“I am enjoying it (modeling) so much I am considering making it a second career.”
Stacy, wow would you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? I am originally from Arkansas, but grew up in a town close to San Antonio in Texas. I joined the Air Force in 1999 and spent 8 years active duty as a medic. I am an Iraq veteran and spent months over there during the busy part of the war in 2005. I got out of the Air Force in 2008 and worked for the Air Force for another seven years. I then became a Registered Nurse in 2015 and began working as an Emergency Room Nurse, which is my full time “day job”.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? My motivation to get out of bed in the morning is that life is too short to waste any minute! I want to do as much as I can and do things I love to do to make the most of my life. I probably don’t get enough sleep because my mind has been on non-stop mode lately, but it’s because I am so excited about the steps I am taking in life right now.
On your Facebook page you state “my goal is to break age and weight barriers in the modeling world and promote a body positive image to women.” Can you tell us more about your mission? I always wanted to be a model, but I never had the confidence that I needed to pursue the dream. I have always been told by random people that I was “so pretty and should be a model” Now that I have a job that allows me to make my own schedule, I only work three days a week and pays me well, I have more liberty to pursue this dream. I also just turned 40 years old and my level of confidence has grown with age. But, as many know in this fashion industry, trying to start a modeling career in my late thirties going in to my forties can be challenging. Also, being a plus size model, I have two things going against me. However, I feel like this should not stop me. I feel like the fashion industry is changing by embracing plus size models like Ashley Graham and I am hoping that it will one day embrace older models as well. If you look good in pictures, on the runway and in designer clothes, what does the age matter? I love to prove people wrong through my talents and strive for excellence.
How has modeling experience changed your personal life? Do you feel people are treating you any differently because of what you do now? So far I have been modeling for about one year, so I am still fairly new to the game. Right now I feel that my following on social media is really embracing the message I am putting out there. I have been told by several people recently that I inspire them every day. This feels so wonderful!
What keeps you excited about modeling? What have been some of your favorite experiences so far? I get most excited about the creative process of working with photographers and makeup artists. Coming up with a concept and seeing it to fruition is rewarding, especially when the project is well received. You will also notice that I often use wigs in my photo-shoots to change up my looks, I feel that has made my portfolio more versatile.
What was the first job you booked and what do you remember about working on it? The first job that I booked was a plus size fashion show in Dallas, Texas. What I remember most about it, is that for two months I drove up to Dallas at least 5 times on weekends for practice. It was a 4.5 hour drive each way. The sacrifice was totally worth it because not only did I meet some beautiful like-minded plus size models, it opened the doors for networking with others in the industry. Sacrifices made usually lead to more opportunities. Short term pain for long term gain.
You have been modeling for some time now, what surprised you about the modeling industry when you first got into it? Honestly, I have not been surprised by anything really. It is exactly how I imagined it would be. Maybe it was because I researched it before stepping into the game. I went in with an open mind and initially started it as a hobby. However, I am enjoying it so much I am considering making it a second career.
So, is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could? The modeling industry, even with the body positive movement is still not fully embracing the plus size model. This however is changing as I feel that the average citizen wants models that they can relate to.
What do you believe is the key to success for a model? What qualities does one need to succeed? I believe that a successful model needs to be open minded, creative, and willing to put in long hours to make things happen. I believe that models need to practice, practice, practice. I feel that doing a lot of TFP (trade for print) and paying for photo-shoots have really built up my portfolio and given me the practice that I need. Now because of that it’s starting to pay off as more paid opportunities are coming my way.
How do you keep your confidence up? I keep my confidence up my leading a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising. As a plus size model I do not want to promote obesity by any means. I want to promote accepting your body for how it is but also promote being the best you can be. I constantly recite positive affirmations to remind myself that what I am doing is making difference.
Would you share the toughest criticism you have faced modeling? I have not really faced any outright criticism yet but I have worked with many photographers and makeup artists. It always feels good when these individuals are proud of the work they created with me and share it on their social media and websites. It makes me proud that they are proud of the work and were inspired. So, when individuals do not share or brag about the work we did, it is discouraging to me at times. However, I try to not take it personally as there is usually a reason.
What do you usually look for in photographers that you would do trade with? Before I do any kind of photo-shoot that is for trade, I always request to look at the photographer’s portfolio. If I feel that the photographers work will add to my portfolio significantly then I will work with them. I will not just accept work with any photographer just because it is not a paid shoot.
What are your favorite beauty rituals?Do you have any beauty secrets or products you swear by? I honestly have been blessed with great genetics when it comes to skin. I have switched up skin care brands more than I can count over my adult life. But I have to say the best thing that has kept me young looking is always using moisturizer, protecting my face in the sun, drinking plenty of water and exercise and eating healthy.
What are your thoughts about organic beauty products? Have you ever tried any? I think organic skin care products are great. In fact any product that is certified organic I feel leaves a lighter footprint on this earth so I support any product that is organic. I currently use origins skincare and I love it. I have notice an improvement in the puffiness around my eyes which is my biggest skin complaint that I have.
If you could have any person as your mentor for a day, who would it be and why? I would love the have Tyra Banks and Ashley Graham if I could get both. I think they are both awesome models and have had to deal with their own body shaming so I feel like they could offer a lot of insight on how to make it in this industry. Plus, I think they are amazing models who know how to pose to make their body look the most flattering.
What would be your tips for aspiring plus-sized model on how to look good in front of the camera? Practice in front of the mirror so that you know what angles are the most flattering to your figure. Also, being confident in your own skin will show up in your photographers and vise versa. It does not matter what size you are, if you are uncomfortable in how you look it will show negatively in your work. Also, work with as many photographers as possible to learn different styles.
Is there anything you’d like to do in the future? Someone you’d like to work with or something you’d like to accomplish? Before modeling I never considered acting. But I keep meeting people that say I am at the prime age to start and I am actually considering it! I would love to work with Ashley Graham one day, she is who truly inspired me to pursue plus modeling because we have similar body shape and measurements. I think she is just beautiful! I also love to sing, I would not be mad if an opportunity presented to be featured on someone’s album or possibly have my own album one day, but it’s not my main focus right now.
Do you feel social media has helped your career? How do you handle negative comments that appear on your Instagram? Absolutely, I would not have the networking connections or be featured in this magazine without social media. Social media can be stressful at times, but it’s a powerful tool that one has to use to their advantage. Negative comments on instagram are quite funny to me. I often share my “Instagram chronicles” on my personal Facebook with my friends and they get a kick out it! Laughter is the best medicine.
You have quite some followers on Instagram. Congratulations! What advice would you give to a beginner model working toward building their social media profile? First thing is that you need to be constantly active on your page, post something every day to keep your followers engaged. Make sure to hashtag all of your posts. I try to put 15-20 hashtags per photo. Go like random pictures of your target audience. Promote your page on other social media platforms. Only post quality images and have an eye-catching bio. You can also research companies that can help increase your reach, but be careful there are a lot of these companies out there and some of them are not reliable.
Do you feel Photoshop has created a skewed perception of the ideal body image? I do believe that Photoshop has skewed the perception of an ideal body. We do not get a realistic view of the person being photographed. With my photos I always ask the photographers to use minimal editing as possible. I look for photographers who really know how to use lighting so that over-editing is not needed. The editing I request usually involves smoothing of the skin. However, I never ask to change the shape of my body because it defeats the purpose of promoting a body positive image.
When you are not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do? Any secret talents? When I am not modeling I am either working, reading, catching up on Netflix shows, hanging out with friends, working out. I love my job as an emergency room nurse and I have to say I am pretty good at it! I have been in the medical field for 17 years. I also love to draw and paint, but have not done it in years due to time constraints but would love to start creating art again.
One thing that bugs you about humans is that…we can be selfish creatures, me included.
Tell us one thing about yourself people might find surprising. I actually have major stage fright and get nervous talking, modeling, singing or performing in front of others even though people say I hide it well. Also, in 2010 I started doing a lot of running and in a three year time period I ran 16 marathons and ultra marathons. My longest run being 70.5 miles.