Building a Plus Size Fashion Empire with Stylish Curves with Alissa Wilson

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Building a Plus Size Fashion Empire with Stylish Curves with Alissa Wilson

Alissa Wilson is the founder and editor-in-chief of Stylish Curves, and a certified O.G. of the plus size blogging world! She started from the bottom rung of the fashion editorial scene and has risen to be the creator of her own fashion media empire. And she’s just getting started!

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In the interview, we discuss Alissa’s rise to where she is today. She’s grown the site from a side hustle, passion project to a full-time gig! Along the way, she’s witnessed the transformation of the plus size fashion world over the past eight years. Alissa’s managed to carve out a unique niche within the industry, and bring a unique perspective to the growing conversation about plus size women in the fashion world.

Alissa’s never been one to allow her size limit her experience. As she’s raised her voice in representing plus size women, she’s learned that there is strength in numbers when we rally together as plus size women. From navigating sponsor relationships, to putting outfits together, to swimming upstream on behalf of plus women within the fashion world, Alissa is a force to be reckoned with. And hearing from her is a great shot-in-the-arm of body positivity and confidence for women of all sizes, and all walks of life!

Key takeaways:

  • What inspired Alissa to start blogging

  • Growing Stylish Curves from a side hustle to a full-time gig

  • How Alissa has carved out a unique voice for Stylish Curves in the blogosphere

  • The evolution of plus size fashion from 2009 to now

  • Learning how strong you really are as an entrepreneur

  • The reality of size and racial bias in the fashion industry

  • Alissa’s vision for the future of Stylish Curves

  • Alissa’s tips for anyone looking to get started as a blogger

Mentioned in this episode:

The Stylish Curves website

Stylish Curves on Instagram

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The Essential #healthyatanysize Reading List for 2018 with Keyaira Boone

Keyaira (Key) Boone is a freelance writer, blogger, and all around great human who also created thecletter.com. She’s set out to carve out a space for herself online where she can share authentically about who she is, what she loves, and the things that are important to her, inspiring us all in the process!

Like so many of us, Key has always wanted to have a voice, and create a platform for herself, but she’s struggled with the idea of being an “influencer,” and commodifying her personality. This includes being authentic about having more than one source of income and having to “side hustle” to make ends meet as an aspiring media maven.

Key is super well read, and I follow her book recommendations via Instagram religiously. When I shared on social media that I had been placed on modified bed rest earlier in my pregnancy, she reached out to offer me some book recommendations. We decided to share the list and our discussion about them with all of you! Along with that, we discuss just about everything from latte art to the importance of being a good community member. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy getting to know Key as much as I have!

Key takeaways:

  • thecletter.com

  • Resisting the urge to commodify your personality in order to have a voice

  • Keeping it real about you side hustle(s)

  • Key’s recent piece in Allure magazine

  • Key’s reaction to Kelly Augustine’s interview on the podcast

  • Key’s book recommendations for the #healthyatanysize community in 2018

  • Key’s personal takeaways on each book

  • Keeping it real on social media, pimples and all!

  • Why being attractive is not the ultimate measure of your worth

  • The importance of being active in your community, and Key’s magazine drive for local hospital patients

Mentioned in this episode:

Keyaira’s blog, thecletter.com

Key’s Instagram

Key’s piece in Allure magazine

Kelly Augustine’s episode of the Healthy at Any Size podcast

Track 5 Coffee and Key’s Turkey Latte

The reading list Key put together for me and the rest of the #healthyatanysize community!

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Becoming a Lady Boss with the Woman Behind “Little Lime Dress,” Meaghan O’Connor

Meaghan O’Connor was working for a hedge fund when she got laid off during the economic downturn of the early 2000’s. She went from sobbing on Lexington Avenue to thriving as a celebrity fashion stylist, working with major brands and celebrity clients, and living the life of her dreams.

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Meaghan figured out a way for herself to both make money and enjoy her life pretty quickly. By throwing her head, her heart, and her hustle behind her brand, Little Lime Dress, her business has evolved from a personal shopping service that she advertised on Craigslist to dressing some of the most recognizable plus size (and not) women in the entertainment business.

Throughout her journey to become the Lady Boss she is today, Meaghan has stayed true to who she is, and tight with her family. No matter what setbacks or obstacles she’s encountered, Meaghan has always found a way to rise above by drawing on her optimism, humor, and creativity. She’s working every day to be the best version of herself she can be, and make the world a better place, particularly for plus size women. Who wouldn’t want to emulate that?!

Key takeaways:

  • Megan’s own journey to become a Lady Boss

  • Her journey from sobbing on Lexington Ave to thriving as a celebrity stylist

  • Growing Little Lime Dress from a personal shopping service advertised on Craigslist to on-set and celebrity styling business

  • Meaghan’s yearly “dream client list” and how she keeps herself going when the going gets tough

  • The women that have inspired Meaghan throughout her life

  • The importance of family in building your Lady Boss legacy

  • What it’s like to be driving change in the fashion industry to make things more inclusive for plus size women

  • How to cultivate positivity on a daily basis, and Meaghan’s personal daily mantras for positivity, inspired by the memory of her mother

Mentioned in this episode:

Meaghan’s blog, Little Lime Dress

Meaghan’s Instagram

Meaghan’s Instagram Portfolio

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Why Dieting is Making You More Unhealthy with Dr. Jenny Conviser

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Jenny H. Conviser, PsyD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Feinberg School of Medicine, and on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Conviser is Certified in both Sport Psychology and Child and Family Therapy. She specializes in eating and weight-related disorders, couples therapy, sports psychology and women's' health.

Dr. Jenny Conviser

Dr. Jenny Conviser

The UnWeighted model encourages individuals to embrace self-care; focus more on the process; focus less on the outcome; develop greater internal control; foster emotional awareness; engage in positive self-talk; and enable an individual to compare their success more with their own personally established goals, and less to a universal externally derived standards. An UnWeighted healthcare plan does not promise an ideal body or ideal health. It does, however, promise better health and better well-being.

In this interview, Dr. Conviser and I unpack her findings and how we can apply them to our own journeys as women seeking to live healthy at any size.

Key takeaways:

  • Why BMI isn’t the ultimate measure of your health

  • The problem with a BMI-based treatment model

  • Why weight loss is risky and should not be undertaken lightly

  • How a very simple lifestyle change can yield major health benefits

  • Why dieting programs you to binge eat

  • What diet cycling and set points are, and what they mean to your health

  • How dieting is slowing down your metabolism

  • What you can say to your doctor to get better treatment if you’re a higher weight person

  • Concrete steps we can all take to live the UnWeighted model

  • Why we shouldn’t let external sources tell us who we should be

Mentioned in this episode:

UnWeighted Nation

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True Health and Wholeness for the New Year with Nina Elliot

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Nina Elliot and her husband Christian are the husband / wife duo behind True Whole Human. Nina balances her pursuit of a healthy lifestyle with her business, homeschooling her four children, and being the all-around awesome woman that she wants to be.

Photo provided by @truewholehuman

Photo provided by @truewholehuman

Nina, like many of us, experienced weight gain in her early adult years which took her on a journey of self-discovery, research about “whole” foods, and ways of exercising that felt good for her body. She’s lived this journey, and today she shares with us what she’s learned along the way.

We dive into maternity and postpartum fitness and body image, the “cow share” that Nina and her husband participate in, and the importance of healthy habits in helping Nina to achieve food freedom for herself and her clients. In our conversation, we dispel so many diet myths and Nina downloads some quick, practical things we can all do to move towards healthier living in 2018. Nina’s story, and this interview, are great food for thought for those of us heading into the New Year and formulating goals related to our bodies and our health.

Key takeaways:

  • Nina’s personal journey with weight loss

  • The beginning of True Whole Human

  • Nina’s postpartum fitness journey

  • Why real food is so important to making a health transformation

  • How to override the need for willpower with healthy habits

  • One easy, daily thing we can all do to kick-start healthier habits in the New Year

  • Health “experiments,” and why you should do them one at a time

  • How Nina and her husband approach transformation for their clients

  • The Health Audit and where to find it

Mentioned in this episode:

True Whole Human

True Whole Human’s Health Audit

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You're Not Morally Obligated to Lose Weight in 2018 with Kara Loewentheil

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Kara Loewentheil, who I’m calling my podcast guest M.V.P. of 2017 (and that’s saying A LOT, because we have had many amazing guests!) is back for her second episode! If you haven’t already listened to her first episode, “Unf*ck Your Diet Brain,” hop back and do that before moving on!

Kara Loewentheil

In this conversation, Kara and I dive into the food noise surrounding the winter holidays. It’s almost expected that we’re all going to overindulge, gain weight, and then go on a diet once the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. It’s a societally-induced cycle of binge / restrict. It can be very toxic, and a total mindf*ck for those of us that are trying to reprogram our diet brains and achieve a more balanced relationship with food.

There’s many reasons that we feel the way that we do this time of year. But Kara gives us some great, practical ways that we can combat the diet culture conditioning and have a more freely-chosen out look on our bodies, our weight, and our health going into 2018. This is a must-listen for anyone who’s starting to formulate resolutions for the New Year!

Key takeaways:

  • The societal expectation that we’re all going to binge / restrict around the holidays

  • Why this can be such a triggering time of year for those of us trying to unf*ck our diet brains

  • How we can separate ourselves from the social conditioning that creates all the food noise around the holidays

  • Why you don’t have to earn, or deserve, pleasure

  • Why the patriarchy wants you to obsess about your body

  • Why women’s pleasure has always been something we moralize and try to restrict

  • Why you should maintain a healthy level of skepticism when people attempt to link your weight and your food choices to your health

  • Health is not a moral issue

  • The importance of having frank conversations about how big a role your weight actually plays in determining your health with your healthcare provider

  • How to overcome the diet culture conditioning that makes you feel obligated to lose weight every year

  • Why you should just eat the cupcake already!

Mentioned in this episode:

The Health at Every Size movement

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by Evelyn Tribole

Kara’s Unfuck Your Brain program

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Tuning into Your Best Self with Danika Brysha

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Danika Brysha is a curve model with IMG models, food and wellness personality, and the founder and CEO of Model Meals, a healthy meal delivery company. She is also incredibly attuned to her body, its needs, and the constant pursuit of self-improvement.

IMG Model and Model Meals Founder, Danika Brysha

IMG Model and Model Meals Founder, Danika Brysha

On her journey to her best self, Danika has battled substance abuse, disordered eating, career highs and lows, and finding her true purpose. She’s come out the other side of that journey as a model (and model human being!) who loves her body, her life, and her business. That’s something we can all aspire to!

In this interview, Danika and I talk about how to engineer your life to bring about your own best self! From your morning routine, to loving your body, to positive affirmations, to putting your big goals into motion, Danika has so much wisdom and inspiration to share! This is the perfect shot-in-the-arm of self-reflection as we near the end of 2017, and begin contemplating our resolutions for 2018.

Key takeaways:

  • Danika’s start in the modeling world

  • Danika’s first introduction Whole30, which drastically changed the course of her life and her career

  • Moving home to California and formally launching her business, Model Meals

  • Finding the balance between self-improvement and self-care

  • Why you can truly be healthy at any size

  • The importance of unscheduled / down time

  • How Danika built her passion into a thriving business

  • Why feeling your feelings is the key to navigating the world as your best self

Mentioned in this episode:

IMG Models

Model Meals

Whole 30

Danika’s Self-Care Checklist

Danika’s Instagram

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The Recipe for a Curvy, Confident Holiday Season with Denise Caldwell

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Denise Caldwell is a celebrity fashion stylist. From A-list, celebrity clients (and fashion heavy hitters) like Sarah Jessica Parker, and Jennifer Lopez, to the “everyday” women that she makes over for fashion outlets and morning shows, Denise has been in the thick of it with women of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones as she helps them look their best!

Denise, decked out from head-to-toe in the holiday season’s hottest hues, silhouettes, and textures. Outfit available via Marshall’s.

Denise, decked out from head-to-toe in the holiday season’s hottest hues, silhouettes, and textures. Outfit available via Marshall’s.

In this interview, Denise and I discuss how she’s been able to build the career that she has today, working with so many amazing brands, magazines, and media outlets. We talk about how she navigates the fashion world, especially as a woman of color, and a curvy-bodied woman. Denise shares some of the ways that she stays sparkly, no matter what comes her way!

As a partner with Marshall’s this holiday season, Denise has some very useful tips and tricks to navigating the holidays as your most confident, sparkly self. Especially if you’re a curvy woman! We unpack seasonal trends, plus some easy year-round ways you can infuse a little more sparkle into your look, and your overall self-presentation! This conversation with Denise is like a Vitamin B shot of holiday cheer, and who couldn’t use a little bump of that?

Key takeaways:

  • Denise’s early career, and how she became the woman she is today

  • Navigating the fashion world as a curvy woman, and a woman of color

  • How to get up the nerve to create the life of your dreams

  • Strategies to project confidence, so you look and feel your best!

  • A breakdown of how to wear seasonal trends like red, faux fur, metallics, and more

  • How Denise dresses herself from head-to-toe every day

  • What to think about when building an outfit for day-to-night

  • Why higher heels can make you feel closer to god!

Mentioned in this episode:

Denise’s Instagram

Marshall’s

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Unf*ck Your Diet Brain with Kara Loewentheil

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Kara is an insanely accomplished, empowered feminist who is also a master certified life coach and creator of the revolutionary program for feminist women, “Unf*ck Your Brain.” Kara discovered coaching, and learned how to coach herself, which has allowed her to put together the cognitive psychology that she found could rewire her brain with the feminist values that informed her life.

Kara Loewentheil, J.D. Master Certified Coach

Kara Loewentheil, J.D. Master Certified Coach

Kara has figured out how to actually match her feelings and actions to her beliefs. This has allowed her to create the feelings of confidence, worth, and independence that she wanted and had long believed she should have in every area of her life, from work, to romance, to her body. In this episode, Kara unpacks how to apply her unique methodology to helping us all to rewire our thoughts about our bodies.

The thought patterns we are caught in influence how we feel about our bodies, and the world around us, so much! I learned so much in this discussion from Kara, and her own podcast episode on this topic. Especially this time of year, this interview is a much-needed dose of reality, and empowerment, that we can all use to up-level how we view our bodies, and how we’re treating ourselves.

Key takeaways:

  • Kara’s trajectory, and how she went from super-accomplished reproductive rights attorney to life coach

  • Kara’s unique coaching technique, and the cognitive psychology-based principles to help herself and her clients rewire their thinking

  • How the patriarchy has influenced how we view our bodies, and how we treat ourselves

  • Why everything we’ve been believing about our bodies is flawed--having the perfect body will not give us everything we want in life!

  • The danger of perfectionism and on-the-wagon / off-the-wagon thinking

  • The ways we are disassociating from our bodies and committing acts of self harm as a result

  • How to replace those old, outmoded beliefs with new, positive ones

  • The key habits and beliefs you need to change to unf*ck your diet brain

  • One key step to take as you start this journey

Mentioned in this episode:

Kara’s podcast, “Unf*ck Your Brain”
The work of Isabel Foxen Duke

Kara’s “Healthy Habits” podcast episode

Kara’s “Unf*ck Your Brain” coaching program

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Grace, Grit, and Gratitude with Isoke Salaam

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Grace, Grit, and Gratitude with Isoke Salaam

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Isoke Salaam is an East Coast PR girl originally from New Jersey with private clients within fashion and the arts. When not reviewing a client portfolio, typing on an iPad and answering her cell phone while balancing in heels, Isoke practices ballet, enjoys running, writing, reading, traveling and learning about art! She is a PR powerhouse, an avid art fan and a fashion lover.

Photograph by Maira Iqbal

Photograph by Maira Iqbal

I met Isoke when I became an advocate for the D.C. Humane Rescue Alliance and the 2017 Fashion for Paws event. I was instantly drawn to her because of her grace, her grit, and the way she exudes a certain calm, and connectedness that is so rare in busy, professional types these days! After getting to know her, I learned that she cultivates this through a daily gratitude practice (along with a lifetime of being an exceptional human!).

Isoke lives a very dynamic, jet-setting life. She is a true individual, with a very freely-chosen definition of success, and so much authenticity. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her, and developing a friendship with her. In our interview, we cover fashion, fitness, travel, self-care, and of course, a daily practice of cultivating gratitude! We can all learn something from Isoke and the fabulous life she’s created for herself!

Key takeaways:

●      Isoke’s life as a PR maven in Washington, D.C. working with clients worldwide

●      How Isoke shows her body love through movement, and her love of boutique fitness

●      Being a “non-judgy” vegetarian

●      Isoke’s adult gap year living in Paris and how she made that happen

●      What it’s like being a tall, striking, woman of color and a professional

●      Isoke’s daily spiritual practice, including her gratitude practice

●      The legacy that Isoke is working to create for herself (hint: it’s not marriage and kids)

●      The jet setting life Isoke leads, and all the countries she’s visited this year

●      The importance of creating financial freedom, and how Isoke did this for herself

●      Life lists and how to use them to create a dream experience!

Mentioned in this episode:

Isoke’s Daily Gratitude Practice

Isoke’s PR business

Fashion for Paws

Isoke’s client, Cija, and her new book

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How to become a Plus Size Model (or not!) with Madeline Jones

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How to become a Plus Size Model (or not!) with Madeline Jones

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Madeline (Maddie) Jones is the editor-in-chief of Plus Model Magazine (PMM) and one of the pioneers of the plus size fashion industry. She is sometimes referred to as the Anna Wintour of plus size, and through her work has blazed a trail that many of us have the pleasure of following in.

SOURCE: www.plusmodelmag.com

SOURCE: www.plusmodelmag.com

Maddie’s presence in the industry pre-dates the social media crazed world we live in now. From the beginning, Maddie has been using her voice to create a space for plus size women in the fashion industry. All along, she and her husband, photographer Lucas Jones, have been documenting the faces of plus size women and challenging society’s expectations of how plus size bodies should be photographed.

In my own journey as a plus size model, Maddie has been there since the beginning. I did my very first test shoot with Maddie, and along the way she has supported me and guided me at every turn. Maddie has so much wisdom to share with models at any stage of their career, but she’s got an especially great perspective for women looking to launch their modeling career.

Maddie’s advice is hard-hitting, straight talk about what it really takes to build a successful modeling career for yourself as a plus size woman. It’s not always an easy road, but it can be incredibly rewarding! And regardless of whether or not you wind up getting signed by an agency, Maddie has advice for all of us about how to use our voices, how to conduct ourselves in business relationships, and how to create our own opportunities as women.

Key takeaways:

  • The early days of Maddie’s advocacy for plus size women, and how PMM got its start

  • What it takes to build a brand like PMM, and how Maddie put her publication on the map

  • Maddie’s journey of coming out from “behind-the-scenes” and putting herself out there as an influencer

  • Maddie’s journey as an Autism Mom

  • The importance of being authentic (don’t try to be “the next Ashley Graham,” or anyone else!)

  • Why you should never take things personally in your business

  • The importance of having your own, unique point of view when creating content as an influencer

  • How we can make a greater impact when we work together with other women, rather than just trying to advance our own image

  • The essential steps you must take if you want to launch a successful modeling career

  • Some reasons that you might not actually want to become a plus size model--it’s not just about being a pretty girl!

  • Why you don’t need to become a plus size model to validate your worth, or to make a positive impact in the world

Mentioned in this episode:

Plus Model Magazine

Maddie’s personal brand

Maddie’s husband, photographer Lucas Jones

Maddie’s journey as an Autism Mom

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Can You Lose Weight and Still be Body Positive? with Kristin Booker

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Kristin Booker is a writer, blogger, and the creator of the site Fashion.Style.Beauty. Kristin has crafted stories for Marie Claire, ELLE, Refinery29, Lucky, xoJane, xoVain, and Yahoo Beauty, among others. I got to meet Kristin when she interviewed me for a piece on Self.com. Since then, it’s been amazing to get to know her and watch her flourish in so many ways!

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In this episode, Kristin is so brave and vulnerable in sharing her experiences, from early alcohol abuse, sexual assault, eating disorders, and her struggle to find a place in the world. Kristin’s journey is an inspiration, and the things that she’s accomplished in her fiercely authentic journey to self-actualization prove that it is possible for all of us to create a life that we love!

Kristin’s relationship with her body is at the core of her journey, and throughout the years she’s had ups and downs, just like all of us. When her doctor gave her a very loving, direct wake-up call a few years ago, Kristin embarked on the next chapter of her journey: weight loss, in the name of her health.

So often in the body positive community, it can feel like we’re being torn between two extremes: dieting, weight loss, “all or nothing” thinking, and permission to be whatever size, eating whatever foods, and doing whatever exercise with no regard for our health. But the truth is that there is a middle ground. Kristin proves this, by sharing the very integrated ways in which her pursuit of health, and self actualization, has lead her to a very body positive mentality. She has reconciled weight loss with also loving her body, and accepting it as it is.

Key takeaways:

  • Kristin’s early life, which includes some tough stuff like alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and feeling like she didn’t fit in as a creative

  • Kristin’s journey to find a place for herself professionally where she can use both her creative and her business brain

  • Kristin’s relationship with her body over the years, from extreme deprivation and an eating disorder, to dire health consequences in her later life

  • How Kristin got her start as a freelance writer, and what lead her to create Fashion.Style.Beauty

  • Kristin’s big break as a writer with SheFinds.com

  • Kristin’s wake up call with her health

  • How Kristin has come full circle to a body positive mindset, as someone who also lost weight and transformed her health

  • The importance of carving out your own definition of health, and how Kristin stays balanced in a world of extremes!

Mentioned in this episode:

Fashion.Style.Beauty

The forthcoming Fashion.Style.Beauty podcast, coming November 27th!

Kristin’s piece on me and several other models for Self.com

SheFinds.com

Kristin’s blog

Kristin’s Instagram

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Women are the Future with Anne Mahlum

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Anne Mahlum is the entrepreneur, brain trust and #ladyboss behind [solid core]! She is the owner and CEO of the business, which she founded in DC in 2013. In just a few short years, Anne has grown her company into a nationwide fitness sensation, with dozens of studios across the country--and more on the way!

Anne Mahlum

[solid core] was really born out of Anne’s own personal journey with her body, fitness, and self development. The entire experience of attending a class at [solid core] reflects the heart, the determination, and the authenticity that Anne oozes in everything she does.

In this episode, Anne opens up about what it’s like to run this amazing fitness company, her own experience with fitness, and her past history with eating disorders. Her own journey with her body hasn’t been straight and narrow, and she’s super authentic in sharing that, which is awesome!

Looking at the woman that Anne is today, it’s hard to imagine that she ever struggled with loving her body! But it just goes to show that we all struggle from time-to-time, in our own way. And we can all learn from how Anne has applied those experiences to creating this awesome brand, and business, and experience that is becoming available to more and more of us!

Key takeaways:

  • What it’s like to be the CEO of [solid core]

  • What led Anne to the [solid core] method, and why she decided to turn it into a business

  • Anne’s own personal struggle with fitness, her body, and her eating disorder

  • What it’s like to be a type-A, addictive personality, and how Anne’s learned to harness that energy into being a #ladyboss!

  • Why so many of us stay “10 pounds away” from a state where we’re happy with our bodies

  • How Anne got to a place of food freedom and happiness with her body

  • Why positive body image and acceptance are a core value for the [solid core] community

  • Major hurdles that Anne and her team has overcome, from lawsuits to creating their own “Sweatlana,” and more!

  • Why we all need to celebrate and support one another as women, particularly in business!

Mentioned in this episode:

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)

[solid core] website

[solid core] Instagram

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From Sidewalk to Catwalk: Torrid Model Search 2017

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15,000 girls entered the Torrid Model Search 2017 competition, and we’re now to the final four, in the final few days of their journey (voting ends October 29!). I caught up with Haley Rudolph of Toronto, ON; Seairra Thompson of Berkeley, CA; Sophia Ervin of Dallas, TX; and Julia Rose Miller of Round Rock, TX. Each girl dished about her experience, and what she’s gained from being a part of the competition.

The top four finalists for Torrid Model Search 2017

The top four finalists for Torrid Model Search 2017

Torrid has created a really great mechanism to take young women in our society from the sidewalk to the catwalk with this model search. But more than that, they’ve created a movement that makes all women in our society feel included, and catered to, by the fashion world. No matter what shape, size, skin tone, or age you might be, this model search is a great source of inspiration and body positivity!

Talking to these ladies really took me back to what it’s like to be a plus size teenager in our society, and how meaningful the plus size fashion movement has been in giving these girls a place in society where they “fit,” literally and figuratively! These girls exude body confidence, positivity, and hope for the future. Just hearing their stories can make us all feel a little better in our own skin. We could all use a little more of that!

Key takeaways:

  • Background on the “Torrid Model Search 2017” competition

  • What motivated each girl to want to enter the competition

  • What it felt like for each girl to walk in NYFW

  • What they’ve learned from participating in the competition

  • Each girl’s unique background and perspective, and how that’s helped them in the competition

  • The challenges each girl has overcome in order to succeed in the competition

  • The plans each of these girls has for giving back to society, whether or not they win!

Mentioned in this episode:

Torrid Model Search 2017 ( voting ends on Sunday, October 29!)

“Torrid’s Debut NYFW Runway Showcased This Season’s Hottest Trend: Inclusivity”

Torrid’s YouTube miniseries

Haley Rudolph’s Instagram

Seairra Thompson’s Instagram

Sophia Ervin’s Instagram

Julia Rose Miller’s Instagram

Torrid’s Instagram

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Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans is No Longer the Goal with Zlata Sushchik

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Zlata Sushchik is an award-winning fitness competitor, lifestyle coach, and creator of the Sexyfit Method, who spent more than a decade perfecting a simple five-step method to help every woman experience complete food freedom, create the body she loves, and reclaim her life.

Zlata Sushchik

Zlata grew up in Moscow, Russia, and moved to the U.S. at age 16. From a bullied teen immigrant to a bodybuilder and a beauty pageant queen, Zlata went through her fair share of struggles with yo-yo dieting, extensive gym workouts, and feeling like getting in shape was a full-time job – which, for her, it was. After winning or placing in the top five in more than 26 state, national, and international shows, Zlata was forced to leave her career after experiencing health complications caused by traditional approaches to getting in shape.

In this episode, Zlata and I discuss her journey with dieting and fitness competition, which ultimately has led her to a place of wanting to show her body more love, respect, and care. For Zlata, taking care of her body is no longer about fitting into her skinny jeans, or achieving a standard of perfection--it’s about showing her body as much love as possible! We can all learn from Zlata’s journey, and apply her insights to our own relationship with our bodies!

Key takeaways:

  • Zlata’s experience growing up as a Russian immigrant in the United States

  • The first time someone body shamed Zlata

  • How Zlata got started in (and hooked on) fitness competitions

  • The extreme toll that training for fitness competitions took on Zlata’s body

  • Why Zlata decided to get into coaching and sharing her method with other women

  • The cornerstones of the Sexyfit Method, and why it’s really about emotional freedom, simplicity, accountability, and community, not just aesthetic results

  • How to balance our masculine and feminine energies in attaining Food Freedom

  • Why Zlata believes that every meal is a cheat meal

  • Why you need to be very leary of the supplements being marketed to fitness competitors

  • Why when you’re your true, radiant, amazing best self, you no longer need to worry about what size you are

Mentioned in this episode:

The Sexyfit Method, and the new Sexyfit Method Book

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Design Your Own Body Lovin' Routine! with Ginny Gane

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Design Your Own Body Lovin' Routine! with Ginny Gane

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Ginny Gane is a Law of Attraction expert, coach, author, and podcast host. She also studied Kinesiology and worked as a Physical Trainer for many years. She marries up the teachings of Abraham Hicks and classic LOA truths with a deep understanding of how to manifest the relationship with your body that you are seeking!

In this episode, Ginny and I discuss ways to apply the Law of Attraction to consciously creating a routine for you and your body that will get results! We are all tired of yo-yo dieting, rigid meal plans, and complex workout routines that are tough to really put into action. So Ginny demystifies how we can work on a transformation from the inside out!

Whether you’re actively seeking to lose weight, or improve your health, or just feel better in your body, this episode is packed with practical takeaways to help you create a body and a lifestyle that you love!

Key takeaways:

  • Ginny’s journey to discover the Law of Attraction as a Kinesiology student, Athlete, and Physical Trainer

  • Whatever you’re feeling most often is what you’re going to attract, and the fundamentals of the Law of Attraction

  • Creating small shifts in your thoughts so that you can create more of what you want when it comes to your body and your health

  • My “bathtub moment” and how I personally began to change my thoughts so I could create a body and a life that I love

  • If you are taking most of your action from a place of external motivation, it’s tough to create lasting change

  • Ginny’s LOA Action Plan, and four steps to consciously create a routine that brings you more of what you want!

  • It really is as simple as thinking more positive thoughts about yourself than negative ones. Your lifestyle, decisions, actions, and ultimately your experience, will reflect that.

  • Consciously creating a routine that is going to make you feel the way you want to feel, and not just look the way that you want to look (although you can have both!)

Mentioned in this episode:

Abraham Hicks and The Law of Attraction

My bathtub moment

The 7-Minute Workout app

Ginny’s LOA Action Plan

The Manifest it Now podcast

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How I Blew $10,000 on Dieting in 10 Years with Cassie Parks

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How I Blew $10,000 on Dieting in 10 Years with Cassie Parks

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If I had to quantify my investment in diet and weight loss products in the past ten years, I would estimate that it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000. In this episode, I share the nitty gritty details of how I got to that number, and how it adds up quicker than you might realize!

Cassie Parks

Cassie Parks

You might be shocked by that number. You might think, “That will never be me.” However, we as a society spend over $60 Billion per year on dieting and weight loss. So, I know that I’m definitely not alone in this, which is why I’m laying it all out there for others to learn from my experience.

This week’s guest, money manifesting expert Cassie Parks, is a bestselling author of multiple books, many of which are on the subject of how to manifest the life and financial situation you desire, such as Manifest $10,000. In my conversation with her, we unpack the reasons so many of us tend to give our money away unconsciously based on our feelings of unworthiness, rather than investing our money intentionally from a place of abundance!

Learn the sneaky ways you might be parting with your money without realizing it, and unconsciously funding the dieting industry rather than creating the financial situation (and life) of your dreams! Also, how to turn that around.

Key takeaways:

  • The sneaky ways we give our money away to the dieting industry

  • The exact breakdown of the $10,000 I spent on dieting and weight loss--you might be surprised how many of these things are in your monthly spend, as well!

  • Cassie Parks’s tips on how to go from being a mindless spender to a conscious investor

  • Why many of our diet and weight loss purchases are motivated by our own feelings of unworthiness

  • Other places in our lives that this type of mindless spending might show up, outside of diet and weight loss

  • Why understanding how you want to feel should be at the root of your investment decisions

  • How to pivot from mindlessly spending money on diet and weight loss to consciously investing in your physical health and well-being

Mentioned in this episode:

Cassie Parks and her book, Manifest $10,000

Mint.com

How much Americans spend on dieting each year

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Create the Happy, Healthy Life of Your Dreams with Kopari Beauty Co-founder Kiana Cabell

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Create the Happy, Healthy Life of Your Dreams with Kopari Beauty Co-founder Kiana Cabell

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So many of us are striving to create the lives (and the bodies) that we love. But it can get discouraging, because it seems like we’re inundated with examples of women who are having to compromise their health and well-being in order to achieve success in their career, and vice versa. Is it really possible to be successful in business, engaged in your community and family life, and live a healthy lifestyle?

Kopari Beauty co-founder Kiana Cabell

Kopari Beauty co-founder Kiana Cabell

Kiana Cabell, co-founder of Kopari Beauty, is an example that shows us we can have it all! She is an example of a woman achieving low-key, high velocity entrepreneurial and life success. As she prepares to become a mom (like me!), Kiana and I caught up to talk all about how she got to where she is today.

Kiana shares her take on balance when it comes to food, business, and life. She shares how her upbringing on the beaches of Hawaii, and her passion for healthy, natural ingredients shaped her as a person, and as a founder. She talks about the road to success for her brand, which is really cementing its place in the beauty industry, and disrupting long-held notions about what we should expect from natural, organic products.

There’s so much wisdom Kiana shares here that we can all apply to our own experiences!

Key takeaways:

  • Kiana’s childhood, growing up in Hawaii and being raised by her pro surfer (and founder of Chart House restaurants) Dad

  • Kiana’s studies as a chef at a traditional culinary school, and then NYC’s Natural Gourmet Institute

  • How Kiana applies a balanced approach to exercise and food choices

  • Hypnobirthing classes and the ways that Kiana is preparing for motherhood

  • Kiana’s long-time love affair with coconut oil, and how Kiana got her start as an entrepreneur

  • The wisdom of staying low-key when you’re in the process of creating something

  • The importance of surrounding yourself with the right partners, in business and life

  • Failing forward, and how Kiana’s been able to turn every challenge into learning

  • Why delegating is key to Kiana’s formula for success

  • Believing in yourself, and not letting yourself get in your own way, is the key to creating a  business and lifestyle you love! Go for it.

Mentioned in this episode:

Kopari Beauty

Kiana’s legendary Dad

The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC

Hypnobirthing

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Speak Out: I’m Sharing My History with Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder in the Military in the Hopes that You’ll Speak Out, Too

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Speak Out: I’m Sharing My History with Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder in the Military in the Hopes that You’ll Speak Out, Too

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I was struggling with a combination of binge eating disorder and bulimia while I attended the Naval Academy from 2003 - 2007. My experience as a woman in uniform, and an NCAA Division I athlete for the Naval Academy, were directly related to the development of my eating disorder.

Midshipman 1/C Melinda M. Parrish, USNA Class of 2007

Midshipman 1/C Melinda M. Parrish, USNA Class of 2007

As a disclaimer, I’m a huge supporter of the military and am incredibly honored to have served. I have deep reverence for the military and everyone serving. I’m not sharing my story to cast blame upon the military, or to paint this organization, which I hold in incredibly high esteem, in a negative light. But the reality is that many women have suffered and continue to suffer, as I did. 34% of women in the military suffer from eating disorders.

Ultimately, my eating disorder is what led to me being (honorably) medically discharged from military service in 2008. But you won’t see anything about an eating disorder anywhere in my medical or service records. It’s through my recovery, years later, that I’ve come to understand the connection between my disordered behavior and the injury which ended my naval career.

My experience is unique in its specifics, but not unique to women in the military. Our military is in crisis because such a high number of individuals serving are struggling with eating disorders. We as a country miss out when women end their term of service prematurely (like I did), or aren’t able to serve at their full capacity, because they are battling an eating disorder. Now that we know this, we can begin to address it! And that starts with increasing funding for treatment, research, prevention, and awareness of eating disorders for those in uniform.

The entire military suffers when as many as 34% of its service women are at a limited capacity due to illness. That’s why I’m testifying before members of congress on September 28, 2017 alongside a panel of experts, so I can use my experiences to better life for so many women still serving.

This isn’t just me telling my story. It’s a call to action! Shame feeds on silence, and shame keeps us trapped when it comes to issues like eating disorders. I want you to join me in speaking out about the things you’re struggling with when it comes to your weight, your body, and food. Let’s banish shame and create a new way forward for ourselves and other women!

Key takeaways:

  • Brené Brown’s formula for shame

  • Why I’m speaking out and sharing my story so publicly

  • The ways the food and eating were stigmatized for me during my time in the military

  • Why I turned to eating large amounts of food in secret to cope with my environment

  • The first time I binged and purged

  • Ways that I pushed my body to extremes to counteract my binge eating

  • The single event that changed the course of my entire life

  • Why this problem, which impacts 34% of women in the service, is truly a problem for 100% of the military

  • The ways that NEDA and the EDC are working to address these issues, and what you can do to help!

Mentioned in this episode:

National Eating Disorders Association

Eating Disorders Council

Speaker, Author and Researcher Brené Brown

Healthy at Any Size podcast, Episode 3

The Reality of Struggling with Binge Eating Disorder in the Military

The “Weakest Link”

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Body Love NOW! Why loving your body matters more than ever with Kelly Augustine

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Body Love NOW! Why loving your body matters more than ever with Kelly Augustine

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Kelly Augustine is one of the leading voices in the body positivity and plus size fashion conversation right now. Recently, she was featured in a national television & print #thenewskinny campaign for Lane Bryant, which only solidifies her rank as one of the most influential bloggers in this community!

Kelly Augustine

In this episode, Kelly and I discuss the importance of us using our voices as women, particularly with all the political turmoil we’ve experienced as a nation this past summer. Kelly is very outspoken, and does a great job voicing her opinion while keeping her message and overall presence positive, empowering, and inclusive.

The conversation about our bodies, and how we as women should be treated in the world, is more important now than ever before. Kelly shares how she’s navigating the conversation, the importance of choosing your words wisely on social media, and where she’s finding inspiration and positivity these days.

We also cover the increasingly blurred lines between models slash bloggers, her making the leap to freelancing, and why more brands need to start featuring visibly plus size women in their campaigns. And Kelly shares all her go-to resources for information, fashion, beauty, and inspiration!

There’s so much to learn from Kelly that we as women can all apply to our everyday lives.

Key takeaways:

  • Kelly’s recent Lane Bryant #thenewskinny campaign and her success as a plus size fashion blogger

  • How the political turmoil of the summer has impacted the conversation we’re having about our bodies as women

  • What influencers like Kelly are doing to infuse more positivity into the world during heartbreaking world events

  • The importance of using our voice as individuals to comment on troubling world events

  • Choosing our words carefully when it comes to the content that we put out into the world

  • Being over 30 in the modeling industry, and the increasingly blurred lines between being a blogger / influencer and a model

  • Why more brands should be featuring more body diversity, and showcasing visibly plus size women, in their campaigns

  • Kelly’s go-to brands for information, fashion, beauty, and inspiration

  • The importance of protecting our sanity in this age of information overload

Mentioned in this episode:

Kelly’s Lane Bryant #thenewskinny campaign

Vice’s coverage of the Charlottesville tragedy

Models slash influencers Alex LaRosa, Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham, Philomena Kwao

Eloquii’s extended sizing lookbooks, the launch of Preme, Asos’s representation of visibly plus size models, and Glossier’s range of skin tones

Kelly’s “go-to” brands for information, fashion, beauty, and inspiration: Elvi, NYDJ, Asos, Fashion to Figure, Refinery29, Glossier

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