I’m hugely excited about this week’s guest. Today we have the beautiful Erin Green, Erin is an American model who aged 42 became the first older model to make it into Cycle 24 of Americas Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. Not only did she make it into the competition, but she made it down to the last six and I was whooping every week you got through Erin, I was so rooting for you.
What made you apply for the competition in the first place? For those that don’t know about the competition it has always been for the younger models and 2018 was the first time the age limit was opened up.
Wow Rachel, it’s been a dream of mine since I was young, well I still am right? ( Erin has an infectious laugh)
But it’s been a dream of mine to become a model and my passion is runway. You know I ended up having kids and I knew at that moment that it was probably going to be put on hold. I still had this passion and I still had this drive so what happened was I didn’t become frustrated or impatient with the process, I said you know what I’m going to do what god instilled in me and what he put in me was this passion and this drive to go after what makes me happy. So I did that and I continued to thrive within the industry regardless of age, or you know ‘she looks too old’ but I just continued to enjoy what I was doing, photoshoots, castings, whether I made it or not I just continued on with the process. All of a sudden Tyra dropped the age limit and it was my opportunity, it was a blessing.
Did you model when you were younger before you had kids?
No I didn’t, I went through a period of bullying all the way up to my high school and it was pretty gruesome however I transitioned out of that and gained my confidence and self-worth and it wasn’t until after I had kids that I found this passion and drive to want to go after it.
How do you juggle family life with 4 kids and homelife now that you’re modelling and travelling all over the place?
Well you know now a days you just have to be superwoman. Our future is female, you are doing things regardless of the circumstances of things that may get in the way, you find a way. You’re doing the day to day chores and taking care of all the responsibilities but at the end of the day you still have to take care of yourself and that was one of things that helped me to get passed trials and tribulations of life, especially with raising a family, that’s what kept me going, making sure I had a dream, I had a passion and I was fulfilled, it was great.
Once you got through to the Americas Next Top Model house, you were the 15th contestant, what was it like?
Laughing Erin told me they gave her a good run for her money. Going into the competition was almost like a vacation for me because I got to get away from day to day life but going into a house with girls that were nearly the same as my own was like ok, I’m back in it again. I thought this is going to be fun for me. They were millennials and it was all about the media gratification and I was like ok let me sit back and enjoy this and embrace it. It was cut throat though, the girls were very competitive and they knew what they wanted and I was there to learn and soak up everything I could so that when I got out of the competition I could use what I’d learnt in the industry.
To walk into that situation, you must have had a lot of self- belief and confidence, have you always been this confident or has it come later in life?
No that came later in life, I was bullied and I didn’t have any confidence or high self-esteem or self- worth. It was the most difficult time of my life and at times I thought about suicide, it was a really tough time for myself. It wasn’t until my junior years when I was running from my bullies over fences and the next day a track coach came up to me and he asked me who I was running from and so I told him. He asked me to join the track team, and at that point it changed my life for the better. What I learnt was that I was fast but the ultimate lesson I learnt was that sometimes the ugliest part of your story become the most beautiful part of your story. Me being fast and a track star got me scholarship, then setting up my foundation One of a Kind, so it really catapulted me into different areas that I couldn’t imagine. It’s sad that I had to go through all that but..
Do you think that’s given you that inner strength now to carry forward into what is a very competitive industry?
Oh yes definitely, I’ve learnt to have tough skin. I’ve learnt that words that used against me shall not prosper and at the end of the day this industry is savage. You have to have tough skin and face rejection, they will let you know right up front that your hips are too big, or you look too old. I have to prove myself all the time to compete with the younger models, Tyra told me that I had to work extra hard just to make it and compete amongst the younger generation. But I have a lot to share with aspiring models out there.
You inspired me. I think the rejection part is much easier to take when you’re older, so I think there’s a real benefit to going into it later in life. I wouldn’t have managed when I was younger with the rejection and critique, I don’t know about you?
Oh yeah, I think the emotional intelligence of the older model is there, I can take it. Having the patience and drive and the timing to wait it out and say hey I’m ready now.
Do you still get scared or do you always walk into everything with loads of confidence?
I do get nervous, but it really goes out the door when they say the camera is on or I’m stepping on to that stage my nerves go away. I think that’s just from being able to take those risks going after my dreams and just taking baby steps. I don't get as nervous anymore but I'm not afraid to fail, that's the biggest thing about it, that's the key thing. I think it's so vital when anyone is trying to overcome their fears or try a new thing, I just feel like you just can't be afraid to fail.
What would you go back and tell your younger self?
Wow, thats's a great question. I would really tell myself that words are very important. In order to conquer self doubt you have to be able to love yourself first and foremost. I think it's very critical that when people hear words that are very critical and negative, harsh and brutal to yourself, it really brings you down in every aspect of your life.I think in order for us to grow as individuals we have to be able to love ourselves first and get over doubts and fear.
What's been the highlight for you so far in your modelling career?
Oh my goodness, I think the travelling and the hosting. I have a couple of new projects that are coming out, that I can't talk reveal but I'm so excited.
You do kill it on the runway.
Yes I'm going to Dubai tomorrow for fashion week, so I'm excited about that. I've been doing a lot of work helping aspiring models, male and female just to go after their dreams. That's the most important thing just to go after our dreams and defy the odds. You and I have been able to defy the odds and it's amazing.
What a lot of British people might not know about is your charity work,
You co- founded, along with your twin sister, Twin of a Kind. Can you tell us a little bit about the project and the work you do?
Twin of a Kind foundation was founded in 2008, our mission is about motivating and encouraging young adults to seek their full potential in life. To be the best versions of themselves. The reason why it was founded was because of our back story, you know us both being bullied, being able to overcome that because of different people in our lives and how we were able to overcome that. When we were young we didn't have any mentors to be able to help us and disypher what bullying looks like, how does it feel and what do you do to overcome and comebat that. We wanted to go out and share with our youth and young adults the different life skills on how to overcome difficult obstacles and challenges. In regards to bullying, or conquering self doubt or just talks about parents not understanding or social media. We have conferences and monthly workshops, work in schools and we put on 8 week courses.
How do you fit this in with model life?
I'm glad you asked that question because modelling has a lot to do with building self esteem, conquering your fears just in regards to your psyche and overcoming those life challenges. We use modelling within our programme because it really just reflects on how an individual is supposed to overcome difficult times, what ever it maybe, you know their self image or body shaming. How to overcome those negative words we tell ourselves, it's almost like a recorder that's being played in your head over and over again, how do you overcome that. You know I have a Masters in Marriage, family therapy and I was therapist for awhile before I got into the modelling industry and I use that background to help those kids overcome the vicious cycle of what we tell ourselves every single day and what we need to do to reach ourselves to turn it in to positive words.
What changes would you like to see in the fashion industry?
With the older models, I really think that we are the market, our age demographic are the ones that are buying the products so why not have us out there representing that. I'm all about the classic model, you know what ever age, what ever height, everyone should be represented here, slowly but surely we can start to see a change. I just want to see more of it.
Do you feel under pressure in L.A to keep looking young?
Oh yeah, definitely. I think social media, the television and our peers play a huge role. The pressure to look good, look young, look vibrant and I think it's really taken away from who we are supposed to be as individuals.
So what's next for you?
I am going to Dubai tomorrow for fashion week but I do have a great project, a convention that I'm putting together and I think aspiring models are going to love it but I just can't put it out yet! It's going to be 6-12 week tour so lots to look forward to.
Wow, thats going to keep you busy in 2019. So my final three questions I ask all my guests. What's your favourite song that motivates you?
Not only did Erin chose This Girls on Fire by Alicia Keys but she also blasted out the first line too, happy to report she has a great voice to add to her list of talents.
A book that inspires you?
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, it's how to express your heart felt commitment to your loved ones. I read it during my Masters studies. People just really need to know how to communicate and interact with one another, this world would be such a great place if they did.
Who inspires you?
I would like to say Michelle Obama, she really just exemplifies, strength, courage, leadership, kindness, love and compassion. You know our future is female and she inspires us to become the best versions of ourselves. She really puts me in the mindset that we all have to do that little bit more, we all have to get out there and be extra in order to help one another and be kind. I look up to her.
It was a pleasure to talk with Erin, especially as I admit my guilty pleasure is watching ANTM so I was already a huge fan but she's just another shining example of women over 40 who are getting out there and embracing life and following her dreams. Erins slogan is "living a purposeful life" and she certainly seems to be doing so.
What's stopping you?
Full podcast interview available at https://anchor.fm/outofthebubble/episodes/Episode-3-with-American-model-Erin-Green-itseringreen-e2ilrb