“You look great! You should be one of my curvy models!”
Part of me wanted to be offended as I tried on clothes at a boutique. “Curvy” is the new way to say “plus-sized.” “Plus-sized” was once the new way to say “fat.”
So I heard, “You should be one of my fat models!”
Why in the world would I agree to that? Then people would KNOW I’m plus-sized! I don’t want people to know I’m plus-sized! (As if everyone in my life doesn’t have eyes.)
What I should have heard was, “You rock those clothes! So much so that I want you to represent the curvy line of my brand and my business.”
Because, well, I’m pretty sure that’s what she meant. After all, I doubt she wants some frumpy, ugly woman to model any of her clothing.
It was a tough pill to swallow at first. Part of me was excited when I showed up for my first photo shoot, and another part of me was horrified, as I had no idea what I was doing.
Then, at one point, I had to pose with the other women modeling clothes. You know, the ones who weren’t “curvy.” I felt a sudden connection to model Ashley Graham, the first plus-sized model in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and how she posed next to “regular” sized women.
In the modeling industry, anyone over a size six is considered “plus-sized.” I can’t hide it. I am curvy, plus-sized, thick, whatever you want to call it. Some men find that repulsive. Others find it sexy.
I think the key to confidence is accepting yourself as you are. Of course we could all make improvements, but we also each have wonderful and unique qualities that make us different from everyone else. You are one of a kind. I am one of a kind.
My weight has always been a struggle for me, whether it legitimately needed to be one or not.
In junior high, the most popular boy in school said if you cut off my head and put on my friend’s body, you’d have the perfect girl. I was NOT even remotely overweight in junior high, but my friend was stick-thin. And instead of hearing that the popular guy thought my face was pretty, all I heard was, “Natalie, you are FAT.”
Like most girls, I thought I was fat in high school. As it turns out, I was just really tall compared to most of my cheerleading friends who were tiny, petite things. But next to them I felt like a giant. I was the base and the spotter while they flew through the air during cheerleading stunts.
I also felt fat in college. While yes, I did go up ONE size, I still wasn’t fat.
My greatest struggles came in my late 20’s and 30’s. Being out on my own and having money to buy food, I gained quite a bit. Then I’d lose a lot of weight, then gain it back. Lose weight, gain it back.
I had lost around 30 pounds before I moved to Uganda in 2013. Lost another 20 while I lived there. Moved back to the United States a year later and managed to gain 50 pounds, and that’s not an exaggeration. It’s been up and down since then.
Weight will always be a concern of mine when it comes to health. My grandmother was overweight and had diabetes. My mom was extremely overweight and unhealthy until she had gastric bypass surgery about 12 years ago. So far, my weight hasn’t had an impact on my health (I realize that’s “so far”), but I’m certainly going to keep an eye on it and keeping trying to find what works for me to lose weight.
I’d love to lose those pounds I gained when I moved back to the US. But guess what? Even if I lost those pounds, I’d STILL be “curvy” or “plus-sized” when it comes to fashion. And that’s OK.
There’s room for all of us in this world. The more photo shoots I do, the more comfortable I am around the other models. It’s actually quite beautiful to see how different God made each of us.
I’m certainly not looking for a future in modeling, but the adventure has been fun and resulted in some amazing free clothes from Ella Chic Boutique. I also love the fun photoshoots with Reagan25 Photography, and learning how difficult it can be to take photos in sweaters, jeans, and boots when it’s 90 degrees outside!
Fat. Plus-sized. Curvy. Pretty? I have never felt like I was actually pretty. And then a year ago a surgeon took a chunk out of my face to remove melanoma. I’m good at faking confidence a lot of the time, it’s something I’m working on to actually believe I’m not all that terrible-looking. And let’s face it- like most women, that great selfie I post is one of a dozen that were not-so-great.
But aside from my weight. Aside from my face. God says I am “wonderfully and fearfully made.” I can say with full certainty that because of Him, I am beautiful on the inside. And that’s really all that matters.