Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Body image’ Category

Modeling Confidence

In Body image, Modeling, Shyness on September 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

This week, I found out I made the cut for modeling/acting, a fact I’m still trying to process.

After I picked up my mail in the post office, I opened the large white envelop from the American Mall Model Search (I was too impatient to wait until I got home) and flipped through the information packet, thinking, “Are you serious?”

I did not expect to make it – I’m out of the 20s decade. I want to lose 10 pounds. And I’m not 100 percent confident. I got an 8 for modeling out of 10 possible points, and a 7 for acting.

One of the comments under the modeling category was “confident.” I thought, wow, that’s quite a compliment considering that I’ve been carrying around my shyness label for most of my life.

But my confidence only goes so far. The packet includes a list of casting calls for movies – I don’t have any acting experience, so should I sign up with this company? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? The doubts start entering my mind. I want to be handed a contract, but I didn’t make the top cut. I have to work for it.

And then my overactive imagination took over. What if I get a part and experience a taste of Hollywood? That would give me something to write about. And what if I land a couple more parts and become famous and a regular part of “Us Weekly” and “People”? And what if my being famous made people want to read my yet-to-be-published novels?

I have another six weeks to decide.

Either way, I am glad I walked the runway and recited one of my poems before the judges. My friend who I saw that night (July 16) said that I looked amazingly happy. I was going after an old dream, that of being a model, not caring whether or not I made it. It was the doing that mattered.

Runway Walk

In Body image, Modeling, Runway, Shyness on July 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I am doing a model pose during the fashion shoot.

I found a new love, or as my mother put it, I got the bug: I love the runway, the stage, the bright lights and the call, “Ready? Go!”

On Saturday, I participated in the fashion show for the American Mall Model Search after making the first cut.

I tried out last Sunday at the Foothills Mall inFort Collinswith a runway walk and monologue, or short commercial skit. As I staggered down the runway in four-inch heels, I pretended to be on a balance beam and in a bad mood to emulate runway models. For the lines, I pretended the staging area was empty and I was in drama club.

I got these marks on my evaluation: weak delivery, too low of a voice volume, stiff body language and, get this, shy and timid. (They knew!!! And I had thought I was trying not to be shy.). There were some positive marks, too, like beautiful eyes and model figure (that’s thanks to my five-foot, 11-inch frame).

I made it to the second round (I find out in three weeks if I’m going to nationals or receive a contract). I had to do another runway walk (I researched just how to do a pivot turn, hold a stance and show attitude) and present a talent: I memorized one of my poems that compared the dance of leaves tapping across cement with a woman’s dance in the streets. I wrote “Leaves, Me,” in fall 2011.

For some reason, my confidence crashed.

I began (or really continued) thinking I was fat, ugly and a boyfriend-detractor.

By Saturday morning, I saw that I had a choice: continue beating myself up or be the one to lift up my mood and go for an old dream from my teenage years when friends and relatives told me I should be a model. I. Am. Too. Shy, I had thought then, letting it continue as my motto and serve as a roadblock to being Who I Am – poet, dancer, writer and dreamer.

I went for the mood lift and told myself to have fun. It’s just a tryout. It’s not a judgment of my worth. I acted out my poem, and I walked the runway to the announcer’s comment, “She’s sassy.”

I felt good. I felt free. I was being me, or that internal core that got dumped on by layers of hurt, insecurities, shyness and fear. I’m going to look into other modeling opportunities, along with places where I can recite my poetry. I had that glimpse that I love the stage, a place where shyness certainly does not belong.


Minor Surgery

In Body image, Makeup required, Plus-size model controversy, Surgery on August 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I got minor surgery on July 22. They did not put a plastic cone on my head. They just told me to sleep and drink lots of water. It’s a pain now that I’m getting up three or four times a night to go you know where.

That’s my surgery story.

My other story regards makeup, which I’ve had to wear since I was in junior high. The two or three times I was absolutely running late and could not put on the mascara and eye shadow, I felt naked. I wonder how I’ve come to this point where I cannot see myself as beautiful until I have my makeup on and my weight in the mid-range of a healthy BMI score? I gained 10 pounds this winter, resulting in my nearly landing into the overweight range – that is if I gain a few more pounds.

A plus-size model weighing in at 150 pounds at 5-foot, 9 inches is in the midst of a controversy involving altered images that make her look anorexic. She is in the normal BMI weight range, yet she is a plus-size model. Plus-size models usually start at a size 12 and go up from there, according to Internet sources I checked. That’s the size I wear. I’m 5 foot, 11 inches, and I’m in a healthy BMI range. But if I were to model, I would be considered plus-size.

So, how can I, in a culture that fawns over the unhealthy BMI-scored models and actresses, feel comfortable in my own skin? It’s like I have a big plastic cone over my body because it’s not perfect.

Zoey wore her cone for six weeks, but I’ve still got mine on. Even without the whole plus-size controversy, I began feeling overweight since I’ve stopped being skinny post-college. I am not fat. I am not skinny. I am healthy, but my thinking is not. And I’m sure I’m not alone, telling myself, if only I could lose 10 pounds. Before I gained my winter 10, I wanted to lose 10 pounds. And so it has gone on since I began growing out of my skinny, adolescent body.