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I grew up in a small town, was a good student and swam competitively from the age of 6 on. I never focused on my body weight, shape or the foods I ate. I was CONTENT with myself. Then I was discovered and became a model and was swept up into the New York scene when I graduated high school. All of my friends were at beer parties and eating pizza in their new college campuses.

I was in New York City, in an apartment, wondering how many carrot sticks I could have for dinner?

One night my roommate and fellow model, Kelly Emberg, came home and caught me eating a whole head of iceberg lettuce. She laughed at me, and I started to cry because that was all I was eating that day. “It’s only 50 calories,” I sobbed.

At 18-years-old I had to learn, quickly, how to maintain my weight and still have enough energy to “look good.” It took years of trying new diets to figure this out. I even wrote an eBook on Amazon called Dieting Lessons.


While working with Vogue and famed photographer, Irving Penn, I decided I was too fat and boycotted breakfast and actually stood up through lunch, waiting to go on set to shoot the clothes. I stood because after I was dressed, Mr. Penn had called a quick lunch, and I didn’t want to wrinkle the clothes. It was easier to stay dressed than change in and out of them. When it came time to go on set, Mr. Penn took one look through his famous lens and declared that I had no life in my eyes! I was banned from the set and never worked with him again. So much for not eating, huh?

I thought being thinner would mean I was more desirable as a model and to be honest, I still struggle with that. I still worry I’m not good enough.

Many of us struggle with body image. I look back on growing up and realize it was a good thing I was so ignorant about how I looked. I was content living that way, because I didn’t know any better. But a part of me envies that innocence in certain people who have no idea how they look or don’t care.

Now I see myself through the eyes of others and from years of being trained. I know how I look from every angle and how to present myself to the camera. I learned, from feedback, how to stand and sit and how to relax my face to look my best from each angle. Sometimes it’s kicking a leg out, casually, or putting my hand on my hip. It may look natural, but it’s from years of other people telling me what looks good and what I should never do, again.

Now that I have some perspective, I wonder if we should be more accepting of ourselves, or in this age of social media and Botox, are we working too hard to present our best selves to the world?



  • Taste of France May 8, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Every woman I know who was a great beauty in her youth is struggling with her looks as she gets older. My Pilates instructor is 52 but looks 35…yet she sees only defects and signs of age. Several other friends debate Botox and facelifts–they all are still beautiful, but they no longer turn heads as they used to. On the other hand, the women who never turned heads to begin with, who were not ugly but not wow gorgeous, are very happy as they age. They, too, look far younger than their age and are in excellent physical condition. Yet they are reveling in being healthy and happy with their lives, instead of feeling threatened by wrinkles.
    Unfortunately, the pressure on young women to meet certain standards of beauty have only gotten worse, not better.

    • 1010ParkPlace May 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      You’ve made some excellent points! Really beautiful women may have more of a problem aging. Even for those of us who were never beautiful, aging is difficult. We see the woman we used to be in the mirror, and yes… It takes a toll on our self-esteem. As the old saying goes, “Beauty is only skin deep,” but whether we like it or not, the way we look affects how we feel about ourselves and sometimes how others perceive us. I’m glad I’m not a 20 or 30-something, feeling like I have to live up to the standards of the pretty, cookie cutter looking women on social media. Very few of them look original, plus they all dress alike. Call it the Kardashian affect, but no thank you! Brenda

    • Kim Alexis May 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      It is true what you say. I had to learn to just be my best whatever that was for my age. I have to accept certain things like wrinkles as I refuse to have any kind of work done on my face.
      I want to be happy with myself. I can only do that when I don’t compare myself with others and compare myself with a younger me.

      • Becky May 16, 2018 at 8:34 am

        Soooo well said, and so wise. I am not sure I would have that strength to forego injectables and facelifts if I traveled in the circles you do and had the finances available.
        Well done. You are still beautiful!

        • Brenda Coffee May 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          I agree with you, Becky, but I also love that someone in Kim’s position has the inner strength and confidence to love and be HERSELF at any age. She gives the rest of us a shot of common sense. We are not how we look or what a knife or a needle can do to us… I wanted to say “do for us,” but the vast majority of women who’ve had “work done” don’t even look like their younger selves. They look like another “race” or “species” entirely. It’s pretty scary that we’ve lost sight of ourselves or feel like we have to alter our appearance to fit in. appreciate your comment, Brenda

    • Brenda Coffee May 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Taste of France, Kim Alexis answered the comment you left on her blog, but accidentally she didn’t reply directly to you, so you’ll need to check the comments section on 1010ParkPlace to read it! Thanks, Brenda

  • Squeak May 8, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I’m very lucky. I’m 63 and I’ve never been beautiful. People would consider me average-looking at best. So I don’t have to deal with the issues that concern women who have been beautiful and are now struggling with the fact that they no longer turn heads. I never did and never will.

    I’ve been on dating sites for 5 years and have yet to have a coffee date, let alone a real date. In spite of the fact that I’m well-groomed and well-dressed, men on the dating sites repeatedly ask me why I’m there, telling me I’m too ugly and old to be on a dating site. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that, if you’re a woman, you need to be beautiful to be loved.

    • 1010ParkPlace May 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Squeak, This breaks my heart, sweet lady!! This weekend I got on a dating site for the first time and I’m discouraged. I’m in my 60’s, and I’d be interested in a nonsmoker who took good care of himself and was in his early 70’s, but match.com does recognize people who are that age!!!! Also, I’ve heard from numerous women that many of today’s men look at dating sites as escort services: They pick the prettiest ones, have fun with them and move on. They’re divorced or their wife died, and they’re taking this new opportunity to live it up while they have their health and “everything works.” I think most people would consider themselves “average looking,” so I’m thinking that’s not the problem. Without makeup, I’m below average. No one would ever notice me if I didn’t wear makeup. I look like a bag lady. What if you take a totally different approach to your online profile? If the only thing they have to judge you on is your photo, what if you give them a great one? What if you have your makeup done at Sephora or Nordstrom’s and have them take your picture and use that one? You may say that sounds shallow… and it may well be, but in order to catch the fish in the pond where you’re fishing, you may have to use a different bait. What about your profile? The one thing I know I’m good at is writing. What if we put our heads together and we take a look at what you’ve written and see if we can improve on it in any way? If you’re interested, email me at [email protected] xoxox, Brenda

      • Brenda Coffee May 15, 2018 at 4:14 pm

        Hi Squeak, Kim Alexis answered your comment on her blog, but accidentally she didn’t reply directly to you, so you’ll need to check her blog on 1010ParkPlace to read it! xoxox, Brenda

    • Kim Alexis May 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Oh NO! My heart breaks to read this about how you see yourself!
      You must be an amazing, strong woman.
      I know you may not be able to hear this from me but beauty is NOT everything. I have one sister who actually lessens her appearance since she works in the techie field and doesn’t want people to think of her as beautiful and stupid. We all struggle and sharing our experiences helps us to strengthen each other!
      Keep your head high my friend..

  • Susan Bonifant May 8, 2018 at 11:57 am

    It’s terrible to think your worth is tied to something you that is only reinforcing if it doesn’t change. The mirror can go from ally to enemy in a hurry. I understand too, that other women don’t buy into physical validation even if they can, because they have learned to cherish the things within that draw people to them. Either way, I don’t see a model’s face on a magazine cover without privately hoping they’ve got more than that gig going on for the sake of life down the road.

    • 1010ParkPlace May 8, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Susan, Awesome comment! I’ve gotten to know a number of famous, gorgeous women and Kim Alexis is at the top of the list of women who’ve always had things other than their looks going for them. Like most of us that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t sometimes struggles with how she looks, but Kim has a strong faith, ethics, sense of family, and she’s one of the most unpretentious, “here I am” women I know. She went to Europe for three weeks with only a backpack and no makeup and posted blogs and photos here on 1010ParkPlace. How many women do you know who’d do that, much less a supermodel? I wouldn’t. She survived the modeling business with her sense of self intact. Brava to Kim! Thanks for your comment, Susan. Brenda

      • Kim Alexis May 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm

        Thanks Brenda!! It was fun to blend in with just my backpack. quite liberating actually!!!

        • 1010ParkPlace May 15, 2018 at 1:28 pm

          Kim, I find it hard to believe that you could blend in anywhere!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Haralee Weintraub May 8, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I felt the pang of despair when Kim said she was devouring a head of iceberg lettuce!The modeling business is ruthless for sure. I do know a few former gorgeous women who as they age into their 60’s are either scrabbling to the plastic surgeon again and again or looking for a vocation where they can still shine among their peers. It is a slippery slope on either course.

    • 1010ParkPlace May 8, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      “The pangs of despair!” What an insightful way to phrase it, Haralee! I’m not sure how young, impressionable women survive the modeling business. Like you, many of the women I know are opting for surgery, Botox and fillers. Those all scare me to death and surgery can’t be reversed. I’d like to know more about women are “looking for a vocation where they can still shine among their peers… ” Anything you can write about without naming names? You’ve given me lots to think about with that one. xoxox, Brenda

  • Jean C. May 10, 2018 at 8:42 am

    We still live in a very cruel culture here in the U.S. Being judged for physical appearance is a reality, but it’s harder on a woman than a man. Since I moved into my 60s, I rarely get compliments from men and women anymore. You do start feeling invisible. I think all we can do, as women, is to be kind to each other and avoid making comments about another woman’s looks. I cherish all my 60+ friends for who they are, for the struggles they’ve been through and their amazing accomplishments.

    • Brenda Coffee May 10, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Brava, Jean! So well said. I’m in my 60’s so I know what you mean. We’re invisible to men, younger people and brands. I saw your comment here as I’m posting my blog, BRENDA’S BLOG, for this Saturday. I’m talking about this subject and the mean girls on Twitter this week who’ve cruelly mocked and belittled Sarah Jessica Parker’s looks. I hope you’ll read it on Saturday. Women are so amazing! If only we realized that and didn’t tear one another down. Thank you so much, Brenda

      • Johanna May 24, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        I was comfortable in my aging and felt ok about it until one day a really good friend of mine who sometimes says things without thinking told me “Remember when you used to have beautiful skin.” I survived breast cancer and cannot take hormones of any kind so my skin has deteoriated. She then mentioned it again in the presence of another friend. This friend would do anything for me even in the middle of the night, has caused me to hate the way I look every time I look in the mirror. I try to do what I can with this 69 yr old skin but I just can’t seem to get over this comment.

        • Brenda Coffee May 24, 2018 at 6:59 pm

          Johanna… I’ve survived breast cancer as well and can’t take hormones of any kind. My skin is far from what it used to be, but I’m so grateful to be here!! I also have a girlfriend who would do most anything for me if I asked, but she’s always been jealous of me in one way or another. She continues to say catty things… in front of others. Women like that… I think it’s their way of making themselves feel better by shooting us down. PLEASE… DO NOT LET HER HURTFUL COMMENT INFLUENCE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF!!!!! Just know she’s dealing with her own issues and feel sorry for her. xoxox, Brenda

          • Johanna May 25, 2018 at 8:48 am

            Thank you so much Brenda for responding and for your encouraging words.

  • LA CONTESSA May 14, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    KIM I remember YOU!I wanted to be YOU!
    I loved those MAGAZINES even as a child.
    I was a BALLET student and I remember the diet I was on…..One poached egg on one piece of toast 4 ounces of Orange juice.Lunch was I think a half cup of cottage cheese and a Tomato.Dinner was 4 ounces of meat ,vegetables and green salad NO DRESSING!MY parents were furious with me………..I was so HUNGRY but YOU must have had headaches as well as NO LIFE IN YOUR EYES!!!!!!!!
    How did you survive that……….Did you BINGE once in awhile?A HAMBURGER NO BUN ……..maybe?

    • Brenda Coffee May 15, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, Kim Alexis answered your comment on her blog, but she didn’t reply directly to you, so you’ll need to check her blog on 1010ParkPlace! xoxox, Brenda

  • Kim Alexis May 15, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Hey thee,
    Of course I cheated!!! I had to or I would have been depressed. I learned to run 10 miles if I wanted to eat more as I was always an athlete.
    I have learned how to manage my weight and part of that is to have lower expectations. I can’t expect myself to be super thin. It isn’t in my DNA.
    I wrote an eBook called CHEAT EAT on Amazon to find healthy substitutes to be able to reward myself and not feel cheated.
    Thanks for the comments!! xoxo

  • Mamavalveeta03 May 17, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    I read your last line, Kim, about “this age of social media and Botox, trying to present our best selves to the world” and my first thought was, “I don’t even believe it’s our ‘best selves’!” Different, yes. But younger, better? No! I can almost always tell when someone has had work done and I spend the entire time talking to them focused on the too puffy cheeks or the non-moving forehead, or duck lips. We’ve got to change the conversation so that our BEST SELVES are the ones that are excited to learn new things, to travel, keep up with new music and books, eat well and stay in shape! I think I look better than ever at age 57 because I know who I am, I’m confident that I know what looks best on me, plus, my hair and makeup are styled in a flattering and easy care way. I still get smiles from younger men, and even though I’m not looking, it sure is FUN!

    • Brenda Coffee May 17, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      Val… This is a great piece of writing and so right on target… Your Instagram bio says you’re a writer-in-training. Care to expand on this comment and post it on 1010ParkPlace? Brenda

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