For years I was told, “You have such a pretty face; have you thought about modeling?” I would always respond with a no. I responded that way because first of all, there is more to me than my face. Second, what others saw, I did not see. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a fat, ugly, girl undesirable by the opposite sex. I blamed being single on my looks and if I was dating someone, it did not last long because of my looks. No one wanted to be with me in public because they were afraid of what their friends would say. I’ve been told on many occasions that I was not the type of person they would normally date. It also did not help when I would hear “you are so pretty BUT you could lose a few pounds”. It sent me into a major depression.

In December 2015, my sorority sister Yolanda sent me a flyer for a model call that was happening the following month for Moni B Cosmetics (www.monibcosmetics.com). I thanked her and told her I would attend. The day of the call it was snowing, but I owed it to myself to show up. I met the CEO Moni Brodie, the model coordinator, and the photographer. I was interviewed, and then a couple of pictures were taken. I was informed that I would be notified that evening. I was thinking to myself, “I won’t be selected” but was glad for the experience. I was rebuilding my life; I had just started a new job so why not give it a shot?

That evening I received the call, and was surprised to hear that not only was I selected as a model, but also as a brand ambassador. I was ecstatic! I had to wait to share the news until the official announcement was made from the CEO. I was sitting on my hands trying not to post the news on Facebook…LOL. Once the official announcement was made, I posted away!

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I was surprised at the number of likes and comments I received; folks were really happy for me. Before my first shoot, I had a serious talk with myself. I had to start seeing myself for the beautiful woman I was. I prayed, encouraged myself in the mirror every morning, sought counseling, and stopped worrying about what others thought about me. Of course this took some time. During my first few shoots my self-esteem was still a little low, but I did not let the cameras see it. My confidence began to grow, and I decided to seek additional modeling opportunities. Needless to say, 2016 was very busy with fashion shows, photo shoots, and pageantry (YES PAGEANTRY; I will share that experience in a future post). By the end of 2016 you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t cute…LOL.

So how does modeling tie into self-love, you ask? Everyone’s journey to self-love is different. Sometimes you have to be put in a situation in which you are forced to feel the opposite, and over time, you start to believe it. Modeling forced me to stop feeling sorry for myself, and to get my ass out there and shine inside and out. I would be lying if I said I don’t have negative thoughts about myself from time to time. I’m human but those thoughts no longer control my life.

To anyone struggling with self-love, speak to someone, whether it be a counselor or a friend or family member. Every morning, look in the mirror and speak positive affirmations as words truly are powerful. Or, “just do it”. Find an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and be proud of that accomplishment. Eventually, you will find yourself being proud of so much more.

Feel free to comment and share this post. You can also email me at info@janellesimmons.com if you need encouragement; I’m here for you.

Much love!

-The Curvy Doc