Courtesy of Brian Bowen SmithGrace Clarke, Allure magazine
I don't typically follow the pregnancies of models very closely. There's something about hearing that a genetically blessed Amazon with legs for days felt "beautiful," got "no stretch marks," and "gained only 30 pounds" that makes me feel less "awwww, that's sweet" and more "grrrrr, that's annoying."
But when I saw pictures of Sports Illustrated bombshell and erstwhile Victoria's Secret Angel Marisa Miller, I suppressed the urge to roll my eyes and instead asked her how she managed to look so amazing in her final months of pregnancy. And despite a due date of "basically any minute," Miller was gracious and full of tips that I'll be working into my single-girl routine.
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How is it different posing nude when you're pregnant? "I always felt, even before I got pregnant, that it's better to accentuate your curves. A lot of women try to tuck their butt in or kind of slouch because they're trying to hide. Obviously, you can't suck it in, but it's important to really show off the belly. For some reason, for me, from the side it looks the biggest, so that's what I tried to do."Have you made any changes to your skin-care routine during your pregnancy?
"When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing that had to go was the acne medicine and chemical-filled face washes and lotions. I made sure everything was natural and organic, and I started reading blogs by other pregnant women. Everyone was talking about AfricanBlack Soap. It's made out of plantain ash, vitamin E, and shea butter, and it worked really, really well. I felt so weird using soap because you think, Don't use soap on your face. Use a cleanser, something fancy. But I haven't had a breakout since my first trimester."
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What about stretch marks? "My sisters both had babies this year and were really religious about preventative care. I'd been on Molly Sims's blog a lot-she was in her third trimester when I had just gotten pregnant-and she posted this recipe: shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E. I made it myself, boiling the ingredients, and I poured it into mason jars. I've loved the community of women who share their tips." [Editor's note: Yes, I rushed out and bought every ingredient after work. I can attest that the mixture is heavenly.]
Have you had to dial back your fitness routine? You're an avid paddle boarder. "I'd heard that swimming feels so good when you're pregnant, and I love being in the ocean. I was even paddle boarding up until 17 weeks, but then my center of gravity and balance were completely off. I looked so funny standing up on the board with all that extra weight in front. I did Pilates five times a week during my second trimester, but it's so modified now, mostly stretching and breathing. It's easy to feel swollen and puffy, and moving really helps with the circulation."
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What about your hair? Did you keep up with the highlights? "I was taking tons of vitamins, and with the increased blood flow, everything grows faster-my hair, my nails. It was the first time in my life I'd actually cut my nails with a clipper! When I found out I was pregnant, I cut all my hair's breakage off, thinking, This is the only time I can have a break and do a little hair boot camp. My stylist was worried I was going to cry, but it was for my hair's health-I didn't care how it looked. My color grew out naturally and eventually looked sort of ombre. Once I got into my second trimester, I asked my stylist about a few small highlights around the face, just to break up the color a bit. We used organic dye, and to make sure I didn't inhale anything, we even did it outside."
Any advice on how to handle the inevitable weight gain? "Embrace everything and all the changes. My sister said to me, 'You're eating healthy and you're working out, so whatever your body gains, it knows what it's doing.' I had never even owned a scale before, but gaining weight is part of charting your progress. Yes, I was seeing numbers I'd never seen before, but I let go of that because I had a new goal and focus. It's an adjustment, but it helps having a lot of positive support."
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