Alexa | How becoming a plus size model brought her confidence.
Meet Alexa | Size: 12 - Age: 26 - Location: NYC - Hometown: Tampa, FL - IG: @alexabouchard - Career: Model - Secret talent: She has the voice of an angel.
I know Alexa through a mutual friend and have fangirled over her photos for a while now. She is a beautiful and genuine person, with the actual sweetest voice ever - whether singing or talking. Read below to learn more about her journey finding her confidence, what happens when you text the wrong person, and see 2 new fall outfits I created for her from her closet!
What is your body story?
I never weigh myself, my body is different every week. I just know when a specific pair of jeans fits me I'm in good shape. Moving to New York I gained a lot of weight and I have a stack of jeans in my closet that don't fit. I used to be a size 8 in college. I have all of these negative ideas in my head, like gosh I used to be 'this' thin and I looked so good, but at the same time I am getting paid a lot more now that I am bigger. My agents are always saying make sure your hip size doesn't go down & make sure you don't lose too much weight. It is completely 50/50 - some days I focus on the fact that I used to be thin, yet I still find myself attractive at the weight I am at now. I think the biggest thing that has really helped me overcome my negative self image is working out and feeling really strong. I used to just be super curvy but now my curves are toned, and I am not afraid to show my stomach or my arms; my problem areas. I have good days and bad days, like everyone.
It is a wonderful time to be a plus-size model! It sounds like that has really helped your confidence grow?
I am happy and proud that I can be part of this change in the fashion industry and have a platform to show young girls that they can be who they are and still be healthy.
Do you feel like you are more insecure now, or when you were in college?
I am more confident now then when I was a size 8. I was in musical theatre school and my teachers literally sat us down senior year and said - "you have this many months until graduation, if you go on a diet now, you can lose a pound a month and lose 15 pounds by the time you graduate". I was super unhealthy and not eating. I was a lot thinner than I am now, and I hated my body. Now I am more confident then I have ever been.
How has modeling affected your confidence?
In college I was insecure with my body, I felt like I didn't know how to dress myself. I would always try to cover myself up. Modeling brought me confidence. I am always taking my clothes off in front of people and have become so comfortable being in front of the camera. There are still times where I am sitting a certain way in photos and I have a roll in my stomach, and when I see that on someone else I think it is beautiful, but on me I am still coming to terms with the fact that this is my body. There are definitely still parts of my body that I like to cover and am not happy with. It is a journey for sure.
When did you start modeling?
I signed with my agency last summer. I didn't do much modeling before then. My college roommate always told me to model and so I made an account on Model Mayhem. My agent found me on there and hit me up on Instagram. Through that I have done shoots, commercials and acting, which is fun. I had a commercial where I had lines and I loved that because that is what I studied in school. I am on the curve board at Wilhemnia. I am on the smaller spectrum of curve, and I sometimes have to wear padding at shoots on my thighs. But I don't want to gain weight, I am happy where I am.
What is your biggest insecurity & favorite body part?
My biggest insecurity is my arms & my height. I have been working on my arms in my personal training sessions, so I am getting more comfortable with them. I don't love showing my arms in the summer and I would never wear strapless. Forget about it! And after hanging out with my model friends who are all 6 ft tall and still curvy, but because of their height they look leaner - I wish I was taller! I love my butt and I love my skin, it is very soft. I like my figure. There are just little things I would fix.
Did you have any insecurities growing up?
I was very thin when I was really young, and once I hit puberty I gained weight. Then I was thin in high school. I was never the little one, I was always more athletic, I was a dancer. But I never ever felt fat. I really didn't think about my body growing up, there was so much more going on. Once I got to college things changed. I felt pressure to be skinny if I wanted to be a TV actress or on broadway. The roles I would go for with my voice & face would always be a sweet, petite ingenue (a sweet girl). But I didn't have the body for it.
Have you ever developed unhealthy habits?
I did once saran wrap my stomach, and I put prep H all over. It makes you lose all your water weight. I did it for an audition where I had to wear a crop top. And now I just wear a crop top.
How would you describe your style?
I dress pretty conservatively. I don't like anything that is too short, I like to dress for comfort. I have a sportier style, my style is all over the place. I feel like I can look at myself in the mirror and think - oh this looks good, and this doesn't. I definitely don't take advantage of accentuating my curves. I'm very low maintenance, even with my makeup and skincare routine. I like to put together outfits, don't get me wrong. But it is quick, I just throw something together. I don't spend hours in my closet.
I put together good day outfits, super basic. But going out outfits, forget about it. I love jeans and a t-shirt. I want more creative, fun outfits. I have a cool coat collection, so that usually makes my outfit. A lot of plus size brands are not trendy and fun, you have lines like Lane Bryants & Eloquii, which are getting there. I can fit into a large sometimes. Madewell is my #1 store. The jeans fit, size 31-32. They are great for daytime stuff, good sweaters. I would like to expand my style past basics.
I had a lot of fun styling you! What did you think of the outfits we created from your closet?
It was cool to see the types of outfits I could put together with my clothes! The red beret outfit made me feel on trend, the overalls gave me a good waist.. I liked that it was something I could transfer into different seasons. The outfit with the skirt was a good look for day or night. I'd never thought to put the two together.. it felt short at first, but the boot and jacket pulled the outfit together, which made me feel more confident.
How has the media affected your self-image?
Growing up I had a fascination with googling celebrities weight and sizes. I would think - okay they are still beautiful and they are a size 8. I am glad that things are becoming more realistic. At the same time, some of it is still unattainable. Like Ashley Graham is an insanely gorgeous supermodel & she still has a flat stomach. There is still a lot of photoshopping. I recently did a shoot and they sent me an updated, edited image and they took the cellulite out of my thigh and made it smaller. I was really upset about it. I think the fashion industry is going in a positive direction, and still has so much room to go.
Designers need to create bigger sizes. When Ashley Graham was on the cover of Vogue, no one would dress her. All of the designers said they didn't have anything in her size.
What is the most painful thing anyone has said about your body?
When I signed with Wilhemnia, I posted on Instagram right away with a link to my portfolio. I was super proud! I got a text from a girl that I went to college with. She text me meaning to text someone else and said - "Did you see Alexa's photos, she looks really pretty but she has gained so much weight since school". I cried, it was very mean and hurt my feelings. I had just done a favor for this girl the day before. I called my mom crying. It was so upsetting, it was terrible. I replied to her and said "it just sucks that someone I thought was my friend would be saying this kind of thing. We shouldn't be talking about other girls like this, we should be supporting each other". She sent me flowers to apologize.
I hear things all the time. Someone told me on a job my boobs are uneven. In modeling they just say dumb things like that. There is constant pressure in this industry.
What would you say to other girls who are struggling with accepting their shape and dressing themselves?
Put yourself out there and wear things you normally wouldn't wear. You will gain confidence because people will notice that you are putting in more effort and accentuating your body. That positive reinforcement will give you confidence. I owe my confidence to learning that in modeling. I also think that wearing sexy lingerie under whatever you're wearing makes you feel that much sexier. I try to wear really pretty lingerie and it's my secret. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. It's a process, but there is no rule book. You can't think I'm a size 12 so I can't wear this. Try new things!