As a little girl, there was no doubt in my mind – I was going to be a model. I was skinny; my nicknamewas ‘String Bean Joleen’, but I was too thin – skin and bone, and I had to see doctors to try and help me put on weight. While I apparently had the body needed for a model, I was an adolescent girl from a broken home who found no comfort or parental understanding at that time.
When I became pregnant in high school, it seemed that my dream was over. My dad was beside himself and told me I would never graduate or amount to anything. I hated myself, my body, and my situation. The positive side of my delusional brain told me it’s going to be ok and that; hey I will at least gain some weight and maybe get some curves and be like the other girls and fit in. Wrong!
Unfortunately, I had a high-risk pregnancy, most of which was spent very scared and alone in a hospital bed. I gain 100lbs, stretch marks, cellulite and fat legs! I was now 210 pounds and completely shattered. It was the loneliest place I have ever been with only my teenage thoughts as company. I was miserable, devastated and self-love; well let’s just say that was nonexistent.
Time passes, wounds heal and I have found acceptance of my body. Lots of practice, patience, and prayer. I suddenly understood that I, like every individual on this planet, am unique, and that is the greatest gift. It was like the bulb finally switched on, once I accepted myself, and that nobody had a body like mine I felt powerful, and confident….YES! When I say powerful I don’t mean that in an egotistical way.
Five kids and a lot of chaos later, I am modeling! I have been told ‘No’ by so many people and industries, but it doesn’t stop me anymore – No one gets to decide my future and my happiness. It feels so good to be doing what I love with the support of my husband and my kids and most importantly God by my side encouraging me.