A Picture is Worth...

...1,000 words? We all know the old adage, but I think a picture can be worth a lot more.

I'm not sure about you, but I have always had a vivid imagination. I would often envision myself as a successful and glamorous actress, rock star, top model, princess or other rich and famous person, and somehow that person in my head, whatever form they took, looked thinner, taller, prettier and certainly better styled. The "perfect" ideal has unfortunately been planted in our heads from a very young age. My coveted Barbies, once treasured playthings, now symbolize for me much of what is wrong with our perfection-driven society. We are supposed to look "perfect." Even emaciated models who are size 0 or 2 (think Victoria Beckham) have their arms and legs photoshopped in ads. Heidi Klum is almost my height - she is 5'9"/175 cm and I'm almost 5'10"/177 cm - but she weighs almost 20 pounds less than I do - she weighs in at 137lbs/62kg and I'm at 154lbs/70kg. To sustain a weight like hers at our height takes extreme discipline, portion control, clean eating and lots of exercise. So good bye French fries, bottles of wine and bags of Haribo gummies! And that's just the tip of the iceberg! Not sure if it's really worth it, but then I never thought I would even try to model or act semi-professionally until recently.

Would I like to look like a model? Sure, it couldn't hurt. But part of the struggle the non-Kardashians of the world have to face everyday is accepting themselves for who they are, wrinkles, cellulite, stretch marks, blotchy complexions, split ends, chipped fingernails and all. I'm not saying people who are not rich are hot messes, but we don't necessarily have the same financial power to make major aesthetic changes on a small budget. However, instead of thinking that my "imperfections" (in case the bold print and underlining didn't help, "imperfection" contains the word "perfect") make me less attractive - and please note: I will NOT use the u-word, it's a disgrace to all creatures on the planet and we throw it around far too often - I am slowly learning to love myself, and I mean really love myself, after many ups and downs in my 32 years of life so far.

One of the ways I am showing myself love is believing in myself. Two days ago I took a major step on my journey to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a (semi-)recognizable face (or at least just feel like the glamorous woman of my dreams). I made the decision to invest in a professional photoshoot and it was worth every penny. The photographer and the makeup artist were friendly, encouraging and (to my surprise) complimentary of my "natural beauty." I was nervous at first, but I began to hit my stride and felt far more confident then when we began. After two hours, which somehow flew by, we had over 200 photos! Some of them turned out so well that I was pleasantly surprised. I now have great photos to send out as I apply for various modeling and acting agencies in Germany. But more importantly, it was a great experience and I learned to see myself in a different light. There were definitely photos I did not like, but there were many that I did and it showed me I can rise to the challenge, because modeling certainly can be challenging. I felt like I was taking part in an army drill! But in the end, I learned so much about my body and how to see the beauty in me, inside and out. It was much needed. I feel like we don't appreciate ourselves enough or too often strive to be something we're not. The photos showed me as I am, just nicely posed and with the help of light styling.

I do not expect much to come of this whole thing, certainly not major stardom, but I am going to try to get work in film or modeling because it's part of the loving-, believing- and healing-myself process. I encourage others who are struggling to make that leap, to do something different, to believe in themselves and most importantly, to love themselves. You will be surprised what good it can bring.

My mantra for 2018: I am worthy. I am beautiful. I am loved. I am who I am. I am Tina.

Below is a selection of shots from my shoot. Studio Monbijou. Photographer: Judith. Makeup Artist: Urnaa. If you're in the Berlin area, please check them out: http://www.studio-monbijou.de/



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