My Role Model: Cathy

March 9, 2010

An image from Cathy's portfolio by Felix Wong

My work to promote diverse media images is only half of the effort; the other comes from the women and men we represent who have the courage and confidence to re-define our visual culture with each flash of the camera and step on the runway. They serve as the ambassadors for this new movement of beauty that reflect and represents all of us — and their stories and positive energy inspire me daily. Given their important role in my work, I have decided to launch a new series on my blog that profiles our models, introducing you to the women and men behind the pictures. I have called the new series “My Role Model” because that is how I think of fashion models; they are role models that should empower us. In each post, I will introduce you to the person profiled, and then, in their own words, they will share  their experiences in life and motivations to model. Each person has a story; I want share their stories because they are as inspiring as the way their images change the wallpaper of our world.

I am delighted that the first role model is Cathy Iadinardi from Montreal. I met Cathy last year via social networking shortly after she was selected as a finalist for Canada’s Next Top Plus Model Search presented by Addition Elle. I was immediately captured by her confident and soulful spirit that I saw translated to her pictures, whether professional or candid with her friends and family. When I had the opportunity to meet her in Montreal, I saw her spirit in-person and immediately asked her to join my agency in Toronto. I am excited to work with Cathy; I know she will inspire people through her courage to listen to herself and speak her mind.

I’ve struggled the fluctuations of my weight for as long as I can remember. I started my first diet when I was 11 and worried about how I might lack acceptance from others because of the weight. At that age the seeds of self-hate are planted and it becomes very difficult to steer away without the proper guidance. Everyone woman in my family struggles with their weight, so weight loss and appearance was a huge presence in my upbringing. I made excuses for myself not to achieve certain goals, be more productive with myself. I stopped myself from enjoying life, doing things that a normal adolescent girl would do. I dreaded the changing rooms at department stores to the point that I avoided shopping malls all together. I struggled with binge eating disorder and by age 17 my weight escalated to 320lbs and found myself spiraling down as my self-esteem diminished. I lost myself in this whole process.

I finally woke up one morning and had enough. I felt in my heart I needed to do something drastic to get my life back. I booked a plane ticket to Africa when I was 19 and left the country for 6 months. The experience shaped and shifted my perception on life; it helped me grow as an individual and also helped me get my life back on track. I noticed right away how differently people’s mentality was. Strangers say hello to one another on the street, they were content with what little they have and another shocker… curvy women were PRAISED. Curves were a sign of health, wealth and sex appeal! Upon my return, I took it upon myself to lose weight and most importantly promised myself to approach the endevour it in a positive and healthy way. I made it a point to love myself and do things for myself that would feed my soul. I read beautiful books, took mediation and yoga classes, surrounded myself with positive people. After 3 years I dropped 100lbs.

I am now a healthy size 14/16 from being a size 26. I have never been happier; however I would be liar if I said I don’t battle with “fat girl demons” from time to time. They come and go, and its a price to pay while living in North America, to be bombarded and subjected to weight loss pills and gimmick on top of gimmick that is just brainwashing people, adolescent girls especially. Becoming a model has been an exciting and extremely fulfilling experience and has also assisted my journey to self-acceptance. Adolescent girls need more positive messages about weight, self-esteem and body image issues. North American women spend way to much time criticizing the way they look instead of using that precious time to feed their spirits with beautiful experiences and self exploration. Hopefully I can be a positive role model and aid in the healing of negative body image.

An image from Cathy's portfolio


One Response to “My Role Model: Cathy”

  1. keisha Says:

    Wow you are a real role model for all plus size and other girls out there.

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