The Bold and the Beautiful

I’m getting older, aren’t we all?  And as the years tick over I become ever more conscious of how fleeting life is. Or maybe that is because my kids are growing older and seeing them grow up makes me reflect on how that was me, what seems like just yesterday.  Or perhaps dealing with being sick for so long has given me a better appreciation of the importance of doing what you yearn to do, because tomorrows are unpredictable. They are not to be relied on. That’s what I figure.

Michael Leunig understands Life.
Michael Leunig understands Life.

Speaking of figures, I’ve wasted a lot of my years feeling ridiculous about mine. Have you? Like, embarassed, ashamed, exasperated. Even before I had reason to. In various ways over the years I have castigated myself for the shape I carry.  Too this or too that. And if you added up all the kilos I have lost on various diets, I think I’d have lost my entire body weight. But lately, it’s just been gains. Chronic illness and my medication side effects have made weight control difficult for me.  If it’s not the tummy cramps of my pyridostygmine and motilium, it’s the insatiable appetite and trademark round cheeks I have acquired on high dose steroids. The delayed gastric emptying, chronic constipation, dizziness and especially, the ever present fatigue. ‘Just Do It’ is a huge mountain to climb. Any one of those issues pretty quickly puts exercise at the bottom of my priority list. And, um, I love cake. So, slowly but surely, I’ve gotten rounder.


And that roundy-ness has made me feel less beautiful. Fat does not equate with beauty in our media; most of the time. But that is changing.  There are women like Tess Holliday, above, who are changing things. She is so gorgeous! Then there are others, it’s a new frontier. Just google ‘plus size model images’ and you’ll be wowed!

In spite of all the reasons why my fat sits there on my frame, I haven’t been good at looking at myself as though I have beauty. I look at other curvy people and I think they look beautiful, but not at myself. Lately I have been following a curvy stylist on facebook. Seeing her daily looks has been inspiring to me.  A fellow roundy girl who celebrates her inner self; on the outside.  She’s bold.  She’s sassy.  She’s awesome. I really like Jenni, from Styling Curvy for her down-to-earth approach to life.  As a cancer survivor (she calls it being a cancer thriver) she sees life for all it’s imperfect beauty. She knows it’s for embracing. And she has changed the way I look at my wardrobe, my body, my self. And I think I’m ready to do this ‘being me’ thing a bit differently. I’m ready to feel beautiful, anyway.


Jenni, from Styling Curvy

I’ve been shopping for plus sized clothing online for years. My inbox receives updates from all my favourite big girl stores, and the other day, one of those newsletters caught my eye.  I love Autograph clothes, they have sensible price tags and comfort, not to mention flattering styles. And they’re online. Half my wardrobe comes from them.The women in the shot were women like me. Women wearing life on their frames.  But they were confident.  I saw them and I thought I want to be like that. And a small voice in my head scoffed at me. It told me to get real. After all, I’m forty. And probably too big even for a plus-size model.  And I’m sick.  Yeah, don’t forget that bit, Rach. I clicked through to the Star Now website. I made a profile. I sent it to Autograph, anyway.


Autograph Model Search graphic
The 2015 Autograph Model Search is open all August. Get into it!

And last Friday, in the midst of my downward spiral about my diminishing treatment prospects, I got a call from Vivien’s model agency in Sydney. A very sophisticated scandinavian-sounding guy told me I need to get myself to their partner agency 62 Models, here in Auckland.  I’ve been shortlisted. So on Thursday, I’m off for a bit of a shoot and an interview. Can you believe it?!

It’s probably a foolishness on my part, but you know what?  I don’t care. It has been a wonderful distraction from the upcoming surgery on Friday.  I’ve had my nails done! I have some outfits to take along, it’s been fun having something exciting to look forward to.  I hope I can do this thing, but I have no idea if I can.  There is just this belligerent part of me that recognises how short life is, it calls me to be bold.  I’m not sure if my boldness will equate to the beauty they are looking for, but I’m going to give it a shot. It’s already given me such a boost.

Wish me luck!  Do you wanna see me in my outfits?
I’ll let you know if my boldness becomes something beautiful. x

who am i to thinkI can put myself out there_(2)

40 thoughts on “The Bold and the Beautiful”

  1. OMG, I am so excited for you Rach!

    You are so beautiful, so this doesn’t surprise me a bit. Of course they want you to try out and I’m sue it’s going to be a great experience. Now we just need to wait for your next blog so you can tell us all about it x

    1. Oh, that part was scariest of all. Still, I tell everyone here on The Chronic-ills everything, so it would be inauthentic not to tell this thing too. And, I’m excited about the experience! Thanks for your support Nettie, and for introducing me to the lovely Jenni!

  2. Let me give you a little tip (from someone who used to get money for doing this too) before you go stand in front of a full length mirror, pose is different ways thinking about ways to show your curves to their best advantage. Unlike skinny girl modeling which is about posing to hide stuff, normal woman modeling requires angles that flatter than curve, not necessarily make it smaller. Break leggies.

  3. OMG!!! That is so freaking awesome!!! Yay for you and your beautiful spirit and your amazing bravery and your light in this world. Knock them freaking dead. And ps: good luck with the surgery on friday. I’ll be thinking of you xx

  4. Rachel!! That’s so, so wonderful and I can’t think of a better person for this to happen to 🙂 Yah for you!!!! Hope you have the most wonderful time!! And I can’t wait to see the pictures 🙂

  5. Oh Rachel. You are one of the most beautiful young woman I have ever met – in every way. Take a long look in the mirror and see what we see… a tall, gorgeous blonde with sparkling eyes, flawless skin and who has the kindest heart filled with so much love for others.
    Go Girl Go and enjoy your shoot. Can’t wait to see the photos. Love YOU

  6. Woo Hoo!!! Well done, Rach!! You are sooo beautiful, and wonderful, and brave, and lovely… and such an inspiration!!! You’ll do amazing… because you are!
    Love ya.
    Rachel xxx

    1. Thanks Jasmine, it was lots of fun! I am home now and having a rest after all that excitement. And it is beginning to dawn on me that tomorrow I’ll be in hospital. It has been a brilliant distraction. Thanks for the good wishes X

  7. Darling you are amazing!!! Good on you!!! enjoy and embrace every moment!!! You have always been and always will remain beautiful to me…inside and out!!! Love you Rach xxx

  8. I’m so proud of you for doing this!! Everyone has something that they feel they are not good enough, or appropriate for, and 9 time out of 10 (or more) those limits are applied in their own mind. I am like that in so many things, and it gives me strength to see you break through!

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