Hi all my beautiful followers! Welcome to part 7 of my miniseries, – ” The beauty within – Finding your natural beauty and loving it”.
This series means a lot to me, as the message I am sending is something ALL women should hear. This is the finale in my series, and it is a great way to end it. I have always believed that real curves, and womanly bodies should have a place in the modeling world, and my final model ” Allora Chantelle” is here to show that!
Allora shares a bittersweet story of living in a controlling relationship and how she began a grueling journey towards self discovery and acceptance. Allora is an amazing example of how we, as women, can be strong and fight back in order to move on and better our lives. Read her amazing interview below and be sure to see the amazing modeling photos , followed by her ” raw ” photos with no makeup in her true and lovely form!
Where do you live?
I live in Salem, Oregon–smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Northwest. It’s absolutely beautiful!!!
Where did you grow up?
Why are you pumped about this interview and its message?
Getting the opportunity to speak out and help expose the lie that women aren’t beautiful without all the “extras” excites me! I have personally struggled for years and still fight these lies fed to us by society and the media.
Women everywhere struggle with self esteem and all too often feel that no matter how much makeup they apply or how perfect their hair, they’re still just not pretty enough… you know that feeling. I know that feeling.
Today, I hope this interview does it’s part to reverse some of that wrong thinking so deeply rooted within us women. I’m excited to be a part of a project which reminds others that beauty truly comes from within, from the very core of who you are as a person day to day, moment by moment.
What are some personal hobbies?
I love to create…anything really! I love thriftshop/garagesale hunting and finding worn down, broken items and repurposing them into beautiful art or functional pieces of furniture.
I like to order vintage jewelry from eBay, deconstruct it and remake it into new, unique, stunning pieces.
I also enjoy singing, reading, and entertaining. I love camping and hiking. I have an unquenchable sense of adventure and love to explore!
Are you single or married?
I am single. Although, technically I am still married. I’m going through a two year long drawn out, high conflict divorce.
*Photo credit : Golden Era Pinups
1.) What’s your background in modeling? When and why did you get started?
Believe it or not, my background in modeling is really just beginning! I’ve dabbled a bit in pinup and absolutely adore it! I had always wanted to do a pinup photo shoot, and back in the spring of 2012 I randomly googled pinup photography in my area and happened across Golden Era Photography. Their website looked fun, and this particular photographer also supported homeless military veterans. I signed up for the next pinup workshop, and showed up clueless, having never been in front of a camera before, but with a smile on my face and a bit of a rebellious streak flaring up within me that day.
You see, I had been a stay at home mom for eight years! I had three young children to care for and an extremely controlling husband who made sure I knew how ugly, fat and worthless I was every chance he got. Little did I know, me sneaking away to do this harmless, initial photo shoot was only the first baby step towards my freedom and learning to love and accept myself wholly inside and out. A month later I left an unhealthy marriage and began a grueling journey towards self discovery and acceptance.
January 2013, I reconnected with Golden Era and became a pin up dollie. I helped raise money for homeless military veterans by selling calendars, posing in photo booths at various roadster shows and community events. Ren Murray of Golden Era Photography, seeing me struggle as a now single working mother of three, encouraged me to delve deeper into the industry and build a portfolio on Model Mahem as a means to supplement my income.
So begins a new chapter in my life: Modeling.
Yes, financial gain lured me into the industry, but nearly instantaneously I loved the outcome and end product as a result of creative brainstorming and the combination of a living, breathing prop(myself) and the artist(the photographer). The results are amazing and I find my mind often flooded with concept after concept that I would love to help bring to life within a single frame. Modeling has unexpectedly brought me alive and has reignited my passion for art in such a short amount of time. I hope I never lose this newfoud passion.
2.) Why do you feel women are drawn to the modeling industry?
Women are drawn to the industry for a number of reasons. Some seek affirmation through constant reassurance of their outer beauty, and others are drawn in by the illusion of glamour, excitement, and glorified lifestyle. I believe most, however, are drawn to the beauty and love actively participating in the creation of something so unique and so intimately interwoven with expression of self. Once you get a taste of feeling and witnessing your passion to create come alive, you’ll never look back to a life without.
*Photo credit-Golden Era Photography
3.) What makes you feel beautiful both on the outside and in? ( ex.: clothing, compliments, appreciation for life, etc)
Beauty. What is beauty? What exactly determines ones worth or value and who defines “beautiful”? You do. I do. We each define beauty by our own standards, and by our own custom parameters which have been shaped by each of our unique life experiences.
My definition of beauty comes from a deeper place than that of mere judgments based upon sight and labels. My daughter is eight years old and I teach her daily to love others and to look for ways to bless those she comes in contact with on a daily basis, all the while staying true to herself and maintaining healthy boundaries.
I determine my beauty, my worth. My daily choices either build up or tear down. I know my body may not be acceptable in society’s eyes as “healthy”, “fit” or even appealing, but my soul is without a doubt beautiful! I strive to make a positive difference in the lives around me on a daily basis. I rise each morning knowing my smile is going to brighten someone’s day. My laughter, my story, my struggle in life thus far will give another person hope where there might not be otherwise. That is beautiful. Owning your story, embracing your scars and believing deep down to the core of your being that your choices, no matter how small or insignificant, will most certainly make a positive impact on the world around you and in the lives of others. My life adds beauty and joy to this world. What can possibly be more beautiful than leaving a legacy of love?
4.) Do you feel curvier models are frowned upon cause they are not what “society” wants? How can we change this way of thinking?
I really don’t feel curvy models are frowned upon so much anymore. I definitely think it was more unacceptable a few years back, but I truly believe society as a whole has become way more accepting, It’s helped to have beautiful, talented, and curvy women like Jennifer Hudson and Adele so widely celebrated. There are just so many ways to define beauty and society has certainly embraced diversity.
As far as changing someone’s view of curvy models and thinking them unacceptable or undeserving of the spotlight in the modeling industry, I can’t do anything to try to persuade another of my value or worth as a model. Nor do I want to. Complete acceptance of self is so freeing and those who snub or look down their noses at models with curves have their own demons to face, and I do not envy them. So rather than try to change society’s view of curvy goodness, I encourage other women, thin, thick, curvy, pale skinned, tanned, short and tall to embrace who they are and learn to love themselves down to every last freckle, wrinkle and roll. A happy girl is a beautiful girl. Love yourself.
5.) It seems like everything we see in this world: Magazines, billboards, celebrities, tell us that thin is what’s in. How does this affect your self esteem and how do you rise above it?
It is true, the majority of advertising is geared toward sex appeal in the form of a tall, slender beauty giving a come hither look and showing off a sleek, thin body. I’m not going to place any negative connotations around being thin because again, true beauty has absolutely nothing to do with body shape or size. Some women fight and fight to gain weight and add curves in the same way that other women self shame themselves for giving into another serving of pasta. Advertisements however do seem to be chalk full of unrealistically thin women. This really doesn’t affect my self esteem in the slightest. It’s so very important to be grounded in who you are. I know I’ve expressed this over and over, but it cannot be said enough. Love the skin you’re in. Be confident in knowing that you are an amazing, thoughtful, beautiful, and strong woman capable of accomplishing great acts of kindness which in turn causes a ripple effect of light out into a dark world. Let your beauty shine regardless of the photo shopped images bombarding your vision everywhere you go. Refuse to let these messages or negative self talk chip away at the glorious beauty that you are. We are each and every one of us built differently from the outside, but we are each capable of great beauty which emanates from within and radiates out warming the hearts of those we come in contact with day to day. Let it shine!
6.) Tell me about your favorite modeling experience :
My favorite modeling experience thus far was actually just a few weeks ago. I was going over proofs from a previous boudoir shoot with my favorite photographer, Ren Murray of Golden Era Photography when it began snowing outside. Now snow in February in Oregon is pretty uncommon.
Ren and I had just been discussing how I could add diversity to my modeling portfolio and show my willingness to be spontaneous and how to portray my comfort level in my own skin. As it’s snowing I say, “I know! Naked snow angels! Let’s go!” Ren is in disbelief (he doesn’t normally shoot nudes), but grabs his gear and we’re out!
There’s a public park a few blocks away with the main bridge into town and I jump out of the jeep strip down out of my dress so fast, laughing and feeling crazy spontaneous and alive! I’m way ahead of the photographer, and he’s getting his camera out and freaking out that we’re going to be seen. But I have never felt more comfortable in my body than I did in that moment. Completely naked, no hair, no make up, no planning on poses, just me giggling naked in the snow enjoying the moment of freedom. Thirty seconds later, Ren is throwing my dress at me, ordering me to hurry up and get in the car before we get seen. LOL! I thought it was so funny, here I am never thinking in a thousand years I’d pose nude, let alone be out in public completely naked and here I am free as a bird telling the photographer between my laughs to calm down. I then dive into the snow and get that naked snow angel down pat. Perfect. I may not look glamorous in those photos or even be considered ”appropriate” but that shoot marks a turning point for me when I finally felt completely at peace with my body stripped of everything except my smile.
7.) How can models inspire young girls who do not feel “ beautiful enough for the standards the industry carries?
That’s tough. It really depends on us models as individuals to reach out and mentor the young women within our reach and live by example. I actually do struggle with the ugly words that sometimes mindlessly come out of my mouth at times. It’s become such a habit and generally an acceptable habit to speak negatively about ones own body. “Ugh, I feel fat” or “look at my big belly” these phrases are more acceptable socially than a more confident self assured attitude. If you heard a girl say, “I like my body. I’m fine with how I look.” People in general automatically lean towards that automatic thinking, “gosh she’s conceited! What a snob!” I think we just need to become more aware of the negative self talk and start practicing positive thoughts about ourselves and our bodies. Woman at any size and shape are just beautiful! We are! Let’s come together and lift each-other up and encourage one another. For girls who may feel insecure about their bodies because of industry standards pushed on them by advertisements, I say it’s important to get the message across that beauty does not come from perfection or labels. True beauty radiates from within, from your daily choices to be positive about yourself and the world around you. I challenge every woman reading this blog to fixate on one specific, impressionable young girl in your life that you can reach out to and take under your wing planting seeds of confidence and modeling values that are rare to come by these days such as, selflessness, compassion, honesty, wholesomeness, truthfulness, goodness and patience. Plant some seeds that will take root in that young girl’s heart and take inventory of your own.
8.) What , in your opinion is something negative you’ve experienced in the modeling world? How about positive?
The only negative aspect to modeling that I’ve personally experienced actually comes not from within the industry but from others’ insecurities and judgmental spirit from the outside looking in. I’ve witnessed a few sneers and under the surface jabs from women who hear my excitement about modeling. It’s unfortunate that there are people out there with such wounded hearts and lack of self worth that they feel it necessary to poke and jeer at another’s dreams and aspirations. I actually was hurt upon feeling harsh judgement from a close friend this last week. Nude modeling is not something I ever expected to get into, but it too is an art form and my motives are pure. I shared my snow angel photo with a friend and her response shocked and hurt me. I am an extremely accepting, loving person so to hear her judge me as a mother and as a person based on my decision to incorporate nude modeling into my career, hurt me deeply. I anticipate many more “friends” will judge and sneer upon discovering my new passion for modeling, but I know I am a good person who wishes nothing but the best for others. I’m not going to allow any negative to deter me from doing what I love…creating and expressing creativity with my body. Once you fully accept who you are and what mark you want to leave on the world, nothing can touch you and all the icky garbage others may try to hang on you, falls limp to the ground because you stand tall in knowing your own worth and beauty.
9.) What makes a good model? Professionalism? Timeliness?
I’m learning this and still feel a bit silly calling myself a “model”. I just enjoy thinking up ideas and can’t wait to make them come to life in front of a camera. Regardless, the basics to doing well at any job definitely include timeliness and professionalism. Always be on time, early if possible and ready to go. Communicate promptly with photographers and most of all know your limits and maintain your boundaries. If something doesn’t feel right or you just feel uncomfortable, speak up or get out. Be safe, on time, friendly and professional.
10.) What advise do you have for girls wanting to get into the biz?
I would advise girls wanting to get into the business to have a few close friends whom they can trust and count on to escort them to photo shoots, but not before doing their research on the photographer. It’s exciting and overwhelming to be contacted by so many photographers offering to take beautiful pictures of you for free, but safety first. Unfortunately, there are alot of creeps out there who are looking for the naive new comer to show up alone and vulnerable to God knows what. Stay safe, do your homework on a photographer, reach out to other models who have worked with the photographer and find out what others’ experiences were like. Always tell a friend where you are going and how long you expect the shoot to take. Always bring a friend along with you.Just use common sense, have fun and be safe!
Want to book Allora? Visit her model mayhel page :http://www.modelmayhem.com/3296197