At age 24 – I was gearing up for a week in NYC, auditioning for agents from all over the world. I felt amazing. I was proud of all the hard work I’d done prepping audition material – tweaking and getting it all just right. I had meticulously picked out wardrobes, perfected modeling techniques, and participated in photo shoots. But the part I was most proud of was how I looked. I was finally able to lose weight in a healthy way and look on the outside the way I felt on the inside – confident!
Now, I would be lying if I said my confidence didn’t waver when I arrived in NYC. Everywhere I turned – there was a girl half my size or smaller. I will never forget standing backstage – awaiting my queue to walk the runway – doubting every inch of my body – imagining what I would look like on the jumbo size screens on either side of the runway. Trust me when I say – nothing makes you feel self-conscious like seeing yourself blown up on a screen.
All things considered – the week couldn’t have gone better. I ranked 4th out of hundreds for acting and had many positive reactions from agents. I returned home feeling like I could take on the world and one day my phone rang.
The person on the other end was from a modeling agency I’d spoken with in NYC. They were interested in offering me a contract for PLUS size modeling. Their only stipulation was that I lose an additional 10lbs. They explained that the majority of plus size models were size 8. At the time, I was a 10/12 so I needed to slim down more to fit the market need. Confused by all this – I told them I’d think about it.
Imagine – you’re a 24 year old girl, presented with an amazing, potentially life changing, opportunity – but it hinged on losing weight and portraying something you are not – a plus size woman. How would this decision impact your life and your view of world?
So many thoughts and questions ran through my mind. In the end, I opted to not compromise myself for this opportunity and to stand in all that I’d accomplished. Some people thought I was crazy for making the decision I did. Personally, I wouldn’t truly see the value of decision until years later when I was coaching young actresses. I was approached by my boss to tell a 10 years old girl that she needed to lose weight. That’s when it hit me – I understood the impact of the decision that I’d made a few years back.
How would that phone call have gone if I was 10 or 15 years younger? It stung a bit to receive the request in my 20s but something like that could do substantial damage to a self-conscious 10 year old girl. Needless to say – I also opted to NOT to obey the request of my boss. I continued to tell that girl how funny and talented she was and started looking for another job.