Never would I have thought I would be a swimsuit model. I remember heading out to a wedding in Banff, Ronnie was driving and I was sitting co-pilot – half listening, half scrolling through my phone to try and catch up on the never ending emails. I remember one email catching my eye that read “Hawaiian Experience with Swimco”.
I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam. I had no idea that it would take me on a trip of the life time that would make me me feel like a star. After reading the email carefully and considering opening the attachment with the risk of it being spam, I decided to go for it.
The attachment was an invite from Lori Bacon the Founder and CEO of Swimco explaining that she was trying to change the way the company went about its marketing. They wanted to shoot real women from across Canada that represented their actual customers and not just your typical swimsuit Sports Illustrated models. Maybe it was the fact that I have spent lots of money in their stores and was a real customer, or maybe it was the fact that I was really open with who I am and what I am about. Maybe I just got lucky. My Instagram feed has been my platform to share my heart, my hustle, and causes that matter the most to me. One of those causes is being comfortable in your own skin. Like legit – loving your body right where it it meant to be.
From the time of the invite ’til I was on the beach in Hawaii it was about 6 weeks. I responded back to that email and said I was all in. I was scheduled for another project during the same time and almost turned down Hawaii as I thought long-term this other project would be better. However, God has a funny way of making things happened and the other project is still on pause. I am so glad that I trusted my gut and went to Hawaii. Plus, what idiot would turn down an all expenses trip to Hawaii to inspire women to love their amazing bodies?
After confirming the trip I told the boys at Bold Athlete that we had better get squatting. And squat we did. I knew I wasn’t going to lose any crazy amount of weight, but wanted to feel confident and strong. It’s amazing what weight training can do. Just feeling good was so important to me. If I am being totally honest, my first thought was that I needed to loose 30 lbs in 6 weeks. But then I remembered that Swimco made it very clear that they wanted me for me.
So after as many squats as I could get in, I was off. I landed pretty late in Hawaii and was picked up by a local black sedan service. I had never been to Oahu before. Upon arrival I was greeted by the full Swimco team. The girls were amazing. They had all of my looks laid out and were preparing the suits they wanted to shoot. Krista, the marketing manager, showed me my room as my wake up call was an early one and I wanted to be ready. I was to be up by 5:30 a.m. and downstairs by 5:45 a.m. for an amazing breakfast, and be ready for hair and makeup.
Make Up by Mariah arrived and I sat in the chair with a hot coffee in my hand while she went to town. It was pretty fabulous. She taught me about collagen pads to help depuff those tired eyes. I have linked the ones I used here. They have caffeine in them to help reduce swelling and some other goodies to keep your skin looking amazing.
The first look was sporty so my hair got slicked back and the makeup was kept light. My first look is a bathing suit that is used primarily for lap swimming. It also give me Quad Bum (for those that don’t have a booty the size of mine it means that it is tight and because I have such a large butt it cuts in and give me four butt cheeks instead of two!). I prefer to wear a bathing suit that goes right up my but – Brazilian style and just own what I got. Sometimes Hot Ronnie feels uncomfortable when I wear this as he says it gives me a permanent wedgie but I think that is the whole point. So Hot Ronnie can just deal with it.
Anyways, the first bathing suit did not make me feel like a sexy lady. I felt uptight, stiff, and was so nervous about how this was all going to go down. I have never really modelled before let alone been a bathing suit model. And because we were such a big crew so many people started watching. I think they were waiting for Cindy Crawford to come out on the beach and instead there was just me and my mom bod. I had a negative self talk reel going in my head and the nerves were crazy. Cameras shooting me, the marketing girls shouting tips at me to try and make me relax and look natural, and then this group of old men that followed us for the first 5 minutes telling me not to touch a boat that we wanted to use as a prop.
I love being a part of change, especially this change. Swimco’s social feed and their website aren’t just professional swimsuit models but real people. My desire is that these photos will inspire mamas and ladies struggling with their bodies and that you don’t need to compare yourself to Sport Illustrated models. My goal is that more young women growing up today see real images, not just images of the perfect body that are mega photoshopped. Oh, and last time I checked, when at someone’s funeral they talk about your heart and not your waist size. Just saying friends…
I wonder what it would be like if we continued to share real beauty, not just face tuned, photoshopped, starved for 7 days before a photoshoot women. So here it is. All of me. I am 5’7′ and about 157 lbs (give or take 5 lbs on any given day). I’ve got thick thighs, and a booty that can give Kim Kardashian a run for her money. I am not the fittest looking girl on the block, but what I am is strong and capable. I can run, jump, skip, twirl, and move on my own. I can swim, pick up my daughter, do a yoga class, and not think twice about not being able to do something physical. I am so grateful for a chance to strut my stuff on a beach, even if I am not the person that comes to mind when most people hear the word “Swimsuit Model”. I am excited about the campaign that Swimco is standing behind. I met some amazing women on this shoot who totally inspired me to rock whatever suit I wanted and just be thankful my body works so well.
I have shared several of the Swimco pictures on my instagram feed, and many of you have asked several times what suit is what. As the fashion industry is moving so fast not all of these items are still in the store but wanted to share regardless. If you bring in a picture the Fit Experts at Swimco will find you that piece or something even better. I love going to the store at Market Mall because they tell me what’s up and if the suit actually works for my body. This post should have been done as soon as I got pictures, but life happened and I am just getting around to posting my experience now – almost a year later. I want to thank the entire Swimco team for the experience and treating me like total royalty. If I requested Starbucks, I got Starbucks. If I needed a green smoothie, they got me a green smoothie. They were beyond accommodating and treated me like a super model. They encouraged me to be me and made me feel so confident and strong in my own body. I am so thankful for this amazing experience and a chance to experience Oahu. It is a magical island. If you are ever looking for an amazing photographer look up Jessica Sullivan – she is nothing short of a rock star. She is so easy to work with and so talented behind the camera lens. I would shoot with her in a heartbeat. Oh, and she is a native Hawaiian who knows all the hidden gems for a photoshoot.
Enjoy a bunch of fun shots from my incredible time in Oahu. If I could stay anywhere I would rent a house on Lanikai Beach. That is when I find my money tree.