Lipoedema

Throughout my career, I  was always typically shaped like our lovely Poppy – even when I was trying to trim down to a size 8/10 in my early “straight size” modelling days, I could never seem to lessen the extra inches that used to reside on my lower half.

In July 2014 – I was officially diagnosed with Lipoedema by Professor Mortimer at St Georges Hospital in London. Finally!  I had an answer as to why I had struggled so much with the shape of my legs and bottom over all these years.

Lipoedema is a fat disorder that progressively affects the lower half of your body – it is a long term condition which is caused by an abnormal build up of fat cells in your legs, thighs and bottom area – and it is very painful. It can also affect your arms and sometimes certain other parts of your body.

There is no cure for it and no one knows why you get it although, they are starting to think that it may be hereditary.

Lipoedema is known as the painful fat condition. No amount of diet or exercise will shift the lipoedema fat which has a completely different structure to the “normal” fat that we all carry on our bodies.

Lipoedema, sadly,  is often misdiagnosed as obesity. I went to a  number of Dr’s searching for help –  I kept being told to go away,  eat less and exercise more. Eating disorders are prevalent in Lipoedema sufferers, it is easy to see why.

More and more women are being diagnosed with Lipoedema and many more women don’t know that they have it – infact, it is believed that 11% of the female population have some form of lipoedema.

There are different stages that the condition goes through and all we can do as Lipoedema sufferers is try and manage it as best as we can – with compression garments, manual lymphatic drainage as a massage and also it is believed that non inflammatory foods can help reduce the swelling.

I will be doing many more posts on Lipoedema here on Love Curves as I am determined to try and help get the word around about this condition. In the meantime, if you want to find out more information, please go to www.lipoedema.co.uk I am also part of an amazing support network of ladies – www.talklipoedema.org  Such beautiful, strong, amazing Ladies – we love them all here at Love Curves 🙂

Lots of Love

NINA’s STORY

I have been in the “plus size” or “curve” industry for around 20 years now and I just decided that it was about time that I used all the knowledge and experience that I have gained during this time to help Ladies just like you, feel better and more confident within themselves. This is something that I know a lot of us struggle with – I know first hand as I have been there and done that – and still continue to do so sometimes!

I actually started off life as a “straight size” model – I know – I dislike the term also – more of this in another post – However, I really struggled to keep to the required size, I always had a big bum and thighs and no matter how little I ate or how much I exercised, I would never ever be as small as some of the other models that I was competing against. Unfortunately, this sad couple of years ended up in me having an eating disorder 🙁

I took some time out from all this craziness and found myself in a much better place and some months later, I received a phonecall from one of my Modelling Agencies – it went something along the lines of “Nina, how do you fancy having a go at Plus Size Modelling? Its all the rage in the States?” Brilliant I thought – I can finally let my body be what it wants to be in its natural form – little did I know that this would be the start of a beautiful career for myself. Click here to see my Showreel.

I have lived and worked all over the World, from London to Manchester, LA to NYC, all throughout Europe, India, the Caribbean and Australia, taking part in photoshoots, fashion shows, trade events, corporate functions and television work. No day has ever been the same – I have never, ever had a routine – always worked crazy hours – travelled for miles and miles and laughed and cried along the way! I have loved every minute of it and it has brought me to this point in my life.

I have met and worked with and alongside so many amazing people but over the years, it really has resonated with me,  just how many women give themselves such a hard time about their own beautiful bodies. Dont get me wrong, I appreciate that men also have hang ups too (more about these lovely lot in another post) – but too many times I have seen the damage just one negative comment, one wrong glance in the mirror, or one unflattering photograph can do to a woman’s self esteem and confidence.

I was lucky enough to be able to work with the amazing Gok Wan for around 5 years on his fabulous programme – How To Look Good Naked – I will be posting more stories from these fun times on the website soon – but I saw first hand how just a little tlc, gorgeous styling and a confidence boosting chat could completely turn around how these beautiful women saw their bodies.

This is something that is echoed in all the work that I have been a part of over the years – so many lives changed when a little love, some great knowledge, a friendly chat and maybe a few glasses of wine have been shared!

Therefore, this is exactly where I am at now – Love Curves epitomises everything that I have been working towards over the last 20 years – You really dont have to be a size zero to be Gorgeous 🙂

Lots of Love

BEAUTIFUL BECKY BARNES

Plus Size Pioneer

Becky Barnes Blog was the first plus size blogger that I ever followed on Twitter. I was drawn to her instantly, her fabulous sense of humour, amazing knowledge within the industry and that face! Such a beautiful face 🙂

Plus North

Becky was a pioneer in the plus size industry when she along with one of her friends set up “Plus North” which was an absolutely fabulous, body positive event dedicated to curvy women. It was the first of its kind within the curvy community and was received with open arms by fuller figured Ladies.

This is actually where I met a lot of plus size bloggers for the first time, just before things started being taken more seriously in the Curve Industry and people really started to sit up and take more notice of curvier girls. I truly believe that Becky was a catalyst for this.

A True Inspiration – Becky’s Story

I’ve been blogging for over six (!) years now, I started blogging when my little girl was one, I was at home, my then husband was working long hours and I was living in a strange town, so I turned to social media for company really. It was there I saw people talking about blogs. I was 31 at the time so I think the whole phenomenon of blogging had passed me by, so I was curious to find out what they were all about. I found myself trawling through pages of fantastic women who all looked like me, they were my size. They weren’t models, they weren’t thin. They were big, just like me and it was a revelation. I soon decided I wanted a go myself! So the Ramblings of Mrs BeBe (as my blog was called for many years) was born. Within 6 months, I found myself being approached by brands like Simply Be and Evans and I attended my first event in London where I met Gok Wan. It was also there that I got to meet Rivkie from SLiNK Magazine, who offered me the opportunity to write for her, and set me on a path to where I am today, so thank you Riv. Along that path I spent a few years organising a national plus size fashion event called Plus North with my friend Toni, which we won a British Plus Size Award for.


What is involved with being a plus size blogger, for ladies who may not have heard of this before?

I always try and explain a blog as an online magazine, it’s a place where the author writes articles, and posts fashion reviews/editorials. For me personally, I work with a lot of brands who send me clothing which I will wear, take photos of and then review, advising my readers on things like fit, quality, fabric and how to style the garment. I also write articles on things that mean a lot to me like Mental Health, Plus Size issues and parenting.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I would say it’s definitely eclectic. I love masculine tailoring and androgynous style, then the next day I’ll be in a floaty dress and biker jacket doing the whole boho thing! I adore a good jumpsuit and I’m always happier wearing jeans and trainers than I am in a dress!

Any top tips when it comes to styling different body shapes?

My only rule is, be comfortable. If you feel comfortable in something, you’ll feel fabulous. Don’t be afraid to try new things, if it doesn’t work for you that’s okay, try something else! Have fun with fashion.

Do you have any favourite brands that you love to buy from or indeed work with?

I love Live Unlimited, I’m a brand ambassador with them, so it might sound biased, but I love their laid back, stylish clothes. Navabi are amazing too, their customer service and dedication to the plus size community is unrivalled and the breadth of range they carry is fantastic, from every day brands to high end designers, they have got something to suit most budgets and styles.

What are your thoughts on how the Curve Industry is evolving at the moment?

I think although there is still a long way to go, we are slowly experiencing better diversity in terms of shape and size, there is still poor representation of people of colour, and from a purely selfish point of view, I’d love to see more short haired, androgynous looking babes. But if you’d have asked me 10 years ago if I thought I’d ever see women my size on the catwalk and in the media, I would have said no, and we’ve got blogs to thank for that. They have given the every day woman a voice.

What does the future hold for you my love? Any exciting projects coming up?

I have just shot a campaign for Navabi with Em from Terrible Tumbles and Chloe Pierre, I’m so excited to see the results from that. Other than that, just lots more of the usual stuff, reviews, articles and hopefully more collaborations. I also appeared on Lorraine last week, so maybe more TV work? Who knows, I just hope I can carry on, because even after six years, I still love it.


We have so much Love for this amazing Lady! We are very lucky to have her as part of our fabulous team here at Love Curves

To visit Beckys Brand New Website – Please Click HERE

Lots of Love

CURVE MODELLING

Photo Courtesy of www.zizzi.dk

I have been modelling for around 20 years now.

I have taken part in photographic shoots, catwalk shows and television programmes all over the World.

It is the most fabulous career choice but is a lot of hard work, travelling on your own and lots of super early mornings, but all worth it for the experiences you have and the people you get to meet.

Plus Size or Curve Modelling now usually starts from around a UK size 10/12 – crazy huh when you think that the average size in the UK is around a 16 these days!

Therefore, a lot of the mainstream modelling agencies now also have curve divisions as the crossover has happened without them even having to think about it!

When I first started out modelling many moons ago, you had to be a size 16+ to even be considered to become a plus size model. There was only one Agency in the UK who catered for fuller figured girls and that was Hughes Models and the fabulous Cheryl Hughes. Cheryl has since moved on and Hughes Models is now part of IMM Models – whose details are below along with some other reputable agencies.


REPUTABLE AGENCIES

Please click on the Agency names below which will direct you straight to their Websites

LONDON

BRIDGE

12 Plus UK

Models 1

IMM

MOT

Milk

BIRMINGHAM

Alan Sharman

MANCHESTER

Boss


 

HINTS & TIPS

  You dont have to spend a fortune getting a whole new portfolio of photos done. Beware please – there are a lot of companies out there who are not legit – if in any doubt at all, email me and I will tell you if they are reputable or not!

All you have to do is send in a couple of snapshots of yourself – one close up of your face and one full length with minimal make up and an outfit which shows off your shape.

Most Agencies have on-line applications that are easy to fill in – you will usually have to include your contact details, pictures as discussed above and your stats – height, bust, waist and hip measurements.

If an Agency is interested in representing you, they will ask you to meet them. This is so important – yes of course, they get you the work but they are taking a percentage from you too – a big percentage at that – modelling agencies can charge anywhere between 20% and 40% per booking – so it is vital that you find out if you can work together as it really is a 2 way partnership.

Be prepared for lots of travelling – to castings and go-sees. A Casting is where the client asks for Agencies to send models who they think they may be looking for – you have to turn up with your portfolio, they may ask you to walk for them or indeed do a piece to camera, depending on what job it is you are casting for. Go-sees are more like “drop in’s” really – for example, if you are in a certain area, your Agency may ask you to stop by and see a client or a photographer as a more casual affair. The digital age has now meant that models can be booked by Direct Castings – i.e the client will ask the Model to do a video or pictures of themselves and then forward it onto the Agency for them to view – this is great because it is a lot less expensive and far less hassle than taking a whole day out of your schedule to put yourself forward for a job.

Modelling these days is a lot to do with your Social Media reach – clients are very happy if they can book a gorgeous model who also has a lot of followers across the different platforms – so get tweeting, instagramming and facebooking away! In fact, a lot of Agencies these days put your social reach on your portfolio page on the Agency website, so even more reason to get social media savvy!


Remember, you are GORGEOUS! The fashion industry has a notorious reputation for being rather harsh on models- however, in my experience, this isnt so prevalent in the plus size World. Remember, this career does not define you as a person – if it all clicks into place for you then great but if not, please dont worry, you are obviously destined for other wonderful things! Enjoy the journey and Good Luck!

 

LOTS OF LOVE

SELF LOVE


SELF LOVE

This is something that we all struggle with from time to time. Indeed, some people more than others. I have been various different dress sizes over the years and my weight fluctuates depending on what is going on in my life! However, what I came to realise during this time is that neither your size nor your weight defines you as a person and that  losing weight or dropping a dress size doesnt automatically qualify you to be a fully fledged member of the “Happy for Life” Club!

As cliche as it may sound, self love comes from the inside and then radiates to your outer being. It is of course a work in progress. Every day we are subjected to outside sources that can make us feel bad about ourselves, unfortunately, this is life – not everyone or every experience we have is going to be a positive one. Moreover, it is how we deal with these people, situations and experiences that more often than not determines how we perceive ourselves on a daily basis.

So, I decided to  put together my Top 10 Thoughts on How you can help yourself feel better and more confident with the beautiful Body and Mind that is uniquely Yours in order to help with the cycle of daily life.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You are Unique, You are Enough and You most certainly have got this. STOP giving yourself such a hard time. Life is tough enough as it is, without beating yourself up about the way you look or how you handle situations. Treat yourself to that new lipstick or that pair of fab shoes  – you are SO WORTH IT.

FORGIVE YOURSELF

Try to silence your inner critic. This is a tough one. If you can, try and change your thought process and more over, the words you choose to use to describe your body and mind. Its amazing what will happen. Stop beating yourself up about things that you may have said or done – Remember the decision you made at any one particular moment was the correct one for that given situation and that specific time. Release it into the Universe!

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

Meditation is an amazing tool and it isnt as hard to do as you may think. Being present in your current moment is a pretty powerful thing to do and can teach you a lot about how you handle yourself and others around you. Dont be scared of giving it  ago – it takes some time to master but once you get the hang of it, it can have a really positive influence on your Body and Soul.

STOP COMPARING

We live in a very Social Media dominant World and unfortunately, sometimes, this leaves us comparing ourselves and our lives to everyone elses. How can you base your worth on someone elses journey? Dont compare your 1st step to your best friends 100th. Every individual excels at different things – find your forte and watch your confidence grow.

“A Flower does not think about competing with the Flower next to it. It just Blooms”

Zen Shin

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY

Is it time for a clear out? A de-clutter? Cut out all the negativity in your life and all those toxic relationships which arent doing you any favours. Surround yourself with people who love you and who are your biggest cheerleaders – its so true – Positivity breeds Positivity.

SUPPORT OTHER WOMEN

Lets not face this journey on our own – by helping and offering support to other women, we can learn a lot . When Women support other Women incredible things happen. Smile, offer a beautiful compliment and inspire other Women to love themselves. Remember, kindness flows back in abundance.

LET GO OF THE PAST

That was then – this is now. Its a tough one to crack sometimes, however, what use is wallowing in past regrets and mistakes? Learn from them and live for the present. Have a declutter of everything in the house and at work and do the same in your head. Its amazing how fresh and revitalised this will leave you feeling.

FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE

This is such a powerful thing to do – whether it is getting out in nature –  walking your dog or reading a book, learning how to play the piano or trying out a new recipe – whatever it is that makes you feel happy and self-fulfilled, commit to doing this once a week and show up – you owe it to yourself.

EMBRACE YOUR DIFFERENCES

This is what makes us unique. Thank Goodness! How boring would it be if we were all the same? Love the fact that your big bum jiggles when it walks or that by being lovely and tall it means that you can help people reach things off the top shelf in the Supermarket! Embrace everything that is unique and different about you. You are your own blueprint – how awesome is that?!

BE REALISTIC

Lets be completely honest here – this is real work in progress – Self Love is an ever evolving process. Dont put unnecessary  pressure on yourself trying to do all these things at once – a little at a time is all it takes and you will soon start seeing the difference. Most of all, enjoy it, embrace it and shine your beautiful light everywhere you go 🙂

LOTS OF LOVE