modeling

The Body Positive Movement- My Experience and Thoughts on Why It Has A Long Way To Go

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After this shoot came out, my agents sat me down and said I need to lose 10 lbs because I looked thick

After this shoot came out, my agents sat me down and said I need to lose 10 lbs because I looked thick

Hi Everyone! Today I am talking about "The Body Positive Movement and why it has a long way to go" and I am eager to see what you think.

Also, I can't believe it's been over a month with this series already! Thank you for reading along, commenting, and giving your honest input on topics very near to my heart.

Today's topic, "The Body Positive Movement" is one that I have wanted to discuss for a long time, even before I started my blog. It's been something that has frustrated me in the modeling industry for years due to the deceiving and seemingly inclusive nature of "the movement", when in reality, it tends to do what the industry did before the movement. Take body types to an extreme and welcome those that fit into either extreme, without taking into consideration those that fall into the other body types and sizes. 

I think it is AMAZING and EMPOWERING that plus-sized models are getting so much attention these days and that so many are able to work as much if not more than "straight sized" models. Anytime the fashion industry starts including some alternative body types to ultra skinny is always a positive to allow more women to relate and feel included in fashion. The Movement is meant to broaden the idea of what beauty is and include women of all shapes and sizes in fashion spreads, campaigns, fashion shows, etc. This idea is awesome if designers, companies and brands would actually do this.

However, what I see over and over again is pressure to now be either the type of skinny that agents and clients feel is best for photos (i.e. 0-2, maybe 4 depening on the body type) orrrr totally plus, making it known that gaining extra weight to fit into plus wouldn't be a bad thing for your career. For instance, one agent/figure at a previous (BIG)  agency told me that if I really wanted to work a lot, I could lose 10-15 pounds or I could gain 40 to really kill it in the plus market. He wasn't being mean or joking, he was perfectly sincere and serious. Thats the problem. I am a size 27 jean and am a 4-6 depending on the brand and am 5'11''. I don't look skinny but I certainly look fit, and for me to lose even 7-10 pounds, I would have to go into a very unhealthy place. The alternative is gaining 40 pounds, which is not only super unhealthy for me since I am not that curvy or big naturally, but would also be terrible for my body, mind, and emotions! What if I did that because I was desparate for his approval and still didn't get the work I wanted? This is what happens all the time in the modeling industry. Agents suggest changes to cover their ass, changes are made, and sometimes results stay the same and models are left confused, insecure, and made to feel like they just aren't pretty, skinny, cool, edgy, fill in the blank, enough.

Regarding the plus sized suggestion: even though I refused to gain the weight, he still sent me out on plus sized castings to which I was met with confusion and frustration, The plus clients asked me who sent me and if they knew it was a plus casting. I said who it was and that yes, he knew. They kept staring and told me plus sizes in fashion/modeling start at 12 but they sometimes push it to a 10 or 8 but I still didn't fit this criteria. Sighhhhhh inside. Yep, I know. I said he/ I knew that but he wanted to see if I could work the job anyways. THIS WAS SO HUMILIATING. Not because of someone sending me for a plus casting (that's just stupid and a waste of time because I don't fit the sizing) but because I seemed like I thought I might be plus. Which I did not, I was just doing what I was told. This is the problem. This man thought that in order to work in fashion, I would have to gain a bunch of weight or lose a bunch, What about modeling as I was? A fit, thin, and healthy girl? Like representing the 4-6 sizing out there? Is that sooo crazy?? 

Of course I work jobs and have since I started 7 years ago for my sizing, but they're always the athlete, the pro, the all american girl which is awesome because commercial jobs are where it's at. But for the castings for "normal" girls, catalogue, beauty, fashion etc. I am told too often that my body type doesn't work for those. I look too big or thick. This is in the midst of this movement where brands are trying to be more inclusive, but that isn't so because a thin fit size 4 is being told she doesn't fit either mold! That is not inclusive. If I am not being represented, certainly many others with body types similar or bigger than myself are not either. 

I truly want for fashion and even the culture within our society to stop putting pressure on women to look a certain way, whether that be super curvy or super skinny. There are so many sizes and shapes out there, what right does anyone have to say which ones are beautiful? This movement needs to start including not only thin and plus girls, but girls that might be somewhere in between, or maybe shorter, or super tall, or athletic, or whateverrrr! If my plus friends are feeling pressure to gain more weight, and my straight size model friends are feeling the pressure to lose, we still have a long way to go. 

Do you guys feel this way or are you feeling represented in the current market? I would love to get some outside opinions as I only know what I experience behind the scenes. I hope you all feel beautiful and know that the beauty and fashion industry show a specific type of beauty. It might not represent you but you are beautiful and uniquely you as cliche as that sounds. I hope to see more diversity (this is happening more and more which is awesome), sizing, and versions of beauty in the media and fashion. Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

I appreciate you all!

xo, Kim

 

Not Allowing Past Failure Shape the Future

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Not Allowing Past Failure Shape the Future

For the start of my "Real Talk" series, I am opening up about my past failures and sharing how I have not allowed it shape my future. I have been wanting to do this type of content for a while, and although I do sprinkle it in from time to time, I felt like it was time to get more regular with the vulnerable stuff. I am pretty open in general and love to go deep fast, so these topics have been on my heart and mind from the get-go. 

I love fashion, interiors, beauty, etc., but don't only ever want to talk about the latest and greatest. It's cool and beneficial to get recommendations from a trusted source and all, but life is hard and I need realness and community when it comes to issues like body image, comparison, motherhood and when to have kids, career, feeling like a loser when everyone else looks like they are kicking ass, family life, or even funny stories that are horrifying that might be kinda inappropriate (hehehe). Do you feel me? I wanted to start Transparency Tuesday as a way to connect with you guys and for you to hopefully feel understood, and feel like we are apart of the same loving community. I have a passion for people, specifically women, to feel loved, welcomed, accepted, and embraced when so often there is so much competition and comparison. I hate that. I really desire to create acceptance here, even if just through my own experiences so you can feel like "hey! I thought I was the only one that felt that way!". 

I'll jump right in on today's post because I don't want this to be an essay. 

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I have let my past decisions and circumstances dictate my confidence in moving toward my goals. The way we view ourselves and the labels we create about WHO we are can be so damaging if we are judging ourselves harshly based on moments in the past. I know for me this is so true. I tend to not give myself credit on the many things I HAVE accomplished and set my mind towards, I think of the things that I fell short in. Why is that? It's similar to when we hear a bunch of compliments but only remember the one negative thing someone said. The negativity really has a way of camping out in our brain and hearts reminding us of how much we suck, how ugly, fat awkward, or talentless we are. Why is that? Why are we so comfortable allowing the lies to stick around and having amnesia about ALL OF THE AMAZING things we have to offer that make us capable and able to achieve our aspirations?

I'll give you the example in my life that I have continually circled back to no matter how damaging or untrue it may be.....Sooo I have this idea of myself that says I am a quitter and I just wasn't born to be the best at anything. That "it" will never happen for me, whatever goal I am pursuing, I will get close but things won't pan out. I am meant to be "okay" at things and mildly successful at the things I pursue, not because I am talented, but because I work hard. I have this fear of going all out towards things because I'm afraid that it will turn out how my college Water Polo career turned out. I worked my ass off but regardless of my efforts, I sucked. Or at least I was told I did.  I joked about it too as a way of self- protection and laughed it off, always being the butt of every self-deprecating joke. ..But it hurt and I really tried. I only made fun of myself so I was the first to the punch, but I cried a lot in private and really felt like a loser.

I was a member of the UCLA women's Water Polo team which was #1 in the country. I was only on the team because I pursued the coach for months, selling myself and my ability to grow and be coached. I was a good player where I was from, but on a national stage, I simply was not good enough. My coach accepted me as the 5th person in the incoming freshman class on what I perceived to be a whim and hope that I would rise to the challenge.  

College was amazing but being an athlete on a team made up of Olympians and the best players in the country was intimidating. Not only that but a few girls on the team were pretty mean no matter how hard you tried or how nice you were... they were just mean. For no apparent reason, I guess, other than their excuse of "hazing". I listened too closely to those voices that told me how much I sucked and worthless I was. I laughed and had a "good attitude" about it, but was broken down. I decided to keep pushing, and the following year only a couple of the mean girls were left. I lifted weights extra on the side, I swam during offseason to get faster and looked after the recruits to try and be as helpful on the leadership side of things as I could be. I wanted to fill my role of being the positive, entertaining, and uplifting one as best as I could, but still had hopes of getting good enough to gain the respect of my teammates and coach. 

Celebrating after we won another NCAA title

Celebrating after we won another NCAA title

By my senior year, I was one of the fastest on the team and was the heaviest lifter. I thought, "now is my chance". I had gotten pretty good and was confident in who I was as a player and leader. Yet, It only took a few games and a couple mistakes once the season started to completely crush my confidence. My coach took me out after one particular game in MIichigan where I was starting and didn't put me back in for the rest of the tournament. I knew it was over. I didn't think I had anything left to keep fighting for, I felt like I fought for as long as I could and climbed my way to the top just to be benched and I felt as small and insignificant as I did walking on that deck for the first time my freshman preseason. I quit days later just two months before my senior season ended. 

I look back on that time as I pursue new ventures, and when I start to get insecure the lies come roaring in: "you have never really been good at anything, just ask your teammates" "you quit when things get hard" "you aren't talented" "things don't work out for you" "you aren't one of the cool girls" ....I know these are lies but at one point I truly believed them. Even in my modeling career, I have struggled with feeling "good enough". I was the "commercial face" that could be a little "thicker". I always felt like my agents doubted me as well by the way they spoke to me. 

"We will give it a shot and see! These clients like more normal looking girls" 

"Let's see if the plus division could get you some work, you're kinda in between sizing."

"If you could lose 15 pounds I bet you would do a lot more catalog. Or you could gain 40 and kill it in the plus size market. "

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I would hear these things and go "oh great, it's just me. I am not meant to really succeed at anything. I am just going to be 'good enough'." I kid you not, these lies stayed with me because I never looked at how far I have come, I focused on how and where I fell short. With my water polo career, I dont focus on the fact that I got 3 NCAA championships, I remembered the harsh words and quitting. Instead of telling myself its pretty damn cool I got signed to Wilhelmina models as my first agency, I would focus on the fact that I was called "thick" (I mean come on its hard not to remember that one!)

Can you relate? What parts of your story are you echoing to yourself? Are you forgetting the impressive, hard-earned parts? 

Here's the thing. Life is full of ups and downs. It truly is how you handle the "downs" by tweaking things so that the next time you hit a rough patch, you are a little more prepared to make a better choice/ do something different/stick it out/ etc. I created this label for myself that said I was a quitter. Well, now I have a hard time quitting anything because I don't want that label to be true. What I really should have done from the get-go is give myself grace and dig deep to truly look at the person I knew myself to be. Here are a few things I practice when I start to hear that all too familiar voice creep in telling me I am not good enough.:

1. RECOGNIZE that icky feeling of criticism come on. For me, I get anxious all of a sudden. Once this happens, I am able to think "hmm this is not normal, whats going on with me? What just happened that made me feel this way?"

2. PINPOINT the root of what's triggering this feeling so you know how to combat the fear with truth. For me, sometimes it's when I see someone's new post with x brand and feel like I'm behind in my career. I get anxious and have to figure out what made me feel that way first and then ask myself why does it trigger me that way.

3. RECALL some highlights of your life (that could be anything from sports accolades to an amazing home life you have built with your family to degrees you worked hard to get)  to remind yourself that you ARE CAPABLE, STRONG, RESOURCEFUL, SMART, AND WORTHY of success.  

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As I have been more intentional about taking my thoughts captive and getting to the root of them, I have noticed a much healthier mindset that is forward thinking. I can trust myself and I know now that  I am not a quitter.

What do you know to be true about you? What do those that love you and know you best say about you? Allow those things to combat the lies that creep in about who you are. I hope this resonates with you and encourages you that you are not alone if you feel stuck at times, not sure of yourself. I have been there too! I'll see ya back here in a couple days.

xo, Kim