Have you ever been so excited for something and then in an instance that excitement is gone? I had that exact feeling last Tuesday night. Let me tell you the story of that experience and how it really solidified for me why I do what I do.
As I have grown my blog and influence, one of the platforms I have stood firmly in is Size Inclusivity. It is my goal to help empower women that no matter what size they are or what they look like, that they feel confident in whatever they are wearing. I have been afforded so many opportunities over the past year and a half since I started Living Alexis to promote this. I have collaborated with amazing brands. I have met so many new people. I mean I was on the cover of a freakin magazine! So when I heard about the upcoming casting for the Harbor East Fashioneasta show, I knew I wanted to audition. Not because I think of myself as some great up and coming “Model” but because I knew if I did the show I would make it a little more inclusive. It had been a few years since I had attended the event but I can recall not seeing many plus size models so I jumped at the opportunity to make that runway a little more curvier.
I was nervous for the audition but also excited. I went to CVS to print out my pictures and headed to the studio but those nerves came back full force when I walked into the studio to see some really beautiful, tall, and skinny people. But because it was me, I pushed past those feelings and felt much more self assured when the producer and casting assistant made me feel at home. I left feeling like, “Oh yeah. I definitely got that.”
A couple weeks later, I received news that I was cast in the show. I was stoked. I called my mom to tell her about it. I texted my friends. I posted about it on my Instagram. Since I mentioned the audition I wanted to let people know to expect to see me there. It felt like another thing I could check of my proverbial Bmore Blogger Bucket List.
So last Tuesday night, I headed over to the shop that I would be walking for to do a fitting. Now I have only done one other fashion show in my life (Well two if you count the church back to school fashion show), so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I walked into the shop and was greeted by two shop employees. I said, “Hi. I’m Alexis and I’m here for my fitting.” The one reached over to a rack of dresses and said, “Great. this is what you will be wearing.” She held up a beautiful gown that I could almost immediately tell, would not fit me. But I tried to keep my excitement up and said great and headed towards the fitting room.
When I got inside before I even took my clothes off, I reached inside the dress to find the tag. It read 18, which is my “true” size. But this my friends, was bridal and since I work in the wedding industry and have watched pretty much every episode of “Say Yes To The Dress”, I know that bridal gowns run small. Like two sizes small. When I filled out the sheet at the audition they asked for my size. So why on God’s green earth would they pull this dress for me?! But still I stripped down to my undies and strapless bra and stepped into the dress…that I couldn’t get up past my hips.
I called out to the shop workers to let them know the dress wasn’t fitting. My immediate thought was, Oh they will just bring in a bigger size or a different dress in a bigger size. That’s the idea of a fitting right? To see what fits you. The workers came into the fitting room sans another dress. Instead they gave me a “look.” A look that made me feel all kinds of fat and uncomfortable. They then suggested we try putting the dress on over my head. I stood there as two woman tried pulling the dress on me. I could feel my face getting hot and the tears coming, but I was determined to not let my upset show.
When that approach did not work, one of them said to the other, Oh we should have the next size up at the DC store. But the other worker shot her a look. I knew immediately that there was no “next size up.” I knew immediately that there was no other option for me to wear. But I went along with their little charade and said that was fine and I would wait to hear from them the next day about the dress. As I walked around the corner to my car, I could feel the tears starting to fall from my eyes. When I sat in my front seat, I cried. I cried one of those you’ve been punched in the gut, gutteral cries. I was mortified. I was humiliated. I was hurt. How could I be cast for a show and they not even have another option of an outfit, I could wear? How would I tell people that I wasn’t doing the show because the dress didn’t fit me?
I called my sister and she tried to appease me the best she could, as sisters always do. But I wasn’t being rational. All I could focus on was how fat I must be that the store didn’t even have a dress for me. No matter what anyone said, I was deep in this self loathing hole of hate. I got home and didn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror. But I tried my best to push the negative thoughts out of head and hold on to the hope that maybe, just maybe they were being honest and they had another dress for me at the DC store.
The next day I received news, that there wasn’t another dress. That I wouldn’t be walking in the show. I was offered to do some Behind the Scenes stuff but I declined. I was embarrased. I didn’t want to hang out with the models and know that I couldn’t be one. I couldn’t remember a time recently that I was as sad as I was last Wednesday. All of that confidence and self love that I try to stand firm in everyday was gone, just based on this encounter. I hated how I felt but I hated even more that I allowed people to make me feel that way.
The next day I received another call. That they were still looking for a dress for me if I wanted to participate. I declined again. The damage was done. I knew in my heart of hearts I couldn’t participate in anything that made me feel less then. I know that I am beautiful. And even though I may not be a size 2, I know I am still a damn good model. And once I pushed past those feelings of humiliation and embarassment, I was filled with feelings of determination. I will work my hardest to use this experience and my Platform to make sure other women never feel the way I did leaving that salon last Tuesday night. I will work to create a space where all woman (and people) feel confident and comfortable and accepted if they are a size 2 or a size 22. Damn, maybe I will even currate a fashion show myself!
So really looking back at all I have gained from going through this, I am glad it didn’t fit.
Photo By: @kriswillphotography