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Conversations with the Inspiring Lizzie Miller

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lizzie Miller.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in San Jose, California and all throughout my childhood I struggled with my weight. When I was 12 years old, I was finally fed up with not being able to move my body the same way the other kids did; so I applied myself to eating right and exercising and lost a dramatic 50 pounds in exchange for a strong sense of self. I had a growth spurt, by the age of 12 I was already 5’11” , and people would ask if I played Basketball or if I modeled so I tried both! B-Ball didn’t quite fit ( I was more of a Volleyball girl) and I thought models all had to be stick thin until I saw the first ever Curve model: Emme. I was drawn to the world of plus-size modeling, so I entered a Model Search at 13 years old and was immediately signed by the prestigious Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in New York. At the age of 17, One month after graduating high school, I moved to New York to further pursue my modeling career.

Once I got to NYC work was trickling in and I booked a job for a photo shoot in Glamour magazine. Three months later my full page spread was in Glamour; it was amazing that a mainstream magazine was incorporating Curvy women into its pages! Six months later, I’m walking down the street in NYC and I receive a text from my friend saying that I was in Glamour magazine this month. I rush into a pharmacy, head to the magazine aisle, and flip to the back of the magazine on page 194 and there I am! Little did I know, that this tiny little unassuming photo of a happy, semi-nude, curvy girl, comfortable in my own perfectly imperfect body would send a shockwave around the globe. Women were tired of seeing airbrushed, photo-shopped, stick thin women as their representatives in the media; they were starving to see someone who looked just like them. Letters flooded Glamour Magazine and the editor in chief took notice and did a follow-up interview with me. That interview also went viral and then the PR rollercoaster began! All of a sudden, I was a spokeswoman for healthy body image appearing on shows like The Today Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, CNN, Access Hollywood to name a few. From that moment forward, I realized that there’s a need for people to see the representation of themselves in advertising, we want someone we can identify with!

I continue to speak publicly on positive body image. My personal mission is to redefine what beauty is in mainstream media and to inspire women everywhere to love and accept their bodies recognizing that their internal beauty reflects externally as well. It’s time that you FREE YOUR BEAUTY!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh, it has most definitely not been a smooth road! The Glamour picture (and everything that came along with it) was the best of times but also the worst of times. It was the BEST because of the overwhelmingly positive response I received from the public, I really felt like I was connecting and making a positive impact in peoples lives all around the globe! It was also “the worst of times” because the attention the Glamour magazine spread brought me made the claws come OUT. People that I thought were “friends” within the industry faded away, I was betrayed by co-workers, and even in my personal relationships. They say “when it rains it pours” and it definitely did for me. It got so bad that I had to take a break and get out of “the belly of the beast” for a while. I survived, I learned a LOT and it made me stronger.
My advice to young women starting their journey is to find good friends (a support system); people that you can trust. These friends will show you their true colors by their ACTIONS, not by their words, are they there for you? Are they supportive of you? Or do they subliminally knock you down? Pay attention to your intuition/your “gut” it is NEVER wrong! I also say keep your guard up; have an open heart but also protect yourself. When I first moved to NYC at 17, I wore my heart on my sleeve and just wanted to be friends with EVERYBODY. I learned the hard way that not everyone wants to be your friend (and THAT’S OKAY! ). I was SO young and naive when I first started and had SUCH an open heart, but I didn’t know how to protect my heart so it ended up getting trampled. Now, I’ve been learning how to have an open heart, yet protect myself, it’s a VERY fine line to walk and is hard! But with practice, we’ll master it! One more piece of advice is to keep getting back up every time you’re knocked down! It takes RESILIENCE in order to make it in this world personally AND professionally. NEVER GIVE UP!

What should we know about your business? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Currently, I am still modeling, it’s amazing to see how the Curve Modeling world has grown over the years! My horizons continue to expand into public speaking and hosting for popular programs/events as well as developing a “Beauty From the Inside Out” Program for women and girls everywhere to help with the internal and external battles we all face. I am also close to relaunching my blog, and I’m working towards getting back into my singing and songwriting that has been a project that’s been on hold for a while. Needless to say, I’m keeping busy! As a brand, the thing I’m most proud of is being able to get one on one with people and truly CONNECT. We all go through so many emotions regarding our bodies and our minds/lives and I want to create content that makes people FEEL good, where they feel like they can learn something and also connect with other like-minded people. I think what sets me apart is that I feel like I TRULY understand the human condition, especially from a female standpoint. I understand the struggles we go through with our bodies, with our minds, with ourselves, finding who we are, what makes us the way we are, and how to transcend and be the best version of ourselves!

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
There are definitely a lot of challenges being a woman in business, but luckily, the women before us have paved the way making it easier for women now. There are a lot of grants/loan opportunities if you’re a woman (and especially if your a woman who is also a minority). Women are known to be the more emotional sex, and up until very recently emotions “weren’t allowed in the workplace” because people look at emotions as a sign of weakness, I disagree! There are 9 different types of intelligence in this world which are: Spatial, naturalist, musical, logical-mathematical, existential, inter-personal, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, and intra-personal. If you look up “9 Different Types of intelligence” online and go to the image section there are a lot of cool graphs that explain each one in detail. In business (and really the whole world) we seem to value the Logical-Mathematical intelligence more than any other type of Intelligence. Yes, it is DEFINITELY an important form of intelligence as a business would not be able to function without proper numbers, bookkeeping, strategy, etc. But what about the other eight types of intelligence? This is where I feel like women being the “more emotional” of the sexes comes to an advantage. Women (and I’m sure some men) are not only able to adapt the Logical-Mathematical Intelligence but naturally, we are interpersonal (Sensing people’s feelings/motives) , intra-personal (understanding yourself, what you feel and what you want), and linguistic (finding the right words to express what you mean). Now, I’m not saying that men don’t possess those traits as well, all I’m saying is that the majority of women that I’ve come into contact with seem to possess these types of emotional intelligence; and unfortunately, it is seen that a woman is just “being too emotional.” Unfortunately, in the world that we live in being good at math or knowing another language seems to be the most important skill, and they are definitely impressive; but I was never naturally gifted in school (math in particular: Geometry KILLED ME!) I had to WORK HARD for the B’s I’d receive while some people would study for two minutes and get an A. My whole life I kind of felt like I “wasn’t good enough” or “smart enough” for the standard that the world set until I learned about the 9 Different Types of Intelligence. What if we could expand what knowledge we give people credit for? I think that our businesses and our WORLDS would expand further than we ever imagined possible!

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Image Credit:
Raul Romo, Adam Brioza, Kate Moore, Javiar Oddo and Michelle Alexandra Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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