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Diary of My First Tearsheet, 9/01/2009
suzette banzo
By Contributor Suzette Banzo

Last year, after finding myself another casualty of the recession and corporate America, I was left to seriously think about what direction to take. Little did I know that my friend, Tiffany Braxton Belvin, would be the spark I needed to arouse my inner GPS and my childhood dreams of fashion, modeling and design.

It all started when Tiffany shared with me the exciting news that she had her first tearsheet. I was completely intrigued and fascinated, so I put on my "journalist hat", tilted a bit to the side in an oh so Euro chic way, flashed a smile, and began to ask the most probing questions I could possibly think of. I wanted details, I wanted to get a sense that I was there with her, be able to see what that experience could have felt like. After an afternoon with her, I knew that what I learned in one conversation with her would benefit so many more. I began to realize that I can wear this journalism hat well, work it, and learn as much about the fashion and modeling world as I possibly can while interviewing people in it, and share the lessons with other aspiring models and professionals as well. Thus, my column in PLUS Model Magazine was born.

Now a year later, I have come full curvy circle. I have my first tearsheet, and this reporter has real hands on experience to share.

A few months ago I started to work with a personal trainer to get motivated into a workout routine that I can eventually do on my own.  One of the unexpected benefits I gained was that she began to send me a few casting opportunities that she thought I might be interested in.  To my great surprise, one of them was for Fitness Magazine who was doing an editorial on "The Best Jeans for Your Body Type".  I quickly responded by sending a candid photograph and a note that read "Hello! I saw the casting notice and read it twice; I couldn't believe my eyes that Fitness Magazine was looking for someone plus size to be included for a piece. I have a few of the six body categories you are looking for...full butt, hippy, and plus size; I am 5'7" and wear a size 16 jean.  Looking forward to hearing from you, Suzette"    

A week later they set up an appointment to meet me in person at their office and shortly afterwards I was notified that I had been selected for the feature.  They scheduled the shoot a few weeks away as an all day event. I mentally jumped for joy about this exciting opportunity, and began to reflect on the various interviews that I had contributed for PLUS where I asked the models "How did you prepare for the shoot?"  I recalled how Wendy Davis shared that she went on a raw food diet for a month in order to have clear skin and more energy.  I knew I couldn't make that drastic a change, but I was committed to eating better and drinking lots of water to achieve similar results. 
 
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