HOW ONE YOUNG WOMAN'S SHIFT IN SELF-PERCEPTION BROUGHT ABOUT THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN HER LIFE
When Penticton-born model, Veronika Lynn, suggests we meet at Bliss Bakery in Peachland, the irony is not lost on me: a model willing to be interviewed in a den of delectable temptation?
A cold, drizzly rain doggedly christens the autumn day when I pull up and rush from my car and into the shop’s warmth and richly scented welcome.
It's a full house on this bustling Saturday – Thanksgiving weekend – and I must exercise my strongest willpower not to give in to the array of deliciously designed baked goods calling from the glass case. If we mortal women struggle to sustain our svelte selves, how on earth can this goddess keep her heavenly figure?
"Coffee. Black," Lynn says, when I ask her what she's drinking. Ah, yes.
"Herbal tea for me," I say, having consumed my caffeine quota hours earlier.
As we settle into a cozy corner, more than Lynn’s lovely visage strikes me. There is a comfortable ease and open warmth to this young woman; a genuineness that defies the stereotype we sometimes hold of those who make their living from their looks.
At five-foot nine, size four, with platinum blonde hair that finally reaches her shoulders (months ago she was forced to cut it super short due to over processing), dark brown eyes and those full, juicy lips ladies pay for, she is a stunner. Yet somehow she is your every girl, too.
For one thing, the sigh she lets out at the sight of the freshly baked cinnamon buns dripping with thick, cream cheese icing is perhaps louder than my own.
"I'm home for Thanksgiving,” the now Vancouver-based model says, “and I'm going to enjoy it.” Like me, she’s saving herself for the feast.
In fact, Lynn welcomes the diligence it takes to stay on track with fitness, sleep, and healthy eating, while in the throes of working. The sacrifice makes downtime all the more delicious.
"I’m meeting scouts in a few weeks, so after this weekend it’s soups and salads for a few weeks, then I can ease up a bit. I make a nice profit and then take time off.”
Something else Lynn embraces? Her womanly figure. “It's your job as a model to sell clothing and yes, models for high name brands—Couture—are skinny but I'm interested in swimsuit and lingerie… I like being curvier.”
Admitting she tried the "model diet" earlier this year and got "really thin,” Lynn says the look just wasn't her. “I had short hair like a boy and I really wasn't attractive. I needed to put a little weight on.”
Now that's something you don't hear from many women.
IN SEARCH FOR HERSELF
Maybe that's because Lynn has lingered on the other side. She wasn't always a confident model strutting her stuff before the camera. For the duration of her high school years, she was significantly overweight, wondering if life was leaving her behind.
Her candid account of that time and newfound wisdom defy her youth.
“You’re only nineteen!” I gasp, tea scalding my tongue. "I know. I'm tall and sophisticated for my age," she says smiling. “Being a model made me grow up and it created a stronger backbone because in this industry people judge you by how you hold yourself. You have to be confident.” Something this ambitious young woman earned through experience.
“I reached 200 pounds when I started high school at Princess Margaret,” she admits. “I had done everything possible to lose weight before that. I wanted it, but I wanted it fast, so I tried the Mean Green juice fast… all kinds of crazes."
Lynn also tried stepping up her activity level with a gym membership and healthier eating but she says she was obsessed with the scale. A combination of factors, including rejoining a swim team, eating fresher, less processed foods prepared at home, limiting alcohol, and putting down her phone in favor of increased activity, helped her near her goal. It wasn't until she understood the road to slim was really a search for her best self, however, that the light went on for Lynn, and the final thirty pounds came off for good.
"When you're losing weight you have to take into account you're not doing it for anyone but yourself. At
some point it isn't about looking good for anyone else…I wanted to be my best for me…I was excited and full of positivity and that helped. When you finally find it within yourself, you can achieve crazy things.”
Crazy things like dropping eighty pounds and getting discovered by a modeling agency.
IT FOUND HER
Nearing her goal weight, Lynn was happy. She had a best friend who supported her; a boyfriend (now fiancé) who had long loved her exactly the way she was; and a wonderful family who encouraged her to excel. One day, not long after she turned eighteen, she was headed to work at her parents’ shoe store, Softy’s Shoes and Comfort in Penticton (the couple also run Goody Two Shoes in West Kelowna), when she popped into the Soulfull Project retail store.
"They mistook me for a model coming in for a casting they were holding. I nearly died because I was obsessed with America's Next Top Model!”
Going with the flow, Lynn had snaps taken and just like that, she was snapped up. “It found me!” she says. The store called her back to be part of their shoot while Déjà Vu Model Management (dejavumodelmgmt.com) signed her from Kelowna.
Fast forward eighteen months and Lynn is living in the big city and represented by the very prestigious Richard’s International Model Management (richardsmodels.com).
The sought-after young woman is quick to praise her agents for their know-how and no nonsense approach. “They are strict but keep me on my toes. Yes, they want you to have the right hip and waist measurement (industry standard dictates a 34-inch hip) but they don't want you to starve! There's a lot of criticism about eating disorders among models and yes, it exists, but my agency says eat! Eat meat! Eat lots of small meals, ditch the processed stuff, and eat healthy to stay healthy.
They want natural girls but looking a certain way…it's part of your job,” she says with a shrug. “It's what you sign up for.”
For someone who struggled for several years to be a certain size, Lynn appreciates the determination it takes to go for a goal and the immense satisfaction of achieving it.
“I'm now with one of the top agencies in Canada, getting international contracts, and looking to the future, including moving to a new country to work.”
Really, it’s not about the weight; it’s not about getting the boyfriend; it’s not even about landing the dream career. It’s about looking deep within and loving exactly what’s there and letting that out, sharing the inner beauty with the outer world, that has brought Lynn to this place in time.
“My message to young women: love yourself first before you look for love anywhere else.” - Veronika Lynn