Body Image & Self Esteem FAQ
+ How can I can get involved in the positive body image movement?
It’s easy! You can do something as simple as tweeting out a positive message on Twitter or posting an interesting article about body image in our society on Facebook. You might also want to check out Operation Beautiful, a movement that posts positive messages to remind individuals of their beauty in bathroom stalls, mirrors, fitting rooms and just about anywhere! Check that out here.
Here are a few other organizations that you can get involved with that might be able to help you make a difference:
+ How can I combat the media’s images of ‘ideal’ figures and shapes?
It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like all of the images being thrown at us from the media are only going to hurt us, but there are strong movements and a lot of buss surrounding these ideals and the need for change. Sharing videos that go against these negative ideas, tweeting about the absurdity of these expectations and sharing articles that discuss just how wrong the media is are simple ways you can get the word out that this is backwards thinking. Consider the following ideas.
Exciting news at EmmeNation: we are collaborating with Syracuse University on a campaign to Changing the Face in Fashion Design in all Fashion Design Schools across the country and the world, starting at Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts Fashion Design School. A campaign to readdress the current curriculum and the addition of a size 16 dress form in the design room to stand along with the size 4 dress form. The curriculum includes the current psychological barriers and ideas change for women not being able to find clothes, pattern making and dress design for woman above size 12 along with what is currently being taught for those below a size 12. Quite revolutionary I’d say! We’ll have more about this in the next 6 months so check back!
Anything you can do to promote an article that speaks to the positive body image efforts, share a video discussing a current issue we are seeing in the media, or start a discussion on any platform is helping the cause and getting the word out there. The more we talk about it, the more they nay-sayers will look crazy and those of us working for the common good will become the norm!
+ Where can I find positive examples of people in the media stepping up and making a change?
We suggest taking a look at the following websites, videos, films and organizations:
Eating Disorder FAQ
+ How do I know if I have an eating disorder?
We suggest speaking with a trained professional, perhaps setting up an initial therapy session to see what their diagnosis might be.
You might also want to check out The National Eating Disorder Association’s Website.
They have a TON of resources and also a screening tool that will guide you towards an answer.
+ What are the different types of eating disorders?
According to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there are 3 types of officially recognized eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. There is also ED-NOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).The National Eating Disorders Association has a page on their website dedicated to offering information on each of these.
We also deeply suggest taking a look at The Eating Disorder Sourcebook by Carolyn Costin, MA, MED, MFCC to better grasp the entire history of eating disorders along with statistics, research, etc. You can find the book on Amazon here.
+ Where can I find help? Who do I turn to?
If you have taken the screening or spoken to someone and have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, the best answer is always to GET HELP. There are many options when it comes to this decision, all depending on the severity of the situation, needs of the sufferer and family and what resources are available in your surrounding area. You may want to start by searching for different providers of mental health/eating disorder services in your area, ideally creating a team of health professionals to help bring yourself or the sufferer you are helping into recovery.
There are a few different provider options and levels of care:
Inpatient/Residential Treatment: This option is where the client will enter treatment and live there for a certain period of time, relearning how to have a relationship with food, working through their inner demons and healing in general. This may be in a facility or a hospital.
Intensive Outpatient: This option is a lot like inpatient/hospitalization, but the patient will go home each night and sleep, they do not leave in the facility. Their daily activities might be similar to that of an inpatient option, but it is a bit less “intense.” And all-consuming.
Outpatient: This option consists of work with a PhD, PsyD, LCSW, LPC or some type of licensed professional in counseling. This very personal work will include visits X amount of times each week, slowly but surely working through the issues that have led the individual suffering to their disorder. There are also outpatient nutritionists that are usually an option for helping to get the individual back on track weight-wise and health-wise.
You can find a more thorough explanation of all of this information along with more information on treatment settings, what to ask, etc. here.
You can read more about treatment options and information on recovery with the help of NEDA’s resources.
+ What if the person I am helping who has an eating disorder refuses treatment?
Unfortunately, if they are above 18, they are technically in charge of all decisions and can refuse treatment, even if they have a diagnosable condition. There are intervention and forced treatment options, that might potentially involve a lawyer of some sort or some form of legal action.
We suggest calling the NEDA Helpline at 1-800-932-2237 where they can give you more specific information such as lawyers who work with this sort of thing, interventionists and more.
You might also want to look into the following Discovery Fit & health article on eating disorder interventions.
+ I’m the friend or family member of someone suffering and am feeling lost and confused about helping the person I love navigate through this terrifying experience. What can I do?
It is an incredibly scary experience, watching someone you love suffer through something that takes control of their bodies and changes who they are. But there are ways for you to find support and work through this trying time with others. You, like the sufferer, are never alone and never need to be. NEDA also offers the Parent, Family and Friends Network that offers limitless support and opportunities to connect with others who have suffered or are suffering though the eating disorder of a loved one. This information can be found here.
You may also want to check out the Parent Toolkit, an outstanding rescource for family members to learn all about eating disorders, what they can do to help and where to start. You can find this here.
+ What if I can’t afford treatment for my or a loved one’s eating disorder?
Treatment is incredibly expensive, something that can close the door on someone who may be in desperate need for help. But, there are amazing options from fantastic organizations that are eager to help pay for treatment in whatever way they can.
The following organizations are something you might want to look into:
- Project HEAL
- Kirsten Haglund Foundation for Eating Disorders
- Academy for Eating disorders
- Manna Fund
+ I feel alone and like I will never remain in recovery. What can I do to remind myself that I can do this?
Recovery is an incredibly new, scary time for any sufferer. But, the last thing you are is alone! The National Eating Disorders Association has an incredible amount of connection possibilities for those going through treatment and entering recovery.
You may also benefit from success stories in the form of longer novels and books that tell tales of difficult journeys but also show how even the most difficult of journeys can end in success. Check out this story:
+ How do I become a model?
Plus Size: You must be a natural size 12, 14, or 16. The women who work full time are these sizes, no questions about it. There are magazines and designer runway shows that embrace larger women as models. However, those that take on modeling as their full time job are the size I noted. A good model is fit, healthy and happy. (read: doesn’t live, breathe and die for modeling). She has a life outside of her work which she leaves at the door. However when the camera shoots her, she is warm, inviting and INTERESTING to look at because of the life she leads. I’ve been told, it’s all in the eyes, as they’re the windows to the soul.
“Straight size”: size 0-4, same advice as above and below, regardless of size. YOU DO NOT NEED need a professional/expensive portfolio to show the top agencies in your area.
Agency: Go the the closest major market 10-15 miles from your home if you are not living in a major (NY, LA, Miami, Chicago or Dallas) market already. If you drive any further than 15 miles, you will be driven crazy by the commute for last minute “go-sees” where clients check you out for an upcoming shoot or runway show. You do a lot of these to get one job…so be sure you understand this starting off.
In that major market, ONLY choose the top agency and it’s closest competitor. Unless you live in NY, LA, Miami, Chicago or Dallas, choose the top three and leave it at that. All the work in these markets worth your time and effort will flow from the top to the two below them. The bottom feeders (as I call them) will try to get your money anyway they can and run!
Go-See’s: Once you’ve picked the top agencies in your area, check out their website for “open Go-See” Days. There will be a specific day and time when new girls will be seen each week. Make sure you get your nails done, have a clean and figure flattering simple outfit on, proper bra that supports you well, hair brushed and swept off your face, minimal if no makeup, show up on time (with someone you trust), sign in, smile, manners manners manners, have 3 sets of your digital shots printed to 8×10 dimension (you may meet three people who will want a copy of what you have), have them neatly in a manila folder, and have your contact information stapled on the back (typed).
Go-See to do list:
- 1 or 2 simple digital head shots. Shot in natural light. (no heavy make up! Use make up to enhance what you already have…beautiful, clean and fresh skin).
- 1 or 2 full body shots in a bathing suit
- 1 or 2 shots in a business look and
- 1 or 2 shots in a casual setting (doing what you love!) should do the trick!
- Your name
- Your age
- Real hair color
- Bust measurement
- Waist measurement
- Hip measurement
- Dress size
- Jean size
- Shoes size
- Cell number
- Email address
- Mailing address
Manners always help:
Write a thank you note to everyone you meet, follow up and follow up again until you hear of their decision.
if you don’t get picked by the top or top three agencies, know you tried and regroup. It could be a matter of timing. If so inclined, take what you learned through the process and visit back in 6 months with the suggested changes (not including changing yourself drastically or spending a lot of money).
If you are ever asked to spend a lot of money, report them to the Better Business Bureau in your area and see if they have a history of this type of practice, then turn them in! I cant stand these schools that get innocent girls to spend thousands of dollars on a hope and a dream.
Thousands and thousands of beautiful girls walk through top agencies each week, only 1 or 2 are ever picked. Good luck!
+ How many years have I been in the fashion industry?
Over 20 years!
+ I’ve been ask time and time again,”What is beauty?
The following was written by Audrey Hepburn who, in my opinion, nails it.
- For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
- For lovely eyes, seek good in people.
- For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
- For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
- For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
- People, even more than things, have to be restored, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
- Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.
- The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
- The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is a caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.
- The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.
+ How to dress a curvier body?
Getting Started: foundation/lingerie/under it all: every gal needs a seamless flesh colored bra, basic black, and one wild color or animal print bra that will give you a hop in your step! If 80% of American women wearing an ill fitted bra, it might be time to get fitted correctly and let your “sisters” rest easy in the right home, if you get what I mean. We are all for comfort here! Major department stores offer this service; all you need to do is call to find out when the next fitting session would be.
Layering Pieces: We all need to give ourselves a nice vertical line when we dress and finding a variety of cami’s, laying pieces or basic tee’s can do just that. I always say, “You can never have enough layering pieces to choose from.” They are vital to giving you depth and interest in what you wear. Long gone are the days when we walk out the door looking boxy, frumpy and unappealing. By introducing a layered look, you open yourself up to endless possibilities of what look you want on any day. Open big shirts/tunics coupled with cami’s and lingerie tanks can achieve this for you.
Get real with your body: All bodies are not created equal. Give yourself a good look in the mirror and figure out if you have: narrow/wide shoulders, thick/slim waist, ample/slight bust, wide/narrow hips, strong, shapely/thick/thin legs. Once you figure out where your assets lie, build upon them. The last thing you want to do try and hide body parts that you don’t want seen…just don’t call attention to them with loud colors, pleated materials or loud prints. Where as if you have a body part that is your best feature, by all means do not cover it up. Open it up; find great necklines, great skirt lengths and contoured waists, and figure enhancing dresses. Once you have a connection to your assets and how your body looks, you will be able to shop and know what styles will look good or not, no matter what is in fashion or not. Personally, when wide leg pants with flat waistbands are in, I buy. The slim thin pant trend, I run. Don’t let fashion run your wardrobe. Just keep in the loop so when a trend does float in that complements your body type, jump on and have fun.
Use your voice: If you cant find what you need, write a letter to the department store, Internet store, specialty store and have your like-minded friends sign it. Give them suggestions on clothing lines that you would like to have, fit, style and availability issues, fitting rooms that accommodate large frames, water fountains and restrooms in easy to get to locations. Got the idea? If you don’t use your voice, you won’t get what you want.