Hold the Glamour

I am a full-figure model and working mother. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I am a Leo. I am a first-generation Aussie and mother to two amazing little native New Yorkers. I believe that fashion is important—but so is real life. I believe that all women are beautiful and strong. I believe in working hard and loving harder. I believe in eating delicious food and drink with close friends, in breathing deep the air of new places, in laughing until you cry. I believe that when our bodies and minds are healthy and balanced, anything is possible.

Tag: hotel

How do you fit in exercise into your day?

I love working out and feeling fit and healthy. I have always been into some kind of sport and workout regime since I started ballet at age three.

Unfortunately for me, these days my exercise time is what gets shifted around and put on the back burner when my days and weeks get full and busy with work, commitments and travel. I wish it weren’t so — I have to find another way to make it work somehow.

It would be so much easier if I was a runner and could simply pack some tights, a tee-shirt and a pair of runners with me on my travels. I could step out of my hotel and run like Forrest Gump — unfortunately, I’m not that athlete.

When I do work out, I love to swim, practice yoga, attend body conditioning and spinning classes. A cardio kickboxing hour definitely reminds me that I’m alive and the class gets my heart pumping faster than anything else I can remember. It’s a great feeling and I love it!

Now that my daughter has started school full-time, I hope I can make more time for me and my fitness. It fortunately doesn’t take me long to get back in to a fitness/exercise routine — then I’m hooked all over again.

How do you balance a hectic, busy, working, family life and your fitness?

What advice can you part with and share?

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Till next time… Be well!

The rippling effect of winter storms in the U.S.A.

Since returning from Australia on Sunday night I’ve had my fair share of excitement and action to say the least. I was barely home 20 hours before I had to get on another two planes bound for wonderful Little Rock, Arkansas again.

On a United Airlines plane, I sat next to a burly Priest and beside him a bearded lady sat that snored like a man. The whole plane was looking at her and since her snoring started before take-off, I knew it was going to be quite a journey. The signs were there.

I was connecting through Chicago and the Priest next to me said “Chicago is going to be hit by quite a storm tomorrow, possibly 10 inches”. As if God was talking to me though this man, I contacted my agent and travel agent immediately – you see I was connecting through Chicago the following evening on United again after my shoot was done. Thank you kind and informative Priest… You are a man of God indeed!

Who has time for jet lag? Two planes later and I gratefully make it to my final destination.

My 6am alarm was a challenge however, I managed through the day OK. My travel agent had changed my flight to connect through Atlanta the day before and just as well – my United Airlines flight through Chicago had been cancelled due to severe winter weather. See? It’s not glamourous but a crapshoot in avoiding disaster.

I was feeling good and confident about my journey home because as far as I knew, Atlanta was far away from the Mid-West storm. Ha – wrong again! The storms had created a rippling effect of delays and cancellations across the United States. Planes couldn’t get where they needed to and people were stranded and delayed by hours. Me included. Some never made it to their final destinations. We are talking about thousands of travelers. This is winter in the U.S.

As my shoot came to a finish, I received two calls from Delta Airlines saying my original flight had been delayed by two hours not once but twice in a matter of minutes. It was a scramble for my travel agent to try to get me back to New York pronto, you see I had to work in the city the following day. It was game on! (As it fortunately turned out, my day was switched around and I never lost the booking).

We tried it all out of Little Rock. A small domestic airport with zero direct flights to New York. My itinerary changed about four times and what resulted was far from ideal.

I ended up landing in Atlanta close to 10pm (was at the airport since 4pm) and the last connecting flight to La Guardia airport had taken off 10 mins prior to my landing. I tried to remain positive and was ready to sprint from terminal C to terminal T. It was no point as it was all too late. I simply had to roll with it. I had no choice.

So a Delta representative directed me to the customer service counter where I was checked in to a morning flight. I was put up in a Best Western Hotel near the airport for my inconvenience. This is the  first time in my career that I’ve been put up in a hotel by an airline and I hope it’s the last!

The last time I was in Little Rock almost two weeks ago, a similar thing happened remember? I had to stay overnight due to bad weather and fly back home on the first flight out. Connecting flights are no fun!

Well, this is not how I wanted to see Atlanta for the first time. I made it outside where the shuttle buses pull up and it was a circus. There were hundreds of people like me, stranded in Atlanta against their will.

Atlanta, GA - People everywhere in the freezing cold wind awaiting shuttle buses to their hotels, put up by the airlines

Atlanta, GA – People everywhere in the freezing cold wind awaiting shuttle buses to their hotels, put up by the airlines

It was freezing with high winds – no one was prepared for the frigid air that greeted us. Some people were in t-shirts bound for California. It was a shock to the system.

I waited approximately 15 minutes in the cold air before my shuttle from the hotel appeared mysteriously at around 11 pm. There were about 15 of us heading to the same place from all around the country. It was a hot mess!

I finally checked in, had a hot shower and got in to bed exhausted just before midnight. I really thought I was going to escape reality and find myself  in a deep five-hour sleep immediately… This was not the case. I tossed and turned for two hours, cold to the bone. I turned the heat up to 75 degrees fahrenheit (24 degrees celsius) to take the chill out of the room and me.

I woke to another recorded message from Delta… My 7.40am flight to New York had been cancelled. Why was I not surprised? I got to the airport in time to catch the first outbound flight  at 6.40am. I was so relieved to finally be going home. No amount of Visine was going to help this morning. It was not pretty.

Lately I feel my life and job are more about traveling and dodging aviation bullets rather than shooting fashion and being a fashion model. One has to be a trouble-shooter and ‘on’ all the time – you never know what’s going to happen!

Tomorrow I’m working in Philadelphia then I have two days scheduled in New York – yay to New York! I love shooting in the Big Apple – I get to sleep in my own bed, I get to see my family and I don’t have travel delays and unexpected overnight stays. It’s a welcome relief and change.

I have essentially been away from my husband and two children for two weeks now. It is tough on all of us. I’m looking forward to a wonderful weekend with my family, friends and Steve’s cousin who is visiting us from Australia. We have another jam-packed weekend of plans and activities with some rest included I hope.

NYC - Gloomy NY before a snow storm hits

NYC – Gloomy NY before a snow storm hits this evening

Where have you been stranded? And how?

What did you do until you made it to your final destination?

What wisdom or experience can you share?

10 planes in 8 days

I do laugh when people say I lead a glamourous life! I was a total wreck up until a few days ago and I like many other working mothers and parents still have to keep going, no matter what.

Midflight from Sydney to Los Angeles

Mid-flight from Sydney to Los Angeles

I returned from Australia almost two weeks ago and for the first few nights was awake most of the evening with jet-lag. Oh how I love jet-lag especially traveling east! It is in my experience, always worse on your body.

The day after I returned home I had to unpack and re-pack my bag for another work trip. I desperately tried to find the time to kiss and hug my family a million times before a six-hour journey to the middle of Arkansas on two different planes. I was asleep before take off both times and I slept most of the way, only to find myself stiff and sore from sleeping upright in an uncomfortable airline chair.

Arkansas - Arriving at a late hour and the airport is empty

Arkansas – Arriving at a late hour and the airport is deserted

This is survival – I arrive an hour late and not only is it below freezing in Arkansas, my ride isn’t at the airport as arranged. I call the hotel and they don’t have me booked in with them this particular night so I go ahead and make a booking myself, catch a yellow cab for a half hour drive out of the city, heading to the woods it seemed. I watch too much Law & Order as my mind was racing – I’ve never been to this part of the world before and it was dark, cold and remote. I was wide awake at this point with my mobile in hand.

I repeat the address to the taxi driver who is approx. 6’3” and is wearing overalls, to make sure he knows where to rightfully take me. See, I told you! All he says is, “Yes, ma’am”. You can’t blame me for being nervous right?

I then wait at the hotel reception for about 15 minutes as their computer system was down and the new kid on the block wasn’t able to kick-start it without help from someone on the phone. I just roll with it – there is no point in doing anything else.

I finally get to my room after midnight and the room is freezing. It takes me about two hours to fall asleep as I kept getting up trying to get warm. I put socks on first, then a blanket over me then another, until I reluctantly turned the heater on. It sounded like I was on an airport runway without earplugs or headphones. Lucky for me, I always travel with earplugs and an eye mask. Tools of the trade.

I wake at 6am for a 7am start. Fortunately, the crew were as eager as I was for a Starbucks run before work. The shoot went smoothly and quickly enough. Jet-lag slapped me in the face again by 2.30pm and I could not wait till my 6pm connecting flight so I could sleep, even if it was for an hour. I didn’t know what time zone my body was in.

Notice the WiFi sign on planes these days - gone are the No Smoking ones

Notice the WiFi sign on planes these days – gone are the No Smoking ones

I arrive home a day later at 1am from the airport and find myself awake till 5am, lying in bed trying desperately to zone out. What can I say… I thought of one million things I could have done during this time if it were daylight. I could have been so productive.

The couple of days that followed, I stayed as still as possible and at home with my family before a busy shoot in Manhattan. I rock-n-roll from one city to another!

New York - Finishing touches at the hair and make-up station

New York – Finishing touches at the hair and make-up station

New York - Walking to the subway from the midtown studio with The Empire State Building in front

New York – Walking to the subway from the midtown studio with The Empire State Building in front

This lovely pattern went on for almost a week, including a second trip to Arkansas. I am happy to say the second trip went smoothly and without any delays. My ride even made contact before I left for New York. Happy days indeed!

I traveled on 10 planes in eight days. It is exhausting and tiring to say the least. I have finally caught up on much-needed sleep and rest. My lips are dry from constantly kissing my angels and husband… Making up for lost time.

Next stop Philadelphia… Stay tuned!

What is the worst jet-lag you have ever experienced?

How long did it take you to recover?

What remedies or methods have you tried to get over jet-lag that worked for you?

Did anyone say ‘Taxi’?

The past week I had a trip out-of-town for work and it was as usual, pleasant and easy as I’ve come to expect with this lovely and regular client in Wisconsin. I took an early morning flight out, get picked-up in a Town Car or similar (with my Starbucks Grande Americano in hand), worked that day then it’s back to the hotel for the night. A shuttle bus takes me and the other models (straight-size, full-figured, men and women from all over the country) from the hotel to the studio and then it’s another day of work and playing it up to the camera.

Once I returned home and arrived at La Guardia Airport, not only was it bitterly cold, every taxi line or queue was also unusually long for this Wednesday night. I tend to walk a few minutes over to the American Airlines taxi rank which is typically the one people know least about and found myself behind approximately 25 people. During my wait, I noticed how many different types of New York City yellow cabs there are now. I counted at least five on this evening. They are all the same colour however, they are different in size, shape, make, model and most importantly, leg room.

Nissan NV200 - 'Taxi Of Tomorrow'

Nissan NV200 – ‘Taxi Of Tomorrow’ – Image courtesy of Nissan

Being the tall chick that I am, I am usually hoping and projecting for one of the Ford Crown Victoria cabs that tend to have more room for my long legs. Then I spot the latest version of the yellow cab model emerging in to the market, approaching the line. It’s called the ‘Taxi Of Tomorrow’ and it was launched in April of this year by Nissan. I wanted it to be mine as I had never been in one to date.

Sure enough, this newcomer was mine. I was excited to experience this new yellow minivan style of cab and was hoping it was more like the London black cabs on the inside. Well, it wasn’t. I did have enough leg room however, the seats were hard and the second row of seating could still only accommodate three passengers. There were no fold out seats to seat more people like the London cabs have. I was disappointed.

NYC - Large Nissan NV200 taxi door

NYC – Large Nissan NV200 taxi door

The doors were really big and there was an enormous amount of overhead space which both the driver and I had no idea as to why, in addition to this very large area for luggage etc. The driver drove fast and I felt like I could tumble out of my seat belt and go bouncing around this big, hard, square box. It was weird and not completely comfortable.

NYC - Inside the 'Taxi Of Tomorrow'

NYC – Inside the ‘Taxi Of Tomorrow’

I did like the large windows so you certainly had a better view of the world around you however, if it can’t carry more passengers and it’s not comfortable then what’s the big deal? What are the benefits if it’s not aesthetics?

Have you experienced one of the new Nissan New York City taxis? If yes, what are your thoughts?

Where do you think the best cabs are in the world? Who does them best?

Cutting 10 inches off and a sunrise in Dallas

When I left home yesterday afternoon for the airport, it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and it was so mild for this time of year in New York, all I wanted to do was stay and enjoy the afternoon with my family. This is one of the sacrifices one must make when work beckons, even on weekends. We shoot or travel, seven days a week. Fashion shoots are not simply Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

I was on my way to Texas and fortunately on this Sunday afternoon, my flight which was over three hours was on time (most of the other flights were strangely delayed). I felt blessed. One can never tell what the skies of aviation will dictate. There is no rhyme or reason.

Texas - The sun rising over Dallas

Texas – The sun rising over Dallas

I woke up this morning and looked out of my hotel window and saw the sun rising over Dallas. I saw hues of blue, pink, orange and gold coming over the sky that filled in the space between the skyscrapers. I’m fortunate I get to see the sun rise and set in different cities, states and countries around the world. I simply love it!

Texas - Hair & make-up ready with backlight and sequence top shining

Texas – Hair & make-up ready with backlight and sequence top shining

Whilst I was at work today, a good friend of mine called me from New York. She told me she was cutting off 10 inches of her virgin hair and donating it to cancer patients. Isn’t she amazing? Her hair is without dyes &/or chemicals and she has fabulous, thick, black, long, shiny hair that is now going to someone who really needs it and deserves it.

New York - 10 inches of hair going to cancer patients

New York – 10 inches of hair going to cancer patients

I know someone else (a hair & make-up artist) who donates his long, beautiful, virgin hair every few years (that’s how long it takes him to grow it out). He waits until his hair gets to about six or eight inches long then he too donates it to cancer patients. What wonderful people! Giving unconditionally to those who need it most. I commend both Aileen and Stefano – you set an example.

So, I thought it was a great day at work. We were taking beautiful shots, I was wearing fun clothes and knowing such inspirational people who cut their hair off for charity. It was a good day indeed.

Have you ever donated anything of yours to a great cause or charity? If so, what?

Is there a charity the world should know more about?

Women of the world

I arrived in Minneapolis 11.15pm local time (that’s 12.15am EST). I was picked up from the airport and taken to my hotel along with a straight-sized model Lana that I worked with earlier this year and with another client. We were busy sleeping on the plane so we caught-up once we were in the car and on our way.

Our hotel room was nice and clean. I unpacked, got my work bag ready and fell in to the big, comfortable bed by 12.30am local time. When the alarm sounded at 7am, I was pretty sure I hadn’t moved all night.

On the ground floor of the hotel, I meet the four other models I was working with over the next few days at Starbucks – a very necessary start to our day. I knew Lana already and my dear and stunning friend Barbara Brickner was the other full-figured model on the shoot. The other two lovely ladies were straight-sized.

Minneapolis - Our location shoot

Minneapolis – Our shoot on location

We hit it off right away, discussing family (husbands & children), work, travel, schooling, fashion and of course the juggling of it all. It was a common thread amongst all five of us and we had a lot in common. We didn’t stop talking, asking questions and sharing advice whilst the camera clicked away. It was so refreshing to be amongst women of the world who had come from all four corners and traveled it well both personally and professionally.

Minneapolis - Behind the scenes

Minneapolis – Behind the scenes

That evening, our client took us out for a delicious Japanese dinner. We all loved it and ended up in bed a little later than we had anticipated. See what happens when women get together and spontaneously have glamourous fun over dinner and a glass of wine?!  It was a great way to start the shoot and it gave us the opportunity to get to know each other, including the client and producer.

Minneapolis - The stunning Barbara Brickner laying one on me

Minneapolis – The stunning Barbara Brickner laying one on me!

One of the models had ‘googled’ me since it was my first time working with her, this client and the other four models. They other’s have been regularly working together over the last year or two. I thought it a little odd at first. I can’t say I’ve ‘googled’ another model prior to a shoot before – perhaps it has become more of a common thing these days. Well, she knew a bit about me before we started shooting anyway – it started the conversation rolling amongst the crew.

One of the questions that was asked of me was, what editorial was I most proud of or that I liked the most that I have done in my career. There were two that came to mind – one was the jet-setting feature I did in the Australian Cosmopolitan magazine about five years ago and the other was in the Australian Women’s Weekly. I must say, the women’s magazines in Australia really support curvy, beautiful women of all shapes, sizes and ages. This is wonderful, exciting and rewarding at the same time.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous and fantastic to have more editorials for women who are curvy and of all shapes, size, colour and age represented by more, if not all magazines around the world – a representation of WOMAN not just young, slim and pretty?

What are your thoughts?