Model and Actress Celina Lorenz Talks About Her Definition of Confidence; Feeling Beautiful, Smart, and Sexy on Your Own Terms; and Much More!
Photographed by Patrice Casanova
Celina Lorenz has graced the pages of Elle, InStyle, Glamour, Figure, Prevention, and Plus Model Magazine. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, The View, Fox News, The Queen Latifah show, and broadcasted nationally, via satellite, to local TV stations showing plus-size clothing. Celina has traveled the country and the world for her long and steady career. She looks forward to continuing to be a representative of fuller figure women and reshaping the standard of beauty. Here she is…
Photographed by Stanley Debas
Please tell us about your first modeling job with Emme on the Oprah Winfrey show.
That was my very first job! I was very “green,” and I literally was star struck when I met Oprah! I spent two days at Harpo Studios preparing for her show about beauty “in all sizes.” Emme and Christine Alt were the guests. My first thought about Ms.Winfrey was, “Wow, she’s a lot shorter in real life!” lol. It really was surreal to be there, in the Green Room and in the dressing room. I think Oprah does a lot of good things with her show, and she certainly does that for the fuller figured woman. She was super nice and very down to earth. Meeting her was amazing!
What was that experience like for you?
As I said, it was surreal. From a modeling perspective, it was a great “first job,” because I did have some hesitation when I first started modeling. For instance, would I be able to make a living, etc. Being that this was my first booking and on such a global scale, I think the appearance helped give me the confidence I needed to continue pursuing this as a career. But, don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of drive and determination.
Eventually, when I moved to NYC, I remember saying to myself, “Quitting is NOT an option.” Like any model, rejection is all part of the job. Whether you are a plus-size model or straight size, you become so in tune to “your look” as we are constantly picked apart by photographers, make-up and hair stylists, art directors, and the clients themselves. If you don’t have a thick skin, or some sort of healthy coping method for this kind of continuous scrutiny (whether you are on set, at a show, or at a casting), you risk letting it get into your head and get you down. Women who are not models may do this as well, with all this nonsense in the media these days, so it’s my belief that we professional, working models really have to remember to have perspective on the scrutiny we face on a daily basis.
Photographed by Jessica Lavoie
Please tell us about your experience as a television hostess and other TV appearances such as Comedy Central and the Chappelle Show.
Working on the Chappelle Show was great fun! I’ll point out that they weren’t looking for a “plus-sized model”; they were looking for the blonde “bombshell” type to play off of Paul Mooney’s character. It was really cool that Mr. Chappelle, Paul Mooney, and the producers totally saw me as THAT: as a sexy, beautiful model, not a sexy beautiful “plus-sized model.” That rarely happens. The “sexy” part is usually cast with a straight size model, but not this time. They didn’t see me as a size 12 model who was sexy; they just saw a beautiful woman. In casting me alongside the other model, who happened to be straight size, they sent the message that it didn’t matter our size. A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman. I love that.
How did you transition from modeling to TV?
As far as the “transition” from film to television, I haven’t crossed over entirely. I’ve worked on other Comedy Central shows, filmed pilots, etc., but my main work is fashion. If anyone needs a spokesperson for a clothing line or anything of that sort…let me know!;-)
How has the plus-size modeling industry changed over the last decade?
Great question! When I started, there was nowhere near the emphasis on “beauty in all sizes.” It seems like it has really taken off in the last several years, and I’m amazed at the positive feedback we get. The irony is that the “plus models” typically (and on the average), don’t wear plus sizes in our everyday lives, but that doesn’t matter to me as much. What matters is that we are seen–with our curves! If you look back at Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe, all those voluptuous starlets from decades ago, they were incredibly vivacious, curvaceous, sensual, and so feminine! Honestly, it’s my experience that men love curves. Now, I’m not saying that curves are better than “no curves,” but that the media should stop sending the message that you have to be “thin” to be pretty. It’s just so old already! I don’t even think like that anymore. When I look in the mirror, (and this is the God’s honest truth) I don’t look in the mirror and think, “I’d be prettier if I got down to a size 6.” My mind doesn’t even enter that realm, as it may have years ago. I am, who I am. I try to stay fit, and I take care of myself. I love dining out, drinking good wine, and enjoying life’s pleasures too much to deprive myself. I have no problem being a “renaissance woman” and not missing out on life.
Photographed by Jessica Lavoie
Has plus-size modeling become more or less competitive, more or less accepted in the industry, more or less ageist, racist, etc?
Let me say, that I don’t think that being a plus-sized model condones an unhealthy lifestyle. To me, it’s more about being beautiful in your own skin, rather than blindly following what the media wants you to. The plus-sized movement definitely has become more accepted in the industry! Being that I’ve been working for quite awhile, I see the “togetherness” that “plus girls” have with the “straight girls.” It’s my experience, and others may disagree, that when we are all working together, or at a casting together, there is no “separation” between the plus girls and the straight girls. I’ve never had an experience where I felt that there is an ‘”us” and a “them.” We are all women, from all over the country, enduring the same crazy career that we all chose, and we are all in this together. Sometimes we even have the same clients, so I see that we are all lumped in together. As far as plus models are concerned, we are working hard just as the straight girls are. I have quite a few straight size model friends, and there is no differentiation in their mind. We are all out there traveling, working, and making’ it happen. In fact, they are all supportive of us! One of my girlfriends’ friends was asking her about her “plus-size model friend” (me) and asked if that gives me the freedom to just “let it go” and eat whatever I want. My friend said, “Heck no! She brings her rear to the gym, just like the rest of us!” That is so true!
How do you think plus modeling is helping to redefine beauty?
Just being “out there” in the media. I remember what it was like to be taller and bigger than everyone else was in Junior High. Thankfully, I came from a really supportive family and they never made me feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t suffer from “low self-esteem.” I just had the usual feelings girls get in those pre-teen years. But, had I seen and been exposed to seeing the plus-sized models (as in a size 8-16 model) out there today, I think that really would have helped in terms of seeing an additional standard of beauty. There is a lot farther to go though.
I think that the “sizeism” that we see in the media and the attention that female celebrities receive when they gain or lose weight is not perpetuated just by the media now. Women themselves perpetuate this by not supporting other women when they don’t look like the “standard” that is seen on TV and in magazines. Often, when a beautiful woman walks into a room, and everyone stops and looks at her, I’ve seen women be the first people to criticize her or measure her up to the “standard of beauty” we see in the media. It’s tiring really. I literally get knots in my back just thinking of how other women can be worse than the media itself when it comes to assessing a woman’s beauty. And, of course, everyone knows that the people who criticize others are just insecure and have their own issues they need to deal with on their own. Just saying. ;-)
Photographed by Jessica Lavoie
Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues in the past?
As I said earlier, when I was a kid, I was literally taller than my teachers were. The thing I hated most was not being able to wear all the cute clothes my friends were wearing back in junior high! At that age, that is considered social suicide! Ha ha! But, my “body image issues” weren’t any more than any other girl at that age. What I’ve learned since then; having carved out a career in this field, and having been privy to hearing women’s personal body-image stories; is that ALL women have them. It’s not just the “big” girls or the “flat-chested” girls. It’s all girls. And, the girls who outwardly fit the mold of the “standard” of beauty are just as critical of themselves too! Body image issues are not just for the “plus-sized” woman. Women of ALL sizes and shapes experience these issues, but perhaps it’s the “plus-size” industry that gets all the heat, because it is the most vocal, and at the forefront of changing the way women look at themselves. I’ve had very slim women give me serious props for doing what we do, and have been told how awesome they think our work is. The “plight of the plus model” resonates with regular, everyday women. I just love that, and I have no problem being a representative of a movement that is all about being who you are, being healthy, and making a statement that says beauty is not one type and certainly not what an ad agency has concocted for you. The strong, often demeaning images that we see in ads, online, or on TV, don’t discriminate in terms of who they are sending their messages to. If you can read or look at a picture, you can get the message loud and clear; that beauty is considered “thin.” That’s not the case. I’m not “thin,” and I think I’m pretty. So there!
Also, be smart enough and media-savvy enough to take it for what it’s worth, and not let a bunch of people in suits, who are in a boardroom, tell you how you should feel about yourself. Just say, “To hell with them.” And, if someone has a problem with you and calls you fat, skinny, short, ugly, etc…they aren’t worth your time anyway, and well, they are just a negative person who needs to get a life, if you ask me!
How did you reach the point of accepting and loving your body as it is?
Through realizing that I can be just as beautiful and sexy on my terms because that is what is most important to me. I know how I want to look, so I try my hardest to be that because that is most comfortable for me. How did I get there? I have self-esteem and a sense of humor. I think that is where it all starts. When you don’t think much of yourself that affects your life in every aspect, not just your body image.
Photographed by Jessica Lavoie
What advice would you give to girls and women, who are struggling with body image and self-esteem issues?
Wow. That’s a tough question because the answer varies from woman to woman. I don’t think there is a set equation to having self-esteem. But, to start, and something that is universal, (and I tread lightly here because I’ve been in beauty magazines, but here goes)…don’t buy beauty magazines that don’t represent you in them. Until certain magazines start putting models in the editorials and until the companies start making sample sizes bigger than 4-6; so that larger models can be featured alongside the tiny ones; they really aren’t that beneficial to a young woman’s psyche when she is flipping through the pages. Especially a young woman who doesn’t understand that this is marketing — all so she will buy a product. Until beauty magazines start consistently using plus models, or models with a variety of body types (who will fit the samples for the shoot), spend your money on magazines and products that do.
Also, let’s start taking the emphasis off how we women look all the time. What about our talents, our brains, and our achievements? If we could encourage the young women in our families to develop their talents, their skills, and their brains, instead of commenting and/or focusing on their looks, I think that would make a difference. If this “beauty obsession” is perpetuating itself, then we should try to perpetuate within our own circles, the notion that we, women and girls, are so much more than how we look. Let’s give positive reinforcement for talents, skills, good grades, etc. Perhaps if young women saw, in their own lives, that as much praise was given to girls that achieve things rather than “hotness” then they can relax and not feel so much pressure. Also, get the word out that the girls in all those magazines are airbrushed. Even they don’t look like that. Models are paid to look beautiful. But, the make-up artists, stylists, hair stylists, and photographers are paid to make us look beautiful. It takes a village, people! lol. Also, for the teen girls out there, don’t allow your self-image to be defined by guys in your school or other girls. Don’t listen to them. I know it’s hard, but the sooner you stop allowing others to give you your self-worth, the sooner you are empowered. Okay?
Photographed by Patrice Casanova
Where do you like to shop for clothes?
I love J.Crew for everyday type stuff. They have timeless pieces that you can make your own with accessories. Also, the sale rack at Saks and Barney’s is great. Bluefly.com is a great website for designer pieces that have been marked-down, and I shop for hard to find vintagey stuff online. If I get inspired, I’ll just Google whatever it is that I’m looking for and find it online. I’m a big fan of DKNY and I admit, I’m obsessed with Herve Leger dresses.
What are your beauty must haves?
Sunscreen! Seriously, I don’t leave home without it. I also wear sunglasses even on rainy days, as the added SPF in the lenses will protect me from getting wrinkles. Also, sleep!
What are you excited about right now?
I am very excited about photographer Jessica Lavoie. She is based in NY, and she is a model herself, so she already understands it. She gets what it’s like to be in front of the camera, and she knows how to photograph a fuller figure. It was evident to me, when I tested with her, that her career as a model has taught her how to capture someone’s best features. It’s comforting to know, when you are shooting, that the person behind the camera has an understanding of what it takes to make you look your best. Also, I like that Glamour magazine shot a cover with a plus girl, (Crystal Renn), Alessandra Ambrosio, and Brooklyn Decker. That is a statement. Thank you, Glamour magazine! Oh, and also, thank you Heidi Pratt for being such a wonderful role model to young women, and displaying such a great amount of self-love, by not giving in to silly industry standards of beauty–NOT!!! Lol.
Luas Jones Photography
What does being confident mean to you?
For everyone, feeling confident means different things. For me, confidence comes from the inside. I’ve felt more confident after a strong run than I have all dressed up just looking good. For me, it’s not about how I look, it’s how I feel. I’ve been a long distance runner for years now. I took a couple of years off a while back, but I’ve always come back to it. When I first moved to NYC and had no money, no gym membership, and was an “aspiring” model, I would run in Central Park. After a while, I’d go farther and farther; soon, I’d run the whole six miles. Then I started to run around it twice. When I am finished with a fast six miler or a strong fourteen miler, nothing defines that moment more for me than feeling confident. It’s my own way of saying to myself, “I’m healthy, and I’m strong.” Also, and I’ve said this before; let’s not underestimate the power of great posture, natural warmth, graciousness, and a beautiful smile. Seriously, if you could bottle that, let me know, because you could make millions for what that does for a woman, in terms of looking and feeling confident.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
As my late grandfather used to say, “Don’t let the bastards get ya down.” I think that pretty much sums it up. Be true to yourself, be healthy, and tell anyone who tries to steal your sunshine or says that you are only pretty if you are “this” or “that” to take a hike. ;-)
* Thank you, Celina!
**You can learn more about Celina at http://www.celinalorenz.com.
***How do you help yourself develop a positive self-esteem and body image? What does being confident mean to you? We would love to hear your comments and questions.