Becca Thorpe Talks About Self-Esteem and Body Image Issues, Favorite Beauty Products, Fashion, New Passions, and the Pressures Girls and Women are Facing Today!
Photographed by Roberto Ligresti
Becca Thorpe is a plus model from Annapolis, Maryland who currently lives in New York City. She has been successfully modeling for ten years. She spends her free time behind the lens as a photographer. She has recently shot a fashion spread for Madisonplus, a news and fashion blog (http://madisonplus.com/).
How and when did you get started in the plus modeling industry?
I started modeling while attending college in Philadelphia. I was going to a party at a hotel where there happened to be a plus modeling contest going on. A woman approached me and asked if I ever considered modeling, and I immediately said no; I play sports and there is obviously no need for someone who is 5’11″ and “big” in that industry. Boy, was I wrong. The next week I was working locally and began to think that this could be something if I was smart about it. A year later, I had moved to New York and have been working ever since. Wow, ten years really flies by!
What have you learned from the modeling industry?
I have learned so much in this industry. There are so many things I want to say here. Modeling is what I do, not who I am. Business is business and sometimes it has nothing to do with you. More than anything else, modeling has made me grow into a really capable woman who can achieve anything.
Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem or body image issues in the past? If so, how did you reach a point of accepting and loving your body?
Have I ever struggled with body image or self-esteem? HELLO! I am going to be real honest here…I am a woman! Who doesn’t? Let’s be real, we live in a world where it is bombarded on us every day to look a certain way–to be “this” in order for a man to love you and to comply with what others “think” we should be. Yes, even models succumb to this struggle. I have been a size 12/14 since I was twelve years old. There were no Forever 21′s when I was growing up, and I knew (at that young age) that I would never be a size 8. Heck, a size 10 is even pushing it! I am real about my body. I go through phases like everyone else I know. Just look at my closet; it ranges from a size 12 to a 16! That is real life. I do indeed love my body, I love my man for loving my body, and I love that I am in an industry that allows me to be vocal about being honest about it all!
How would you define confidence?
Confidence is knowing who you are.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty is being able to say no when you need to. It is saying thank you. It’s being “interested” when you just want to be “interesting”…it’s really listening. It’s a great blazer, red lipstick, and killer high heels. Beauty is accepting where you are right now and still moving forward.
Photographed by Roberto Ligresti
What do you love about yourself?
What do I love about myself? I love the strength that the women in my family passed down to me. I love that I am tall (I wish I could go back to my thirteen-year-old self and say that). I love that I have really amazing friends who encourage me to be ‘me’ . I love that I have a sense of humor about the little stuff in life, and I absolutely LOVE that even when I am ninety, I will be asking questions like “would you rather”!
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about capturing moments with people, whether it’s with my camera or a conversation that brings meaning or laughter. No matter what we do, in a job or even with our spare time, we have an ability to touch others with what we say and do.
What do you enjoy doing in your down time?
In my spare time you will find me walking in NYC with a camera in my hand. I talk to homeless people, street vendors, strangers, musicians, and even my friends in order to get a real moment snapshot of their lives. Yes, I love taking pictures, but I also love my dog, road trips, my family, and my closest friends here in the city.
Where do you shop for clothes and who are some of your favorite designers?
I shop everywhere, but those who know me well would say that I am the quintessential “Gap” girl. JCrew is another favorite, but my true finds come from scouring Century 21 and vintage shops.
Photographed by Lisa Holgrave
GAP…long and lean jeans! They are the staple of my wardrobe.
What are some of your beauty must-haves?
When it comes to products, the things I cannot live without are Kate Somerville ‘Quench’ for my face (http://www.katesomerville.com/), Kevyn Aucoin’s mascara (http://www.kevynaucoin.com/), Yves Saint Laurent’s Touché Éclat for under eye circles, and lip balm. All of these products are in every bag I own.
Photographed by Jeff Licata
What do you enjoy most about your career as a model?
It is not the places I have been, it is the people who I have been with on locations that have been the most memorable. The friends I have made on jobs in Germany, Canada, Thailand, and Argentina. The places have been incredible, but the late nights of talking, sharing, and laughing will be what I really remember.
What advice would you give to aspiring plus models?
The advice I would give to girls just starting in this industry is…1) trust yourself 2) be willing to learn, learn, learn…and know that it is not all fun and games — it is a business in which you have to invest a lot of yourself mentally and emotionally. Oh, I know… I can hear the “you just have to stand in front of a camera…how hard is that?” But let me tell you…it is a learned art — one that comes with time and patience. So know your strengths and weaknesses, and be willing to learn and have fun!
Photographed by Lisa Holgrave
‘Curves For Change’ has brought many of your fellow Wilhelmina models together for a great cause. What has that experience been like for you so far?
Working with C4C has been one the best experiences I have had. It is truly amazing what women can do together! It is remarkable to know that we are promoting a healthy and honest look at the issues at hand. I have met girls that truly inspire me!
*Curves for Change recently launched their website. To find out more about C4C, please visit http://www.curvesforchange.com/index.html.
Photographed by Max Abadian
What do you wish you would have known at age thirteen?
Oh the dreaded age of thirteen when you just want to be like everyone else. If I could pass a note to myself in class at that age, knowing what I know now, it would read, “What you think is important now will change. It always does. There is freedom in being different and in going against the grain, so stand up straight and stand tall in that back row full of boys! It’s okay NOT to have the same outfit as everyone in your class! You are so special my thirteen-year-old self. You have to know that confidence is in your hands, not anyone else’s.”
What kinds of pressures do you see girls and women facing today? What can we, as mentors, do to better address these issues?
There are so, so, so many pressures are on young women today. It has gotten to a point where it’s almost unbearable! I know a lot of models talk about it. To be honest, we struggle with it too! Those pressures are real and sometimes an everyday occurrence. Instead of just talking about it all the time and judging other woman (because admit it, sometimes women can be cruel) we need to start reading things like Plus- Size Models Unite and even the things that Curves for Change is doing. To see models, instead of competing and being hurt or jealous, come together and send a positive image out to women is what this is all about! Yes, we all want to feel good, look beautiful, get the job, and get the guy; but how we get those things is really the important part! Pressures are in every part of life whether you are thirteen or a grown woman. We have the choice of how we look at things so I say to someone struggling with body image or external pressures “It’s there (the pressure). Accept that magazines and other people create a so-called “standard”, but YOU can create your own. Be kind to that voice inside you that compares and judges, and then go throw on a pair of heels and do your own thing.”
What are you excited about right now?
What I am excited about now is my newfound love of photography. Testing other models, putting stories together, and even the editing. I feel like I have something to say with a camera in my hand. Normal moments can be captured and made into something bigger. The beginnings of a new passion are often very scary. Should I? Am I any good? Those little voices are slowly dissipating, and I am finding myself truly loving this new adventure of being the girl behind the lens.
*Thank you, Becca!
**How do you define beauty? How do you define confidence? What are you passionate about?