In a society that promotes the idea that we must look outside of ourself for happiness and acceptance, humans have a deep hunger to hear they ARE worthy.
Going deeper, all we want is to be accepted and loved.
Psychologists did a study with girls aging from 8-13 years old. The girls were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. The top two answers: model or actress.
The idea of being famous plays into this desire of being accepted and loved on a much larger scale.
When I got into modeling I thought it would validate me in some way. I figured it would give me some kind of confidence, acceptance, and love, that I did not know how to find in myself.
Instead, I was literally being judged by other people and equally judging myself. My body was a business transaction, and me being human was put second to being an object.
After six years in the industry, I had a full passport and a bad relationship with myself. The industry provided little support or education on how to be healthy, it was just expected the models figure it out. What was going on behind the scenes, was far from healthy for the most part.
Every girl seemed to be on some crash diet. (It was equally as difficult for the men. They could be extremely skinny or extremely buff.) Cocaine, crash diets, anorexia, bulimia, and painful body dysmorphia were part of the industry. Yes, there were healthy models, but it was few and far between.
For a while, I lost my ability to properly take care of myself, and after realizing no one else was going to do it, I had to make some changes. I decided to stop trying to be something I was not, and start being the unique beautiful woman I was. Now, I show up as myself, and the clients can take me as I am, or not. I’ve learnt being me is the most empowering thing I can do.
The reality is, there is always another 14 year old girl waiting to walk the runway.
In no way did the industry create all my issues, I was insecure in many ways, as we all are. Which is why I made the choice to stop torturing myself thinking I had to change myself and my body to fit in, and instead decided to be me, and stand out!
The minute that I walked away from the industry’s standards, I felt like I just got out of an abusive relationship. Ironically, I have never had as much work, as I do now.
As much as we blame the abuser for being responsible for all the anguish that comes from an abusive relationship, we have to remember we ARE responsible for ourselves!
We have no one to blame but ourself if we stay somewhere that is clearly unhealthy. This includes unhealthy thoughts we tell ourselves, that create unhealthy feelings AND actions.
I don’t think any one can entirely blame media, modeling, or other people for the impressions they decide to allow in their adult life. The worst thing we can do is give our power away and hide behind the idea that other things and ideas are responsible for our unhappiness or self-destructive ways.
As much as the model industry is not a healthy place. It was my decision to allow it to affect me the way it did.
My experience as a model has created many magical moments. As a child, my favorite game was dress up and, as an adult, I got paid to play it. The clothing, the travel, some of the people I’ve met, are an absolute treasure.
What did I expect from modeling?
I figured it would be casual campaigns for Gucci, BFF’s with Kate Moss, and swanky hotels, food, and experiences. I visualized none stop spa days, five star hotels, and hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring into my bank.
I figured it would provide me with confidence I never had, all the while having people love and adore me for not just what I look like, but my personality!
I thought I would come out of my shell, be happy, healthy, strong AND free!
What I got from modeling?
Dirty model apartments, where the living room was another bedroom. Racing around cities trying to find my next casting, lost on public transportation. Competing with 300 plus girls for one magazine spread (the bigger the job, the more the competition).
Men were interested in me because I was a model, not because I had a personality.
And how I was feeling… came second to how I looked.
What was it like on set?
There was an entire team of people responsible to make me beautiful. My face painted, my hair sprayed. My clothes were put on me even to the point I was not allowed to tie my own shoe.
There was nothing authentic or real about the images that were created. Photoshop was part of the process. Some people specialized in photo shop detail. They were so good, you could not tell the image had been photoshopped.
In no way am I bashing the fine arts that were involved in the images that were created. These people are artists, and amazingly talented at what they do. However NO ONE should look at this image and feel they need to be this image.
Every person has birth marks, stretch marks, cellulite, discoloration of their skin, hair were they do not want it. This is the human body and it is magnificent in it’s form.
We need to learn to love our body as it is. Because the reality is, it is the only body we have. We need to start paying attention to what we think, what we allow to influence us, and how this is affecting us.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is this: If you are looking for someone else to validate you, you will never feel complete. As long as you look outside of yourself, you will never be healthy, happy, beautiful, strong, or free. Loving yourself is the single most important thing you can do for yourself.
You only have one relationship from the moment you are born, until the moment you leave this planet, and that is the one you have with yourself. What kind of relationship do you have?
Make it positive. Make it healthy. Honor yourself! Be your own best friend!