I’ve always been a curvy girl and although I worked as a model for ten years or so, I secretly had massive insecurities about my body. Which, looking back is strange considering the job I did. Maybe I did this job to try and overcome them.
In my 20’s I was a model and often worked for an underwear company called Warners. They made underwear under their own label and also made items for Marks and Spencers. For them I worked as a ‘house model’. This is someone who spends time in the design studio being drawn upon! In those days I was a perfect bra size 34b and a size 12 in the knickers. So I would turn up to a session, ready to strip off and dance around in underwear! Not in a glamorous, Kylie Minogue kind of way, more in a test dummy testing seat belts kind of way.
The designers would pass me a set of underwear to put on….even this was a skill that I spent hours perfecting. Knickers were easy; I passed that exam straight away. Bras were a little more complicated. You had to do the usual, put it on backwards to do the clasp, then swizzle it around so the boulder holders were at the front, you would put the shoulder straps in place and lean over at a 45 degree angle and jiggle. The way you jiggled was crucially important. The idea was to let your breasts find their natural form inside the bra so that bra and boob worked together as one! Sometimes, I didn’t jiggle in the correct direction and I’d end up a little left side down.
Next came a bit of maneuvers and coloring in. Once I’d successfully jiggled symmetrically, the designer would take her felt tip pen and draw the outline of said bra and knickers directly onto my skin. I was then asked to dance, touch my toes, reach up high, lean from side to side…in my head I was doing it to The Bee Gee’s Night Fever. I was a great little mover.
Once I’d satisfied everyone that I’d done every movement my body was capable of, I would get drawn on again. This time it was all about where the underwear had travelled! How many millimetres do the knickers move on my buttocks, was one boob trying to escape more than the other, had the back strap risen at all. It was fun, I enjoyed it although I somehow don’t think that underwear companies go through the same rigors these days, as when I do it at home now, the staying power of the underwear is shocking!
I’d also walk in fashion shows for Warners, and this I loved! Getting ready with the make-up and hair was my favourite part. It made me feel my most feminine. I have always been inspired by 1950’s movie star styles, so I had a beautiful collection of dressing gowns to float around in back stage. If I had smoked I would definitely have held my cigarette in along and elegant holder.
I continued to work as a photographic model for lots of different designers and fashion houses, and I was one of the first girls to be labeled an ‘outsize’ model. Yep, in the late 80’s early 90’s a curvy size 12 was regarded as outsize in the modeling world. Unbelievable. Although, at that time the average model was a size 6-8, so I guess in comparison I was quite a giant. However, I seemed to be able to work it to my advantage. I remember one particular fashion show I was rehearsing for at the Savoy Hotel in London. All the normal sized models were munching on their lettuce leaves and looking pretty miserable, while me and my outsize model buddies were tucking into pizza with joy and abandon. One of the normal girls came up and said she wished she could eat a slice, but if she did her agent would sack her. I replied,
“Oh honey you should come over to our side, we get paid pound for pound so the more we eat, the more we get paid!”
She believed me. Ha – if only.
Throughout my life, I have been on many diets and weight loss plans. I was always wishing I could lose just 10lbs. Looking back now, what a great big fat waste of time this was. I was curvy, fit and well, just perfect. If only I had appreciated that at the time.
Now at the age of 53, 3 children borne and 5 heart attacks survived, my view of my body is one of respect, love and admiration. It has carried me through so much and I’m thankful for every stretch mark, fold, dimple and scar.
I realize the value in feeling good and being healthy.
I have finally learnt to love my body. I think it’s perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I eat to nourish my body, not starve it. I season with sense using LoSalt, I drink water, not ‘diet’ drinks. I eat a rainbow of colours in my abundance of fruits and vegetables and I enjoy treats, love and life.
So, I do watch my weight, and I help others lose weight, but it always comes from a position of getting happy and healthy first – then everything else just seems to fall into place! Most ladies join my members group to lose weight, which they do, usually around 12lbs in 6 weeks, but what I love to watch is the positive transformation they go through; not just in their body, but in their confidence and mindset. I see my ladies get their vitality, energy and their zest for life back, and although weightloss is a goal, living a happy and healthy life soon becomes their prize!