A few weeks ago, on a very sunny and warm Saturday afternoon, Michaela and I met up with actress and plus-size model Callan Alexander in Industry City, Brooklyn. Our friendship with Callan started over a series of likes and comments to each other on social media spanning the course of a year. Then one day, recently, we received a direct message from Callan on Instagram. She mentioned how much she loved our Yummiewear tops and how she would love to collaborate with us. Up until meeting Callan, we didn't have curvier models wearing our tops, so Callan suggested we do a collaborative photoshoot together to show women how our tops fit all different body types. The day of our shoot was so much fun, and working with Callan was incredibly easy. At the end of the day not only did we all leave with close to 300 photos, but the three of us also left as friends!
A few weeks after the photo shoot, we also had the opportunity to connect again with Callan over an interview. Callan shared with us some of her dreams and a key piece of advice on self-love. Our hope is that you walk away happy and inspired by her words.
MK: Ok, before we do anything, Callan, first things first, I have to ask this. It’s kind of our M.O. What is your favorite cheat food?
CA: Definitely butter. Anything and everything with butter.
MK: Mmm, yes butter. I love that one. It’s an outside the box kind of cheat food. Ok, so now that I have this critical piece of information, I think it’s safe to begin. Can you tell us a little about yourself, Callan? Where are you from and where are you living now?
CA: I’m originally from the beautiful Santa Cruz, California and now living in New York City.
MK: Cali girl in NYC. I love it! What do you do in New York?
CA: I am a plus model, actor, and nanny!
MK: Wow, that’s quite a resume! How did you first get involved with modeling and acting?
CA: I’ve always been involved in the arts, since the age of 7 years. My mother put me in musical theatre to help with my dyslexia and ADHD, to improve my reading, memorization, and public speaking. Since being introduced to theater, I’ve never parted with it!
MK: That is such an empowering and beautiful way to help a child to overcome obstacles. What about modeling? How did you get into modeling?
CA: Modeling is another creative outlet that I’ve been with for quite some time. My mom is a plus-size fashion designer, so I grew up in a very body-positive family. I was fortunate enough to be able to walk in many of her runway shows and gain exposure to the incredible plus size community. It’s safe to say my mom has been a huge inspiration to me. Now I am able to represent how beautiful body and all types of diversity is.
As far as nannying, I’ve always loved children so that’s an easy one.
MK: You are so lucky to have grown in a family that has always nurtured self-love. It’s so incredibly important to learn to love yourself when you are still young. I’d like to come back to this point, but before I do I have a few more questions. When it comes to your career, what would you say are some goals or goal that you would like to reach professionally?
CA: My professional goals include being able to write my own stand up comedy, starring in a sitcom, performing on a Broadway stage, and becoming an established fit, runway, and print model.
MK: That’s an incredible list! I love how all of your goals have such strength and confidence behind them. Is there anything you would also like to achieve on a personal level?
CA: As far as personal goals, for short-term, I would love to start my own blog about self-love. A personal long-term goal I have is to adopt two children and provide them with endless love.
MK: Awesome! I think it’s beautiful that you say that you want to shower your future children in endless love. This must go back to your strong and loving upbringing. You have a long list of goals you’d like to achieve, and I think the steps you are going to be taking, like with any goals and achievements are going to take a lot of energy, so if I may ask how do you stay healthy?
CA: Hot Pilates is my all time favorite exercise activity but I also love any type of dance class and yoga (because, duh).
MK: I have tried yoga a few times but I don’t seem to have the agility or balance, but I totally get you with dance. It’s such a great way to break a sweat! So, if you aren’t working or breaking a sweat, what do you do in your downtime?
CA: I love to cook. Not to be associated with baking. Baking scares me. I also enjoy interior design, reading plays by Christopher Duran, learning ukulele, and Thursday night Beer Bingo at my local bar!
MK: Learning the ukulele?! That is the coolest hobby I have heard in a long while! What do you do to relieve stress?
CA: The most successful form of stress relief I’ve discovered is aromatherapy and cleaning. Give me a day with my essential oils and cleaning products and I can rule the world!
MK: Cleaning, that’s amazing. Therapeutic yet efficient too. Before we wrap up here, I would just like to go back to your earlier point about self-love. You talked about how you grew up in a body positive family. I think that is so wonderful and at the same time, not everyone is fortunate to have that sort of start in life. However, it is still so easy to fall victim to insecurities that are seemly more and more powered by the interconnected world that we now live in. Many times we are forced to compare ourselves to others on social media because this information is actively and daily pushed into our lives through feeds. I know I have struggled with comparing myself and I know there are other women who have as well. With that said, what advice would you give to women that could help them tune out the noise and focus on loving who they are more?
CA: It’s known that our own harshest critics are ourselves. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and be unhappy with what we see. What most people fail to realize is that thing(s) you’re self-conscious about in yourself, more often than not, people don’t even care about. I’ve always been very tall for my age and at 6 foot right now, I sometimes still wish I was a more “average” height for a woman. It took me a long time to realize that my height makes me unique. The people most important to me in my life don’t care that I tower over them. They celebrate it. And I celebrate them and their differences.
My advice to anyone who is struggling with their own physical appearance is to take the time and realize the things you LOVE about yourself. Point out all the things that make you happy to be you. Be your own support system. Celebrate the things that make you different than the faces we see on social media.
MK: Callan, this is wonderful advice and I hope others find it helpful as well. You are such a driven and positive woman! I really appreciate you being so candid and taking the time to do this interview with us. Thank you!