MoD interview with top actress and model Andie MacDowell

Tereza BrantlovŠ

Tereza BrantlovŠ

MoD interview with top actress and model Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell, as a Curvy Ambassador for Models of Diversity I'm very pleased you have agreed to talk to us about body image, body positivity, your own experiences and advice for all women of all body shapes.

Andie Macdowell Revitalift from L'Oréal
Let's start at the beginning. Before you became a model, how did you perceive the modelling industry as a young teenager?
When I read about models during high school it would've been in magazines like Mademoiselle and Glamour. The stories that they created gave the image that models were healthy, exercised and ate healthy food, lots of vegetables and fruit for example, but I don't think that it was that simple for a lot of the models in New York City at the time. It takes a lot of discipline and staying super skinny is a big effort.
What issues have you had to face on the way to become a successful model?
It took me a few years to get comfortable in my body and to come to a place that I knew what my lowest weight was, when I could tell people this is a skinny as I get. But before that I tortured myself with all kinds of crazy diets and never felt good enough. I took myself to a spa when I was 21 or 22 and that is when I had my revelation, I knew that I was as good as I can get. I learned about food and exercise and I ate well, healthy and made good choices and exercised and finally got comfortable in my own body.
Times have changed, what is your impression of the fashion industry today?
Andie Macdowell from L'Oréal ad
I think everybody has good days and bad days as far as how they feel about themselves I would say that I have 99% good days now, but I was much harder on myself when I was a full-time model because I had the feeling that I was being judged on thin then I was and now I don't have that heavy expectation to be super skinny. I think I am thin, so it is in the eye of the beholder and models sadly have this expectation of being abnormally thin.

So many brands, designers and magazines seem to have a big problem with diversity. But some curvy models have made progress in the modelling industry, promoting body positivity and confidence such as Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence.
Do you think these models could have enough influence on the industry to change it to promote and use more models of all shapes?
When you say brand designers and magazines have problems with diversity that encompasses age as well as curves. L'Oreal uses Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton, this is progress. You mentioned some popular curvy models that are successful, more progress. But that doesn't mean we don't need improvement — supporting women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.
Social media has completely changed the landscape for models, actors, photographers, magazines and brands. It's great to see their huge influence can help promote healthy life styles and being active.

Do you believe this is the way to have a positive impact on those doubting their own body image?
Andie Macdowell
Dialoguing with friends and having open conversation about how you feel can help you to have a more positive outlook on body image. Social media is another area where people can share ideas and try to make change. That's one of the reason I like to use Twitter, to express ideas I have that are positive and inspiring.

It would be amazing to me if it became normal and acceptable to get older without having to cling to the idea of youth and to see the beauty in age. I imagine for you it would be amazing if high fashion embraced curvy women, if it became more glamorized and less of a niche for just certain women.

Wouldn't that be great for us both?
We see you as positive, confident and comfortable in your body — can you share your secret?
I am fortunate, I love to exercise and eat healthy, and it's how I live my life. I've studied food, I understand it, I know how to eat well, not go hungry and stay the same weight. I'm happy in my body more than ever and I think it has to do with learning to love myself on the inside. To me the best part about getting older is what comes out of your eyes, there's a certain glow in eyes that you can see in people, as they get older. I am constantly working on myself to become a kinder, more loving, and intelligent, conscious, heartfelt person. I try to surround myself with people that help me along this journey. I do a lot of yoga, hike, I noticed when flowers are blooming; I marvel over sunsets, I smile at babies and talk to them. I still skip and do cartwheels. I try to make people laugh I'm not afraid of being a geek. I love learning and have hope. Really what more do you need?
As a mum of two beautiful daughters, what advice can you give women on body image, body positivity and self-esteem?
My daughters and I have deep conversations about how we feel about our bodies. I think most women have some insecurities about some part of them self it is our nature. The media puts a lot of pressure on everyone to be more than they may be able to be, to be thinner than they may be able to be, to be young forever, which is a silly idea.
Models of Diversity has campaigned for years on the streets, in shows and shoots and worked with The British Fashion Council. What support do you think we can offer aspiring actors and models and bring about positive change in the industry?
In the end it is up to each individual to learn to love himself or herself and embrace who they are. We cannot depend on the media to do our work for us. But, we can try to educate them and hold their hand as they learn how valuable we are. Baby boomers are still the largest buying group along with generation X. Yet, the industry caters to millennials, and I love millennials — I think they're super cool — but there's more to life than being young. Also the truth is most women are not a size 0 or 2 or a 4! The majority of women who are buying clothes have curves.
As a model and actress can you share any insights into how these fields overlap?
Andie Macdowell in "Green Card"
Actors are under pressure to be skinny too. More so for women, the thin image has been projected on women for so long it is ingrained in Hollywood and so is the never ageing women. Men have it so much easier. What I would give to be a James Spader — younger or older, trim or plump, working and beloved all the same. Or a Gérard Depardieu — the talent is what matters. Physique? Pah! I am making a bit of a joke here because I enjoy being healthy too much to get plump but the truth is, if I did, I wouldn't work.

Female actors are under greater pressure to stay skinny because we have to live up to the idea of thinness that is forced on women. I think it's an odd trap that is set for women the whole idea that we have to be young and skinny. It's very limiting to us as humans. We are better than that, we are more than that, we have to stand up for ourselves. No one's going to do it for us.

I don't know that I could have continued being a full time model all these years though, because it is in general a youthful job though there are a few older models (very few) that were celebrated. I loved modelling, it was an amazing experience, and it was the time of my life. I am love acting too but I have a great appreciation for a models life and photography, it is a beautiful art form.
It just leaves me to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and wish you all the best!




Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell