First, what inspired you to write Hungry?
I want women and the fashion industry to hear me and think, You know what—maybe there should be all different body types up on the runway, maybe that’s a really a great idea. I want women to be happy with who they are because I think that once they do that, all opportunities in their lives will get even bigger and better for them. Doors will be opened to them because they will be ready for it. Think about it: If you hate yourself, you don’t like your relationships, you don’t do as well at work, you don’t take all the chances that you want in your life. I would like to see women overcome that and take it to the next level.
I want women to be empowered, to be confident, to love life, and that’s why I chose the title Hungry for my book. Because it’s hungry for everything. And that’s what I want women to take away from it—to love themselves but also to accomplish your dreams.
Loving your body is one of those things that’s easier said than done. What advice do you have for women to put the thought into action?
Instead of focusing on all the bad things like, “Oh my gosh, I hate my thighs,” I say let’s look at the hair and say, “Oh wow, I’m having such a great hair day.” Or “Oh wow, my eyes are so clear today…I really like my lips….” And then eventually your mind will start to change and think of the positive things when you look in the mirror instead of focusing on the negative. It definitely takes time—it’s a habit—but just like anything else, over time, you can change the way your mind works.
So when you’re having a bad day and look in the mirror, what part of your body do you embrace to change your thought process?
There are a few things I look at on those days: I say, “Wow, I have full, great, healthy hair,” because now I eat healthy and I can see my health in my hair. That’s one thing. I also say, “Wow, I have great cheekbones. Let’s play them up, put some bronzer on them.” And then I might say, “Oh wow, I have a great waist; I’m going to show it off by belting my dress today.” Or I’ll put on some red lipstick and see how great I feel. I love wearing lipstick. It’s my feel-good-immediately move.
In your book, you talk a lot about being the size you’re supposed to be. How can women figure out what size they are supposed to be?
I refer to this as your body’s set point. Everyone is born with what they’re supposed to be. I think that you have to listen to your body, be very in tune and take the focus off the food. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, and when you crave something, have it. For instance, if you want red meat, have red meat—there’s a reason for it. If you want a cupcake, have a cupcake—and enjoy it. Start to listen to your body in that way, and I think that your body will even out to what it’s supposed to be, and you’ll be much happier for it. The second the obsession starts and the dieting starts, you’re immediately unhappy because you think you’re being starved. So when you do eat, you eat 10 times more than what you should, and you’re getting further and further away from recognizing what your body’s set point is.
What do you want people to think when they see your pictures—like the ones of you in a swimsuit or in the buff?
I want them to look at them and be like “Well, wow! She can wear a bikini, and she’s a size 12. I’m going to go wear a bikini. I’m OK. I’m OK and I’m an 8. Or I’m a 14, or a 16.” Whatever size they are, I want them to be inspired that a girl who they thought shouldn’t wear a bikini before is wearing one and looks great and healthy. I want them to feel inspired to do the same thing. I want women to be proud of their bodies, to be proud of who they are.
What is your goal for the fashion and media industries in terms of body types?
I don’t want to see only size 14’s, and I don’t want to see only size 2’s. I want to see all different women with all different shapes. I want to see all different races, all different hair colors, all different eye colors. I want to see a variety; I don’t want to be bored. And I think women will be inspired by being able to see themselves in these pictures. I understand that there’s a need for the fantasy, I completely do, but having images of girls who are so unattainable—that represent nobody—is not something that’s very positive. You can still have the fantasy, but I think the consumer wants to be able to touch it, if just a little bit.
Photos: Photo: Patrick Demarchelier