Half Naked HR

Meredith Soleau Meredith Soleau, wellness

Vogue has done something amazing for women.  They’ve decided to become a leader in the fashion world, banning models who “appear to have an eating disorder.” And they have asked designers to stop sending “unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes.”

Bravo, Vogue!  I salute you!

As a 32-year-old swimsuit model myself, I can assure you that it is stressful, and I tend to develop weird diet tendencies every May as I stress about the upcoming photoshoot for a national advertising campaign.

No. Your eyes did not deceive you.

I’m really in my thirties (which officially means all my opinions count).

Oh… and I model swimsuits every spring to help women be more confident in their own skin since many women can’t relate to the models in fashion magazines.

This was my photo that ran all over the internet last May for the Land’s End “National Swimsuit Confidence Week”.

Swim Suit Model

You can’t see them in that photo, but doing this took big balls.

It’s May again. My swimsuit is perfect, I’m a size smaller this year, but I’m still stressed out about the campaign.  My boobs look amazing, but my butt? My butt could use some work. There’s a little too much junk in that trunk, and my mom’s “run your hairbrush over your legs to get rid of cellulite” trick isn’t working anymore.

The truth is, even during a campaign where it’s cool to be curvy… I don’t like being unhealthy.

Curvy = Awesome

Unhealthy = Unawesome

This frantic panic attack going on in my head about standing half naked in yet another swimsuit is really stupid, and I realize that. I’m supposed to be feeling confident so other women will feel confident. That’s the whole point.

But ladies, being photographed in a bathing suit is really hard. And it’s even harder when you know you could be a better picture of health.

My company is kicking off a year-long, very intense, wellness initiative this summer (SURPRISE, ED SCHMIDT EMPLOYEES!). No more mamby-pamby wellness routine for us! We’re going big. I want 100% participation. Anything less will be considered a failure.

In order to be the champion of this thing, I am going to need to do more than stand in a bathing suit on the internet with my legs positioned so my thighs don’t touch. I’m actually going to need to try. This means no more french fries, no more mocha latte breaks, less cherry vodka and Red Bull, and lots more physical activity.

I’m dreading it.

I really love cherry vodka and Red Bull.

But since HR is always the department that preaches “LIVE HEALTHY!” because we want medical claims to “GO DOWN!”, I’m going to have to suck it up and lead by example.

It’s going to be tough, and I’m not going to like it.  But since Vogue can promote healthy living in one of the most unhealthy industries, so can I.  I’m going to start today so I don’t look ridiculous trying to get all of my employees on-board with a butter stain on my shirt.  My daughter is two-years-old now, and the old “I just had a baby…” excuse doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

So while I don’t want to be anorexic model thin, I do want to be healthy.  I want to do it for my company.  I want to practice what I preach. Being healthy is the vogue thing to do these days. Who knows, with a little lot of work, maybe Vogue will hire me to model since I’ll be healthy. Stranger things have happened.

Is your HR department practicing what they preach? What do you think about Vogue’s decision? And please be nice to me today because OMG I PUT A PICTURE OF MYSELF IN MY BATHING SUIT ON A WEBSITE THAT MY PEERS READ, AND I FEEL LIKE I’M HAVING THAT DREAM AGAIN WHERE I SHOW UP TO WORK WITH NO PANTS!

Meredith Soleau

Meredith Soleau was supposed to be a famous country singer, but her parents made her go to college and major in something “real.” She graduated with a B.S. in Business from the University of Toledo, and landed a gig as a Human Resources Director at a large car dealership in Ohio. After eight years of HR at a car dealership, she burned out, decided to sell cars herself, and has since launched her agency, where she specializes in finding blue-collar workers. Clearly she has plenty of stories. But the best stories are probably about Meredith, herself. Read them on her personal blog, meredithsoleau.com, where she holds nothing back.

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