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: NYC

Not another snow storm in NYC!

Yesterday I returned to New York after being on the road traveling and working in rainy San Francisco and cloudy Europe this last week or so. I feel so lucky I made it back to the Big Apple in time.

Today is another story — up to 9.5 inches of snow, sleet and ice has accumulated in Central Park since midnight. The sixth snow storm pounds the area for the season and late tonight the experts are predicting an additional 2-4 inches — really?

NYC - the snow keeps coming

NYC – the snow keeps coming

New York City has almost doubled its average in snow totals this winter and it’s not over yet. The average accumulations in Central Park are approximately 25 inches and as of yesterday the city has had 45.5 inches of snow dumped since December.

This winter is going down as one of the top 10 worst in history. Weather like this affects so many people and businesses nationally.

Some 50,000 flights have been cancelled or rescheduled this year alone due to winter weather snow storms, not to forget mass transportation — buses, trains and the NYC subway are also affected today. It’s incredible.

NYC - snow totals 9.5 inches today

NYC – snow totals 9.5 inches today

For someone who travels around the world for my business and career relying on trains, planes, airports and schedules to be on time and operating, it can be crippling, frustrating, stressful and dangerous to say the least.

I just managed to escape being stranded this time as I’ve fortunately done so many other times (delays are-a-plenty). Thousands today aren’t so lucky — I truly feel for them.

It’s cold, you don’t have a bed to sleep in, the hotels are all booked out, your competing with others simply to get home, stranded for days in most cases and there are no answers and solutions to help you make sense of Mother Nature.

This harsh winter has simply been brutal — New Yorker’s are over it and for the 3300 flight cancellations simply today, spring can’t come soon enough. Bring on the sunshine and above freezing temperatures. New York is ready for it.

Have you been stranded at an airport or city due to weather cancellations before? If so, do tell.

What’s the worst story you’ve heard?

What did you do to make it through?

Hair, glorious hair!

Lucky for me, my parents gave me good hair. I have thin hair however, a lot of it. It really helps in my industry. My hair is worked on most days of the week so it’s important to have a lot of it and for it to be healthy and strong.

NYC - A hair piece

NYC – A hair piece

Many models and actors don’t have the same amount of hair as I do so they resort to hair extensions or hair pieces. I knew nothing of this until I moved to New York 11 years ago. It wasn’t something I had to deal with.

On occasion, when a client likes to use the wind machine and they love good hair, the hair and make-up artist will add some additional hair pieces to my own hair to fill in the gaps or the holes that the wind machine can create.

NYC - Bill Westmoreland taking my hair pieces out

NYC – Bill Westmoreland taking my hair pieces out

I love working with Bill Westmoreland. He is old-school and has been in the industry a long a time. He knows how to handle hair and make you look your best with the face and hair you were blessed with. Bill is an artist.

NYC - Bill Westmoreland and I

NYC – Bill Westmoreland and I

The hair pieces clip into your own hair after it has been back-combed a bit. It adds some tension for the clips to hold on to (not fun combing/brushing it out at the end of the day though). Then you are good to go.

I don’t feel the hair pieces in my hair until the end of the day when they start to get heavy and my head gets a little sore. I really don’t know how the girls who rely on their hair pieces or weaves can handle it after so long. Thank goodness it’s an added bonus for my look, not a necessity. I am one of the fortunate ones I have come to realise.

NYC - Liz Polden, me and Bill Westmoreland

NYC – Liz Polden (stylist), me and Bill Westmoreland (h&m)

My team of Liz and Bill are bar none! They are fabulous and make my day so easy and fun. I had a great day at work. Lucky me…

I’ll find out some of the best brands to buy to make life easier for you. In the meantime…

Have you ever worn hair pieces or hair extensions?

What did it feel like?

Do you know of any good places to have these hair pieces/extensions made up for you?

It’s been a year!

I cannot believe that I started my blog, ‘Hold the Glamour’ at the end of March last year some 12 months ago. Incredible really! I’ve always documented my life in some way since I can remember and this past year I’ve gone public with it. So friends… Here we are. I can share that I’ve enjoyed the process, learning, growth and support of you all. Thank you very much.

NYC - Garment District (also known as the Fashion Capitol)

NYC – Garment District (also known as the Fashion Capitol)

Last week  I went on a couple of castings in the Garment District – the Fashion Center of New York. Wikipedia explains it best, “The Garment District, also known as the Garment Center, the Fashion District, or the Fashion Center, is a neighborhood located in the Manhattan borough of New York City”.

The District encompasses the area from 6th to 9th Aves – 34th to 42nd roughly. It is a highly concentrated area of manufacturing, fabric design, pattern making, design, couture houses and showrooms.

NYC - The Fashion District Needle & Button at 39th Street & 7th Avenue approximately

NYC – The Fashion District at 39th Street & 7th Avenue

One of my castings was for a bra packaging job and the other, for a big fashion label that specialises in straight-size and plus-size fashion. The views are always spectacular from their 40 odd floors above ground.

There is always so much activity and energy flowing in the Garment District. People are always on the move and rushing off to somewhere. Deadlines are endless and a part of life.

NYC - Fashion Center

NYC – Paying respect to the creativity and hard work of fashion

In both castings, I signed in with my name and agency on a sheet of paper then sat down and waited till I was called. I tried on two bras for the first casting and two outfits for the second.

Photos were taken in the samples supplied by a photographer whilst the ‘panel’ looked over my book, comp card and me in the flesh. There were seven people deciding for the bra job and two for the second job. It always varies from job to job and casting to casting.

Fortunately for me I was successful in both castings! I love a good week. One never knows how a casting will turn out so it’s always refreshing and rewarding when you succeed… Especially when it’s two out of two!

Whilst I was waiting to be seen, I flicked through a magazine that rested on the coffee table in the reception area and came across the quote/saying below. It resonated with me. I hope it does with you too.

NYC - A saying I came across in a magazine whilst waiting for one of my castings

NYC – A saying I came across in a magazine whilst waiting for one of my castings

Have you been to the Garment District or Fashion Center in Manhattan?

Have you ever worked in the neighborhood?

Do you have a quote/saying you love to live by? Share it with me please… I’m all ears.

Happy Holidays to you and yours

I hope your Christmas was fun and festive and your holiday season has been enjoyable and sane to some extent. Steve and I decided to have our Christmas at home in New York this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t snow.

On Christmas Eve, the four of us went along to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (everyone else in New York had the same idea). We got a good look at the city all lit up and full of bright lights and colour that went as far as the eye could see. It was truly magical and in the spirit of the holidays. We were surprised however, at the size of the tree. Although it was BIG, Steve and I thought it would be bigger!

NYC - Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

NYC – Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

NYC - Angels at Rockefeller Centre

NYC – Angels at Rockefeller Center

We then walked (or should I say shuffled) along Fifth Ave towards uptown and saw the window displays of the department stores – Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Ave, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. The kids went nuts and it was difficult to say which one was better. What imagination these people have to create such art with an individual and unique vision and interpretation of Christmas. WOW!

The crowds were scary and police were everywhere. They were on foot, horseback and in patrol cars. After our afternoon and early evening in the city, we couldn’t wait to get home to the peace, calm, warmth and quiet of our home. We had to prepare for Santa’s arrival and for the big day itself.

Christmas morning was as exciting as it gets for the kids. Santa was generous and so was mummy and daddy. We had a lazy morning opening gifts then a delicious brunch. In the afternoon we had friends come over who were visiting from Australia. We had a lovely time eating and drinking and we were all so pleased we could spend such a special day together. Before we knew it, it was time to crawl into bed and put this day behind us for another year.

Our day was relaxed and special to us however, we missed our family back in Australia with whom we usually spend the holidays with. Christmas is about family and there’s nothing like celebrating Christmas with each other.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

What did you get up to this year?

What traditions does your family participate in?

What makes Christmas special and magical for you?

New York rush hour

As I got off the ‘E’ train at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue this morning, I walked up one flight of stairs heading toward street level when I discovered hundreds of people swarming underground around me, frantically going somewhere. It was rush hour in New York at it’s best on a Monday morning.

I walked past the MTA ticket machines which were lined up side-by-side on one of the long corridors (there would have been about 10 of them). I couldn’t believe each line had approximately six to eight people, waiting to buy their train tickets. Some were patient and others were not. I had to take a photo.

NYC - 42nd Street and 8th Avenue subway stop

NYC – 42nd Street and 8th Avenue subway stop

Out on street level, the Fashion District was buzzing and humming well and truly. It was 8.30am and the day was still young. People were rushing off in all directions. It’s an amazing sight and experience to say the least. So much activity. It reminded me why I love New York so much – the energy.

I look up at where I am when I get on the street, get my bearings then start walking to the studio. It was my first time at Go Studio (Penthouse). It only recently opened and it was a lovely new white space to work in.

NYC - 39th Street & 8th Avenue

NYC – 39th Street & 8th Avenue

When I walked in, the studio was familiar however, I didn’t know why. Then, someone in the crew mentioned that Project Runway aired an episode two weeks ago where the two teams had a fashion shoot in this same studio. Who would have known? New York is like that – so big however, tightly connected and woven in so many ways.

NYC - GO Studio Penthouse

NYC – Go Studio (Penthouse)

I was about to leave for the day only to discover when I looked out one of the many windows that it was raining hard and fast. I didn’t know it was going to rain today so I didn’t bring an umbrella. I usually try to take notice of the weather reports since it’s New York and anything can happen and change at a moment’s notice. I like to be prepared where possible – I’m on foot most of the time.

The city was wrapped in a veil of haze and mist. It was hot and humid to say the least – the perfect summer storm that washes away all sins and sinners. A chance to start clean and new. I waited out the storm in the studio, happy I didn’t have to walk the streets with a plastic bag over my head (which is what I was going to do before the crew urged me to wait it out). I’m so glad I did. It was a beauty!

After an hour, the rain had stopped and I left for the subway again, dodging puddles along the way.

NYC - Summer storm

NYC – Summer storm

Giving lady luck a shot in Atlantic City

My husband and I went away for the weekend with friends (who have two children of similar ages to our’s), for the first time since Mila was born almost four-and-a-half years ago. We were together, without children, overnight and away for over 24 hours. That means, we went to bed late and slept in without interruption to our precious sleep.

We drove to Atlantic City, New Jersey which is about two-and-a-half hours away without traffic. It took us a little longer with traffic and petrol/gas stops. We were ready to get out and stretch our legs by the time we arrived.

Atlantic City - Jennifer Miller and I on approach to our hotel

Atlantic City – Jennifer Miller and I on approach to our hotel

Atlantic City - The Borgata Hotel

Atlantic City – Borgata Hotel

It was my first time to A.C. and I didn’t expect it to be so flat, on the coast and spread out like it was. It’s a little ‘Vegas’, where people come to gamble, see shows and get away from reality and daylight (we didn’t have a clock in our room). I’ve been to Vegas many times for both work and play and it’s on another level. Atlantic City is I guess, the east coast version of the gambling mecca.

A.C. - The view from our room on the 36th floor at the Borgata hotel

A.C. – The view from our room on the 36th floor at the Borgata hotel

We checked in and took the fast elevator up to the 36th floor – what an amazing view and spread before us. It was lovely to see the ocean and calm of the blue sky. I love being by the water and coastline – I guess that’s all I know as I’ve lived in Sydney and New York for most of my life.

Then it was time for Jen and I to hit the spa whilst the men folk hit the floor for a flutter or two. A perfect way to make everyone happy as Jen and I don’t really gamble nor do we know much about that kind of stuff. We do know however, about spa treatments and what makes us feel good.

We had an afternoon of bliss – facial, massage, spa, steam room and sauna. It was a sleepy, relaxing and hypnotic experience. I had a hard time ‘waking-up’. We had zero interruptions or commitments and the time was ours – what a novelty!

A.C. - Jen and I after our afternoon at the spa

A.C. – Jen and I after our afternoon at the spa

We return to our hotel room, get ready for dinner and meet our husbands at the restaurant. We inhale the food as we are well and truly hungry by now. We had a delicious meal accompanied with lovely wine to celebrate this first-time occasion (the kids were doing well and missing us just enough). Truth be told, they were excited that we had mentioned there may be a treat coming their way if they behaved well. I know you’re not supposed to ‘bribe’ your children – once in while is quite alright I think.

Next up, we all hit the floor. Jen and I received a crash course on the roulette table whilst the ‘men’ played with us dispersing chips of their own colour across the felt. We had some fun and killed some time then pulled out of the game just before we lost all our money. See, that’s why I don’t gamble with money.

I’d rather spend my money elsewhere and do other things with it. I personally believe when one is gambling, that you are giving the money away for free, for nothing. I found it rather sad, lonely and desperate to be honest. There were people from everywhere, young and old, people from all races giving lady luck a shot. It was a vortex of smoke, alcohol, lights, noise and people. I couldn’t believe they had designated ‘smoking’ areas. My hair and clothes stank like back in the day when people could smoke everywhere and anywhere. Haven’t times changed for the better?!

The next day we slept, ate, checked out and drove back home toward New York City. We passed a flea market that seemed like it was stuck in some time warp or better still, a Hollywood movie. We stopped and took a look around. It was hot, quiet and I felt sorry for the people trying to make a sale under such conditions and desperation.

A.C. - Flea market just as we were leaving our hotel

A.C. – Flea market just as we were leaving our hotel

NYC - A view of the city from the Verrazano Bridge

NYC – A view of the city from the Verrazano Bridge

By the time we made it home – the four of us couldn’t wait to wrap ourselves around our angels. We had missed them and it was wonderful to have had the opportunity to have missed them. Kisses and hugs were flowing for hours. We went for a walk around our neighborhood, then back for dinner, bath and bedtime. Another day, another weekend etched into our memory. Another fun weekend with our friends.

Have you ever been to Atlantic City? A casino or place to gamble? What did you think about it? Would you return?

There’s a new skyscraper in town – One World Trade Center

NYC - On my way to work listening to Snow Patrol

NYC – On my way to work listening to Snow Patrol

The other day I was walking to work (to shoot for a catalogue client) from the subway. It was so hot and humid already – I felt like I was about to melt. I was rushing to get out of the heat – put it this way, when I left home my hair was wet and by the time I arrived at the studio, my hair was basically dry. With the amount of hair I have it takes a long time for it to dry naturally. It has been one of the hottest summers I can remember in New York and most people I talk to would agree.

It appeared to be just another summers day in the city, to most of us New Yorker’s anyway. We go about our business like most other city or urban dwellers, rushing from point A to point B. The only people I see that are somewhat relaxed and taking it nice and slow are the tourists who have come to the Big Apple for their summer holidays. I can spot the tourists from a mile away – it is rather incredible really. I sometimes wish, I could be more like them in my own city – where I live, work and play without the need or desire to rush and hurry.

NYC - On the corner of Hudson and Canal Streets

NYC – On the corner of Hudson and Canal Streets

The studio has an amazing view and the building is located on the corner of Hudson and Canal Streets. It’s on the top floor so we have panoramic views of the city spread out before us.

Once I was done with hair & make-up, I looked out the massive wrap around windows and saw the view below. I asked someone what the large building was in the centre. I was told it was One World Trade Center or 1 WTC (previously known as The Freedom Tower). I couldn’t believe how much of it was erected – all of a sudden it seemed. I was informed that as it stands now, 1 WTC is the tallest building in New York City and will finish up at 1776 feet (541 m) and will be 82 stories high. Now that’s a nose bleed!

NYC - The view from the studio

NYC – The view from the studio

I haven’t been to 1 WTC in a long time so I’m not surprised by the transformation of the site. It has after all, been six years since work commenced. I’m simply not used to seeing the Skyscraper so prominently in the city’s skyline. It seems odd and foreign however, beautiful and sleek. I wonder when it will become familiar? I wonder what the new World Trade Center will look like when completed?  It’s hard to really know until you experience it personally. From what I can see and read online and in the news, it will become an integral part of lower Manhattan and certainly of New York and what the city represents – an international city on so many levels where the people have become one and unified.

NYC - The Freedom Tower

NYC – One Word Trade Center or 1 WTC

What do you think of One World Trade Center?

Have you seen it, been there?

Are you looking forward to its completion in 2014?

What does it mean to you?

How sex sells

NYC - Broadway in SoHo

NYC – Broadway in SoHo

Yesterday I went to Cutler Salon in SoHo and on my way back to the subway stop, I saw something I’ve seen many times before however, was reminded of how funny, weird and odd it was. Hollister California (on the corner of Broadway and Houston) is a brand that describes itself as, ‘Classical, preppy style with an effortless attitude’. It is a brand for young, hot, tanned, pretty, cool dudes and chicks that evoke the ideal Californian beach lifestyle.

NYC - Hollister California's store in SoHo

NYC – Hollister California’s store in SoHo

I smiled to myself as I looked around me at all the tourists not only doing a double-take but staring in disbelief, shock and at times amusement at what they saw. Two hot, early twenty somethings were standing outside the store’s entrance in nothing but a pair of red board shorts and a pair of havaianas on their feet. They were greased up and their taught, tight abs appeared rubber-like.

The dudes were simply standing there to meet and greet customers – to lure customers in to the store. It was attention grabbing at its best – using sex to sell. This time it wasn’t the girls in their bikinis however, the guys were stripping down and appeared to be enjoying it.

The companies other big brand, Abercrombie & Fitch approaches ‘privileged prep’ with flesh also. A&F’s greeter’s have hot, college school boy looks and wonderfully wicked athletic bodies. For some it’s all a little too much, for others – bring it on! I’m never one to shy away from eye candy however, I’m not always wanting their flesh in my face either.

What do you think?

Is it OK for men to use their sex to sell and not just women?

Where do we draw the line?

NYC - Guy in red shorts & flip-flops grabbing a lot of attention

NYC – Guy in red shorts & flip-flops grabbing a lot of attention in SoHo

Visions of a studio set

NYC - Sets are typically black and white as can be seen above

NYC – Studio set



NYC - back shot of a model ready to go

NYC – Back shot of a model



I’m sitting on the sidelines, waiting for my turn to get on set and start shooting. The hair and make-up station can be seen peeking through the first picture on the left-hand side. The round lights are blinding sometimes and the station can’t be missed.

Studio sets are typically black and white as can be seen above. Reflector boards are always present allowing the light to dance about on set. Sometimes they face me as black boards and other times as white – it depends if I’m wearing light or dark colours and the setting the lights are on.

The wind machine is tilted, waiting to blow ‘Victoria Secret’ like hair. They can make your eyes water like rivers when turned up too much. This is not good for make-up and when I’m not shooting, I step out of the direction of the machine or the hairstylist angles it away.

Above, the model is patiently waiting and ready to start shooting. She waits for the photographer to check with the digital technician to make sure the light is correct. Computers and digital photography have made this process faster, easier and immediately accurate.

In the second picture you can see the power pack (small box sitting on the ground to the right-hand side with lots of electrical cords coming out of it). A power pack connects with the base of a camera to add more power – it is designed to provide a power boost.

It’s a glimpse of some behind-the-scenes action I get to see and experience when shooting in studio.

Have you ever been on a studio set before? What aspect of your experience or the set interested you the most?