Woman of Strength: Lauren Models Her New Body

Posted in: Art of Seduction, Body Image, Boudoir Session Testimonial, Curvy, Embracing Your Body, Healthy is the New Skinny, Women of Strength, Women's Empowerment- May 30, 2014 Comments Off on Woman of Strength: Lauren Models Her New Body
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“I LOVE it!” Lauren Veluvolu selects an image of herself on the computer screen at the Art of Seduction studio, and moves on to the next. “Oh, that’s hot, too.” She has just wrapped a shoot with Argentina, and as she reviews the images, there is a distinct absence of body-bashing and a distinct murmur of self-appreciation.
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Lauren doesn’t say any of this with sarcasm or arrogance. With so many women in society today that are all too comfortable with unrestrained self-criticism and fat-shaming, her confidence is refreshing.
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It may just be because she is a model, but it’s not just that. Lauren is not only a model, but a plus-size model, and of course, it’s literally her job to show off her curves and to be relatable to young girls. (Junior-plus models — which is what Lauren is — are the ones you would see posing for Torrid and even Forever 21.) However, crediting her confidence to the fact that she is a model is a bit chicken-or-the-egg: It may very well have been her confidence and spirit that brought her into modeling in the first place.
Lauren, earlier on in her modeling career, at her first Art of Seduction shoot

Lauren, earlier on in her modeling career, at her first Art of Seduction shoot

“Growing up, all the kids in school from elementary to high school would always call me ‘the big girl,’ and ‘the fat girl.’ One day in eighth grade, this one guy called me a ‘roadblock.’ I had to hold back tears. Many days I’d go home and cry to my mom. Even though my family wanted me at a lower weight for my health, they of course didn’t want people making fun of or mistreating me.

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“My mom herself is a larger lady, and at such a young age, I had always wished she would have been more accepting of my body. When you’re young, you’re not as concerned with your health, but I know my mom wanted to stress its importance to me. She supported me —  just not in the way I wanted at that age. I wanted to feel beautiful, like all the popular and cool kids in school. I didn’t have that many friends; people thought I was ‘fat’ and weird, and to this day I don’t use the ‘fat’ word. It’s hurtful.
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“Eventually I just had to find the inner strength to stop caring what people had to say about me. I learned to just be grateful for the people who appreciated me and not just tolerated me.” By now, Lauren has even reached a sage level of appreciation for those who don’t embrace her figure — “Hey, not everybody’s going to love you. I can’t spend my life stressing about what other people expect of me.”
Lauren modeling today
Lauren entered the junior-plus modeling world at only 18. She set up a photo shoot with a classmate, Kris, who was then an amateur photographer, not knowing what she was getting herself into. “I brought two dresses with me to the lake where we shot. I had such a blast that day, and Kris was so easy to work with. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and I felt a sense of greatness.” Eventually, Lauren won first place in the Plus-Size Magazine and Dorothy Combs’s Next Supermodel competition.  “I landed a contract! Moments like those you will never, ever forget, and I will be forever grateful for such a life changing experience and opportunity.”
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As she transitioned into 21, Lauren had decided to shed some weight — first and foremost because she strives to manage her health, as well as wanting to book more clients. “It sounds like the typical expected stereotype for models — ‘Oh you’re too big; you need to lose weight.’  Yes, the modeling industry is extremely competitive. Proportions are everything, and especially for my height, I decided to trim my body. At the end of the day, I didn’t lose weight just to lose it. My personal goal, no matter what I do, is to be happy and healthy, and that always will be a priority in my life.
Lauren modeling her transformation
“In middle school, I was pre-diabetic. I managed to bring my weight down so I could stop taking the medication I was on, so luckily I never actually became diabetic. I was so young, and my family was worried about me; I was worried about me. But over time, the weight accumulated again, and at a certain point I was the heaviest I’d ever been.”
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After maintaining that weight for a while, Lauren finally realized that enough was enough. She changed her diet — not subscribing to any fad or crazy techniques, but by eliminating unhealthy foods, controlling portion sizes, and regularly going to the gym. As a result, she trimmed off almost 40 excess pounds. “This is the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, which I’m so happy about. I feel great, I breathe more easy, and at the gym I’m faster, more athletic. And I’m way more energetic.”
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Lauren possesses what seems to be unwavering self-love and confidence, which only adds to her beauty particularly because it is so rare to see a full-figured woman be so genuinely comfortable with her body. When asked if she would ever try to lose more weight, she gives a firm and resounding no. “I love being curvy, and I’d never want to lose that. I wish more women were able to feel more secure and self-accepting. I’ve had girls come up to me or contact me on Facebook or e-mail, asking me, ‘How do you do it? At our size, how do you feel so good about yourself?’ while gushing at me, ‘You have this perfect body, perfect everything!’ ”
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She smiles. “I don’t have the perfect body at all — far from it. I have stretch marks, you know, from my toes to my arms — everywhere. Thank God I had to figure out how to love my body, so I don’t have to worry about trying to ‘be perfect,’ whatever that even means. We’re all human. I totally have my days. I mean, I broke out the other day, and I have to move on from it like anyone else.”
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Lauren came to Art of Seduction to celebrate her transformation and share her story. Fortunately, this is her second time shooting with Argentina, so she knew precisely what to expect. “The first time, oh my gosh, I was driving here, my heart racing, palms sweaty, thinking, ‘Holy crap, are they gonna like me?’ I was so worried despite my usual self-assurance! I didn’t know how it’d turn out, but the team made me feel so comfortable. I typically do commercial fashion, in clothes, like prom or cocktail dresses. It’s different because you have more clothes on, but in boudoir, there’s that new aspect of feeling more exposed, wondering if your booty cheeks are hanging out or if you have too much cleavage, you know, but it’s so different from what I normally do — like, I can be a little seductive for a change. I love it.”
Lauren gets sultry in the boudoirLauren in sheets
When asked what she’d like to close her story with, she says, “What I want other girls to know, to truthfully know and understand, is that the woman’s body is one the most gorgeous creations ever made, no matter what size it is. It needs to be cherished, not shamed. The only person who will ever allow you to believe that is yourself, and when you are ready, you will know. I used to depend on others to control my emotions, and I let them influence me for a long time. Everybody has their own story, and it’s your job to figure out how to achieve your own happiness. For some it’s more simple, and for others the process will take longer, but once you’ve mastered self-acceptance and happiness, no one will ever be able to bring you down again.”
Lauren in cocktail dress

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