Why I’ll Never Be “Skinny” Again

This week, plus size diva Tess Holliday (Munster) made modeling history as being the largest model to be signed to a major modeling agency. Her beauty and talent as a model is what caught the attention of Milk Model Management, and how refreshing is it to see the fashion industry including a more diverse talent pool. Beauty is beauty, after all!

Go Tess!

Go Tess!

When I learned of Tess’ historic signing, I couldn’t help but think if only she and other models like her had been around when I was a struggling young professional actor/dancer, I would have not gone through the madness I did.

When I was a size 8/10 (pictured below), I kept getting small character parts and not being taken seriously as a dancer (I thought).

Size 8 10

As a result, I convinced myself I needed to be skinner to get better roles.  So over the course of a year, I upped my workouts, cut sugar and a lot of fat out of my diet, and got down to a size 4.

Size 3 4 2

Everyone noticed. Suddenly I started to be seen as a leading lady/sexpot type for casting. However, I constantly lived every day in fear that the weight would come back. If the weight came back, would all the attention and roles go away? Convinced that gaining weight would ruin everything, food became the enemy. So I decided if a size 4 was good, a 2 must be better. That’s what the leading ladies in Hollywood wear….

At the height of my madness.

At the height of my madness.

During this time, I was living on coffee, water, protein bars and plain veggies. I’d get up at 6 am and run for 45 minutes before starting the day, then come home and work out again (this time including hundreds of crunches). I’d then go out at night, dancing until the wee hours and drink a lot of booze. If I didn’t follow my food/exercise regimen EXACTLY, I was a failure and add “punishment exercises” the next day.  Little did I realize how miserable I was.

The tipping point came when I went on an audition for a musical. The part called for a lot of dancing, and I was ready. After rocking the dance combinations, those of us who “made the cut” stood in a line before the choreographer and director.

They looked at each of us, quietly whispering (not that quiet, mind you) comments as they took note.

“Good execution, pretty. Need to hear her sing again.”

“Not sure yet. Maybe.”

These kind of comments escaped their little bubble, making all of us anxious. Then, they glanced at me.

“Really good…a bit thick, though.”

I was stunned. After we were dismissed, I couldn’t get the words out of my ears.  I was a size 2, and losing my mind trying to stay that way.

Devastated, I threw out my scale.

Flash forward several years, my weight has fluctuated a bit. After my back injury, I became the heaviest I’ve ever been, but you know what? I don’t care.

I’ve been gradually become more active, focusing on getting my strength & flexibility back. I’ve cut out soda and drink more water. I try to watch the amount of sugar I eat. All I want is to feel healthy. I don’t give a shit what size that will be. No one will ever determine my self-worth again.

So here’s to you, Tess. Thank you for showing us all that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Fashion to Figure jacket,  H&M sweaterdress (as a top), Forever 21 Plus skirt.

Fashion to Figure jacket,
H&M sweaterdress (as a top),
Forever 21 Plus skirt.

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

Love necklaces? Enter my Origami Owl Giveaway!

Hello all! It’s been a week since I’ve posted, and I apologize for the delay. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how crazy busy and stressful it’s been, but there was a happy result (more on that later!). Anyway…here’s what I wanted to show you lovelies!

LOVE this necklace!

LOVE this necklace!

I just received my personalized necklace from Kelley Hurley of Origami Owl! I love the charms she included!

Origami me 2

Check out the shoe, music note, kitty paw, Eiffel Tower, theatre mask, lighting bolt, and USAF banner!

When you shop Origami Owl, you can design your own “Living Lockets,” bangles, and watches! That’s pretty amazing!

Just think of the cool gifts you can make for the holidays!

AND….you can win this super cute Living Locket with the shoe!!!

SO pretty!

SO pretty!

Don’t you love the container and the satin necklace holder?!!

Origami box

THIS GIVEAWAY ENDS OCT 31, and it’s INTERNATIONAL! Click on the “Rafflecopter” link on the left!

So…switching gears, I directed a play which was entered in the 2014 Army EUCOM One Act Play Festival, and we took home NINE awards, including this lovely trophy for 2nd Place Best Director! I was incredibly stressed out getting this show ready for competition, and we had a lot of problems popping up that threatened to shut the production down, but we all hung in there and performed our hearts out!

I am so proud, and relieved:)

Best Director Mel

Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes…

xoxo

Melanie.

Cross Fingers and Break a Leg!

Guten Morgen! Wie geht’s?

It’s another balmy German morning, and it’s an early day for me. A play I’ve directed, a one act called Interview,” is going to compete this weekend at the 2014 US Army Europe Festival of One Act Plays! Tonight is our last rehearsal for final “tweaking”  before performing on Saturday, and then Sunday we’ll see if we win some awards!

It’s been a very busy few weeks, to say the least. We opened our play last weekend, I taught a Musical Theatre workshop Tuesday night, I have my usual vocal teaching schedule, I’m ushering tomorrow for the Festival (plus loading in our set), plus all the festival events this weekend…whew! No rest for the wicked, as they say!

I’ve been so busy, that I forgot about these pics the Hubby took of me during our trip to Luxembourg a month back! It still blows my mind that it only took an hour and a half to drive to another country! Luxembourg is definitely tiny, but a very pretty area. The people speak French, German, and English, so communication was very easy. I definitely enjoyed seeing shops by Marina Rinaldi, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace!

Drool.

Drool.

Shiny things!

Shiny things!

But alas, my budget only allows for window shopping! However, I could still look fierce while drooling!

Lux outfit

Loving my new faux leather skater skirt from Forever 21 Plus! Love it? Buy it here.

With my lion friend!

Who says gray is boring? Toughen it with a moto jacket!

Lux selfie

With a little luck, the next time I write a post, I’ll be showing off some trophies! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and DON’T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner is going to LOVE wearing a necklace from Origami Owl!

Just click on my giveaway banner to the left!

Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xx Melanie.

 

 

 

A Reunion in Paris, 10 Years in the Making

Bonjour, my dear readers! Today I am feeling a bit under the weather, so I’m chilling out and looking through pics from last month’s Paris adventure, so I thought I’d share a favorite moment it with you.

I love the signs in Paris.

I love the signs in Paris.

I think I’ve already shared that I have a background as a professional actress (still do), and one of the best parts about acting is making many friends over the course of a production. About 10 years ago, I did a touring production of My Way, a Tribute to Frank Sinatra for The Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia. Working/living with the same dozen people for six months will either make you  great friends or sworn enemies, but happily I am still friends with all the cast to this day.

And who would’ve guessed that I would have a reunion with Jessie, my cast mate, in PARIS 10 years later?!!

Cue the song: “It’s a Small World After All….”

She and her husband moved to the City of Lights this past year, and with the magic of Facebook, we re-connected and had a wonderful double date night! Jessie and I traded touring tales with our hubbies, devoured delicious French cuisine, and made plans for our next get together.

They are a wonderful couple, and we can’t wait to hang out again.

Paris Jessica

The weather changes quickly in Paris, so I decided to keep it casual, comfortable, and chic!

Paris jacket 1

Paris jacket 2

NEWS!!! On another note, I just did my first GUEST BLOG! I want to thank Jasmine of FOR A REAL WOMAN for asking me to write, and I appreciate the opportunity so much. Check out my picks for affordable and stylish plus size wear here!

Until next time –

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

WHAT I WORE:

Moto jacket: FASHION TO FIGURE

Gold necklace: FASHION TO FIGURE

Cranberry T shirt: H &M

Black shorts: TJ MAXX

Gold flats: AK ANNE KLEIN

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The Show Must Go On!

Ralph Lauren BW

Does it get any better than having a great event to wear your foxiest dress and perform in front of hundreds of people? That’s what I did last night at the 19th annual TOPPER Awards.

Toppers 2014 trophies

What is TOPPERS? It is the yearly recognition of excellence in military community theatre, with awards that range from “Best Prop Design” to “Best Debut Performance” to the coveted “Best Actor/Actress” trophies, to “Best Play” and “Best Musical.”  Roughly a dozen theatres from around Italy, Germany, and Belgium compete and cheer each other on. It is one GREAT time!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

I’ve had the honor to perform twice as a “Toppers Singer,” which involves learning six songs with choreography. Miraculously, we rehearse only about a handful of times before 11 of us get in front of our peers, either to be cheered or silently judged. Thankfully, we all passed the test and received enthusiastic applause. WHEW.

Remembering words/movements aside, I sprained my knee (yep, the one that’s been giving me trouble!) the day before performing!

So, what do I do? I tape it up, add a painkiller cream (courtesy of fellow singer Annie), and go out there and give it all I’ve got. YES, it hurt like hell to do some of the movements, but as every performer knows, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Toppers 2014 medley

Toppers 2014 slow song

Toppers 2014 broadway

Toppers 2014 performing

Fashion wise, I couldn’t work any cute heels, however, I did get to wear this fierce Lauren by Ralph Lauren gown I got on sale from Nordstrom. LOVE the lace and sequin detail!!! (There is a sexy side slit, but my knee is wrapped, so I didn’t show that off)

Ralph Lauren gown

Ralph Lauren 2

After the last award was handed out, pictures taken, and cake consumed, the Hubby and I ended our evening at an “after awards” party, where MORE drinks and laughter followed. 🙂

I’m so grateful for this experience! Hopefully, if I do get to go to Toppers next year, I won’t be injured!

Love, laughter, and shoes:)

xx Melanie

WHAT I WORE (and where you can find it!):

Dress –  LAUREN BY RALPH LAUREN

Necklace – BIJOU BRIGITTE

Flower ring – CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Crystal studs – SWARVORSKI

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Oh Oscar! The Fab and the Drab

After spending a full day off of social media, the Hubby and I got to watch AFN’s (Armed Forces Network) replay of the 2014 Oscars. I’ve been watching the Oscars ever since mom and dad let me stay up when E.T. was nominated for Best Picture (ok, I am dating myself), but the point is, it’s an annual tradition. As an actor, I have a special appreciation for all the work it takes to put a production together, plus the training and focus needed to create a memorable character.

But who are we kidding? We also watch the Oscars for the fashion! So, here are the looks that caught my attention:

1. Meryl Streep. Her look is getting mixed reviews, but I love it. She knows who she is, and knows that she is not a mermaid gown/rhinestone/corset kind of gal. She likes to keep her look simple and refined, plus she dresses right for a woman who is in her 60s, yet she looks sexy. Meryl can do no wrong in my book!

Marvelous Meryl! 18  Oscar nominations.

Marvelous Meryl! 18 Oscar nominations.

2. Sandra Bullock. This is how 49 is done. She is in fantastic shape and looks gorgeous in this Alexander McQueen gown. She is another woman who looks completely comfortable in her skin, and her acting chops are so spot on (her moment in Gravity when she talks about the death of her daughter got to me). I want to be her when I grow up.

Fabulous Fortysomething Sandra!

Fabulous Fortysomething Sandra!

3. Cate Blanchett. She wowed me in this Giorgio Armani gown. Jokingly, she told Ryan Seacrest that it was “heavy, but I love it!” I haven’t seen Blue Jasmine yet, but I know she must be amazing. She is the heir apparent to Meryl Streep.

Best Actress, 2014!

Best Actress, 2014!

4. Angelina Jolie. I was happy to see her in a color besides black, which tends to be her signature. She looked amazing; glowing, even. This Elie Saab gown brought out a joyful and serene side that we don’t get to see from her very often. Congrats to her on her Humanitarian Oscar as well!

That amazing bead work!

That amazing bead work!

5. Jennifer Garner. A mom, actress, and wife to Ben Affleck has got it going on in her Oscar de la Renta fringe dress. I chose this pic to show off the great movement! I like how she kept the rest of her look simple and polished.

Work it, girl!

Work it, girl!

6. I also loved Lupita Nyong’o’s Prada dress. She broke my heart in 12 Years a Slave, and she definitely stole hearts with her beautiful Oscar acceptance speech! I just wish I could carry off a plunging neckline. However, this look is not for the busty girl!

Very well done, Ms. Nyong'o!

Very well done, Ms. Nyong’o!

Ok…so a few looks I was not nuts about. Basically, whenever an actor is trying too hard with fashion, it just looks wrong. I know this is typically a stylist’s fault, but the actor has the final say (I would think!).

This is not to bash the actors ( a la Fashion Police -I’ll leave that to Joan & Co.), just some things to consider when dressing.

Julia Roberts – there is something kind of cheap looking about this lace overlay. I’m sure it’s not, but it’s the applique in the center that’s throwing it off.

She's too gorgeous for this dress.

She’s too gorgeous for this dress.

Anna Kendrick. She’s very talented, but it seems that every time she is at an event, she’s wearing something that doesn’t bring her out. The dresses usually wear her, not the other way around.

Way too much going on here.

Way too much going on here.

Liza! She is a legend, and the ultimate entertainer. But for someone who still has celebrated legs in her late 60s, I have no idea what is going on here. Plus, her blue streaks are just saying “trying to be hip.”

Love her...but...

Love her…but…

Finally – I did not love Charlize Theron’s Dior gown. It looked heavy and too severe, plus the top of the bodice seems very uncomfortable with the points! She is a stunning woman, but not a fan of this dress.

A little too "costume-y."

A little too “costume-y.”

Overall, as someone who loves wearing black, many of the black dresses this year just did not work!

Here’s the closest I’ll get to an Oscar – my 2013 win for Best Actress in a Comedy at the TOPPERS (military community theatre awards)

"They like me! They really like me!"

“They like me! They really like me!”

 

What were YOUR favorites? Dresses that dulled you? Let me know!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

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Going Retro for Date Night at the Theatre!

The hubby and I decided to celebrate our Valentine’s Day a day late by taking in some theatre! I’ve been active in theatre practically my whole life, and one of my favorite things to do (besides performing!) is to watch friends rocking it onstage!

We’re very lucky to have a great community theatre program in our military, and the Hilltop Theatre’s production of “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” (in Baumholder, Germany) was wonderfully silly! I love the 1940s fashion and music anyway, so it was a double treat for me.

I love this Charlotte Russe ring! Looks way more expensive than it is!

I love this Charlotte Russe ring! Looks way more expensive than it is!

This theatre knows how to treat the patrons right! They offered free mocktails (which hubby and I both enjoyed), plus a regular bar (for a price, of course!). During intermission, I toasted the show’s success with Betty Boop in the lobby:)

Enjoying my Limeaid mocktail and posing with Betty!  Dress, Forever 21 Plus.

Enjoying my Limeaid mocktail and posing with Betty!
Dress, Forever 21 Plus.

Check it out…I am wearing a short sleeved dress! As I promised myself earlier this year, I wasn’t going to hide under sweaters and jackets. My arms may be bigger, but they are strong.

Boop boop a doop!

Boop boop a doop!

The retro feel of this show brought out some great fashion looks! Check out Oscar, fellow thespian, in this very cool mix of black/yellow/white! I LOVE her jacket with the vest detail!

This is one sharp lady! Great haircut, too!

This is one sharp lady! Great haircut, too!

I’ve been in a “reworking my closet” mood and I almost forgot about these great buckle heels from Target I bought 6 years ago! Perfect for pairing with my new peplum dress from Forever21 Plus  (link has a slightly different style, but still hot!) and rhinestone headband from Claire’s Accessories.

Six year old shoes still looking good! Very comfortable, too!

Six year old shoes still looking good! Very comfortable, too!

blk sparkle headband

Need an idea for date night? Take your sweetie to the theatre! It gives you a chance to dress up and support the arts! Cheers.

My "gypsy" silver purse with silver and white beadwork I picked up in Paris last year.

My “gypsy” silver purse with silver and white beadwork I picked up in Paris last year.

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