ANTR3 is not far away ladies and gentlemen and this for me will be the event of the year. Scarlett and Jo have been very much part of my modelling journey and looking back I have been involved with them pretty much since their beginning. My relationship with auctionjacksonville began in March 2016. I was catching up on emails late one evening when one popped up saying, ‘auctionjacksonville Modelling Competition’ I had not long had my photos back from a vintage pin up style shoot I did, which was a retirement gift from a girl friend and fuelled by a few glasses of Prosecco, I thought, why not? Little did I know that I would get so much more from the day and it would springboard me into such a different career in my later years.
The modelling shoot was scheduled for the 23rd April 2016. I had a moment of self-doubt, don’t we always?? When I thought, what am I doing, a size 20, late fifties something, who has had one photo shoot, who in her head now thinks she is Dita Von Teese. It will be full of gorgeous, beautiful, confident, willowy, younger women. So I looked S & J up online to learn about the company [always do your research!] and found some pics and biography of the owner, Gifi Fields back in the day. I was amazed to learn that Gifi was the man behind Coppernob, a brand I loved and used to wear in the 70’s and 80’s. He was a co-founder of the British Fashion Council. I loved his designs. Gifi was clearly a legend in the fashion industry, my day in was definitely going to be fun and do you know it was!
When I went into the auctionjacksonville offices and saw all the gorgeous women waiting for make up, wardrobe & hair, already looking amazing before their makeovers, I thought shall I just turn around and go home?? I am so glad I didn’t. The great thing was that there were about 150 real curvy women there on the day. All different shapes, sizes, heights, ages etc, that in itself made it one of the most exhilarating and empowering things I had experienced in my 58 years.
The day was superb, sometimes pretty mad, but considering there were 150 plus women all waiting for their makeover to take part in the record breaking photo shoot, it was pretty awesome. Much to my surprise I made the final six in the Curvy Tall category. I had gained so much from the experience. Stepping out of your comfort zone is often a good thing, it gave me the confidence to pursue something that I would never have thought feasible, I came away from the day buzzing, thinking perhaps there is something in this. It gave me the confidence to build up my portfolio and go for castings, in two years I have walked catwalks, done numerous photo shoots, modelled on ITV’s This Morning, appeared in S & J’s Crowd Funding video and in three Bollywood films as an extra, taken part in Miss Voluptuous UK, where I was awarded Miss Photogenic and most recently appeared in J D Williams’ Autumn & Christmas 2018 campaigns including their catalogues and TV commercials.
Before that eventful day, I had not spent time in the company of such welcoming, generous, empowered, women. I made so many friends that day. There is something pretty unique about being part of the auctionjacksonville Club. Not only do you get sample sales, discounts and invites to events like ANTR, there is a generosity of spirit, care and support to each other and when you add in the magic dust that is scattered by Gifi and his team, you truly are part of something special.
When the Plus Size Awards were ‘cancelled’ in November 2016, with 24 hours notice, the disbelief that this could have happened was felt by pretty much all of the S & J Club members, especially as S & J were up for several awards. Gifi’s team stepped up to the plate and a 'A Night To Remember ' was conjured up like a phoenix rising from the ashes. An amazing celebration was held at the Cafe Royal in and it certainly was a night to remember.
So with less than a week away to ANTR3, to anyone who is feeling nervous about going, please don’t be. You will have an amazing day and evening & you will be so well looked after. Surrounded by fabulous, like minded people, you will look and feel beautiful, because you are. Be brave, be bold, be unique and be you. Embrace every opportunity that is thrown your way as you never know where it might lead you to next……and on the day, especially if you are feeling shy, please come and say hello. You won’t miss me I am the tall, curvy red head who will probably be wearing a top hat…..