A term that has been tossed around a lot this past year when describing my body. My journey with this term slowly grew over the last year and when it started happening I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. Growing up I was very athletic and by body mirrored that lifestyle. I bloomed very late in life, and when I went off to college my body started to fill in. I worked out less and less and my dress size grew in numbers. I never let myself get to a place of total unhealthy living but I just wasn’t and probably will never be at that level of athleticism that I was growing up.
As my dress size went up, my confidence went down. I spent the better part of 4 years denying my sadness and my plummeting self esteem. I had a hard time finding the right people to surround myself with, and I was constantly looking for love and gratification in the wrong places. I got myself into sticky situations more than once and was layering negativity on top of negativity and I felt the weight of that on my shoulders. I needed to dig my way out but didn’t even know where to start.
I had gotten to a place in life where there was tension with my family, I was nearly failing out of college in a major I had no passion for and couldn’t see a future ahead of me. When I would close my eyes and try and see my future, all I could see was darkness. All I knew is that I needed a change.
My senior year of college I got the opportunity to move to New York for an internship. This was it, my opportunity to change my surroundings and dig myself out of this hole! However, changing your surroundings doesn’t change the inner struggle. All I ended up doing was bringing all the insecurity and sadness to a different state. I was continuing the same destructive actions and couldn’t figure out where to even start to dig myself out of this hole.
It wasn’t until I met my wonderful life coach who kicked my ass into gear! With her motivation and constant push she gave me that shovel to start digging. For over a year I worked hard on myself.
"I started to reshape my thought process and the way I viewed myself. I stopped associating myself with the world failure and replaced that with a few more inspirational words like beautiful, smart, confidant, capable, and gifted. "
This didn’t come easy and many tears were involved but after a little more than a year I was finally at a point where I had some direction, I had some self love, and I had a vision of what my future could look like. I was just missing one thing, my love for my physical body. This wouldn’t come until later.
I was living my daily grind as a waitress, planning and taking steps towards a career that I finally figured out that I wanted when my long time, wonderful best friend sent me an email of a model search. I had never considered that path for myself and had definitely never thought I had the looks or the right curves to be a plus size model. In the end, I thought why not me?! All I could do was try and so I entered the search, and boy am I glad I did!!
A month later I was informed that I was chosen for the competition and when I went into the agency they signed me as a plus size model that day. It was the beginning of a beautiful journey. I finally felt like something was happening!
What I wasn’t prepared for was the world I was about to enter and how comfortable people are with using the term plus size and my name in the same sentence. After my first fashion show I melted down. I had never been on this side of the industry and my confidence was sent for a whirlwind. I took time to shed my tears and break down and I really came to a place where I thought, this is it, this is my life now and I need to find some peace within that place. What I didn’t realize though was when people were using “that” term around me it was in a term of endearment. I was getting compliments left and right from my peers and my new employers. It wasn’t just about my looks but about my personality as well. The work started coming quickly and the more work I got the better I felt! I started looking into my soul and realized that was where my beauty was coming from. I started looking into blogs and plus size beauty icons and read anything and looked at all photos I could get my hands on of big, beautiful, and confidant women. I took control of term “plus size” and spun it into a term of empowerment. I was plus size and fabulous. Once this clicked in my mind I felt a fire in my belly and I felt of sense of control in my life that I had never felt before.
Keeping that calm and confidence is a constant work in progress. We all have our ups and downs when it comes to daily thoughts of beauty and power. It’s our curse to bear as women! What I can do everyday is wake up, look in the mirror, and tell myself how beautiful I am. I have worked through I very dark place in life and no longer feel the need to apologize for who I am. I know that whatever comes my way I can handle it. I am an empowered woman and no one can take that away from me!
“It’s the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips. I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.” –Maya Angelou
Find Elizabeth on TRUE Model Management's website