You focus your time on grad school, modeling and being a mental health and chronic illness advocate. How do you split your time between all of these as well as speaking engagements?
Thanks so much for this thoughtful question. I struggle with balancing everything a lot more than I share online. I think it's important to acknowledge how difficult life can be when you have so many eyes on you at one time. I also have to dedicate about 5 hours a week to my last class. On top of that I focus on working with and speaking to people within the mental health and disability world weekly. It's definitely a challenge to balance all of them, but I make sure that I have everything in my iCal. so that I don't miss a meeting. I also do a lot of different self care tips to keep me aligned with what i have to accomplish.
What was the event that jump-started your path as a public speaker?
Post pandemic, I have exclusively been focused on finding ways to create and discuss social media literacy in a strong, bold way. Throughout the pandemic I was able to talk to a variety of companies, universities, and on over a hundred different podcast in Virtual panels. This year we helped me realize what I am meant to be doing, hopefully for the rest of my life. Advocating and speaking for people who need motivation to get back on track with their life. So it wasn't a specific events, but rather an amalgamation of events that is like me to where I am today... And I'm going to be doing in 2022 free!
When did you first open up about your illness and why?
I first opened up about my chronic illness when I was in college because of the way that my teachers and peers were treating me. It was really challenging for other people to see what was wrong and therefore, they didn't believe when I was struggling. After that I had to really focus on expressing myself in a way that made sense and was digestible. For me that was through art, and building strong digital communities across platforms.
Had you always aspired to be featured Sports Illustrated Swimsuit? What has happened to your career since the photos were released?
I was just featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit this past year, I submitted through their swim search and it was such an amazing experience to be able to be the first chronically ill model in the magazine. I really entered this on a whim mostly to The Advocate and not representation that sick can be sexy and that you don't have to look a certain way to model for such an iconic magazine. My career has definitely benefited from the affiliation as well as all of the press coverage to get more of a highlight on my workout has a full-time advocate.
You get invited to many events across the country. Since you’re always photographed, do you ever wear the same outfit twice?
Sometimes! I rent outfits through Fashion Pass monthly so that I have variety and I can feel good when I have different looks. Living in NYC trains you to have a staple wardrobe AND standout pieces that you can wear a few times a year…and who is REALLY keeping a close eye of what I wear after all!
With all of your event dressing, is there a specific shape you gravitate to more than others or do you try to diversify your looks?
I try my best to accentuate my curves, typically dresses that sinch at the waist, I love body con-midi or floor length dresses as well and flare dresses. I am open to wearing pretty much anything once though!
Talk to us about the importance of color - What color makes you feel your best?
I love bold colors, I am slowly getting into patterns and textures more. Blue has to be my absolute go-to for color, but again, you will likely see me wearing color any where I go!
Which trend will you try this holiday season: sequins, feathers, velvet or all?
This holiday, I am going full blast with sequins, feathers and vegan leather!
What do you put in your bag when you attend events?
This changes depending on what bag I carry, and what event but I always have a lipliner and lipstick or gloss, powder, mints, hand sanitizer, and an iphone cable to charge if I am lucky!
Traveling between LA and NYC so often must get tiring. How do you cope with the time change and jet lag?
Jetlag does not really bother me, I force myself to sleep early / stay up late when I am in LA so I regulate my system as best as I can.
What are your travel must-haves:
Compression socks. They help me when I fly long and short distances, and walk a lot in the airports. Additionally, snacks, I always seem to forget to eat and nourish myself, but I make sure to always have food and the biggest bottle of water, especially on super long flights. This helps me over all because I am walking throughout the plane and keeping my body active instead of stagnant. I also make sure to bring extra chapstick!
What do you want others to know about you that is unexpected?
You can do anything that you set your mind to. A lot of people want to put you into a box and that is just not something that you have to adhere to. You can also reach out for help, and accepting help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. You know where your weakest spots are are you are able to find tools to help you through it rather than feeling shame. I always do my best to exhaust my resources and network until I have an answer for what I am trying to achieve.