Hi Salty readers!
My name is Melinda Parrish and I am so excited to be taking over this week's blog post for Kopari Beauty.
For those of you who don't know me, I am a plus size model that wants you to love your body harder than ever before! As a lifelong athlete and former Naval Officer who is size 14/16, I am passionate about the message that plus size women can still lead healthy and aspirational lives. This is the idea behind my hashtag, #healthyatanysize. I have laid it all out there for other women by sharing my history with binge eating disorder, and moments from my past struggles with body confidence.
I have modeled for clients such as Jockey, Danskin, Rachel Roy, J.C. Penney, and Gwynnie Bee. As a contributing writer for the Huff Post, Women's Running, and an influencer with a following of over 60,000, I have leveraged my platform to spread body positive content. I was recently written up in People Magazine, as well as international media, for taking a stand for curvy women on my weekly Facebook Live series, Body Love TV. Recently, I’ve launched the Healthy at Any Size podcast to go even deeper into this conversation with other women about our bodies!
Here's the scoop on my Q&A with Kopari:
How did you first get into modeling?
I served in the Navy, and after getting out I was scouted by a client of mine while consulting to the Department of Defense. I thought I was way too old to start a career in modeling. But amazingly, I've had many great opportunities come my way since I signed at age 29, about 3 years ago!
Did you have any hesitations or obstacles at the beginning? If so, how did you overcome them?
Actually, many. I was worried my age would limit my success, but I've gotten some great work despite getting a late start. It was also a big adjustment for me to learn how to move in front of the camera. It turns out a lot of what they show on America's Next Top Model is real! "Smising" is totally a thing. And after being in a more analytical career, where I was in my head a lot, it was an adjustment for me to learn how to loosen up and become more expressive in front of the camera. But ultimately, it's taught me that we are so much more capable than we think we are. And through hard work and patience, anything is possible!
When did you decide to launch your podcast and your blog? And what were your goals or intentions behind them?
My journey as a model really helped me become more comfortable with my body, and overcome a lot of fears I had held onto for years about what was possible for me. I wanted to share that with other women, and inspire and empower others to live at full amplitude as well! So I began sharing my story, and the things I was learning and experiencing through modeling. It has all grown from there with #healthyatanysize and my other blogging and influencer activity.
You’re such an amazing role model to women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Tell me a little about your views on this?
Awww, I'm blushing! I really appreciate that. It's important to me that we as women stop defining ourselves, and what's possible for us, based on our age, shape, and size. Or color, or medical condition, or education level, or income bracket, or any other categorization. I think it's really important to go for what you want in life, and to be the woman you want to be no matter what. I call this living at full amplitude. For me, I had to get over my age and my size. But I know we all struggle with this in different ways. So I hope more women are inspired by my story, and that they pay it forward and make themselves an example for other women, too. As long as we support one another, before you know it, women really will be running the world!
We noticed at New York Fashion Week, there were women of all shapes and sizes owning the stage. How does this make you feel?
It was electrifying. I had the privilege of sitting front row at one of the shows and it really blew me away. Seeing women of all sizes on the runway is a very powerful, important thing. It makes me feel proud of how far we've come as a fashion industry and a society. It also makes me more passionate than ever about continuing to move the ball down the field when it comes to giving women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds more representation in the media, and every part of society. It makes a huge difference, and it gives us all permission to do things we never thought possible.
We were so happy to hear that you’re a Kopari lover. Which products are your favorite and how do you incorporate them into your beauty routine?
The coconut body milk is the best thing I've ever put on my body, hands down! It goes on so silky, makes my skin glowy all over, and leaves a nice fragrance. I'm addicted! Especially during pregnancy, it's been life-changing, as my skin is starting to stretch and get itchy in places. I also really love the coconut melt. I started out using coconut oil out of a jar, and the melt is a much better version of that. It will always be a staple for me in my beauty routine!