing that remains the same throughout is that we need to stop the stigma and shame that comes with mental health. Talk to those you love and trust, or reach out to your local mental health hotline for help. And I am always here for you as well. <3
As most people know, I have a love for pin-up. It was how I got my start in modelling, and I have always loved the grace and style of the fashions of the 40's - 60's. That is why I love Heart of Haute! They are a mother/daughter founded company based just outside of LA. I shot with them for the second time this past March while I was in California and, as always, had the BEST time.
Their garments are not only well made, and locally made (right in house in their LA warehouse!) but their designs and prints are unique, flattering, and my favourite, SHOWSTOPPING!!! The best part is, there is something for everyone! Of course they are great for the retro/piniup look, but loads of their pieces can be worn even if you aren't into that look so much! So many beautiful sun dresses perfect for a patio or a day at the beach!
They have sizes from XS-4X and a wide variety of dresses, separates, and even bridal and children's wear!
Here are some photos from our last shoot. Check them out, and shop here:
There are so many amazing plus size lingerie brands, and my newest sponsor gotcurves.ca is JUST the place to find them!
They are launching next month, with exclusive brands, such as Shirly of Hollywood, Dreamgirl Lingerie, and my favourite, Coquette (also Canadian, and one of my clients!)
I am so excited to do my first exclusive shoot for them this month in Las Vegas! So be sure to stay tuned! The service is amazing, really helpful with sizing questions, and FAST shipping. Their dedication to curves is amazing. They are Canada's ONLY on-line retailer dedicated to ONLY plus sizing. They strongly believe (as do I) that curvy women ALSO deserve to look and feel sexy in lingerie, and they are here to help you achieve just that!
Right now, as a special offer from GotCurves.ca and myself, follow this link, enter your email address, and you could win a $100 gift card once the site goes live!!!!
Good luck!!! And happy Shopping!!!
As I'm sure you could have guessed (I am a girl after all...) I LOVE shoes! I even have a ROOM dedicated to my shoes! So when I was contacted by Shoe Freaks to work together, I of course jumped on the opportunity!!
I was even MORE excited when I received my first pair...this AMAZING pair of green, sparkly Bordellos! Bordello shoes are one of my favourite brands to wear for photo shoots. They are SKY high, (so therefore make my legs look amazing, as well as make me SUPER tall....when I wear my Bordello's, Im over 6'2! )
I also find Bordello's to be really comfortable due to the platform front (at least in this, the Teeze style). Yes they are high, but the front platform means that the arch isn't as high as in other shoes, so there for feel better to walk in. That being said, they are still very high, and if you're anything like me (very clumsy!!) always be careful when doing things like walking down stairs!
I also find Bordello's fit quite tight. I normally wear a size 10W in shoes, but in Bordello's I go up in size to a size 12. That way there is no rubbing. I don't get blisters (thank goodness!!) and can walk perfectly fine!
My favourite thing about these shoes is how well they are made. I have about 5 pairs of Bordello's that I wear very frequently for photoshoots...and every pair still looks brand new. I was worried about the glitter coming off of this pair, but so far, I haven't noticed any glitter anywhere but the shoes! BONUS! If theres one thing my fiance hates...its loose glitter. Its gets EVERYWHERE and is nearly impossible to get rid of...but so far, I haven't had to worry about it!
I wore the shoes for the first time (other than strutting around my house admiring my sparkly feet) this Monday for a "green" theme'd photo shoot. They were the PERFECT fit! They added the height I wanted, and jazzed up the outfit the perfect amount. Even though you can only see a peek of them, I think they really do catch your eye. But I must say, I cannot wait to do another shoot with them where I can show them off even MORE!!!
If green isn't your thing, Shoe Freaks has the shoes is a wide variety of colours! From red to blue to silver and everything in between (I feel a collection coming on!). They also have a WIDE variety of shoes. They have one of the largest collections of Bordello's I have come across, as well as shoes from Pleaser, Pin Up Couture, and Demonia. Literally, something for everyone!
Im really looking forward to continuing to work with Shoe Freaks! I see many a well dressed foot in my future (and more to add to my shoe room!!) Head on over now and take a look! Happy Shoe Shopping!!!
www.shoefreaks.com or www.shoefreaks.ca for Canadian shoppers
I was recently asked to speak at the Kelty Mental Health Pinwheel Education Series on Mental Health and Weight Bias. It was a wonderful experience. The talk took place at Children Hospital, a place that is very near and dear to my heart, as they saved my life multiple times as a baby. I spoke along side some extremely educated, inspirational women. I wanted to share my speech, in hopes of having it reach a wider audience. Thank you so much to the Kelty Mental Heath Resource Centre for having me. I hope to focus my attention in 2016 to doing more public speaking, and helping people more. This was a wonderful way to start.
When I started writing out what I was going to say…I was stuck. I stared at an empty screen for about an hour, not knowing what I could say that would help, that would make a difference. Who would even want to hear my story? But then I though…THIS…THIS is what living with mental illness is like! I suffer from depression AND anxiety. I used to think there was something wrong with me. As I get older, my feelings get more intense and more frequent. Even just writing this, and thinking it over, gave me anxiety.
I constantly apologize for things I shouldn’t. I apologize for being sad, or upset, or nervous. Things that are beyond my control. I am so fortunate to have an amazing support system. My fiancé has helped me to realize that mental illness isn’t anything to be ashamed of, or apologize for. It is just that…an ILLNESS…just like a cold, the flu, hepatitis, or even cancer. Its something that many people suffer with, and sadly, many people suffer in silence. The average person suffering with mental illness suffers alone for 10 years before asking for help. Medications can help some…but for me, what helps the most, is talking about it. No longer will I suffer in silence. I am not defined by my mental illness, and despite suffering with anxiety and depression, I can overcome it, and make a difference.
I wear many hats. I am a plus size model. I am editor in chief of Beauty Mark Magazine, a quarterly publication that focuses on inner beauty, finding beauty in our unique qualities, and self love and appreciation. I am vice president of Bonerattle talent, an alternative talent agency. But above all that I am a partner, a daughter, a friend, and a sister.
In August of 2015 I was alerted to a page called “Project Harpoon”. The name in itself gives you an idea of how horrible this page was. The object of the page was to shame plus size women of all walks of life for not being a size 0. Although their “excuse” was trying to promote healthy living by showing women how much “better” they would look if they were slimmer.
They took photos of women, mine included, and photo shopped them to appear MUCH smaller, and used captions such as “look how much more potential she has” and “from a depressed lump to a happy fox”. They had taken a photo of me, altered it, and used it as their profile picture. Not only was the photo shopping terrible, and the captions insulting, but the comments, written by people who didn’t even know who I was were the hardest to read. I instantly reported the page, and shared the image in hopes of gaining assistance in getting the page removed. Unfortunately, all this did was draw attention to the page itself, and it went viral. Everyone was talking about this page, from people magazine, to cosmo, to local newspapers. I got a lot of negative attention for it. I was called a lot of very hurtful names, and told that I should lose weight, I was a pig, and other horrible things. I was even told to kill myself and the world would be better off without me. It send me into a downward spiral of depression. I began to wonder if those words were true? I decided that the best thing for my mental health, was to simply ignore the problem. The more I thought about that page, the worse my mental state was becoming.
Then I was chatting to a friend about it, and she suggested, instead of ignoring the problem, and hoping it would go away…I should use this negative, and turn it into a positive. I should rise above. So I took to my blog to write my feelings. It didn’t come easily…much like the speech, I started by staring at a blank page for a couple hours. I fought with my anger, my hurt, and the frustration of the whole situation. I wanted to write all that down and tell them how disgusting they are. But I paused and thought about it. This page was putting so much hate out into the world, and I didn’t want to add to that. I wanted to turn the negative into a positive, and perhaps, try to help someone in the process.
I started my blog out by thanking the page. Thanking them for giving me the strength to overcome my anger and pen a blog with a purpose other than body shaming. A quote from my blog.
“Thank you for showing me that I have the drive and determination to fight bullies like you. Yes, you used my photo, yes, I read horrible, threatening, comments, yes, you even used my photo as your profile picture without my permission, but my fight isn’t for me. I am a strong, confident, plus model, who is PROUD of her body. It has gotten me through 31 years, of health, sickness, pain, freedom, love and adventure. My body and I have been through a lot together, and I will not let on line bullies such as you make me feel bad about loving myself.
The reason I fight you is for the thousands of women out there who aren't where I am yet. Who don’t love their bodies. Some of the girls you photo shopped weren’t models or celebrities, but just everyday girls. They might not have confidence, but they posted that photo on a day they felt good about themselves, and you BUTCHERED it with your atrocious photo shopping, and made them feel bad. What if she isn't happy with her body, and had been trying to be healthy and more confident. What if that photo WAS her after she hit her goal weight (no, not everyone’s goal weight is a size 2), and you dragged her through the mud. How DARE you bring someone down, simply because she is not YOUR immature, close minded ideal! It’s OK to have preferences, but it is NOT OK to make people feel bad because they aren’t yours. Guess what, bullies and jerks are NEVER anyone’s preference.”
(You can read my full blog below)
I found the writing of the blog in itself extremely therapeutic. I was able to channel the negativity I was feeling into a greater purpose and turn a negative into a positive. I wanted the women who saw my photo, or others on the page, to realize that this page was run by a bunch of bullies who’s small minded opinion didn’t define them.. These bullies were feeding the mentality that there is only one way to be beautiful, and that needed to stop.
The out pouring of support I received for my blog was incredible. A few days after I published it…I was contacted by Good Morning America, who interviewed me about what I had experienced and my blog post. The next week, I was on the cover of The Province Newspaper. I was interviewed over 75 times in 2 weeks all over North America including the associated press, Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, and many many more.. I was so overwhelmed, but so thankful that my blog, and my words, were becoming greater than the poison that “project harpoon” was spewing. Instead of making people feel bad about themselves, I was helping people, and that was the most important, and healing thing of all. My message of love, self acceptance, and positivity was being heard. I realized that love always trumps hate. Love always wins.
Its also important to remember however, that weight bias and body shaming, doesn’t only happen to larger people. Telling a woman who is size 14 that she is a pig or to go to the gym is just as insulting as telling a size 2 to eat a cheeseburger, or calling her anorexic or a stick. These are the things that lead to negative thinking, low self esteem, and even eating disorders. Society and mainstream media have brainwashed us to believe that the only true form of beauty is a woman who looks like a Victoria secret model…and that is just simply not the case. What I hope to teach women, and men, young and old, of every size and shape, is that they are important, and matter, regardless of their size or shape. It is what’s on the inside that makes them beautiful, not what size dress they wear or what bra size they have
When I was in high school and my early 20’s, I was around a size 8-10…now I wear a 12-14, but I am MUCH healthier now than I was then. Back then, I was OBSESSED with being “skinny”. I would crash diet over and over again, to the point of sometimes almost passing out from lack of food. I was doing things to my body that were very unhealthy, and although I didn’t have an eating disorder per say, I hated the way I looked, and would only focusing on changing myself. My self worth was mostly determined on if boys thought I was pretty and what dress size I could squeeze into. Striving to be healthier and happier is ok…but that is not what I was doing. I was convinced if I could be a size 2, I would be happy….but in reality, not everyone is meant to be a size 2, I am certainly not and I was making myself miserable in the process. People come in all different sizes and shapes. That’s what makes the world so beautiful and interesting! Can you imagine if we all looked the same? What a boring world that would be! Its so important to remember that health comes in all different shapes and sizes. Someone who is a size 2 can be just as healthy as someone who is a size 14. Someone who is small doesn’t necessarily have an eating disorder just like a size 14 isn’t necessarily unhealthy either. Health looks different on everyone and a Doctor is the only person who can tell you if you are healthy….not a friend or family member, not someone on the street, and certainly not a bully on a facebook page.
I am a fairly confident person, but I don’t think there is a single person who is confident 100% of the time. Its human nature to have doubts and bad days. And my confidence took some time to learn. It’s still something I work on every day. I needed to work on myself and remember the things I love about myself. Most people, sadly, want to change something about themselves. Weather it is their weight, their bra size, their hips, thighs, waist. But instead of focusing on the things we dislike about ourselves…it’s important to remember that some things we cannot change, and remember those things we DO love about ourselves. For me…I don’t like my stomach. But when I have a bad day, and feel down on myself, instead of focusing on the negative, I focus on the positive. I try to remember the things I love about myself. The things on the inside. My heart, my mind, my laugh, my family, my friends. The feeling of the sun on my face. How much I love my puppy. The way I can manage to make any baby laugh. How much love I have in my life. I am loved, and love in return. THAT is what is important. Yes I am a model. In a matter of speaking, I am paid for my looks. But recently I’ve started to realize that that is not where my passion truly lies. My passion is in helping others realize their potential and discovering the things that make them unique and special. There are so many more important things in the world to be than “pretty”. One day, at my funeral…I hope people have more to say about me than “she was pretty”.
Moving forward, I think it’s important for us all to think about how we speak to people. What we may think is helpful, may in fact be damaging. Putting down one body type to bring up another, is still weight bias. Telling a curvy girl she’s a “real women” is STILL weight bias. Last time I checked…all women were real women. Real women are tall, short, slim, curvy,athletic, have fake boobs, or real boobs, dye their hair, go au natural, are outgoing, shy, and anything you can think of. ALL women are real women, and should be treated as such. Don’t bring one body type down to bring up another.
We need to focus on what makes a person unique and beautiful on the inside! Next time you meet a little girl in a pretty dress…instead of commenting on how beautiful she looks, or how pretty her dress is, tell her she is smart, how much you love her laugh, ask her what her favorite colour is or what book she read last night? We need young women especially, to realize that they are worth more than their looks and what others think of them. They are their brain, and their heart.
The same can be said for mental illness…if you come across someone who is down, depressed, nervous or anxious, or even has to take a leave from work…instead of assuming they are a “drama queen” or are just doing it to get time off work, reach out to them. Ask them if they are ok. Don’t try to fix their problems…just sit, be still…just BE with them. Sometimes just asking can help. Mental illness is just that…an illness. Just like you cant get over a cold or flu because someone told you to…same goes for mental illness.
As we are now in 2016 my new years resolutions are to be more caring. To listen more. To focus on peoples strength’s rather than their weaknesses. To spread love. I am also vowing to model less, and to help people more. I want to focus more on my magazine, public speaking, and inspiring others to make the world a better place. It will not only hopefully help a few people, but it will also help me and my outlook on life. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in “getting the gig” or “having the right look” that I don’t take my own advice, and, therefor, end up causing myself to become more anxious. I will stop comparing myself to others. I will stop wishing for MORE and be happy with what I HAVE. I am more than my looks, my career, and my body type. I am more than my mental illness. I am ME. I am not Ruby…Ruby is a character that I play. I am Jenn. A girl from Vancouver who loves fiercely and, hopes to do her part to help make the world a better place.
Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.
A study recently came out of Simon Fraser University and California State University entitled:
“The (Ironic) Dove Effect: Usage of Acceptance Cues for Larger Body Types Increases Unhealthy Behaviors”
The study states that body positive ad/body accepting campaigns such as the Dove campaigns are leading people to live unhealthier lifestyles, with unhealthy food choices, lack of exercise, etc. It also states that manufacturers and advertisers using plus size women is contributing to the increase in obesity rates in first world countries.
I was recently sent the study to read, and was asked my opinion on it by CBC. I was interviewed by Dan Burritt for the 6:00 pm news and although the interview was a great platform to get my opinion out there, I left feeling there was so much more I had to say. I decided to take to my blog to express my thoughts on this study.
First of all, I’d like to ask you, the reader, for your opinion. Has seeing my photos, or photos of any plus models, average women, or body positive campaigns ever led you to live a less healthy life? Have you thought…”oh well, she’s plus size, it must be ok to eat that deep fried mars bar?” Because this has never happened to me, nor have I ever heard of it happening to anyone. What you see on TV and in the media does not go hand in hand with what kind of food we put in our bodies and how healthy we are or choose to live. Sure people have role-models they look up to, or bodies they wish they had. That is natural…but linking these ideas to obesity is as absurd as saying watching the Victoria secret fashion show leads to anorexia. Eating disorders don't come from seeing a picture, and the same goes for obesity. I’m sure there are people out there who are influenced by the media, but both obesity and anorexia or eating disorders of any kind are SO much more complex than this study makes them out to be. We all have a different idea of health and we need to take that into consideration. It’s not simply about being happy in the body that you are in, but it is also about finding out what is healthy for YOU. Everyone’s body is different. There are things we can do to be healthier and there are things that are beyond our control. Striving to be the best version of ourselves is what we should all aim to do, instead of striving to be someone we are not. We cannot all be Victoria secret models. As beautiful as they are, there are many more definitions of beauty in the world, and we need to be accepting of ALL of them.
I found this study, and the way it was conducted to be very simplistic in thinking and did not count for the many many factors that lead to weight gain or loss. One cannot simply blame the media. There are FAR too many factors that go into someone’s weight. I feel another flaw in this study is that they fail to define “plus size” or “larger body type”. Do they define this as simply larger than someone with an eating disorder? But still thin? Normal “average” size? Or clinically obese? There are a WIDE range of body sizes, and they failed to touch on this, and how they define “plus size”. Without this definition, it’s hard to prove their point.
Let’s start with the food we put in our bodies. Yes, the general population has grown in body size over the past century. But let’s also think about the food we are now eating. Sugary foods, fast food, trans fats, processed food, additives, preservatives, and GMO’s. Those are not healthy, and for the most part, were not around 100 years ago. Although we all know how unhealthy these foods are, many low income earners simply cannot afford to eat all natural, organic food all the time. Sometimes in order to simply put food on the table, it needs to be mac and cheese or McDonalds. I’m sure it’s not ideal for them, but who are we to judge? Also medications that a lot of us find ourselves on at one point or another may cause one to gain or lose weight drastically. As the average size grows, as will the mannequins we see in stores, models used, and sizes of clothing. That is just natural, normal and expected! But with that said, I try to eat as healthy as I can and I am still a comfortable size 12. When I was my smallest (a size 8, which by the way is the standard in the industry of “plus size”…anything size 8 and up) I was NOT healthy and was striving to be a size 2, which would be completely unnatural on my frame. Not everyone is built the same and to say we all need to be a certain size or shape is small minded and quite frankly, unrealistic.
In the 1700 and 1800’s plus size and Rubenesque women were considered the idealistic female form, but there is little to no evidence that the obesity rate in that era is greater than it is now! Obesity’s definition is a medical term describing people who significant medical problems caused by or made worse by their weight.
The study also speaks of BMI (Body Mass Index) quite often and how people who have a high BMI are considered overweight or obese. BMI is NOT a valid way to rate one’s health as it does not take into consideration the person’s, bone mass, muscle mass, etc. BMI cannot be used as an accurate gauge of someone’s health. It can be a hint, but not the be all and end all.
Just the other day, a photo was posted of me 4 years ago, and about 30lbs lighter. One comment was made how I have ballooned in weight since then and it must be a thyroid condition. We need to all remember that health and weight do not go hand in hand. A person who is a size 0 can be just as healthy as someone who is a size 22. On the other hand, the same goes for being unhealthy. You cannot judge someone’s health by their weight. Only a doctor can do that, and it is certainly no-one else’s business. For example…for me, 4 years ago, and 30lbs ago, I was NOT healthy. I would go days without eating, and was doing some self-destructive things (smoking, etc.) to prevent me from gaining weight. I was depressed, anxious, and going through some seriously stressful times (we all know what stress can do to the body). I am healthier now than I ever was then. I am on medication for my depression (which lead me to gain weight but I am ok with that, as my mindset is much better), I eat healthy, but indulge when I want. I work out, but don’t stress about it, and quit doing things to myself that were compromising my health. I’m much happier, less stressed, and although I am 30 lbs heavier, I am MUCH healthier!
Me 4 years ago, and me a few months ago. A size 8 vs a size 12-14
Although I don’t feel this study was done with malicious intent, the root of it is still body shaming those without the “ideal” shape. They failed to take so many things into consideration, as stated above, and one cannot simply determine someone’s health by looking at them, or, in the study’s case, seeing how many chocolates were eaten when watching an ad. That simply isn’t the basis for conclusive argument. For example, there are MANY factors that may have gone into why the chocolates were/were not eaten. Someone may hate chocolate, someone may love it, someone may have just eaten a huge meal and wasn’t hungry, or someone might have not eaten anything yet that day. Also, I don’t know about you, but if I’m snacking while watching TV (or in this case, and ad) I’m not paying attention to how much I’m eating. The same could be said about the second part of the study where participants were asked to create their ideal meal out of the given choices after watching said ads. Some may have dietary restrictions; some people may have a certain craving, or perhaps weren’t feeling great and didn’t want much food. There are so many factors that go into these decisions, that it is nearly impossible for this study to put the sole blame on ads and media.
At the end of the day, plenty of naturally tiny girls are healthy, and many naturally bigger girls are healthy, so the message is, be who you are and be healthy. If you're a size 0 because you have a diagnosed eating disorder then you should seek help. If you're a size 22 and your doctor has told you you're morbidly obese and in danger of diabetes, then you should seek help. I don’t feel that I am promoting obesity being a plus model, I am simply trying to promote acceptance and show the world that the spectrum of beauty is broader than size 0-4. My message is to help people be happy and healthy. This means showing a new standard of beauty that is most often represented in the media.
I'm sure that eating disorder experts would scoff at the idea that developing an eating disorder is directly correlated to the size of models in the Victoria secret fashionshow. Plenty of people see beautiful size 0's and don't suddenly develop an eating disorder! Plenty of people see beautiful size 22's and don't seek to put on weight! The great thing about size 0 - 22 (or whatever size!) models is that every one can find their place on the beauty spectrum. Health is a non-negotiable. Everyone should be healthy, but that looks different for everyone. Saying that a size 8 is the best, most healthy size is unreasonable because every 'body' is different. It should be stressed that saying that being plus size automatically means you're unhealthy is just wrong. I see plenty of people running marathons that have nothing close to a thigh gap and have taped their chest down to keep it from making them uncomfortable for them as they run.
I would like to finish by saying that people are worth so much more than their body, and looks. As I go into the New Year, my resolution will be to compliment people on things OTHER than their appearance. There is so much pressure in the media and society to be “pretty” and “perfect”, but to me, that’s not what makes a person. I didn’t choose my friends or fiancé by how they look. I chose them because of their hearts, their brains, how they make me laugh, and how I feel good when I’m around them. The world needs to stop putting such an emphasis (especially on women) on how they look. In the future, at my funeral, I would hope people have more to say about me than “she was pretty”.
Dear Project Harpoon,
First, what I really want to say is FUCK YOU….but I don’t want to start my letter off with even more hate. You’ve already put enough of that out into the world, so instead, I will say THANK YOU. Thank you for showing me that I have the drive and determination to fight bullies like you. Yes, you used my photo, yes, I read horrible, threatening, comments, yes, you even used my photo as your profile picture without my permission, but my fight isn’t for me. I am a strong, confident, plus model, who is PROUD of her body. It has gotten me through 31 years, of health, sickness, pain, freedom, love and adventure. My body and I have been through a lot together, and I will not let online bullies such as you make me feel bad about loving myself.
The reason I fight you is for the thousands of women out there who aren’t where I am yet. Who don’t love their bodies. Some of the girls you photoshopped weren’t models or celebrities, but just everyday girls. They might not have confidence, but they posted that photo on a day they felt good about themselves, and you BUTCHERED it with your atrocious photoshopping, and made them feel bad. What if she isn’t happy with her body, and had been trying to be healthy and more confident. What if that photo WAS her after she hit her goal weight (no, not everyone’s goal weight is a size 2), and you dragged her through the mud. How DARE you bring someone down, simply because she is not YOUR immature, close minded ideal! It’s ok to have preferences, but it is NOT ok to make people feel bad because they aren’t yours. Guess what, bullies and jerks are NEVER anyone’s preference.
Images of Tess Holiday and Rebel Wilson that were altered.
I suffer from anxiety and depression, and your page did not help me. It put me into a downward spiral from which I struggled to pull myself out. I didn’t do it alone. I did it with the help of my amazing boyfriend, friends, family, followers, and supporters. You did not and you will not get the best of me. Even when I have bad days, I remind myself of the things I love about myself, and my worth and potential does not depend on if I am a size 14 or a size 4. It is what’s inside is what counts. My heart, my laugh, my brain, the way I treat other people, the way I can make any baby laugh, the love I share, the way I will not quit when something is important to me. You did not win, and you will not. Not with me, not with anyone.
I don’t know if I was the first to share your horrible page….I hadn’t heard of it until a follower of mine alerted me to the fact you were using my image. I shared it to get help reporting my photo and your page. The support I received completely outweighed the hate you were spewing at me. However I also got messages from everyday girls who weren’t shared on your page. They had read the comments and were in TEARS over the hurtful things you called people who looked like them and whom they looked up to. You said “no shaming” on your page, but that is exactly what you were doing. You said you were “inspiring” people to lose weight and be healthy, but all you did was bring people down.
I haven’t always been plus size. In high school I was obsessed with my weight. I was a size 8 and thought I was huge. I wouldn’t eat, or when I did I would only eat salad or celery. I was NOT healthy, and I was NOT happy. I thought if I was a size 2 I would be happy…but ya know what, at a size 14, I am WAY happier and WAY healthier than I was at a size 8. I actually laughed out loud when I first saw your version, as I look completely unnatural. It is not YOUR job to “inspire” people to lose weight. ESPECIALLY not through bullying!!! Do you really think ANYTHING gets accomplished through bullying and making people feel bad about themselves? These are unrealistic idealistic forms of beauty you are promoting, and not everyone even WANTS or NEEDS to look like that to be healthy or happy. All you are doing with this is ADDING to the problem. Bottom line, the only person who can tell someone they need to lose weight, is their doctor, it is CERTAINLY not the business of an immature Facebook page of cyber bullies. It is just as wrong for slim girls to be told to "eat a cheeseburger" as it is for plus women to be told to "put down the cheeseburger". Our size, weight, what we eat, the amount we work out, or any other factor, is only the business of ourselves, and a select chosen few.
We are no less valuable at 200 lbs as we are at 120 lbs. We are no less valuable because you told us we weren’t. We have just as much potential as a size 14 as we do as a size 2. How dare you make anyone feel any differently? I may not be your ideal, but I don’t give a shit. I want to be the ideal of the wonderful people who support me, and for myself, not some childish small minded slime. Like one of MY idols, Lucille Ball says, “Not everyone is going to like me, but not everyone matters”, and guess what, you DON’T matter.
I will continue to fight your page. Facebook has shut down one, you shut down another…but I know you thrive off the attention and will continue to make pages. I will report them and have them taken down again. I will be the girl who has the back of all the girls your post, just like so many had my back when you posted my photo. I will not quit.
The world has enough hate in the world. Love ALWAYS wins. Spread love, be kind, save a life by NOT bullying someone or suggesting suicide or self-harm because they don’t fit your small minded ideal. Treat people the way you would want them to treat you, or your mother, or daughter, or girlfriend. Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if we all treated each other with a little bit more love and support every day.
I want to take this moment to reach out to anyone who you have upset. Please, if this page, or anyone, has made you feel bad, don’t do anything rash. We need you in this world. Reach out to someone, a friend, a parent, a councillor, or even me. I am here to help you and talk to you. You are NOT alone. You are loved. You are beautiful just the way you are. I was bullied in elementary and high school. I’ve been there. It hurts. It’s hard. But it gets better. Remind yourself of how many people love you, and all the things you love about yourselves. The people who thrive on making others feel bad are simply taking out their problems on you to make themselves feel better. It has NOTHING to do with you. It gets better. Surround yourself with people you love, and who love you. Let’s turn the negative into a positive. Take that sad, hurt, angry energy and turn it into something helpful. For every time someone has told you something that hurt you, tell someone something to make them feel better. For all the hate in the world, we need to spread just as much, if not MORE, love.
I’m here for you, I have your back, I will fight for you, and I love you.
I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Heart of Haute, a vintage reproduction line based out of California. I have been a fan of Heart of Haute (formerly Heartbreaker) for a long time, so I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to shoot for, and work with them!
From their website, www.heartofhaute.com:
Teresa and Amanda Becker are a mother daughter team that found their niche in the vintage inspired fashion market, through what was initially a home based business in 2005. They call it Heart of Haute and it is making its own history...Heart of Haute offers great items like Swing Dresses, Sexy Wiggle Dresses and classy Mod and Mid-Century styles. Our items are inspired by 50's and 60's fashion, pinup girls, rockabilly and vintage fashion culture.
When I received my package from Heart of Haute, I was thrilled to open it and find 3 gorgeous dresses and a bolero. My first overall impression of the dresses were that they were unique, well made, and looked like they would be extremely flattering on my curvy body. These gals sure do know how to make dresses to suit ALL body types. In fact, they have just launched a new plus size line, that goes up to size 4x!
Here are my individual reviews of all three dresses (and the bolero)
The Aimee Dress (and Betty Bolero)
This adorable polka dotted dress is a great addition to any vintage/reproduction collection. Who doesn't love a good polka dot dress? The sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves make for an adorable look, that is subtle and not as revealing as halter style tops. It also includes a matching belt which highlights the natural waist beautifully.
The dress features a full A-line skirt, back zipper, and darts from waist to bust for that perfect fit. This dress also comes in a wide variety of colours and prints...all with a matching belt. All the Aimee dresses are easy to accessorize and wear. Made of 100% cotton, the material is light, soft, and comfortable.
The bolero is the perfect edition to this dress. It ties at the neck, and creates a lovely retro silhouette, while keeping your arms and shoulders warm. Its light material is just perfect for cool summer nights, or keeping that spring chill at bay. The soft cotton is not too hot and not too cool....just right.
For more information on these, or any other Heart of Haute dresses, please visit their website at:
I am so thrilled to be working with this amazing company, and I cannot wait to shoot more gorgeous dresses for them in the future.