I don't have kids yet, so I'm not exactly an expert on beauty for pregnant moms. But that's why I'm delighted to share a Q&A I had with mom and ex-model Liza Elliott-Ramirez. Based in New York, Liza runs Expecting Models, a modelling agency entirely devoted to pregnant models, AND she stars in the reality show Runway Moms (which is coming soon to Canada!). She's also a big fan of Bio-Oil, the cult-favourite scar/stretch mark/uneven skin tone oil (they hosted her trip to T.O.).
Here's what Liza had to say about modelling, reality TV and looking good during and post-pregnancy:
You got your start in this biz as a professional (non-expecting!) model. How did that come about? I was scouted on the beach in the Hamptons by a photographer when I was 14 years old. We did a photo shoot and I used those images for a portfolio and went into an agency and got signed. My entry into the business was pretty easy—I was very lucky.
Tell us a bit about your pre-pregnancy modelling career... was it as it as glamorous as everyone would believe? Some of it is very glamourous—like walking down a runway and wearing couture in photo shoots, but it’s a competitive business and you have to win jobs by pounding the pavement and doing a lot of casting calls. In New York City, there are lots of models competing for fewer jobs and casting is tough. In Japan, I would go to 28 castings a day and thought my feet would fall off. You win some jobs and not others and you don’t know why, so you have to have tough skin and roll with the punches… and never take it personally.
What made you decide to launch Expecting Models? When I became pregnant with my first child, my agent told me to come back when I was to my pre-pregnancy body. I knew there had to be a market for pregnant models, so I started to reach out to clients and companies I thought would be a good fit. There was so much work I was turning jobs down, [so] in 2001, I founded Expecting Models. We are the only agency that specializes in professional pregnant models for the fashion and commercial world.
Did your modelling experience prepare you for your new role as a reality TV star on Runway Moms? Absolutely. It was a great way to learn to be natural on camera. Reality is so different from scripted television. I prefer reality TV because it gives people the essence of the truth—it's real situations.
What's the best way to take care of your skin throughout your pregnancy? Great skin is the foundation of every pregnancy beauty routine, especially when it’s summer and you’re showing more skin around the beach or pool. For silky skin: moisturize! Exfoliate your body with gentle soap and a coarse cloth in the shower, and then apply Bio-Oil head-to-toe on your skin. Focus on the belly area morning and night.
Fresh, clean make up is always best: your skin emits a natural glow so don’t cover it up. Powder can make you look older. Tinted moisturizer with SPF, a little bronzer and a soft neutral lip gloss enhances the glow. Add glamour with a smudge of dark liner across the upper lash line. For swelling in the eye zone, apply spoons chilled in the fridge for a few minutes before makeup application.
Pregnant or not, what are the three beauty products you can't live without?
- Bio-Oil: I’m so in love with this product—my son and husband are big fans too. It keeps your skin hydrated and evens out your skin tone.
- Eyeliner: It's one of those quick and easy tools that helps open up your eyes.
- Lip gloss: You can just pop it on mirror-free, smoosh up your lips and you’re ready to go.
Do you have any advice for aspiring models? Don’t give up. Don’t take “NO” personally and achieve at least three things a day that will help you get closer to your dream. That way you are always on the road to success.
Lastly, what are you tips for balancing career and motherhood? Don’t place emphasis on having to get the job done during normal business hours, especially if you can work on a freelance basis to spend more time with your kids. In the early days, do your best to sleep when your baby sleeps and time yourself with how long you realistically think you can work with a baby. Actually estimate that something will take you 40 minutes, set a timer and stick to it. That will help you learn about your limits, how long things really take and force you to pay attention to how long you are working. I know it sounds cliché but you have to take time out for you—eat properly, take time to rest and do it as often as you can. Because if Mom is falling apart, the family starts to follow suit. Love the job that you do and then leave it at work so you can enjoy the time with your family in body and mind. And remember, from baby onwards…. everything else will be pending!