Frequently Asked Questions
How did you start out modeling?
I started modeling as a hobby in 2008. I would answer to makeup artists needing models and hairstylist on craigslist ads. I knew there was a small shoot afterwards so I could get a few photos for my portfolio. I did a lot of trade for print shoots or “TFP’s” and took any opportunity to try something new, to learn and build my portfolio. I was turned down by a few agencies when I first began but it didn't discourage me too much, I still kept shooting for the fun of it. I think everyone needs creativity in their lives. In 2012 l I discovered a whole pin up community in Vancouver. I entered and won a pin up contest at a local car show and it took off from there. I’ll be honest, I harassed a few local designers, to use me for a shoot and once one used me; another saw the photos from the shoot and then they hired me and so on.
You’re in a Documentary called “A Perfect 14” How did you become a part of this?
Well here’s a funny fact, I had actually worked with the one of the directors (Giovanna Morales) when I was waitressing at Red Robins! Which by the way is a casual family restaurant for anyone who isn’t familiar. After I left there and when I began my career as a Flight Attendant I had also started modeling in tandem. She was following me long before my Elly Mayday fan page and saw how confident I was even though I wasn't the “perfect” image according to societies standards. She told me that she saw how people enjoyed my new take on beauty and how passionate they were about it. Giovanna approached me with the other director James Earl O’Brian in the spring of 2013 with the idea and we began filming shortly after.
Lots of people look up to you and consider you a huge inspiration, what do you think of this?
It's amazing, it is really is such a nice compliment. It’s so powerful to hear that you have helped someone face something in their lives. What I’ve dealt with can be such a taboo topic— both weight and cancer. I set out to change the minds of people and show them what beauty means to me. Once I was diagnosed I found my opportunity to not only prove it but also showcase my perspective on a different idea of beauty. I feel I had to face what was in front of me and I just did what I had to do. Of course I had a lot of wonderful people around me and that kept me going strong. I allowed the world to know what I was going through to not only help me cope but to hopefully help anyone else out there. I have tried to be a very confident and open woman most of my life- I thought I would share that and set the best example I could. I wanted to make cancer look beautiful.
Who are some of your favorite photographers to work with?
There are so many that’s a hard one! I really love working with Shimona at Pin-Up Perfection Photography. Over the course of us working together we have become close friends. It's a huge gift to work with such a talented woman. She is one of the best I have worked with, I also really liked working with Cass Bird. She was fun.
Tell us something about yourself that most people might not know?
I was quite the tomboy growing up with 3 brothers on a farm can do that to you. I am from a tiny village called Aylesbury, in Saskatchewan.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
I love the hunt that only a thrift store provided. All my favorite pieces are mostly under 15$. I like camping with a small twist. I call it "Glamping" (glamorous camping) in my 1973 Boler. I also love watching "The Simpsons."
What plans to you have for the future in regards to your career and life?
I have recently moved to NYC since my agency is located there. In the future I plan on speaking at schools and touch on the topics of self-love, cancer, and body awareness. My goal with this is to help women believe in themselves and have more confidence. I want to raise awareness for Ovarian cancer and prove that you can do anything with the right mindset.
How have you coped with your weight loss and changing shape as it relates to your career path as a plus size model? Has being smaller caused you unexpected body image issues?
Yes, it has been difficult to adjust to this new body. Some days I feel like I had lost my image. The image that had initially opened doors for me, what people related too, and initially liked about me. I enjoyed being curvy and going from 180lbs to 130lbs was definitely drastic. I had a strong feeling that I lost fans over that but it was out of my control. It’s an odd thing to be judged for being “plus size” then to be judged for being a “skinny bitch” as I heard a few people say sarcastically. I thought “I can't preach body positivity to the bigger gals and I can’t preach about losing weight”. But it has given me a new perspective being both sizes. You’re critiqued no matter what and you need to just keep your head up and ignore negativity. In the end, I chose to sign a contract with a company that accepts a healthy image for women. That is what I set out to represent from the start.
Do you ever have days where you feel really insecure? If so, how do you get past it?
After the year I had and everything that came with it there is no way I could avoid insecurity. I’ve done my best to be kind and patient with my body and myself. I made a promise to myself that my glow would come back and it did although it took a while. I decided to treat this as a phase and made it my mission to make cancer as beautiful as possible. I had a lot of eyes watching and wanted to make it look less scary for other women and men who might be going through something similar. It’s not about how you get hit, its how you get back up. I wanted to make a recovery so epic that Morgan Freeman would have to narrate it. ;)
Do you have any regrets while progressing your career as a model? Meaning, if you could, would you go back and do something differently now that you have hindsight?
Oh good questions, yes I would but then again maybe I wouldn't have ended up where I did. It's been difficult being so public about something so personal at times. Although, having experience like this has prepared me in a way I couldn't have ever taught myself otherwise. So live, learn, and love on.
What is a fear of yours?
I think being misunderstood is one of my biggest fears. Sometimes I say things and when they are written can be taken differently that what was intended. However, I don't really like playing it safe. I don't like to offend people but I think some people are easily offended and don't question things around them.
You've traveled to so many different places in the world. What do you love about your hometown that makes you stay?
Vancouver is a beautiful city! There are so many parts to it. You naturally gravitate to what area suits your disposition and energy best. It has become my home because I found so many things here, Myself for one, my career, amazing friends and I found that my style was accepted. I’ve always been different and I feel like “Van City” is the peanut butter to my jam! If ya know what I'm sayin’.
How old were you when you found your love for pin up and vintage?
I started doing my hair in a big victory curl while flying, which was in 2010. It was difficult fitting the life jacket over the big curl but passengers loved the look. Some would even ask me to take it out and show them. It was a huge conversation starter. My body was also a good fit for the style. I loved the positive compliments and being known for it. I was never afraid to stand out, that’s for sure.
What would you say is your favorite thing about you personality wise and physically?
Ah, I love to make people laugh . I can quote a funny movie like I wrote it! I come from a hilarious, light hearted, and loving family and being able to socialize was something that has come natural due to that upbringing. You can always hook them with the look; but you make them stay for the laughs! Physically, I like my lips— one writer referred to them me as “pillow lipped” and I thought that was super cute.
You’ve taken loads of photos do you have a favorite picture of yourself?
Well my favorite photo isn’t what you’d think. I have a photo of myself when I was little right before a dance recital. I must have been 6 and I was wearing a pink leotard with my hair in a high ponytail. I told my mom to take a picture of me as I hopped onto the trampoline and struck a pose. Who knew that was what I would be doing today.
What's it like being a public figure and having to deal with scrutiny and hostility from someone sitting behind a keyboard?
Ah well I think the answer is in the question. That’s just it, they’re sitting behind a keyboard. No one ever did anything exceptional without being under a very critical lens. The Internet has given a voice to a lot of people who are uninformed, negative, and are the lowest level of bullies. You just have to take the good with the bad. It is just part of it all I guess? And for every negative comment there are ten plus people that put them down so I have fans that help regulate the naysayers!
What do you have to say to women your age and younger regarding health challenges based on your experience?
I would say that each day and each situation is different. Just know that you are not a statistic, you are a human being and the body is an incredible machine so fuel it well. Know that the mind is such a massively powerful part of you that YOU control. Have a goal and don’t quit.
What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
Cranberry and a touch of sprite.
What is your skin care regime?
For makeup remover I use coconut oil and then wash my face with dove soap. If my skin feels dry I use a natural lotion without any fragrances or additives that could damaging. I've discovered a skin care line based in B.C called Lavigne Organics and I really like their products as well.
What does your fitness routine consist of?
I like to do a good mix of cardio and weights For example I’ll do 20 minutes on the bike, 20 minutes on weights, 20 minutes on the treadmill and so on. I like to go early and juice afterwards too. It’s 80% about diet and 20% about exercise. It should be something you look forward to doing. So focus on fueling correctly and enjoying your time at the gym! Walking is great exercise as well.
How did you come to work for JAG models?
One of the co founders saw my photo on Instagram. At the time I was also competing in a model search hosted by Additionelle. Since I was in the contest, grand prize being a chance to sign with them, we weren't allowed to speak. Unfortunately I had to back out of the contest but they kept pursuing me afterwards and waited till I was able to travel and meet them. This didn’t happen overnight like it may seem.
What is your favorite farm animal from home?
I had a pony when I was little and loved riding. I also loved my kitties. I love them all! You can’t ask a farm girl a question like this, not fair; all of my critters were my favorite.
What music do you listen to?
I like CCR, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Johnny Cash, I grew up on country I like George Straight, Allan Jackson and Toby Keith. I like new music too. I am literally a karaoke machine and enjoy a big range. I surprise people with the lyrics I know.
What is your favorite Dolly Parton song?
“If You Ain’t Got Love” at the end of my favorite movie, she sings this song. It’s when I discovered Dolly and feel in love with her.