“I truly believe the world is finally ready and dying to see a different version of beauty. With all the terrible things that are going on in the world today, I think people are hungry for something different”
“ Modeling is a very self-involved career; you’re worried about what job you’re getting next, who booked what job, etc”
It is important to us that we reach girls in the states as well as across the globe. HGHW provides workshops for little girls teaching them to love their bodies. They give little girls the opportunity to share their experiences and grow with other girls of all shapes sizes and ages. As plus-size models, it’s important to give these girls another example of what beauty is.
“Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself! Just because it’s the “it” trend of the moment, doesn’t mean you have to wear it”. “No matter what weight, height, or size, everyone can find something that fits their body and makes them feel like themselves”
Some people still hold the outdated thought that “beautiful” women are not intelligent. What do you have to say regarding this topic, Ms. Notre Dame Alumni?
My first thought to that was…where are those people at? They are certainly not in my world! I come from an upbringing in which the more you have inside, the more you share with the world. The more you grow yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually — the more the outside is a reflection of that! The more connected I am with the Light, (god, whatever you call it) then my physical self reflects that connection. Also, while growing up I didn’t care about being pretty. Pretty got you nowhere on the court; it actually hurt you. So, that was always the last thing on my mind. I still laugh sometimes that being pretty is my “so –called job.”
Notre Dame was really good for me in a lot of ways…I met some of my best friends there. I learned how to balance having no time with having a million things to do. I learned how to handle pressure with everyone watching you. Notre Dame offers a lot of support to their students; even now that I’ve graduated, the ND family is one of my biggest supporters. They were actually the first people to see my Italian Vogue story and tell me about it! Notre Dame has alumni everywhere, and they are very loyal! Deciding to go to Notre Dame was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
I guess it’s because I grew up being an athlete, but I always wanted to have a strong body that would be able to push people around on the court. I grew up very close with my dad who always taught me that my body was strong like his. I have the female version of his body actually. Henderson bodies are big and strong and can take a lot.
I always took care of my body because that meant I played sports better. I never understood the whole skinny concept; those girls were too easy to knock over on the court. lol. I was quite big when I was playing in college.
The funny thing is that I’m in best shape of my life now. I have an amazing trainer, Donnie Raimon (best friends husband), he is an ex navy seal. He taught me how to eat for my body type; I have lots of food allergies: no soy, no dairy, no wheat, no gluten, and no nuts! I fly to Miami every six to eight weeks for new work outs and my body has never felt better!
What advice would you give to young women who are struggling with self-esteem, confidence, or body image?
Self-esteem, confidence, and body image are such fickle things. I would tell girls to put their focus on other things first:
Find some sort of spiritual path. That’s the only thing that keeps me sane and stable (Kabbalah), but it can be any spiritual path; yoga practice, church, temple, meditation, or Abraham –Hicks (I’m a big fan of) because self-esteem comes from knowing yourself, and for me, the only way I know myself is by having a spiritual connection. That is really my main concern/focus –am I connected to the light? Light=god=an ongoing force of energy that is constantly flowing throughout the universe that is only love.
When I’m connected then I have confidence. Also, there are times I’m not feeling so great about myself. Karen Berg is always saying that whenever I am full of me, me, me, then there is no room for light; so I try to make room for the light to come in and share with others. When I have issues with myself, I take the attention off myself by focusing on what I can do for others (that’s what I work for, but don’t always do. lol). In my opinion, that’s where true self-esteem comes from.
I have several. When I was growing up it was between Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and Michael Jordan. Now… the one woman who I look up to in this world, more than anyone, is Karen Berg. She is the co-founder of the Kabbalah Center. She is the woman of all women in my book! She does it all! I strive to be like her every day. She has dedicated her life to making the world a peaceful place.
What misconceptions do you think society has of plus-size women?
A lot! This one gets on my nerves as well! I am told all the time that I’m not plus size! What people don’t get is that the average woman in America is a size 12/14. People believe that plus size means out of shape or bigger. I’m a 6’1” 190-pound plus-size woman who is in shape. Because I’m in shape, I can’t be plus size? There are many meanings to plus size, but people like to put the plus size term under one umbrella. There can be many versions of beauty and there can be many versions of “plus.”