My next blog is with someone who I have wanted to interview for the past year and is also someone who I have been a big supporter of since her Curvy Kate UK Star In A Bra Top 30 days, it is the winner of 2011 Lizzie Haines.
Welcome Lizzie, it has been just over a year since you were announced the winner, if you had to describe the last year in one sentence what would it be?
It’s been the best kind of rollercoaster!
Let’s go back to the beginning, how did you discover the SIAB competition and what was it that made you pick up that camera to take the pics?
I saw it on an online site where I buy bras. As they were advertising it in a place that I felt was made for me, I thought…why not me?
You were chosen to be in the Top 30 and made it to the Top 10 where you met half of the other ladies to have your makeover photo shoot in this glorious house. You looked like you were having a blast in the behind the scenes pics, what are some moments that stand out to you from that day?
It’s hard to name just one! The day as a whole was a wonderful experience and everyone there made it more so. I loved having my hair and makeup done, and really just being a part of something I’d not once pictured I would be.
What was your first thought when you saw the trampoline on set?
They got some great pics on that trampoline. Did you get to choose what lingerie sets you got to wear in the photos?
No they brought a variety of sets in our sizes and they were allocated to each girl. We had a good mix though and I fell in love with the underwear that day.
What’s not to love. Going into the Top 10 and meeting the other women were you confident with your chances to win or were you more so going with the flow with no expectations?
I was not confident in any way, shape or form! The girls were gorgeous and such a mix of beautiful bodies and characters. I didn’t feel that I stood out in any way from the rest of them and just wanted to enjoy it while I could.
I love hearing that after these photo shoots and meetings that the women remain close friends, are you still in touch with any of these lovely ladies?
I am indeed. I’m confident that I’ve made some friends for life.
Aww I hope they end up being friends for life. Moving on to the day of the announcement, where were you and what were you doing when you found out that you won?
I actually had a family bereavement two hours before the announcement and it was a very difficult time. Not the usual good news and celebrations, I was home alone and had far too much to take in that day.
Sorry to hear, it would have been extremely difficult to go through such a mixture of emotions. I know that you campaigned hard for your win, for the fans who don’t, what did you do to get your name out there for people to vote for you?
I started by badgering my mates until they literally hated me! I used all the options of social networking available. I contacted local press and radio. I also made a connection to my local football team, got a local backer, and had it announced at a game! I was trying to think outside the box and make it a local campaign.
That is some serious campaigning there but it paid off. Winning Star In A Bra meant that you got to feature in 2 seasons of Curvy Kate catalogues which are distributed to retailers world wide and also placed in a virtual catalogue on their website, first up was the Spring Summer 2012 shoot, how did you mentally prepare yourself for this one compared to the Top 10 shoot knowing this was for a catalogue?
To be honest I don’t think I did…I had no idea what to expect not having done it before so when that happens I always think it’s best to turn up with an open mind, have fun and be comfortable.
Were you nervous meeting the other Curvy Kate models and the rest of the CK crew?
As tentative and nervous as I was about the competition, I’m generally comfortable in meeting new people so that wasn’t the daunting part of it for me.
What was the best and worst part of the shoot?
The best part was feeling fabulous…because you really do! I know it sounds cheesy but there was no worst part, everyone made me feel so comfortable that I had no reason to dislike any of it.
Something for our Aussie winner to look forward to. Was it hard going to back to work once the shoots ended?
I work for myself and I love what I do because it’s different every day so NO! What Curvy Kate did was offer more variety and make my working week even better than it had been before.
You are an extremely talented woman showing that you can have beauty and brains, you run two websites www.doitmomma.co.uk and www.shootit.doitmomma.co.uk while also releasing regular blogs on the projects that you complete, where did the name ‘do it momma’ come from and tell the readers a bit about what you do?
Do it Momma was a combination of many different things. A change in where my life was going, a platform for creativity and a point of focus for what I actually wanted to be doing. I wanted to do what I loved, and it was all about just shutting up and DOING IT. Sounds simple, and it was really. I left London after nearly six years in order to pursue a simpler, happier life doing things I knew I was good at yet had let slip by the wayside while chasing the lucrative jobs in order to stay afloat. I got to an age where my priorities changed and I also felt a sense of urgency to do something for me. Do it Momma allowed me to do that. See what I did there?! It’s such an easy play on words and it worked for so many things, not just one thing because I’m a photographer, I sew and I also blog about food, life and all of my loves. It’s sort of confusing too! Go and check out the website if you’d like to know more!
Definitely check out those sites people! There are some people out there who are wanting to enter this year’s Australia Curvy Kate Star In A Bra comp but are a bit concerned that it may disrupt or effect their career, you are extremely busy and still working hard and doesn’t look like it hurt your career, what would you suggest to others to ease their mind about their jobs?
I would say see it as an opportunity and not as a change. It has not taken up too much of my time, only a couple of days out of the year and in the grand scheme of things that is manageable. Things only become an issue when you make them one, entering and winning the competition has been a once in a lifetime opportunity…I shuffle things around in order to make it work. I actually had a job on the weekend of the Paris trade show and I organised cover in order for me to go. I’d never get to do that again so why not?! I don’t want to live life regretting anything.
Your journey with Curvy Kate really started to roll after the catalogue shoot by attending Trade Shows and media appearances, what is it that you have to do at a Trade Show for those who have never been to one?
You simply have to model the product. Trade shows are for people in the business. Buyers, designers, press etc. It’s the place you launch new ranges, buy new stock and prepare for the upcoming seasons. It’s my job to show off what is new and what is available!
I reckon the Trade Shows is where your personality comes to life as the pics Curvy Kate release of the Trade Shows show you giving off this vibrant energy, it is great to see. Being a Star In A Bra model winner means you have had to travel with the brand as a representative, where has Curvy Kate taken you?
Not too far…Paris is the most exotic place, the other destinations have all been UK based.
Ever thought of dropping in to Australia to say hi, we’d love to have you here?
Would you mind all chipping in for the airfare?! If you do then I’d be there in a heartbeat!
Not such a bad idea, we should start a “Help Lizzie visit Australia” fund on the website to get you over here. Another item to put on your list of accomplishments was that you were nominated for an award on the http://www.100percentpeople.com website which was the “Plus Size Model Of The Year 2011″ category and took the win again, how did you feel about being nominated in a category that was up against ladies who belong to modelling agencies and some having world wide fame?
In a word…Ridiculous. I don’t really think there is any other word for it! I’m not sure how well known the competition is or of it’s standing even, yet the title itself and the support I gained is enough to humble me.
In my opinion I don’t consider you plus size but was very happy to vote for you because I believed in what you were doing, how did it feel winning another competition that was once again done by a public vote meaning that people obviously are a big fan of you?
It’s completely overwhelming. I’ve been overwhelmed by so many things this past year and it doesn’t seem to stop. The fact that you believe in me for instance when we have never met, it’s overwhelming! I’m so appreciative of the support that I have gained and the fact that people seem to connect with me. If there is one thing I wanted to do, it was to be myself, and to have people like that and to go so far as to vote for me is something I do not take for granted.
Well hopefully one day we will meet. It has been well documented that you were not a very confident person in the past, has your confidence changed since winning Star In A Bra?
It’s very difficult to describe my relationship with confidence. I’m a confident person in that I go out and I do what I set my mind to. I meet new people, I have a good time and I try to be the best that I can. Yet at the same time I constantly worry that the best I can be is just not good enough. I worry that I will never be a success. Every time I create a new piece of work or deliver to a client I look for feedback and gratification because I think the worst and I don’t believe that what I do is good enough. In the same breath I never thought my body was anything special. I look alright, but not great, I struggle with clothes, my style, how I feel, flitting between walking upright or hiding in the shadows. I don’t think that is unusual, I think a large majority of the population are outwardly confident but struggle with inner turmoil. I’m very much a chameleon and I think I hide that quite well behind a drive to succeed. It just makes me keep going. What Star in a Bra has done is gift me the ability to never pass up a good opportunity. It means I’ll never say no just because I’m scared and it means I have 100% confidence behind the decisions I make and I hold my head up high no matter what the outcome.
Very well explained and something a lot of women will relate to. I can definitely see a change in you from the Curvy Kate Spring Summer 2012 catalogue to the Curvy Kate Autumn Winter 2012 catalogue, your personality just blasts through and you seem like 2 different people, it’s like you now see yourself as a model and are ready to rock it, how was the Autumn Winter shoot compared to the Spring Summer one?
It’s strange that you should say that…because I prefer the first shoot and feel less of a model than I ever have! It’s very odd, and not ever something that I would complain about but I don’t think I even look like me in the second shoot. To my own eye I look uncomfortable in the photographs so it’s actually quite nice to know that you think differently! I’m not pursuing a career in modelling and doubt that I ever will, I’m at a stage in my life now where I want to start a family and secure my career that I’ve worked so hard to set up.
Wow that response shocked me that we both had such different outlooks on the shoots. You also got to meet our very first Australian Star In A Bra winner Julia McLean with this shoot, being a previous winner you would have been able to relate to her a bit, were you in many of the shoots together and how did you find her Aussie accent?
Julia is a total sweetheart and very beautiful. She was very enthusiastic, open and fitted right in. I felt like she was much more of a natural than I was and felt more intimidated by her than the other way round! Her accent was gentle, I loved it and she has a great bum! ;)
Out of all the photo shoots you have had, which is your absolute favourite photo?
It’s the one in which I am wearing the coral EMILY set. I feel like I look confident in that picture and that my body looks quite athletic, plus that set is very supportive and pretty. I just feel like that picture personifies the journey I have been on. I’m confidently looking at the camera and saying “here, this is me.”
That is a gorgeous photo and the set looks amazing on you. As well as being in Curvy Kate catalogues, newsletters, websites etc you have been in some other adverts and interviews, besides Curvy Kate websites where else have we seen you, I recall you taking some pics with a local radio station?
Ha! Yes, that was part of the PR campaign…I got the presenters of a local station to agree that if I won, they would strip down to their smalls with me and we would do our own little photo shoot! It was such good fun and it was great to have them on side. I’ve also popped up on the Daily Mail website, Best Magazine and Pick Me Up. I did a short stint on a TV shopping channel for plus size fashion but other than that it’s all been with CK.
Coming back to the competition, none of us are perfect, we all have our hang ups, some of the main ones that are popping up on the Curvy Kate Australia Facebook page is that stretch marks, tattoos and cellulite are stopping these wonderful women from entering, what is your opinion on this matter?
I think this competition helps abolish the fact that any of these things seem to matter to us. I’ve recently gotten engaged and I’m on a different diet in the lead up to the wedding so that I can look the best I possibly can for the big day…yet I’m also realistic. I’ll never get rid of the cellulite on my thighs, I don’t have the time or the dedication to do the amount of exercise it would take in order to do so! I also have a number of tattoos that didn’t make any difference to my entry or campaign. I think what people need to realise is that perfection does not exist. Curvy Kate go past the mock-up fake reality that we see in magazines and the expectations that are poured on to us by the media. They’re asking for women to represent other women in a fun and realistic way. There is more to life than worrying about the size of your thighs or the dimples on your bum. And life gives us those things, it takes it’s toll, women have babies, they have struggles, they have bodies that represent what they have been through in life. There is a wonderful picture circulating on-line at the moment about stretch marks and that they are tiger stripes and you bloody well earned them. It’s true, and it’s not a point on which we should judge ourselves, it’s a point on which we should pat ourselves on the back and let it go.
Amen to that, couldn’t have said it better myself. If you had to create the ultimate Curvy Kate model and spokesperson for the brand, what qualities would this model have?
Natural beauty, compassion and a fun sense of humour.
Has it been tough spreading the word about correct fitting sizes bras and teaching people that for example a 10DD and a 14DD are not the same cup size, in UK sizing that would be 32DD and 36DD?
Yes…it’s like fighting stereotypes. Some women just don’t want to accept the rules and go above a certain size or think for one second that they might have been wearing the wrong sized bra their entire lives.
It really is an up-hill battle, why do you think women still struggle wearing wrong sized bras and just put up with it?
Because there is a stigma attached to being anything above a D cup when the imagery in movies, songs and advertising etc is that D and above is HUGE which as you and I know…is bollocks!
Yep definite bollocks! In 2011 Curvy Kate won the “Full Bust Brand Of The Year” category at the UK Lingerie Awards, for a company that only started a few years ago it is a great reflection on them and that they are on the right path, what is it about them that you think they are doing right?
To start with they have a great team of people working on the brand, I think the balance is just right. Through the competition they have become approachable and they are inclusive of their customers and listen to what people want and need. And they make great bloody bras!
Indeed they do make bloody great bras. I imagine you would have a nice range of Curvy Kate underwear sitting in your draw, what is your favourite style and colour in the padded and un-padded bras?
I do have quite a bit yes! I’m a huge fan of the LOTTIE which means I also love the new GIA because it’s structured in the same way. I can’t wait to get my hands on all of them, I want every colour!
Now that your year is up and you have handed the torch down to this year’s UK winner Sophie Morgan, what is on the cards for you over the next year, are you still going to be involved with bras?
Sophie Morgan is such a beauty! As sad as it was to end the year I was over the moon to be able to hand over to her. I’m at a very busy point in work and life right now so have a lot of my own stuff to focus on yet I’m on hand when ever Curvy Kate need me, they’re a fabulous group of people and are supportive in every way! I’m attending a press night for them in a week or so and will do similar things whenever the opportunity arises. Other than that it depends on what lands in my lap really!
Our entry stage here in Australia is still open so there is still time for women to enter, what would you say to those who still need some encouragement to give it a go?
GO GO GO!
Any campaigning tips?
Think outside the box and be willing to have a little fun. It’s something different that catches people’s eyes…it’s always good to have a hook when doing PR.
Is there anything that an entrant shouldn’t do and should just avoid?
Make sure you know the brand, their ethos and what they are setting out to do. They present a fun healthy image and if I were an entrant I would avoid submitting any pictures that ere on the slutty side.
Simple but very wise advice there. Our main marketing slogan for this comp is “Show us your curves” which in my opinion makes sense because the brand is called “Curvy Kate” it is a great play on the brands words and sounds a lot more appealing than “Show us your body”, unfortunately there are some people confusing the word “curvy” with “plus size” and not realising that the brand is for a fuller bust and not just for a fuller figure but for all figures from sizes 6 to 22, our stunning Julia is taking some heat for being a petite curvy woman, how do you define curvy and being a different size to her, what would you say to the people who are having ‘curvy’ issues?
I think that there have been a lot of words used over the years with regards to plus size or larger figures and curvy is one of them. It has been deceiving and has meant that not everyone associates it with slimmer figures, which is quite simply a mistake. Breasts are curves, hips are curves, bums are curves. These curves come in all different shapes and sizes and no one person should be excluded if they fit within the parameter of Curvy Kate sizing. Lets not forget that they go from a 28D (6D) all the way up to a 40K and 44G (18K and 22G) and to look at a 28D (6D) bra you’d say it was teeny…but it’s still in there! What Curvy Kate are trying to do is encourage women from all parts of that spectrum to feel included, welcomed and beautiful. Someone at one end should never attack someone at the other for their differences or claim ownership of the word CURVY. Look up ‘curve’ in the dictionary and then try laying claim to it.
A fantastic sum up of what Star In A Bra is all about. Sadly we are coming to the end of the chat, any last words of wisdom to share with the world?
Yes, if you’re thinking of entering, be sure you have fun with it and always maintain a level of perspective.
In my mind you embody everything that Curvy Kate stands for and I think you are a perfect representative for the brand, I still remember seeing your Top 30 pics and thinking straight away “She has it” and I’ve loved seeing your cheeky and fun loving personality shine through in your photos and media appearances and I am so glad that I finally got the chance to interview you, thankyou for chatting :)
Thank you Brood! It’s been a pleasure. x
It’s not to late to enter, if Lizzie has helped change your mind about entering then click here to enter!