Here’s a little back story on me. In high school I was pushing 200lbs. I’m not saying 200lbs is bad for everyone, but for me it was. I was an emotional eater, depressed, no confidence, and just overall felt terrible about myself. When I went to college I lost a ton of weight. And not in a good way. I’ve struggled with anorexia since I was about 9 years old. In 5th grade, my parents made me see someone to help me. We didn’t go alot and I still stayed relatively thin until I traveled to France and back. After my return, I ballooned, I went from 110 to 185 in less than a year. I hovered between 185-195 my senior year of high school. I was always under the watchful eye of my parents throughout high school (with the exception of my 5 week stint in France). They were always on the lookout for an inkling of the anorexia rearing its ugly head.
When I came to Chicago, all bets were off. My first semester I came home nearly every weekend. I didn’t have friends so I went home to be with my friends from HS. But once I started making friends, including my roommate, I stayed in Chicago more and more. I also fell into bad eating habits. Within a month I had lost 35 lbs. I was eating a granola bar, half a turkey sandwich a day and drinking heavily on the weekends. By the end of my second semester I went back home for the summer, I put the weight right back on as my parents were around to feed me and make sure I was eating. I went back to school well aware that my eating habits the first year were not ok. My immune system was shot. I am still trying to build my already weak immune system back up to what it was. I lost all the weight I gained again but at a slower rate and in a healthier way. (thank goodness)
I’m always really vocal about eating disorders because sometimes people forget that they are a mental illness and they never go away.
When I learned to manage my eating disorder, I became more confident in myself and with my body. My sophmore year of college I started working as a free lance makeup artist for some friends who were actors and models. I got approached by the photographers to model myself! From a girl who went from 110 to 185 to 130 it was a huge confidence boost. I was still curvy, still am. I’ve got my mom’s childbearing hips and my boobs…well I dont know where they came from but I got them plus some.
It wasn’t until a few years ago and after a few years of modeling that I decided that I needed to fully appreciate my body as it is. Curvy. I knew I was never going to get signed by an agency because although I meet the height requirements I actually have tits so I dont fit into sample sizes. But what I DO fit into is lingerie. So I started modeling lingerie instead. And I loved it. It was a much more natural fit for me and I was so confident and comfortable.
Then one day I saw a casting call for Playboy. I said to myself….shit I could do that. So I did. I spent 6 months working out with a trainer, toning up and getting in shape. I did a few practice shoots before I went to the casting because I hadn’t done nudes before. And you know what….I loved shooting nudes even more than I did lingerie. It was so empowering! Not because I was standing there naked having a stranger taking photos of me, but because I felt confident enough in my body and myself to stand there and do something I always thought of as completely outside my comfort zone.
I went to two casting calls for Playboy. I didn’t make the cut those times, but they offered an online contest called Playboy Miss Social. I made it to the top 5 twice and the top 10 two other times. I didn’t make it in the magazine, but you know what the biggest confidence boost was? Well there were two actually. At one of the castings they recorded video of us asking us why I wanted to be in Playboy. I thought for a minute, and I told them ” Playboy is an icon. Hugh Hefner and Playboy changed the way America thinks, talks and sees sex and sexuality. Being in Playboy is like being a part of history. I want to be a part of history.” The casting agent and the camera man both looked at me with their mouths wide open. “That was the best answer we’ve ever heard…ever.” Score for me! I still didn’t make it. 2nd big confidence boost? A few months later, a staff photographer called me and asked me if I wanted to test. Heck ya I do! So a few months before the Playboy offices officially closed in Chicago I got to go into their studio (I toured some of the offices too!) and test shoot with them. It was one of the coolest things. I was so excited and thrilled about the entire experience. And everyone was nice and super excited to work with me!
Posing nude isn’t for everyone. But for me it was incredibly liberating. I’ve worked with all kinds of photographers. I’ve even been in some galleries and had some images of me sold. Posing nude allowed me to appreciate my own body and even extend my comfort zones in and out of the bedroom. It makes me much more comfortable with myself and my partner. Which is a great thing. I’ll occasionally do shoots here and there for fine art photographers but have for the most part stopped to focus on my career.
Learning to accept your body, yourself and being confident about it can only help you. In all aspects of your life, whether it be in your day to day life or in your sex life. Because Confidence is Sexy!
I also have an awesome lingerie collection…which doesn’t hurt either. 😉