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Me, a Swimsuit Model?

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.


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


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.

8 thoughts on “Me, a Swimsuit Model?

  1. Thanks for this! I squished my size 14 body into my industrial strength lycra suit twice this weekend. I totally agree with what you said, except about the lycra. I LOVE my industrial lycra!

    I am one of the few moms at my swim club who will actually get into the water with my kids, which I find a little sad. Of course, this is only sad if the reason the moms aren’t getting in the water is that they don’t want to be seen in a suit. If they are just enjoying a little R&R, good for them!

  2. I loved what you wrote! I totally agree that we need to see more real life fashions and models that reflect they way women really look. I think this great that these suits were featured on the Today show. I’m going to check them out!
    Maybe this designer can also start designing jeans for real women too?!?! I’m not a big fan of all the LOW waisted pants- who can wear those?

  3. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It is a real confidence booster to see women just like me having the self confidence to jump into a swimsuit and not miss out on life. This helps to reenforce my own self confidence and just get out there and do it.

  4. Wow, I love how no petite or smaller women were included with all these other women. So now we aren’t even people?

  5. dfsnj,
    That really does depend on your definition of small/petite. Do you mean thin, or do you mean with respect to height? If you mean thin then the woman third from the left is a fairly good representation of small/petite/thin. From what I see in the “stills” this group of women is a fair sampling of women as a demographic. Personally, I really don’t see any body type misrepresented or discounted here.

    Do you feel like the media misrepresents your body type and that your not a person as a result? It may be helpful to other women who share your viewpoint to hear about that experience. Just an idea.

  6. I just saw a movie last night with a young teenager guy staring through binoculars at a girl next door swimming…which made me think about the pressure the media puts on women and bathing suit season..don, don, don. There are always commercials saying “get in shape before bathing suit season” and who can’t forget the “its’y bitsy, tiny winy yellow poka dot bakini” song. Hurah for these women…going with the flow and not looking at a bathing suit like it is the end all.

  7. YES! I love my body, but as someone who is niether tall nor skinny, I rarely see anyone with my body type on TV or in magazines, ads, anything. Finally, people who think of bathing suits as nothing more than something to swim in.

  8. Thanks for sharing this info, and for your great insights on the topic! I’m always sort of impressed when I see less-than-perfect-bodied people walking around in swimsuits looking comfortable.

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