How did you get started in modeling? I have always been creative, and I developed a love for makeup and fashion early on. Growing up, I always wanted to act and model, which led to attending modeling and acting school as a teenager. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had the ability to connect with several local photographers and establish mutually beneficial relationships that allowed us to express ourselves artistically and support each other.
What are some of your most memorable photo shoots? A couple experiences come to mind … and make me laugh! One time, after an outdoor shoot, I had to go to the doctor and be treated for poison ivy. (Not fun.) Another time, I was on set with a horse, and I broke my toe when the horse stepped on it. It hurt, but I managed to push through. In fact, the images from that shoot are some of my favorites. Most recently, I did a shoot with local photographer and friend Jeff Hiedeman. We thought it would be a good idea to take outdoor shots in the middle of January in below-zero temps. We were freezing, but the images are amazing and well worth it. Modeling isn’t as glamorous as it appears. But for me this is art, and I would do it all again. (Well, maybe not the poison ivy.)
What has modeling taught you? Modeling has taught me how to represent myself in a professional and poised manner, while allowing me to be fun and creative at the same time. It has taught me how to work with many types of individuals and situations—and, importantly, how to work together to reach the same goal. In light of the new “body positive” movement, modeling has taught me how to love and appreciate my body just the way it is. Through modeling, I have gained self confidence—and a creative outlet to express myself freely.
Who is your style role model? I love everything vintage—hats, jewelry, fur! Structured classic pieces are my favorite. And I appreciate ladylike styles. I have an hourglass shape, so I gravitate toward figure-flattering designs. I also love the eclectic whimsy and free-spirited feel of boho style. Rachel Zoe is a big style icon for me.
And what about a mistake you’ve made? Tanning is one of my biggest mistakes. I did it in high school. A photographer at my first agency told me to stop. He said that I should embrace my skin tone because it’s both healthy and beautiful to be natural.
What do you want other women to know? I’m just your average 34-year-old mother of two. I am 5’6” and a size 12. I have flaws—and they tell my life story. My stretch marks tell the story of my children’s journey into this world. My wrinkles tell the story of laughing and living a life full of expression. I’ve not had plastic surgery, and I’m not planning to. It’s not that I don’t feel the pressure to be perfect. I do! I just feel like being a real, aging woman in today’s world is a much better statement and message. Women want to see more diversity in the media. They want models that are relatable. They want to say: “Wow! She looks like me, and that means I could be a model, too. I feel beautiful and proud to be in my skin!”
You have a real message of empowerment. I always say, please don’t believe everything you see in the media. The process of creating the best finalized image consists of many layers, including professional makeup, highly stylized concepts, perfectly controlled lighting, experienced photographers, acquired modeling skills, orchestrated posing, and Photoshop retouching. The end result is a work of art that many individuals contribute to creatively in their own way. In real life, away from all of these layers, we are all still beautiful. And so I encourage women to do what makes them feel beautiful—and to know that their uniqueness is special in this world.
What makes you feel beautiful? I love feeling ultra feminine. A classy dress, bouncy, shiny hair, and a bold red lip will do it.
What three makeup products would you never be without on a shoot—or in your everyday life? Foundation, mascara and lipstick (I’ve always had luck with Neutrogena and Clinique products).
What’s your skincare secret? Exfoliate, moisturize, and sunscreen every day. I also love a good anti-wrinkle serum. I love Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin anti-serum and wrinkle cream line. I also use a Clarisonic facial brush with a salicylic acid-based face wash daily. Drinking water and having a positive attitude are also important. I believe that taking care of the inside—nutritionally and psychologically— reflects on the outside.