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Hey everyone! Been a busy, busy girl lately getting ready for my move. My mom surprised me with a last minute flight home to see my family for Easter so that is where I am for the next couple days. Although it would be tough for me to move back to a small city, I am always reminded of the kindness of the people here when I return. My parents and I went to see Water for Elephants yesterday (amazing) and with each movie ticket purchase they give you the option of the movie soundtrack or the book. FOR FREE! I think I said it a bit too loud and people turned around. We are not really used to anything free in the big cities. Then I go down to my old nail salon to visit with my aunt and cousins and the adorable nail lady gave me 3 nail polishes FOR FREE! Aww people here just give and expect nothing in return :)

Anyway, my mom made this yummy pasta salad today and I thought it would be a great addition to your Easter menu…and it is super easy and low-fat!

What You Need

3/4 cup MIRACLE WHIP FREE Dressing
1 tsp.  dill weed
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups  farfalle (bow-tie pasta), cooked, drained (she used elbow macaroni which I prefer)
1 cup small broccoli florets
2   carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 can  (5 oz.) white tuna in water, drained, flaked (I think it could use 1.5 cans or 2)

Make It

MIX dressing, dill weed and pepper in large bowl.

ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly.

REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled.

180 calories per serving (makes 6 servings)

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Who: Nicole Le Bris

What: Plus-Sized Model

Where: New York City

To me the whole modeling world is confused, especially if they categorize YOU as “Plus Sized.” What sizes are considered Plus?

Plus size starts where ‘straight size’ ends. There is no in between category, sadly. So it starts at about an eight, I wouldn’t doubt if some girls are even more of a six, believe it or not! I know it sounds crazy. But I guess it probably sounds crazy to those snotty high fashion people that size six/eight would be considered a fashion model. So they’re pushed up to the plus division. Those in between sizes don’t typically work as much as a solid size 4 ‘straight size’ model or a solid size 14 plus size model.

Do most girls start out in “normal sized” modeling? (Is “normal” even politically correct? What is a better word or what is used by Plus girls?)

I don’t think more girls start out as straight size models. I know a few that have, they can’t keep their weight down so they just switch them into the plus size division. But I think most of us plus models have been bigger our whole lives.
Recently some scandal has followed Crystal Renn for losing a lot of weight. She claims she is a size 8 and has lost weight because she started working out. What is your opinion on this whole thing?

Yeah Crystal definitely has had a lot of buzz lately. From what I understand, she thinks models shouldn’t be categorizied. I see why she says this, I just don’t see realistically how that would ever work. A designer or clothing store ususally caters to a certain woman, whether it be conservative, young, fuller figure or petite. To me it’s just not realistic to ask them to carry size 0-26. And since they don’t, not all models can work for all brands. A plus size line is going to go to a plus size agency, or division.

What pressures do you face from clients/agents? Do they ever ask for you to gain weight or reach a certain size?

I don’t face too much pressure about weight. I’ve had clients joke with me, ‘Nicole, don’t lose too much weight or we can’t lose you’ and I’ve heard them talk about not using a certain model because she gained to much weight. I’ve kept myself pretty consistent, between a size 12 and 14, so I haven’t had many issues myself.
What are the biggest advantages of modeling Plus?

Advantages of Plus modeling for me are probably similar to the advantage of being a straight size model… the glamour of it, traveling, working with amazing makeup artists and hair stylists, model rates at hotels/salons. To me being plus size is even better since I don’t think we have the pressure to stay unrealistically thin. Some models are just naturally stick thin, regardless of what they eat. But I know a lot of straight size models can’t eat certain foods and really limit themselves. I love chocolate, and cheese and wine, and all those yummy things, so it would be pretty painful for me to have to lose weight and keep it off.

What is the life span of a Plus model career?

Another benefit of being a plus size model is that we have a longer career span, for the most part. The models who work the most in the plus division are in their thirties. In the fashion world there definitely is an age limit, unless you’re a celebrity or public figure hired for a fashion campaign. Of course there are catalog models that work well into their fifties in both categories, but in plus size, I think models peak later than straight size. Also there aren’t as many plus models as there are straight size models. SO not as much competition. When I go to these castings where they mix us, I’m always amazed at how many skinny models there are, and they all look like eachother, 6ft, and stick thin. Women gain weight differently, and not a lot of us gain weight proportionally, so there are far less plus models, which means less competition.

Check out Nicole’s portfolio here: www.nicoleheidi.com

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I am back from LA and although I left you all with a void of posts for a few days, I think moving to LA will give me more material to work with. YES, I am finally moving to LA! It has been on my mind for about a year now and I just got a beautiful apartment that I will move into in May.

I am definitely a person who loves change and moving around. I am not a thrill-seeker but this is my sense of adventure. Learning my way around, meeting new people, eating at new restaurants and making new discoveries. You always end up learning a bit about yourself when you move to a new city. If any of you would like to visit LA, I would be happy to be your tour guide!

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Santa Monica 2010

Today I am taking off on a jet plane to the great city of Los Angeles! In an effort to soon be bi-coastal, Steve and I are going to look for apartments yippee! Can’t wait to see my West Coast buddies!

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Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent Summer Look Book preview. OBSESSED.

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Going to castings is a crucial part of being a model. It can be a very exhausting process. When I lived in Greece I would go to between 5-10 castings a day and had to trek from one side of the city and back, by impossible public transportation. You can complain all you want but these few minutes you meet the client can make or break a big job for you. It is important to look your very best, while still looking understated and effortless. Also, to keep yourself looking fresh from the first casting to the 10th.

My first tip is to dress simple, wear flattering clothes but show off your personality/style. Show off your best asset, whether it is a small waist or long legs by wearing a short skirt with cute top or skinny jeans and tank like the models below. They look fresh, simple and put together.

Photos at Collegefashion.net

Second tip is to always wear heels! Wear comfy shoes and put them on before you walk in the door. They make you stand up straighter and elongate your body and sometimes the client will need you to walk for them. The only exception to the rule is if you are going for a catalog job and are 5’10 and above. In most of these cases the pants are going to be on the shorter side and you don’t want to appear too tall to fit the clothes. Wear a pair of cute ballet flats or sandals instead.

Third tip is to go to a casting looking polished. A client will notice small things about you like if your nails are clean and well maintained, your eyebrows are plucked, and your hair is healthy and clean. Go with your hair natural or pulled back. Don’t go overboard with curls or fussy hairstyles.

Lastly, I have mentioned this in an earlier post but make sure you makeup is very minimal wearing only concealer or tinted moisturizer, mascara, gloss and some bronzer for a nice glow. Go in with confidence and a great personality and you can walk out of your castings knowing you gave your very best!

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I have a really bad habit of keeping 20 tabs open of food recipes and clothes I want. I guess I feel that if I keep them open, somehow the fashion gods will drop them on my door step…or maybe my boyfriend will catch a glimpse of one and decide to buy it for me :P   Since Spring is here I have 20 cute little dress tabs open and I thought I would share some of my needs, i.e. wants.

Victoria's Secret

Nasty Gal

Planet Blue

Nasty Gal

Victoria's Secret

ModCloth

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“Friends forever, always will be friends” …c’mon you know you know the words. Speaking of Saved by the Bell, do any of you still watch when it comes on at like 7 am? It seriously cheers up sleepy/grumpy mornings instantly. Anyway, how cool are these bracelets?! I need to get some 10 year old girl to make me some stat.

Pics from OracleFox

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Tell me….which Angel do you prefer?

2011 Angel Candice Swanpoel

OR

90′s Angels-Karen Mulder, Helena Christensen, Tyra Banks

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Hi mom! We have talked for years about reaching out in one way or another to aspiring models and educating them through the process of beginning their modeling career. When I showed interest in high school, we didn’t even know where to start. We thought our only option was to pay thousands of dollars to an agency that took us to a NYC convention that did nothing for the models but  grab our money and run.
Now 10 years later, you and I both have learned a lot of lessons along the way.

~My mom rode the rollercoaster of emotions with me over the past 10 years…the amazing travels and highs to the many rejections.  Sometimes I don’t think I would have lasted as long if it weren’t for her (and my dad’s) love and support .

What would you have done differently with me knowing what we know now? Most definitely, I would have trusted your instincts more.  You were such a level-headed teen.  You researched everything (and still do) before you made any decisions.  You have loved New York City since you were a little girl.  When you started to talk about moving to NYC, your dad and I were totally against it – we thought it would be a bad career move for you.  Miami seemed a better fit – you have that wholesome blonde, beach girl look which was perfect for Miami, in our opinion.  But when you finally went to NYC, almost immediately, you had jobs, felt very comfortable living there, and – I’ll say it, you LOVED NYC and still do!

I can tell other parents, if you are unsure if the time is right for your teen to start modeling and they are given an opportunity to move to a different city, make sure you make a trip and see for yourself what the city is like.  Check out the transportation, the living quarters, anything your child will encounter and make your own decision.  So much depends on them – how old are they, would you leave them unsupervised at your house for a week?  If under 18, you still make the final decision.

Probably my biggest mistake was taking you to an agency that was 4 hours away.  I should have done more research and found a local agency to start with.  Even ten years ago, the internet would have given me more advice on watch outs.  We just kind of blundered our way into the modeling world and I feel we wasted valuable time.

Do you think I would have emotionally been ready at 17 to start modeling full time? In your opinion what is the ideal age to start? Every person is different.  As a mom, and your dad agrees, YOU were not ready at 17 to handle the rejection, the travel overseas to countries where no one seemed to speak English, living alone in a different state and country, and managing finances.  I am so glad you waited until you were a little older to make modeling your full-time career.  When you got serious about it, you had the ‘know-how’, drive and courage to be successful.  High school was not your happiest time – even pretty girls get bullied.  But, you survived, made a few good friends, played sports, went to proms and learned how to survive some really negative emotional experiences.  Those four years prepared you for the modeling industry whether you know or not.

Do you think I would have benefited from going right to NYC out of high school or are you happy I went to college?  You know how I feel about college or additional education – every year spent in college gives you a polish, shaping the young woman you have become.  Whether you believe it or not, I think your four years in college added to your appeal as a model.  You are so well spoken and confident – much of that came from your years in the academia world.  Maybe if we had let you go to NYC at 17, you would have been another Tyra Banks but I think not.   The modeling world for most is short-lived.  When it is over, you must be prepared to do something else and having a college degree or even college experience is invaluable.

Would you recommend parents put their kids through modeling classes? I have mixed feelings about that.  The agency we chose for you did not give you a choice.  In retrospect, I think the classes helped you be more comfortable with your height.  For the first time, you had adults (other than family) telling you how beautiful you were.  They taught you how to walk, apply makeup, dress like a model and introduced you to the fashion industry in a way you would not have had without the classes.  That program forced you to be in front of people.  But, I will not sugarcoat it – coming up with the money for the sessions was a financial hardship for us.  But, we could see what it meant to you and we felt you really had a chance to be successful – so we made choices.  You were so passionate about the modeling – we had to give you a shot no matter what it meant for your dad and me.  Before any parent shells out money for classes, however, make sure the agency is accredited and has at least 8-10 years in the business.  Insist on meeting with them face-to-face and ask for references from other models or photographers.  Do not sign a contract without reading every single line!

What are the pre-requisites for a girl/boy to have before they enter this crazy world? A good support system – parents, siblings and/or very close friends – are extremely critical to your success.  The aspiring model must have special, compassionate people to call and cry to when the agency tells you your hips are too wide, your hair is too thin, or your face is too pretty (never did understand that one!).

First, ask someone you trust (not just a friend from high school) to be honest about your appearance and be prepared for what you hear.  I believe that we were very candid with you – you have striking features, a beautiful athletic body, and a funny, smart personality.  You were not the stick-thin beauty that some of the runway models show but you had the hunger and drive to make it work for you.  You were determined to be successful and that is imperative for any career – whether modeling or a clown in a circus.

The new model should definitely contact at least one if not two local agencies.  Send the agency candid shots and see if they have an interest.  It is always a good idea to check all agencies with the BBB – we did that for every modeling agency or photographer that showed an interest in you.  If a local agency says you are not model material or you are too young or old, too heavy, too whatever, believe them and look elsewhere for a career. I also encourage all aspiring models to take a class on public speaking.

What about paying taxes and getting paid for the jobs? Help your child set up a spreadsheet to keep track of every job – the date, what was paid, and what expenses you incurred for that job.  This will include mileage, cell phones, printer cartridges, photos you paid for, hair color, pantyhose, shoes, etc.  Write everything down – every penny spent even if you are not sure it counts.  Expect they will not get paid for up to 3 months after the job – this is standard.  Search for a tax accountant that is familiar with actors and/or models.  It takes a special skill to complete the tax forms for this job.

Any final words of advice for parents or for the models?  Be there for your child – encouraging, supporting, and cheering them on.  Trust your gut – if something doesn’t seem right with an agency or photographer, pass it up.  If your child is really model worthy, there will be another job.  Be prepared for disappointment.  You might think your ‘baby’ is the most beautiful in the world but very few make it to the top and pull in lots of money.  Modeling is long hours in often uncomfortable environments and frequently, for little money.

My final advice is ‘neither you nor the agency should push to lose weight’.  My daughter watches what she eats, exercises moderately and has learned to embrace her curvy figure.  There are agencies out there that accept her the way she is and find ways to showcase her attributes.  Stephanie is passionate about eating healthy and not starving herself to get the next job.  Modeling can be rewarding but it is a commitment for the parent as well as the aspiring model.  You will be part of the successes and failures.  Stephanie has no regrets about going into the modeling world.  Our family could not be more proud of all she has accomplished.

For any parents out there who is getting their child into modeling I would suggest you buy this book called Making a Supermodel: A Parent’s Guide. It is written by Supermodel, Sessilee Lopez’s mother/manager.