Modeling…oh man, talk about a loaded topic. Am I right?

You guys wanna know a little secret? I actually don’t like modeling. Gasp! I know. I know. You probably think I’m joking, but I promise you I’m not. In fact, Sally has asked me various times throughout my time at Oiselle to model for our website and believe it or not I’ve turned her down. Don’t worry, this hasn’t stopped her from asking. Lol! Bless her patient heart.

If you told me two or three years ago that I would be prancing around in nothing but a sports bras and crops, I’d say you were crazy. Without a doubt cuckoo in la cabeza, cause I would never. Fast forward to July 23rd to be exact and you can find a video of me prancing around in a bra on our Oiselle IGTV. So much for my never, huh? Whoops.

But seriously, if it’s not a selfie or a silly story loaded with fun gifs or a million filters, I’m not interested. Lol! It’s true. See studio pic of me below vs. my candid. Case in point. So what changed? Nothing and everything. I essentially called myself out on my bullshit and to my Boss nonetheless. Yikes!  

Wanna read a few text exchanges between me and the Boss lady on this very topic? Sure you do. Here’s an excerpt of my conversation with Sally on an e-comm shoot I attempted to do with Jess. Outside of the one pic I shared below, I hope the others never see the light of day. Sorry, Jess. It’s not you. It’s me. Promise.

Sally: How was your afternoon model sesh?

Me: It was chill. Fun to see the whole process. Think I’m more goof than model.

I don’t have much of a middle ground so a response like this is my being vague and polite. Sorry Boss.

Sally: Keep in mind e-comm shots are different than concept. E-comm is just the facts ma’am with some more personality. But concept, you should def do, has more space for goofing and range of motion, etc. Personally, I think it’s great having you in both places, but there’s also what you’re into.

Me: Here for it all Boss.

Sally: Takes some getting used to as well.

Me: Here for it all.

Wow talk about a broken record. And here ladies and gents. Here’s where I called bullshit on myself.

After a little more silly banter, I finally came clean.’s still kind of embarrassing to write down.

Me: Moment of truth about the modeling. It was tough for me because lately I’ve felt like my body has been broken. So even though I know better about all the socialized bullshit and standards of beauty, I wasn’t above it. But that’s why I wanna keep doing it. Cause we don’t need perfect small bodies. We need ourselves just as we are.

Gotta walk the fucking talk. Otherwise I sound just like every other woman who complains that they’re not being profiled but won’t show up to the table. And F that. I always wanna be at the table. So I’m in all the way.

Sally: Gah. That’s so powerful. You’re the woman. I love it. None of us are above our insecurities and yet wading in is the only cure. We can do hard things!

Me: Yeah. Most people probably think I’m an incredibly confident (and I am to an extent) woman that should know better, but society has a way of messing us up. Lol!

Sally: You should talk about this on Ask Brenda.

Me: I know. Feels a bit embarrassing to admit it not gonna lie.  

Ugh, I still cringe a little when I re-read this, but this is my truth. This is me keeping shit one hundred with you babes. So now I just show up to my Ask Brenda stories as I am, whether I’m bloated, had a bad skin day or whatever. Life is not just about documenting our most beautiful moments. It’s about showing up as we are and changing the narrative.

So there you have it, friends. That one little modeling experience and conversation with Sally kinda freed me from my self-imposed beauty standards. Keep forging the uncomfortable, friends. It’s quite liberating once you cross that threshold of fear, doubt and false insecurities.

Alisoune Lee