I started as a model when I was 13 years old. I was only about 5’6. I started straight with bookings like Abercrombie & Fitch, Italian Vogue, Versace, Guess? & Ralph Lauren. I was very lucky to be with the right people, at the right time. After a few photo shoots, I found out I liked modeling. I never doubted I could make it, even if I wasn’t the “perfect model size”. Because there hadn’t been anyone telling me I couldn’t be successful because I was short. In fact, I only had people around me who supported me and believed in me luckily. I was good at posing in front of the camera and giving the right looks that the clients and photographers wanted. It turned out I was a good “seller” of clothes, makeup perfumes and other things. No one ever spoke about me being short, which you can’t really see in a picture anyway. So I did not worry about it and just enjoyed the opportunities that were given to me. I was young and still growing. The following years I grew about 3 inches. I got hips and I lost “baby fat”. I changed from a girl into a woman.A lot of models these days look like grownups, but in fact most of them are very young still . Their bodies are in development. Their hips are not fully grown, and sometimes they will even grow a few inches in height. Just like me. I am 5’8 now but my measurements have never been in the perfect zone.
Lonneke at the Savages premiere NYC 2012
Most models are part of the 1 % of the population that have so-called “right looks and sizes”. But everybody has problem areas, or are not confident sometimes, every one of them. And most pictures are photoshopped, which is great for the person in the picture because he/she will look better usually, and disguise that occasional pimple or dimple. They can change everything and anything. eye color, body shape, or remove some hair from your face without you knowing there was a hair in the first place! I can definitely recommend a photo shoot like that once a while, you will feel great about the perfect pictures. But it can definitely blur your vision of what is real and not.
Nobody is perfect. So do not try to achieve that, because it is quite impossible. What you see in the magazines and on TV is not reality. There is a big team of make-up artists, hairdressers, stylists etc involved to make me and the other top models look so gorgeous. And these experts do a great job!
But I also experienced those moments of stress when I felt like I did not fit in with other models I had to “compete” with. Those moments when I wanted to try to achieve a perfect body. Those moments when I started eating perfect meals and working out twice a day. It became an obsession for a moment and I knew right away that it was not healthy. Even models that say everything comes natural: I know how they feel sometimes being watched continuously and being a model 24/7. It is all about the way you look as a model and it is tough sometimes. A client picks you because of your strengths and looks. And if they choose someone else, they don’t want to go for your look. It is nothing personal. I had to print that in my brain over and over again, everytime I did shows, or was up for a major add campaign. I was always seen as a very confident girl, but even I got insecure a few times. Which I think is a normal reaction when you are put into a small waiting room with literally the most beautiful women on Earth at a casting. But worrying did nothing positive for me.So right at those moments I would immediately tell myself:” Lonneke, stop that and act normal you are perfectly good the way you are, focus on your strengths!” And I would relax because I knew what I could do and what I had achieved so far.
So at shoots, I looked at my body and would see the plusses and minuses. But I also do that in real life. I try to accentuate the good parts, and disguise the things I don’t like as much. By wearing the right clothes that emphasize my good parts, and by standing in the right poses on the set. This is the body for me in this lifetime and I intend to take good care of it.
So you can find your own perfect body shape too. Take care of your body in the best possible way: drink enough water, work out regularly and eat healthy. Junkfood is really bad, just like soda drinks, and drugs, smoking and liquor. It gives you a greater chance of gaining weight or getting a deadly disease. Or, even worse: You get wrinkles sooner! Try on many clothes until you find the clothes that look good on you. When I gained weight when I retired, some clothes looked much better on me than before. I did not expect that but I loved my new shape. Changes are good, when they are healthy changes. But I don’t get fooled by women who say they are “natural full-figured” or have “heavy bones” either. Truth is most of them really are fuller because of what they eat. It is just the way it is. Diet is the most important for your body, whatever shape you are. If you have a healthy diet with 3 nutritious meals, you are less likely to be underweight. And you are much less likely to be out of shape if the foods you eat are super healthy!
You are what you eat, So look at every bite as if you can identify yourself with it. I think I am more like a juicy organic apple,than french fries or a milkshake. Love your body. it is your vehicle every day. You do take good care of your car always, making sure it gets oil and a check up on time to make it work the best? Do the same with YOUR BODY.
Love yourself, and your body will love you back!