A catwalker reveals all.
- The Betty Editors, BettyConfidential.comWhat's a typical day in a model's life like? Does she eat three healthy meals, or none at all? BettyConfidential recently chatted with Michelle Easter - a 5'9", 116-pound model in her 20s - to find out. Easter's career includes runway shows for Burberry and Diesel and photo shoots for Teen Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler, but for this interview, we were more interested in what she puts in her body rather than on it.
Is it hard for you to keep your model weight?
I was always very thin growing up. I was very active as well, so I stayed slim no matter what I ate. I finally started growing some curves when I was about 20, and now I do have to work a little to keep a model's weight. If I don't eat fresh, healthy food and get a reasonable amount of exercise, it's easy for me to fall out of shape.
What are a typical day's meals like for you?
For breakfast, coffee is a must! Also, I'll have a whole grain oat bar or oatmeal, a low-fat yogurt, or a piece of fruit. If I have a shoot or a show in the daytime, I'll usually hold out, if I can, on eating a meal until after work, snacking on fruit or veggies or something light. If not, I'll have a salad or soup for lunch, and some lean protein and veggies for dinner. I try not to eat late at night, but if I do get late-night munchies, I try to stick to fruit or yogurt, if I get a sweet craving, or pretzels to curb my salt addiction.
What's your favorite kind of food when you go out?
When eating out, I prefer Japanese and tapas, hands down. But I really love to cook, too! My favorite meal to cook is breakfast, especially egg white omelettes with veggies and avocado, cooked in I Can't believe It's Not Butter or olive oil, served with dry whole grain toast. I live on lean meats, shrimp and grilled fish, with different veggies tossed around in a pan with low-calorie marinades or dressings and lots of herbs and spices like cilantro, basil and Old Bay. I like my food to have lots of flavor, which I can get just by using lots of herbs and spices and searching for the best low-cal sauces.
Guys hate it when a date just picks at her dinner. How do you cope with eating out on a date?
Guys DO hate that, and I hate to be that girl, too! If I'm going to go on a date with a guy, and he wants to do dinner, then I eat dinner! There's always something on every menu that is healthy, or can be simply altered to be healthy. You can always order a garden salad with oil and vinegar or some steamed veggies with grilled chicken.
Is everybody always trying to feed you?
We're often offered free "model dinners" at the nicest restaurants and unlimited drinks from the most posh clubs and lounges. It's so easy to be tempted into constant indulging, especially when it's free. However, the best thing for the body is a consistent, healthy routine without any shocks or surprises.
Have you ever not eaten anything before a shoot? Did you ever suffer from an eating disorder, or do you have model friends who you've witnessed battle this disease?
More often than not, I skip out on food until after a shoot. If anything, I will have a piece of fruit or a protein bar and some coffee until after I'm done. Although this is probably not healthy, I find that it keeps my stomach at its flattest while I'm working, and I can always eat afterwards. I have known girls in the industry to suffer from eating disorders, and it's a very sad and lonely thing. I think this is a major societal problem, not just within the modeling industry.
We recently did a story about plus-size models, featuring an interview with the beautiful Crystal Renn. Do you think plus-size models have it harder than skinny models?
I would assume that [plus-size models] are under the same pressure from their agents and clients to stay fresh looking, healthy and personally proportionate. I think that socially they have it harder than skinny models, just as plus-sized people have it harder than thin people in society. I feel like the difficulty that plus-sized girls have is in maintaining the right bigger measurements while somehow still looking healthy and not "fat."
What is your advice for women who strive to be as thin as the models they see in magazines and TV?
It is almost impossible to achieve the model body type, especially the doctored version that is depicted in most advertising. I also strongly believe that there are different standards for people in the entertainment industry due to the sometimes unusual work-related physical requirements, so woman shouldn't be looking up to celebrities as role models for their weight either. It's important for women to be realistic about their goals, and reasonable in their methods of attaining them. The most beautiful body is one that's well cared for through exercise and healthy nutrition.
What are some of your healthy tips?
Everything in moderation, and you have to practice restraint. It's so easy to say, but so hard to do. If you want to look good, you have to eat healthy and exercise. If you absolutely MUST have a brownie, find an organic brownie made with applesauce instead of butter, and stevia instead of corn syrup. Your thighs will thank you!
What do you do for exercise?
I like to take classes at my gym. The group experience helps me to enjoy exercise. I like pilates, cardio classes, and I love the stairmaster. I try to work out about 5 days a week, for varying times and intensities based on my schedule and mood.
Fashion isn't your only interest. You also started Feed A Model with some of your model friends, in which you sell your artwork for charities like Operation Smile and The Boys and Girls Club of America. Tell us more about how Feed A Model works.
We sell our artwork for Feed A Model; we actually don't own the rights to sell most of our modeling photos! We raise money for various charities through our events. For example, for our Valentine's Day Party this year, all of our members, sponsored by and dressed in Petro Zillia designs, made hand-painted Valentines to sell to event-goers who wanted to help support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. By the end of the event, we had all kinds of other people involved in the making and selling process with us! It's very rewarding to feel like you've helped someone tap into something within themselves, especially when achieving that simultaneously benefits a major charitable organization.
Editor's note: The opinions Michelle expresses, and the experiences she talks about are her own, and are not meant to represent the opinions or experiences of others in the fashion and entertainment businesses.
Photos Courtesy of Michelle Easter
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