Learning how to love and care for yourself is difficult. It requires a lot of time and effort. And a bit of blood, sweat, and tears.
I set a goal for myself in March of 2017 with inspiration from an Instagram friend. I was in a not so great place in my life at the time and learned that I only had myself to rely on. So I made it my purpose to find my purpose. That started with stepping WAY outside of my comfort zone. I began modeling and traveled all over Ohio in hopes of finding myself. And I did just that. I learned how to accept and embrace my body for what it is. (If you have not met me in person- picture a 5'1", 120 pound, pale skinned, tattooed lady with unruly naturally curly hair, and the awkwardness of a 2 day old baby bird. Let's just say I struggled hard with my image throughout high school and college.)
I learned how to value my alone time as I drove 8 hours for a ½ hour shoot. I mastered the art of the eyebrow (yet I still can't make them last through an entire day), ran a support group to empower women then wrote a book to inspire them, and most importantly I made beautiful connections and friendships with people not just regionally but nationally.
A year and some odd months later, I am now part of "The Myssfit Creative" team. We all met about 4 months ago with a similar vision in mind. I having little model experience, but background in communications and web design, and my partners Vince and Lauren who are both photographers with various backgrounds in design and media created this idea (which is still evolving on a daily basis) and designed a small business plan. I am going to be completely honest, I have been shafted before when it came to ideas and teamwork, I didn't think anything would come of this. But soon enough, we both kept coming up with more plans, an Instagram account, an e-mail, a Facebook Page and Group, an account with MagCloud, Reddit, and even a Pinterest. We started writing out the guidelines, and creating a general overall idea for all three sections of the bigger picture.
On June 1st www.Myssfit.com was been relaunched with a new mission. To help others uncover what I have learned through the practice of self-awareness, body positivity, and surrounding myself with people who celebrate each other. Starting with the "ALL"- ternative magazine which promotes body positivity and empowerment to all. Opportunities to work with me for one on one for life and mindset coaching purposes (you do not have to want to be a model to join the program). Opportunities for people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, who inspire to model or just find themselves to network with photographers, fashion designers, trendsetters, makeup artists and other creatives in a safe environment. Plus this new blog feature to share other's stories. Because we want to be able to promote ALL.
My life purpose has always been help others and after much discussion with loved ones, I have decided I will no longer be pursuing modeling. (Stay tuned at the end of the month for my final shoots) I may still make a guest appearance here and there, but my calling is elsewhere.
I spent a lot of weekends sitting 1-2 hours for hair and makeup, driving anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours away, and another 30 minutes to 8 hours shooting with photographers. Modeling is NOT cheap. Especially if it is something you do for a hobby. Much money was spent on clothing, makeup, hair, nails....oh and gasoline. But spending that money definitely taught me a lesson. A lot of patience, how to recite positive affirmations, and having the guts to just fully be myself. #noshame
Hats off to all of the models and inspiring models who are continuing on with their dreams. Please, always be yourself. Don't be negative towards your body. You're perfect in your own way. Do NOT do anything you don't want to do that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. And NEVER let anyone tell you that you are not good enough.
I want to give one BIG shoutout to all of the photographers I have worked with (listed below). My apologies for getting the giggles on set, experiencing wardrobe malfunctions, running ten minutes behind, rescheduling because I injured my face, flailing my arms in the air because I NEVER had a good idea of what to do with them, talking too much, dancing too hard, cracking lame dad jokes, and telling you my life story. Thank you for making me feel confident and showing me what I am capable of. Thank you for being a friend. Laughing with me (at me is fine too) and helping me find myself by allowing me to express myself during the shoots. Thank you to all of the makeup artists, hair creatives, and stylists who made me feel beautiful and powerful before, during, and after the shoot.
Thank you to my family, for being supportive even after you learned of me having tattoos that I was finally willing to bare to the world. And thank you to my loving boyfriend and friends...for still being my friend even though I was busy every weekend because I was on the road. Thank you for supporting this goal of mine even when you got tired of seeing my posts on social media. You the real MVP.
I can't wait to see where this journey takes me next. In meantime, I'll be celebrating ALL of YOU! Everyday. ALL DAY!
Joe Alven of Joe Alven Images IG: @joealvenimages
Jason Frazee of Frazees Photostash IG: @frazeesphotostash
Dennis Loox Photography IG: @looxphotography
Mark Podulka of Your Photo Here LLC IG: @yourphotoherellc
Lisen Gonvalez of Miss Mischief IG: @modelmissmischief
Cameron Adeyemi IG: @cameronade534
Elisabeth Love of Elisabeth Love Photography IG: @elisabethlovephotography
Bernadette Newberry Photography IG: @bernadettenewberry
Christa Dickson of Christa Dickson Photography IG: @christadicksonphotography
Ruben Kapler of Ruben Kapler Photography IG: @rubenkapplerphotography
Richard Trigg of Trigg FX IG: @triggfx
Doug Mckay of Doug McKay Photography IG: @oldmandougie
Gabriel Quinones of Gabriel's Photography IG: @gabriels_images
Dana Nunez of Distraction Photography IG: @distractionphoto
Vince Falconer of Distorted Iris IG: @distorted_iris
Robert Kazaar of The Desperate Beat IG: @the.desperate.beat
Amber Weslowski @beauty.by.bam
Victoria Palos @venusianvictoria
Megan Kolcun @childoftheuniverse
Jesse Luxe @jesse_luxe
Melody Sonneberg @writing_in_pieces
Sarah Crain @sarahcraindesigns
Syndey Murdock @uncommonstylist