Last week I saw something that horrified me . . . vicariously, that is. The Today Show held a swimsuit fashion show on its April 26th episode, complete with a runway, cute bikinis, and beautiful models. That’s not the scary part.

picture-3.pngWhat sent panic through my bones was that these “models” were not part of the exclusive club of long and lean ladies that grace the pages of Vogue and Elle magazines. These models were “regular” women like you and me.

Two weeks earlier, Malia Mills, owner of a designer swimsuit boutique by the same name based in New York City, hand-picked women from the audience outside The Today Show studios who were there to watch the show’s live taping.

Can you imagine that? One day you’re minding your own business, anonymously crammed into a crowd of a hundred or so strangers, and the next thing you know, you are donning a swimsuit on your size 12 frame in front of millions of people across the country!

These women went from civilians to swimsuit models in two weeks! That means that as far as getting “swimsuit-ready,” there was barely enough time for a decent bikini wax. A personal trainer, crash diets, or even colonics couldn’t even make a noticeable difference in two weeks. That is what makes this jump into the public eye so impressive to me. These ladies were confident enough to boldly strut their beautiful, true selves. They looked fantastic!

I watched them on the TV incredulously. Could I be that brave?

Malia Mills’ motto is “Love Thy Differences” and that is what she does. She designs suits that are meant to flatter all figures. She achieves this by emphasizing the beauty of every body type, whether curvaceous or slim, size 2 or 16, tall or short. Mills’ approach is not to use industrial-strength Lycra that pinches so hard at the waist that breathing — let alone swimming — becomes a challenging feat; She allows customers to mix and match tops and bottoms that complement each part of the body. She doesn’t try to hide anything or force us to pretend we are something that we are not.

Now that swimsuit season is upon us, I am going to remember these models when I am in the department-store dressing room. Instead of fretting about what I could have done to make my body swimsuit-ready, I will patiently look for a suit that was designed to fit my body. I know that the right suit is out there.

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If you want to check out these brave and beautiful women and these great swimsuits, you can visit the Malia Mills website.

–J.K.

Jennifer Kinzelberg is a freelance public relations consultant who works with non-profit organizations. She is proud to be associated with organizations like About-Face that are dedicated to helping young people realize their true potential through knowledge and positive self-esteem.