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From Radiance Spring 1999

Off to the Prom

Leslie Reynolds Before: When I was first asked to be in the Radiance photos, I was thinking, Why me? Why a size 14 or above? But when Miss Debbie explained what theLeslie Reynolds before magazine was about and what we were going to do, I started thinking, How cool!

I think this experience with Radiance will help us feel better about ourselves. Life is too short to always worry about what other people think. I am the one who has to live with me. Miss Debbie said 65 percent of women are a size 14 and above. I think our society needs to realize this. It would make the world a better place. We need to help everyone love themselves no matter what their size. I want to show people that if I am happy with myself, they can be happy, too, whatever their size. I think we deserve to have a positive and good feeling about ourselves.

After: My modeling experience for Radiance was fun and exciting. It gave me an idea of what it's like for real models. I loved the update. My hair is still short but more stylish. I love my look with makeup. I can't wear it to school, but now I may give it a try on weekends and for special events. All in all, I loved the day. The women were great; they really cared about how we all were doing and tried their best to make us comfortable-which we were! Miss Debbie showed me that even though I'm not a size 2, I'm still a good person, and I'm still beautiful.

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By Deborah Powell

When I heard that the focus of Radiance's Spring issue was to be on teens, I thought, Why not do updates with teens who could model prom wear? (Evening dress is one of the fashion areas for teens of size that is most ignored by the clothing industry.) So I flew to Baltimore, my childhood town, and I contacted the principal of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School, Kathy Sipes. She loved the update idea, and enthusiastically gathered six students for me to meet. I told them what we wanted to do and shared with them the philosophy of Radiance.

On the Tuesday before our photo shoot, the girls were treated to a day in the salon, complete with a new hairstyle and a test run on each of the girl's makeup.

As for the dresses, I wanted the girls to be in colors and styles that brought out their personalities. And I wanted them to be comfortable. If a garment doesn't fit right or if a color isn't right, you just don't see that glow! The day of the shoot, all the girls had that beautiful glow. I felt like a fairy godmother getting them ready for one of many dances in their futures. It was absolutely amazing and wonderful to see them in school clothes and then a half-hour later in prom clothes! The girls laughed a lot, and they couldn't help looking at themselves in the mirrors. I just wish I could give this opportunity to all girls.

Danielle Porter Before: It's Danielle PorterBefore.jpg (11752 bytes)great that the fashion industry has finally wised up and begun to cater to an ignored consumer. We've been over- looked too often. I'm excited and affirmed when I think of the possibility that my picture could appear in a national magazine.   I have never had anyone but myself fighting for who I am. I might be fat, but I refuse to be deluded by myself or others. I am looking forward to being in Radiance and showing how proud I am of myself.

Danielle PorterAfter: What a wonderful day! I was made to feel very special, that this was my day. My hair and makeup is definitely more daring than what I do myself, but I love it. In my blue silk dress with my hair and makeup done to perfection, I feel Radiant!

Krista Pellegrini Before: Who, me, a model? I am just under five feet. I am not rail thin. Me, a model? I'll get a new hairstyle for free from a top stylist! My makeup will be done by a professional makeup artist! My dress will be picked out for me in a color and style for my coloring and body. This sounds too good to be true. Me, a model? Why not!

Krista Pelegrini before

Krista PellegriniAfter: I am radiant and beautiful. This was one of the best days of my life. I was transformed from my everyday school look to a princess ready for the prom. I was so nervous getting my hair cut: I've have the Friends look for years, and letting anyone cut my hair scares me. Well, now I can't help looking in the mirror. Is that really me? I love it! I hardly ever wear dresses. Now they are definitely in my future! I used to wish I were smaller, but after seeing myself in this look, I realize it doesn't get much better than this. I am proud of me.

Lindsey Zulauf Before: I think showing our pictures in Radiance will help give young women who can't wear small sizes a chance to see clothes that are cool and in style. It gives them a chance to live.

When I shop, I can never find a style I like in my size.

Lindsey Zalauf before What fashion people don't realize is that they cater to people who are built like sticks, when in reality, there are more people size 12 and above. This is why I'm pleased Lindsey Zulauf.jpg (47653 bytes)to model for Radiance. It makes me feel better, and I'm happy someone out there is actually taking action on this topic. I am happy to have been chosen to model prom dresses, because it's something I've always wanted to do and now I don't have to wish I was as tall as a skyscraper and resembling a twig. I'm glad I can feel good about myself now.

After: Getting to see myself in a different way has been the most memorable experience of my life. It was fun to get dressed up and have my hair done, but what really got to me was the makeup. I can honestly say, without feeling conceited, that I looked beautiful. I have never felt beautiful ever before. The whole modeling experience not only allowed me to see a different side of myself, but it also boosted my confidence.

Group Shot Before

Clockwise from left at Mt. Carmel High School in Baltimore:   Leslie Reynolds, Danielle Porter, Angela Griffith, Linsey Sulauf, Jamie Brannock, and Krista Pellegrini, before their prom updates.

Angela Griffith Before: When I was asked to take part in this photo shoot, I was sort of shocked, you could say. I was shocked that I was asked, since I am overweight. After all, magazines don't want big people: they want people who are size 2, 4, 6, and occasionally an 8. After the shock factor wore off, I was excited and enthusiastic. For once, those of us who make up the majority of the population were being offered to do something that for a long time was almost against the rules.

Angela Griffith beforeThe day that Deborah Powell came to my school, where I am a senior, I was filled with exhilaration from head to toe! I was getting a chance to do something I never thought I would do: model! Deborah told us all about how she got started and what this Radiance feature is all about, and the excitement continued to build. Hairstyle, makeup, and a prom gown made just for us!

As I think about the day of the photo shoot, I wonder if this is something I would be interested in pursuing in the future. My parents are behind me all the way, encouraging me to do what I feel is right. One reason I accepted the offer is simple: a photo shoot for a magazine where women who are larger are given a boost of self-esteem is an opportunity that may come along once in a lifetime.

After: The photo shoot was fun, and it gave me a chance to feel even more comfortable with myself.  I love the way my hair was cut and styled. I did tell them not to go short, so I didn't give over complete control.   Next time, I will!

Angela Griffith

The Girls and
Their Gowns

By Deborah Powell

Here's what I had in mind when I chose designs for the girls:

For Jamie: In Jamie, I saw drama: a girl who wants to be noticed. I put her in a bright coral dress to show off her ivory skin tones. The scoop neck was great for the shape of her face, and the way the dress dropped straight from her bustline gave her a longer look. Her gown was a white silk underdress with a melon silk overlay and chiffon gathered straps.

For Krista: Krista is petite, with warm skin tones. I wanted to see her in a soft apple-green color to bring out the beautiful shades in her hair. Her gown was a citrus silk charmeuse bodice with a charmeuse and chiffon bias-cut skirt. We made the dress not quite full length, with the line from the bust giving her a longer look.

For Angela: I saw Angela as soft and flowing, a heroine in a romance novel. I chose a scoop neckline to go with her rounder face, and a light, flowing dress to highlight her femininity. Her gown was a silver silk underdress with an iris silk-chiffon overdress with bias inserts.

For Lindsey: In Lindsey, I saw glamour-and the personality to carry it off. Lindsey said she usually wore her clothes baggy: she didn't think before of wearing something to show off her body! The dress I chose shows her curves and she loves it! Her gown is a silver-and-pink iridescent velvet halter gown.

For Leslie: I wanted Leslie in a dress that she would be comfortable in, since she's on the shy side, and that would flatter her body type. Her shoulders are small, so the V-neck of her dress opened that area up a bit. The rest of the dress is soft and flowing for comfort. Her gown has a silver-and-pink velvet bodice with a pink silk charmeuse and silk chiffon bias-cut, high-low hemline.

For Danielle: Danielle is both sporty and feminine. I wanted to see her in a deep blue to highlight her skin tone. Her gown is a periwinkle silk charmeuse tank dress with silk chiffon ties and a full-length shawl. To show off her waist, we added chiffon ties that could be pulled back to define her shape.

I usually don't wear makeup, but now I might start. The gowns were gorgeous, the makeup was superb, the hair was absolutely ravishing, and the ambience was out of this world! To say the least, we looked stunning!

The experience of being a model is something that occurs only in dreams for those of us who aren't that perfect size 4. If this is a dream, please don't wake me up!!

Jamie Brannock before

Jamie Brannock Before: When I was first approached to be in Radiance magazine, I wasn't exactly sure how to react. I knew it was a great opportunity, but when I agreed to pose, it meant I had to finally admit that I was not a size 6. It's difficult to be a teenager and a larger size. I feel I must always have acceptance from others. I've tried for a long time to lose any weight I could. Even now, I still have difficulty looking in the mirror. I hope this experience will help instill confidence in myself. I think this will help me to stand tall and let people know that even though I am not a size 6, I am still beautiful. I hope on the day of the shoot I feel like I am someone special-and every day afterward. I am glad to have had this Radiance experience. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have had the chance to become . . . Radiant!

After: How did I feel being a model for a day? I feltJamie Brannock.jpg (37073 bytes) great! I felt so special and beautiful. At first I felt terrified to have someone take control of my hair. But it turned out great! I now have a more dramatic look, which goes with my personality. I felt so beautiful, having all this attention lavished on me. I am so thankful for the wonderful group of women who did this for me. The dress was a color and style I would never have picked off the rack, but when Debbie said just give it a try, I did, and I was totally surprised at how wonderful it looked.

As for the shoot, I wasn't nervous at all. I didn't have too much time to think about having a camera on me. I just laughed and had fun. I just acted naturally. Okay, I might have posed just a little bit. This was a great experience. I would love to try it again. Thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Group Shot

Teen Updates: Credits

Clothing: Gowns by Megan Rosnenhart of Designer at Heart, Menlo Park, CA, 650-330-0714
Shoes: Hess Shoes, Towson, MD
Photos: Photos by Earl Towe and Deborah Powell
Hair: Lola Jones, Inc;, Baltimore, MD
Makeup: Karen Backhaus, Baltimore, MD
Location: The Belvedere Hotel in downtown Baltimore
Update producer: Deborah Powell, for Radiance.

Remember, this is only a taste of what's inside the printed version of the magazine!



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