It was my birthday. It was a beautiful sunny day in Los Angeles. I was spending the day at a multi-million dollar home wearing designer clothes and showcasing thousands of dollars’ worth of high end jewelry. The catering was delicious; California fresh salads, organic entrees and vegan treats that melted in my mouth. I ate it all. I felt a little guilt due to the morning fiasco of not fitting into two thirds of the clothing brought by the stylist, but what did I care? I was hungry and I wanted to enjoy my birthday guilt free. I was booked for two days by the New York jewelry company. Today mansion in LA, tomorrow the desert out in Joshua Tree. I never made it to the desert. On my birthday I was fired from the photo shoot because I was too fat for showcasing jewelry. I wasn't a size zero they said. The advertisement came out later and not one of the shots even showed my full body. No one could tell by the advertisement if my body was a size 2 or size 22. At the time I was a size 4. I cried all the way home that day. What was I doing here? Was all the money I spent on healthy eating and training worth it? Did guys think I was fat? Why did God ever let me be a model? Was all of the pain and suffering for nothing?
Flash back to 2010. It is a hot and sweaty day in Orange County. I was rolling down the aisle on my way to pick up marinade for my chicken when a woman who looked like Kat Von D approached me. She told me I should be a model. I thanked her politely. I had heard it all before. I was six feet tall, naturally thin, long strawberry blonde hair. While growing up I been stopped all the time in stores and church by people insisting I go try modeling. I, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with modeling because that is what stupid girls do, thank you ANTM. However the woman insisted. She was a talent scout. Out of pure curiosity I let her take a few pictures of me and she sent them off. Two months later I was signed with Elite Model Management, one of the top modeling agencies in the country. My family and I prayed heavily about it and we felt that it was what God was calling me to do. Like Esther becoming queen: “You have been brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
After my first big shoot which landed me on billboards and buses my dad and I spent hours virtually shaving off pounds from my photos with Photoshop so that my portfolio would make me look like a size 2. Again, I was a size 4, but my agency said that my butt needed to be smaller to get jobs. For three years I worked in an industry with the top 1% of socially deemed beautiful women. It was thrilling. I love all of the relationships I made with the makeup artists, stylists, photographers, fashion designers, and art directors. I shot everything from Bagley Mishka to Target, but the pain inside kept growing as a the pounds on the scale stayed stagnant. No matter how much I worked out, cut calories, or binged I stayed at a perfect 4. All I wanted to be was a size 2... or really a size 0. I wanted to walk into a photo shoot and not worry about the stylist’s disappointed face when I couldn't fit into the Tory Burch shorts because my thighs were too big. I hired all sorts of trainers to tell me how to fix my problem. After months of training they would shake their heads puzzled by my lack of results. My agents told me never to do drugs but they offered all sorts of short cut ways to be thinner, diets and vitamin shots. The models I did runway with would pop ecstasy while telling me that they used to do cocaine but now just drank coffee and smoke cigarettes to stay thin. While I didn't want to do anything like that I still would manipulate my food intake and work out 8 hours on nothing but tuna to get me to my goal of 120 pounds. I remember pleading with God to make me thin. He never answered my prayers. After 3 years of trying to fit into the fashion world I quit.
Sometimes I still feel like a quitter. Sometimes I look in the mirror and still think my thighs are too fat. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I couldn't succeed in something that was handed to me. I know those are all lies but I my heart is still healing. God has remained with me during the healing process. He continually reminds me that my worth and beauty rest in him because he created me. I was released from my struggle with food almost the minute I walked away from modeling. When I stopped trying to be skinny, I found a peace that was missing for those three years. I still sometimes wonder why God put me through all of the pain of being told I was fat constantly. I am slowly beginning to see that if I had not gone through this experience, I would still think models were stupid and anyone with an eating disorder was weak. Modeling ironically made me care more about people. It helped me see people as God sees them. We are all his children and we are all beautiful. Psalms 139:1, Acts 17:26-27, Eph. 3:17 - 19
Christina is passionate about restoring value, purpose, identity and beauty to the young women of this generation. Follow- @beauty_hasnosize